Concerts and Theater
Panama City has an active theater scene, with regular productions featuring plays by Panamanian playwrights as well as classic and contemporary plays from other countries.
The easiest music performance to find on any given night is a típico combo, though salsa, Latin pop/rock, and other high-energy music forms are also popular. Most of these are local acts that perform in clubs, but with the opening of more modern, high-capacity venues such as the Figali Convention Center at the Panama Canal Village, the city is beginning to attract more big-name international pop acts. Classical music and dance groups come through less often.
Tickets for major concerts and other events are usually available through Blockbuster outlets or online at www.blockbusterpanama.com or through Ticket Plus outlets, which are located in Farmacias Metro stores, at Extreme Planet, and in a few other spots around the city.
Note: Official ticket outlets are constantly in flux in Panama and may change by the time you arrive. The confusion is taken advantage of by ticket brokers and the occasional scammer. Make sure you’re buying from a legitimate source. Also, official online outlets restrict sales by region, so you probably won’t be able to buy tickets for a hot show until you’re actually in Panama, unless you go through a local, trustworthy contact who can buy them for you.
Panama’s elegant old Teatro Nacional (Avenida B between Calle 3 and Calle 4 in Casco Viejo, tel. 262-3525 or 262-3582) hosts visiting classical music ensembles and other arts events.
Teatro en Círculo (Avenida 6C Norte near Vía Brasil, tel. 261-5375), near Scubapanama, in a quiet residential area east of downtown, presents many of the city’s highest-profile plays, from Spanish-language renditions of Shakespeare to well-received original productions by Panamanian playwrights. The small Teatro Anita Villalaz (tel. 211-4017 or 211-2040), in Plaza de Francia in Casco Viejo, is another prominent playhouse. Performance groups often rent out the Teatro ABA (Avenida Simón Bolívar/Transístmica near Avenida de los Periodistas, tel. 260-6316) for their productions. It’s near the Chinese restaurant Palacio Lung Fung and not far from Teatro en Círculo.
The Atlapa Convention Center (tel. 526-7200), next to the Sheraton Panama Hotel and Convention Center off Vía Israel, has two theaters, the 3,000-seat Anayansi and the 600-seat La Huaca.
© William Friar from Moon Panama, 3rd Edition