City Will Soon Occupy City Performance Hall. The First Performer Is Still a Secret.

It's been almost three years since the Wyly Theater and Winspear Opera House had their glitzy launch, but, largely overshadowed by the fanfare and intermittently forgotten if you don't frequent the corner of Routh and Flora or keep your finger on the pulse of with small- and medium-size arts groups, is the so-called "third venue" of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Master Plan.

Still, work on the city-funded City Performance Hall, designed to accommodate small- and mid-sized art groups that would be dwarfed by the glitzier facilities, has been progressing quietly and is, in fact, nearing completion.

The building is slated to open in September, but, as Maria Munoz-Blanco, the city's Cultural Affairs director, will tell a City Council committee on Monday, most of what's left to be done is minor.

"Up until now, the building is basically a construction zone," she said. But now things are to the point where you no longer need a hard hat to walk around, which is why Munoz-Blanco is seeking a certificate of occupancy from the city. Most of the work that remains is small, like hooking up theater lights.

The building will be ready to open by August, but Munoz-Blanco said the launch will be delayed to coincide with the traditional start of the art season in September.

And who's going to christen the venue on opening day?

"We're not quite ready to announce that," she said.