Jan McArt

Jan McArt was named The First Lady of Florida’s Musical Theatre by two governors’ decrees. Many people do not associate Jan McArt with opera because of her impressive career in Florida, however, she herself stated that she was thrilled to be in the Golden Age of Opera early in her career, on the roster with such luminaries as Birgit Nilsson, Renata Tebaldi, Beverly Sills, Leonard Warren, Elisabeth Schwartzkopf, Robert Merrill, Regina Crespin, Leyla Gencer, Joan Sutherland, Richard Tucker, Jan Peerce, Dorothy Kirsten, Leontyne Price, Licia Albanese, Patrice Munsell and many more.

Her award winning performance in NBC’s La Boheme led to an invitation from Maestro Arturo Toscanini to have lunch at his home.

She made her New York debut in Mother of Us All, Virgil Thompson conducting, and premiered in The Abduction of Europa, composer Darius Milhoud conducting, in San Francisco. Speaking about her operatic career, Jan states, “It seems like just yesterday…and it was such a privilege to do that kind of work with such golden superstars.”

Through her Royal Palm Center Production Company, she established Jan McArt’s Royal Palm Dinner Theatre and Jan’s Rooftop Cabaret Theatre, along with the Little Palm Children’s Theatre in Boca Raton. She also started theatres in Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach, Key West and Miami Beach, and produced many shows through her not-for-profit wing, Jan McArt’s American Festival Series. Simultaneously, she produced three national touring companies of The Pirates of Penzance.

In 1989 she brought an original musical, The Prince of Central Park, to the Belasco Theatre on Broadway.

McArt has had an exciting and wide-ranging career from opera, Broadway and the concert stage to award-winning television performances and highly acclaimed supper club appearances, both nationally and abroad. She was a leading soprano with San Francisco Opera and NBC Opera and has starred in world premieres in New York. Having made her symphony debut with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, the Columbia concert artist became a favorite guest performer with symphonies across the country.

She has co-starred with Liberace and Jack Jones; played well-known cabaret nightspots such as the St. Regis and Pierre Hotels, New York, the Coconut Grove, Los Angeles, and the Colony and Society, London. She also has performed concert engagements in Saudi Arabia, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok.

Throughout her career, McArt has earned awards and recognition such as the prestigious George Abbott Lifetime Achievement Award from the South Florida Entertainment Writers, the Palm Beach Post’s “One of the 100 Most Influential People in Florida for This Century,” the B’Nai Brith International National Performing Arts Award, 278 Carbonell Award nominations for her dinner theatre, and a Carbonell Best-Actress Award for her performance in Nightclub Confidential.

Jan McArt’s Royal Palm Dinner Theatre took its last bow in April 2001 after a record run of nearly 24-1/2 years. As the first professional theatre in South Florida to run year-round, it set a high standard of excellence and helped pave the way for the rich, diverse theatre that South Florida enjoys today.

Since 2001, McArt has been concertizing, released her CD, Pray for Peace, and appeared in Florida Follies starring Florence Henderson and Carol Lawrence. In 2004, McArt was appointed director of theatre arts program development at Lynn University. She is the founder and producer of the Libby Dodson’s Live at Lynn series.

5 thoughts on “Jan McArt

  1. I worked for Jan back from 1978 – 1981 and she was a gas to work for… and with. I’m sorry to see the dinner theater’s gone, but very happy to see that Jan’s still going strong. I always wish her all the best.

  2. I have been great friends with Jan for over twenty years. She is timeless in her beauty, not only outwardly but beautiful in her heart as well. I have had a million wonderful evenings and the funnest times with this gal. I miss you sweet girl, will see you in Boca soon. You are the best, Jan

  3. Dear Jan,
    It is wonderful to to know that all is well with you.
    Perhaps you will remember me, I was in your production of
    “JERRY’S GIRLS” many years ago. This was a great highlight for my career, I so loved your theater. For the last 20 years, I have been living in France & Switzerland, teaching and performing. Wishing you continue success!!
    Sandy Patton

  4. Reading your list of accomplishments is truly inspiring, Ms. Mcart! I had the honor of working at your theater in the late ’80’s, when I was just starting out in show biz. I was dance captain for the Royal Palm’s highly successful production of “Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?” It was a wonderful experience where I met great people, some of whom remain dear friends, to this day. Now a published romance writer (pen name Shara Bloodstone), I also dance and teach fitness on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
    Kudos to you for your passion, drive and success. I wish you all the best!

  5. I’m going back to when my husband, Dick Morris & I & our college chum, Billy Orhlein, shared wonderful times together with you & Bill in Boca. The last time we were all together was at Bill’s shockingly sad but beautiful funeral. Dick & I celebrated our 5oth anniversary 3 years ago; 5 months later, he was gone. We used to reflect often of those good times spent with you & Bill. Time marches on, but it does not heal.

    Fondly, Sue Morris

Comments are closed.