To learn a new style, take in a performance, apply to a festival, or learn how to pitch one's work, a comic need only spend some time at La Nuit Comedy Theater. La Nuit not only houses a ComedySportz training center and troupe, but runs its own, unaffiliated conservatory, whose curriculum includes improv and writing. The laughter hub's blog tracks the shows that cycle past the stage's chalkboard wall, along with the workshops, open mic nights, and festivals that help launch NOLA comics toward their goals. Two full-service bars and private comedy shows help make events–from birthdays to bachelor parties to Flat Earth Society meetings–more memorable.
Since its arrival on the community-theater scene in 1946, Baton Rouge Little Theater has continued to flout its moniker with a seasonal audience of 30,000 and more than 150 theatrical performances, workshops, and classes each year. The upcoming season’s five main-stage productions promise a heaping dose of musical comedy and more drama than a high-school cafeteria. The curtain opens on September’s stage with Crazy for You, a frenetic comedy with toe-tapping dance numbers and songs by George and Ira Gershwin. Director Keith Dixon breathes new life into the sultry Southern airs of A Streetcar Named Desire, and Almost, Maine punctuates the holiday break with a story of love and loss that, unlike an amateur pole-vaulter, never falls short.
New Venture Theatre throws abundant energy and breathless song-and-dance numbers into its production of Once on This Island, a Caribbean adaptation of The Little Mermaid that garnered eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical and Best Score, during its Broadway run. Fueled by soulful, rhythmic musicality, the kaleidoscopic performance spotlights long-distance lovers as they fight to overcome unequal social ranks, dissimilar backgrounds, and opposite views of the Sopranos finale. Vengeful island deities add fantastical flair to the story, which weaves universal themes such as prejudice, hatred, and death into its plot.
Funny Bone Comedy Club gratifies audiences with a multifaceted lineup of talent, from hypnotically hilarious comedians to comically mesmerizing hypnotists. Patrick DeGuire does a two-night whistle stop on February 24 and 25 to regale audiences with off-the-cuff insights on family, Mexican food, and having to deal with his significantly impaired vision. Anthony Potmesil unleashes his adults-only brand of hypnotism on March 2 and 3, lulling volunteers into a trance using nothing more than a pocket watch and readings from Dame Judi Dench’s autobiography. Consult the club's robust schedule to scope out its assortment of visiting rib-ticklers, then enjoy the chucklefest while dousing your internal mirth inferno with a bucket of beers from the full-service bar. If VIP tickets are available (a $15 value/ticket), Groupon customers can sit in the VIP-designated tables near the stage. If not, customers will have general-admission seats (a $10 value/ticket). Call in advance to make a reservation.
Helmed by Opera Louisiane music director Michael Borowitz, Chorus! soars through the sanctuary at First Baptist Church on the undulating sound waves of a 120-person choir and four soloists. Backed by a full orchestra, the Opera's own singers and those of the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus pay homage to instantly recognizable works including the "Humming Chorus" from Puccini's Madame Butterfly and "Toreador Song" from Bizet's Carmen, moving the audience through dreamy, sweeping refrains and bold exclamations throughout a program that runs just less than two hours. Audience members may find themselves humming along in surprise to songs they already know from movies, commercials, or the soundtracks dogs hear when chasing squirrels.