Eva Bornstein

*The Thirtieth Anniversary of Lehman Center for the Performing Arts promises to be an interesting season.  The venue located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West in the Bronx, NY, will open its 30th Anniversary 2010-2011 season with the popular cross over artist Victor Manuelle, (known as “El Sonero de la Juventud” to his fans), on Saturday, September 18, at 8:00 p.m.

Executive Director Eva Bornstein has prepared a special season of programs for their 30th Anniversary  and with assistance from local politicians such as Jose Rivera,  Lehman Center has refurbished their performing arts space via a half million dollar grant and a $150,000.00 grant which has enabled the Center to improve their lighting and sound system.  

Having worked over 30 years in the cultural arts business, Bornstein has brought new life to Lehman Center during her six year sojourn.  She has continued to keep in mind the surrounding community when booking this season’s entertainment.

“There are many Latinos living in the community, thus, I booked talent that appeal to the local residence.   We have become known for our salsa entertainment so I have brought in many top salsa acts which have proven very successful for us.  Our season opens with Victor Manuelle who draws both the younger and older crowd.  I am bringing in two masters of Latin jazz: Eddie Palmieri and his Afro-Caribbean Jazz Septet along with Michel Camilo, known for his contemporary latin swing” said the Center’s director.

Guitarist and singer Jose Feliciano will make a double appearance on Saturday, December 4, when he does a 2:00 matinee and an 8:00 p.m., show.

New Orleans performers Nicholas Payton, the Joe Krown Trio and 1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and recipient of the 2009 prestigious Grammy Trustees Award, Allen Toussaint, will introduce the music of New Orleans as part of Lehman Center’s remembance of Hurricane Katrina on Sunday, November 14, at 6:00 p.m.   

“Our Doo Wop shows which feature oldies but goodies always do well.  So, we are again adding a doo wop show to the roster this season.  “Doo Wop Forever” will feature Kenny Vance and the Planotones, the Chantels, Terry Johnson’s Flamingos and others” claimed Eva who seeks to keep variety performances on the show roster.  A gospel show may even be added to the roster this season.

“We are fortunate to feature Johnny Mathis this season.  His appearance isnt until May but already people are buying tickets to his show.  I advise Johnny Mathis fans to buy their tickets in advance so they are guaranteed good seats” stated Bornstein.  The Lehman venue will feature dancer Savion Glover, Dennis Edwards and the Temptation Review and once again pay tribute to “King Michael” on the 2nd anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death in June 2011.  

The 2300 seat venue is accessible by the #4 train and D train as well as the Bronx #10 and #1 bus.  

“We will be bringing in the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the Russian National Ballet, the Bayanihan  Philippine National Dance Company as well as shows that appeal to our local and international audiences.  We are showcasing the Opole Philharmonic of Poland,  Tango Buenos Aires from Argentina and from Israel “The Aluminum Show,” as well as aerialists who defy gravity via Cirque Le Masque.”

Eva Bornstein started off her career as an actress in Poland.  When Eva grew up in Poland the country was under Communist control.  

“Money was scarce and it was rather a grim reality growing up,” recalled Eva.  “However cultural events were affordable and part of my fond memories are my mother taking me to cultural events in an attempt to buffer our dismal surroundings. So I saw operas, musical theater and cultural entertainment.  As a cultural arts executive director, I have made it my mission to pass down culture to children.  Thus, Lehman Center offers a $10 flat fee so parents can bring their children to Lehman Center and expose their children to cultural events,” said Eva.

“I am sure it is the concern of many Performing Arts Centers to secure the monies to keep their doors open.  I sometimes feel the stress of affording to bring in top drawer artists to the Center while keeping ticket prices affordable, especially in this current economic climate” said Ms. Bornstein who claims her concern is balanced when she sees the enthusiastic audiences who show appreciation for the performances and artists that Eva brings to the venue.  “I am always aware of the community which is comprised of African American and Latinos primarily and am sensitive to the type of entertainment they enjoy and want to see,” said Eva who is often hired as a consultant due to her expertise in transforming performing arts centers into successful venues.  

“With my experience I am capable of putting a whole structure together.  I have built performing arts centers from scratch.  You inherit a building.  But the building is dead until you hire people and bring in  artists.  It is the artists that make the building thrive and the people they attract who bring the building to life.  Without programming and without publicity the building is just a dead building.  So I have to make it happen. I have the kind of drive and aggressiveness about me that I can create and transform what started off as just a building into a performing arts center.  Many people have hired me to be a consultant to come in and  help structure their building and give it a good footing so their center can thrive well into the future.”

Interested parties who wish to become patrons and friends of Lehman Center are welcome to do so.  For information on how to become friends and patrons of Lehman Center or to view the 2010-2011 Show Schedule, interested parties can visit www.LehmanCenter.org. For tickets call the Lehman Center Box Office at 718-960-8833.  Parking is free.