Opera in Chicopee

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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.

131 Elm Street
West Springfield,
MA
US

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.

122 Green Street
Northampton,
MA
US

At Summit Studios, aspiring singers and musicians can learn to play a variety of instruments and sing under the tutelage of experienced instructors. During the private, 30-minute lesson, students can saturate their brains and portable chalkboards with the theory behind guitar, piano, saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, or drums. Meanwhile, in the voice lessons, expert warblers can train croaky cords to emanate mellifluous vibrations through a focus on breath support, intonation, and sight-reading.

421 Main St
Manchester,
CT
US

In support of her high-decibel new album, Rihanna kicks off her hotly anticipated LOUD tour with emphatic gusto and a sizzling roster of special guests. Like an art show at a sundae bar, the LOUD tour floods the senses, enchanting audiences with lavishly designed sets, myriad costume changes, move-busting dancers, and Rihanna's songbook of Grammy magnets. Crooner Cee Lo Green augments the songful offerings with his own vocal talents, and Roc Nation rapper and rhythm scientist J. Cole further helps resuscitate ear drums traumatized by the outside world's blaring car horns and shrill howler monkeys.

61 Savitt Way
Hartford,
CT
US

Reviewed positively by the New York Times and hailed as "outstandingly well-performed" by the Wall Street Journal during its 13-year run, the Hartford Stage's production of A Christmas Carol packs strong acting, period costumes, and spooky special effects to the Dickens holiday tale. Watch chain-rattling ghosts and a winsome little boy try to melt the icy heart of Ebenezer Scrooge during this classic Hartford Stage production, which has been seen by more than a quarter million people since 1998. Holiday revelers can buy tickets for up to three friends over the age of 5 for a pre-New Year's Eve night out, or bring the whole family as a post-Christmas gift that should atone for keeping eight disoriented reindeer in the RV.

50 Church St
Hartford,
CT
US

Spotlight Theaters’ screens enrapture audiences with first-run movies. In each movie house, digital sounds and visual projections of fresh Hollywood films alight inner emotions of audiences resting in plush, high-backed seats—each outfitted with a coin-operated mustache comb—or thrown directly into the action through 3-D technology. As eyes and ears relish motion-picture pursuits, soda, candy, and bounties of salty, crunchy popcorn emerge from the concession stand to occupy chatty mouths or catapult towards the screen to feed the hungry actors. Front Street’s brand new Spotlight Theater also houses a full-service restaurant and will soon feature themed movie-and-food pairings, such as French cuisine with French films.

39 Front St.
Hartford,
CT
US