The Weber School officially dedicated its new Tzadik Performing Arts Center (PAC) this month at the new theater before an assembled group of supporters, faculty, and friends.
This new state-of-the-art facility was made possible by The Zalik Foundation as a core component of its $19 million grant to Weber in 2022. The grant supports several initiatives that will serve the school’s growing student enrollment and provide a vital resource for educational innovation and collaboration within the broader Atlanta Jewish community.
Featuring what is known as a three-quarter thrust stage, audience members surround its three sides and are closer to the action on stage. The Tzadik PAC also includes two music studios, a dance studio, two dressing rooms, a technologically advanced control booth, and top-level equipment for lighting, sound, set design, and video presentation.
The dedication ceremony featured performances and presentations from Weber student musicians, actors, and technical specialists in sound, lighting, and set design. Each area of the PAC was introduced by the respective program leader, including remarks from Director of Music Drew Cohen; Director of Theater Brad Bass; Technical Director Scott Leaderman; and Sound Engineering Director Michael Levine. The event also included remarks from Helen Zalik on behalf of The Zalik Foundation, a welcome from Weber’s Associate Head of School, Paul Ginburg, and a formal dedication of the Tzadik PAC by Head of School Rabbi Ed Harwitz.
“A flourishing arts program is an intrinsic part of developing well-rounded students who are prepared to tackle the challenges facing our Jewish community and the broader world,” said Zalik, co-founder of The Zalik Foundation. “It is our great pleasure to support advancing performing arts programming for Weber students and the Jewish community. The experience gained performing on-stage provides lifelong skills these students will use to advocate and lead in the future.”
With the opening of the PAC at the start of the 2023-2024 academic year, Weber expanded its jazz, rock, and vocal ensembles, while offering new courses in music theory and composition, electronic music, and sound engineering. In addition, Musical Director Cohen plans to add a series of visiting performance artists to the current music lineup. The interactions will provide students with opportunities to learn from the top working musicians in the Jewish and broader communities.
Weber’s theater program has also added additional classes this year in theatrical direction, short-form theater, and collaborative dramatic performance, all instructed by Director of Theater Bass. In November, Weber offered its first-ever dramatic and musical theater production centered upon material written, directed, and performed by students. In addition, guided by Technical Director Leaderman (who also teaches a new course in set and light design) and Sound Engineering Director Levine, a growing team of Weber students are learning to master the skills of lighting, set design, and sound engineering, as well as managing traditional and high-tech equipment during each performance.
“We continue to be grateful to The Zalik Foundation for its investment that, while providing new resources for Weber to meet its mission and serve our Jewish community, also provides students, faculty, staff, and parents with a one-of-a-kind performing arts space that has given rise to new levels of artistic creativity and innovation,” said Rabbi Harwitz. “Weber’s commitment to advancing the performing arts extends well beyond our campus, and the Tzadik PAC provides us with enhanced opportunities to partner with Jewish organizations.”
Rabbi Harwitz also recognized Associate Head of School Ginburg during the dedication ceremony. “Paul has put his skills and wisdom, along with his heart and soul, into bringing this vision to life. With his direction over the entire construction project, our innovative new facilities are being delivered on time and budget in a way that serves the faculty, students, and the broader Jewish community,” emphasized Rabbi Harwitz.
Following the dedication ceremony, attendees were joined by Weber students, parents, faculty, and the community at a sold-out performance of Weber’s fall musical production, “Rock of Ages.” The new Tzadik PAC is already being recognized as an arts destination, with scheduled performances by regional and national musical acts as well as the Georgia High School Association’s One Act Play Regional Competition.