Mizner Rising

The keys to Mizner Park Amphitheatre were turned over to the city of Boca Raton, Fla., Oct. 1, which is now feverishly attempting to bring it up to snuff for upcoming concerts.

Renovations including new carpet, fixing air conditioning, installing light fixtures, slapping on new paint and other general repairs are taking place. The venue saw a dropoff in concerts booked by then-operator Live Nation, and previous owner Schmidt Family Centre for the Arts financially stumbled.

The city has hired the Centre for the Arts’ program director, Chrissy Biagiotti, to take on the task of booking commercial concerts going forward. The Sun-Sentinel described Biagiotta as having “little experience in the entertainment industry and cultural arts but is determined to restore the amphitheatre as a major cultural destination in the city.”

For her part, Biagiotta told the paper that her first order of business is getting the shed back into shape, coordinating existing events and “creating new collaborations and relationships” that will bring events back in. The venue will now be an “open” one, but she noted she has good relationships with AEG Live and Live Nation, both of which may now book concerts at Mizner Park.

“We have a lot of work to do, but CFA has already proven that the amphitheatre can be successful with a variety of cultural performances,” she wrote in an e-mail to the Sun-Sentinel. “I have no doubt we can replicate the model that worked for so many years.”

The Centre for the Arts will stage its signature show, Festival of the Arts Boca, in March but otherwise has all but closed down. Biagiotta, a former English teacher and real estate agent, was hired by the city as cultural facilities manager.

City officials told the Sun-Sentinel that Biagiotti was the most knowledgeable candidate, having booked events for Centre of the Arts.

“The fact that she was hired by CFA – that was part of the decision,” assistant city manager Mike Woika told the paper. “We’re taking her as part of the deal, not hiring someone who would have to learn about the operation. … We’re trying to make a smooth transition.”

Biagiotti said she has years of experience in administration, program development and event planning and has experience from working with production teams, concert promoters, agencies and artists during her CFA tenure.

Plans for the amphitheatre’s future are getting positive reviews, including the $759,000 renovation and new website.

“It’s exciting to see it coming back,” Biagiotti told the paper. “It’s going to be looking good and people are going to want to book acts here.”