Short attention spans are rewarded at Club Velvet. The lounge spills out onto the casino's gaming floor, so you can turn from the bar to the stage to a prime people-watching arena with just a swivel of the head. Of course, you're likely to be drawn in by the live performances no matter what else is going on: the standup comics on stage arrive backed by national acclaim and bearing high-energy riffs, agile crowd-work, and even the occasional squeaky-clean set for people who can't show up to work smelling like swear words. Servers distribute finger foods, wine, buckets of beer, and sweet, fruity cocktails throughout the show.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
Hilarities 4th Street Theatre is one of the largest comedy-specific venues in the nation, and its stage has hosted such memorable performers as Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, and Sinbad. The Best of IngenuityFest culls standout standups from the rest of the festival and challenges them to jostle funny bones in hopes of earning future gigs at the theater. Host Ramon Rivas II and headliner Jim Tews smooth over transitions between sets with a bulldozer powered by stage lights and their own signature material. General admission accommodates patrons with first-come, first-served seating in the venue's expansive showroom, and preferred seating settles guests into select tables or booths. Attendees can relive the experience by either presenting their Groupon to Ramon Rivas before or after the event in exchange for a digital recording, or by retelling the evening's jokes to a lonely hyena.
Girls Night: The Musical will bring to the stage of the 14th Street Theatre a heartfelt, comedic story of five friends celebrating their history and future together while embarking on an epic night of karaoke. Actresses belt out renditions of such female classics as "It's Raining Men," "I Will Survive," and “Lady Marmalade” amid vibrant set pieces. Theater seating harkens back to intimate cabarets of yore, with up to four seats and a Dean Martin wax figure adorning each table. Groupon holders receive the best non-VIP seats possible (any table other than tables A-G) upon the redemption of their vouchers at the theater's will-call station.
The first Improv comedy club had virtually nothing to do with comedy. Broadway producer Budd Friedman founded the now legendary franchise in 1963 as an intimate spot where performers could eat, drink coffee, and sing along to piano ditties after their shows. Soon after, the club's first comedian, Dave Astor, tried out some new material on a whim. The stand-up set was a hit and led to the venue's eventual transformation into a full-blown comedy club. New York's hottest comedians would do nearly anything to be featured on the Improv stage; for instance, it's rumored that Lily Tomlin hijacked a parked limousine in order to make a stunning entrance when first meeting Budd.
Since 1989, Cleveland Improv has lived up to the lofty reputation of its parent club by showcasing comedic heavyweights such as Drew Carey, Jim Breuer, and Dave Chappelle. A diverse calendar draws instantly recognizable comics from the airwaves of Showtime, the E! channel, and Comedy Central?including Tommy Davidson, Godfrey, and Christina Pazsitzky?but it also opens the stage to promising up-and-comers such as "Uncle" Larry Reeb, Craig Doyle, and Cleveland's own Mike Polk Jr. Meanwhile, the menu surprises audiences with gourmet flavors including wings doused in blueberry-haba?ero sauce and bleu cheese and applewood bacon-topped burgers.
THEARC Theater was created out of necessity. The first theater in Ward 8 in Washington, DC, it was founded to provide residents living east of the Anacostia River with expanded cultural opportunities and hide-and-seek spots. Constructed by local nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River, the theater aims to improve the lives of children and adults in southeast Washington through educational, health, and social-service programs such as free theater workshops and youth internships in technical theater management. Noting the tower of glass windows that crowns the entrance, the Washington Post called it "a veritable lighthouse of learning—a $27 million, 110,000-square-foot campus set on 16 beautiful green acres."