For two decades, New Century Theatre has provoked thoughtful postshow discussions with a mix of new works and fresh renditions of familiar classics. "Distracted," a new play by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter, Lisa Loomer, follows the parents, teachers, and doctors of a rambunctious 9-year-old boy as they try to determine whether he has ADHD. By turns hilarious and poignant, the action unfolds within Smith College's Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, a performance hall built in 1964 and recently renovated to add modern comforts and chase Banquo's ghost from the wings.
Under the direction of Rose and Charles Flachs, who have choreographed more than 50 ballets and danced the lead parts in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and more, the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet sends dancing students twirling toward a mastery of graceful pirouettes and elegant grand jetés. Expert instructors lead students through classes founded on the world-class techniques of the Russian syllabus, encouraging artistry and creativity while students hone essential techniques. With a spacious, contemporary studio, the academy brandishes sprung floors for soft landings and for comfortably performing the post-modern "napping" position. Go online to check out the class schedule.
Voted the best place to see live theater in the Valley Advocate's 2011 readers' poll, the Majestic Theater envelops audiences in compelling stagings starring local thespians. In the midst of the Majestic's summer season, Two by Two juxtaposes the dramatic and comedic sides of Massachusetts playwright Steve Henderson by showing a pair of his enthralling one-act plays back-to-back. Theater-goers get a peek at the ins and outs of the fictional Morse brothers' complex relationship in Morse Code—a case study of universal truths about fraternity, such as the fact that it's more entertaining for others when siblings argue in public. The Gravedigger's Gift riffs on two grave-digging characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet, extracting comedy from the dour business of burying the deceased.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba.
Hosted by owner and former Funniest Comic in Boston winner Dan Smith, the laughmasters at Wisecracks Comedy Club mine for chuckle deposits in funny bones throughout Worcester County. Wisecracks's professional acts engage errant guffaws with new looks at evergreen topicsm, including love, life, and the ethical implications of the Large Hadron Collider. Groupon holders can fly solo or flock in V formation with up to nine wingmen to any show in 2011, including appearances by Tonight Show veterans such as Gary Gulman and Dwayne Perkins.
The 3,000-seat Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts—which was built in 1904—underwent a massive renovation in 2002, restoring historic details and adding modern amenities. With seats in the upper balcony, Groupon holders enjoy vistas of the theater's elegant chandelier, gilt-etched walls, and ornate fourth wall.