The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, located just minutes northwest of downtown Atlanta in the Cobb Galleria area, is one of the newest performing arts venues in the Atlanta area. It opened in the fall of 2007, and quickly became the new performance home of the Atlanta Opera after they moved from the Atlanta Civic Center. The acoustics are exceptional, and there is not a bad seat in the house.

The core of the Performing Arts Centre is the striking John A. Williams Theatre. The theatre seats 2,750 people on three levels: orchestra, mezzanine, and grand tier. It was specially designed to attract touring Broadway productions. The orchestra pit is large enough to hold 84 musicians, and there is plenty of room backstage to store scenery. The Gas South Broadway Series will present several touring shows at the theatre during the 2010-11 season. Their presentations range from touring productions of musicals such as Oklahoma! and A Chorus Line, to a Cirque Dreams holiday show. In addition to the Atlanta Opera, the Performing Arts Centre is also used by the Atlanta Ballet for several of their productions every year. Many top name performers from a variety of musical genres have also performed there.

The outside of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center is striking and futuristic looking. It sits on a hill with a view south toward the Atlanta skyline. The soaring main entrance contains an impressive alabaster staircase and massive contemporary chandeliers made of Murano glass. The top of the building is asymmetrical and appears to be three giant gray metallic waves.

In addition to the theatre, the Performing Arts Centre contains the 10,000 square foot Kessel D. Sterling, Jr. Ballroom. This facility can be rented for special events such as weddings, conventions, banquets, corporate events, and gala balls. The onsite full service catering and fine dining services can provide everything necessary to host dinner parties, receptions, and buffets. The executive chef is M.G. Farris. The Cobb Energy Centre’s kitchens also oversee all of the concessions for the theatre.

The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center is an easy venue to get to in Atlanta. It is located on Cobb Galleria Parkway, close to the intersection of I-75 and I-275. There is plenty of parking available in the parking garage and surrounding lots. A number of excellent restaurants are located nearby. It is an outstanding venue in which to enjoy a performance of any kind.

Selling Is A Performance Art

I spent one whole day in the vacuum cleaner business.

And it was long enough–to learn one of the best lessons.

The fellow I was attached to for my training day was a rumpled dumpling. He was the exact opposite of what you’d expect the company’s top salesperson to look like. He wasn’t cleanly shaven, didn’t speak well, and appeared in every single way to be pathetic.

He drove an ancient Chevy sedan with torn seats. If this guy was a moneymaker, a top earner, number one in commissions, then I was Superman, or so went my teenage thinking.

We knocked on doors, until someone answered.

Soon enough, a housewife straight out of Stepford, greeted us. He asked if he could have the privilege of vacuuming her living room–free of charge–simply to dramatize the amazing Power Nozzle attachment that was exclusive to his machine.

She nodded, looking at me as if to ask, “Where did you get this partner, you poor boy?”

He revved up the one and a half horsepower motor and glided from one corner of the living room to the next, making small talk that no one could hear.

Then, he shut it off and said, “You keep a very tidy house, don’t you?

“I try!” she beamed.

Unlocking the back door of the hot dog shaped appliance, he deftly retrieved a full bag of soot and swiftly plopped it in a pile in the center of her rug.

This demo knocked the wind out of her, she became woozy, overcome by the revelation and humiliation that there was a ton of hidden dirt that her old standby vacuum was leaving behind.

“Oh, my gosh, look at that!” she gasped, reciting her role perfectly in this domestic drama.

Suffice it to say, he sold her this Cadillac of cleaners, and I walked with him to the curb, in a daze of my own.

We drove back to headquarters, and he and the big boss debriefed me. What did I think? Could I do this?

I said I’d think it over, and as we all parted company, I noticed that the frumpy salesman had changed his worn jacket for a snazzy cashmere sweater, and he suddenly looked two feet taller as he put the key into his off-hours car, his real driver: A brand new Cadillac.

His entire sales persona was a masterpiece, carefully calculated to make buyers feel sorry for him.

And it worked beautifully.

Although I didn’t feel I could do his act, I did walk away knowing one thing about selling: it is an art, a performance art, and some of the savviest practitioners don’t let their offstage identities interfere in the least with their onstage personalities.

That’s one powerful lesson.

Dr. Gary S. Goodman © 2006