The Parker Playhouse—residing indisputably in the upper echelon of South Florida concert venues—is poised to enter a new era this fall, and with it an official change in name. The Fort Lauderdale venue will now be known simply as The Parker, a diminutive many of its fans have been employing for years.
I’ve never been too keen on stripping words from venue names, a streamlined symptom of the Marie Kondo-ing of society. But this one makes more sense than most. For all intents and purposes, The Parker isn’t a playhouse in the literal sense. Theatre is the domain of its sister venue, the Broward Center. The Parker’s essential forte is great touring entertainment from mid-tier bands, comedians and cabaret stars that have outgrown clubs but do not fill amphitheaters.
When audiences return in September (a triple bill of Firefall, Orleans and Pure Prairie League will inaugurate the new space on Sept. 22), they will encounter a fully renovated Parker in which to enjoy one of the region’s finest acoustic experiences. A $30 million campaign, generated by the Broward Performing Arts Foundation, will produce a soaring grand entrance into the lobby, wider seating inside the auditorium and enhanced hospitality spaces throughout the building.
What’s more, patrons seeking a more luxurious experience will now have a lounge space all their own. For an extra $35 price added to any admission ticket, fans can enjoy shows from the all-new Linda B. Haller Club, a premium lounge with a retro design, and an all-night open bar of wine, beer, soft drinks, coffee, tea, hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and desserts.
The 2021-2022 season is pretty delectable, too, featuring a mix of rescheduled 2020 events and brand-new bookings, among them Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham (Sept. 30), contemporary blues maestro Keb’ Mo (Nov. 2), “Whose Live Anyway?” with Ryan Stiles, Jeff B. Davis, Greg Proops and Joel Murray (Dec. 2), acerbic comic Lewis Black (Dec. 10), cerebral funnyman Patton Oswalt (Dec. 27) and many more. Visit parkerplayhouse.com for all the details and ticketing information.