The O’Keefe Centre for the Performing Arts opened 1 Oct 1960 with a pre-Broadway production of Camelot starring Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, and Robert Goulet. General manager’s during my time were Charles (Charlie) S. Cutts 1981-1989, and Martin (Marty) H. Onrot 1990-1995.
Located on 2.5 acres on Front Street between Yonge and Scott streets, the centre was built in 1960 at a cost of $12 million and was owned until 1968 by the O’Keefe Brewing Co. In 1968 ownership was transferred to Metropolitan Toronto; in 1996 the facility was renamed the Hummingbird Centre after its sponsor, Hummingbird Communications. It became the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in 2007.
A modernist design, the fan-shaped theatre was built to seat more than 3,200 people on two levels facing an 18 metre wide proscenium. Though intended as a multi-purpose entertainment centre for opera, ballet, drama, and touring productions, the theatre’s size suited it primarily for large-scale productions.