By Pat Ciarrocchi
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphians are known for loving their sports teams, and great moments in sports history can bring fans to their feet.
On Wednesday night, The Mann is opening its newly renovated outdoor theater and lawns for what it’s calling, “A Symphonic Sports-tacular!”
Great moments in Philadelphia sports history will be projected on a 28-foot screen above the heads of the Philadelphia Orchestra, as live classical music becomes the score for spectacular plays by the teams fans love.
The voice of the Philadelphia Eagles, Merrill Reese, will be one of the voices of the night.
“It’s really pushing the envelope,” said Reese. ” When they came to me, I thought they were out of their minds.”
Reese will perform with Peter Schicklele, a classical musical humorist who calls himself PDQ Bach. They’ll be the play-by-play and color announcers who’ll call Beethoven’s 5th like a game.
“While the great Philadelphia Orchestra is playing,” said Reese, “We’re calling out people who have wrong notes, as if I could tell. Referees are going in and taking them to penalty boxes and talking about winning streaks for conductors. I never could have imagined this.”
Last season, President and CEO Catherine Cahill focused energy on The Mann’s renovations – a redesign of the lawns and the terraced-lawn seating, new stairs, and the addition of what’s called The Skyline Stage. It’s a general admission venue, on a new three-and-a-half acre acquisition that makes listening to a concert feel more like Central Park.
“Everybody can spread out their blanket,” said Cahill, but the main amphitheater stage also has 4,500 seats under cover.
“We have a capacity here of 14,000 people. There’s not a concert hall in the city that comes close to that kind of capacity…much less with a great informal lawn for an evening under the stars,” Cahill said.
On Wednesday, the gates open at 6 p.m. on The Mann’s promenade, above the amphitheater, where families are invited to a “pre-game” event that includes sports team giveaways and a dollar dog night. And at the end of the night, there’s fireworks!
For tickets and information, visit: www.manncenter.org