Seattle is one of only six American cities that support a major symphony, opera and ballet company and is home to a vibrant, thriving performing arts scene.
One of the region's largest and oldest cultural organizations, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra has been enthralling Northwest audiences since 1903. Performing at architecturally and acoustically innovative Benaroya Hall, the Seattle Symphony has earned a reputation for innovative programming and has given 46 premiers in the past 20 years, including commissions by seven major American composers. The Seattle Symphony is also one of the world's most recorded orchestras, represented on more than 100 compact discs and nominated for 10 Grammy Awards.
The Seattle Opera, renowned for its productions of Wagner works, is supported by the Seattle Symphony, as well as a professional chorus. It shares Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center with the highly acclaimed Pacific Northwest Ballet, which offers an inspired repertoire of both classical and modern ballets. Contemporary dance can be seen at Moore Theatre, the oldest remaining theater in Seattle, where the Spectrum Dance Theatre group performs.
Performing arts are popular in almost every neighborhood in Seattle. Downtown's historic Paramount Theatre thrives with nine performance series, including Broadway, jazz, silent film, dance, family and comedy. Entertaining audiences since 1928, the Paramount was the first theater in the country to offer a fully automated convertible floor system, transforming from the beautiful auditorium space into a magnificent ballroom for concerts, galas and other events.
The dramatic 5th Avenue Theatre, a former vaudeville and silent picture palace, now fills the house with Broadway musicals, concerts, lectures and films. Innovative and award-winning stage performances are seen at downtown's Intiman Theatre, one of six in the country recognized as a "Leading National Theatre," as well as at A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) and the Seattle Repertory Theatre at Seattle Center.
Provocative, breakthrough performing art of the moment is the specialty of On the Boards, an ambitious showcase for local and visiting artists located in the lower Queen Anne neighborhood.
Outside Seattle and the King County area, the elegant, 2,700-seat Spokane Opera House hosts an enormous variety of entertainment events and is home to the Spokane Symphony and West Coast Entertainment's annual Broadway Series. On King County's eastside, the Kirkland Performance Center presents an attractive variety of artists and the Village Theatre, highly regarded for productions of new and classic musicals, performs at the Everett Performing Arts Center as well as in its home in historic Issaquah.