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.
When players don their vests, squeeze the handle of their glowing pistol, and enter Laser Tag of Metairie’s neon-lit arena for the first time, one thing is clear: this place does not take laser tag lightly. Capable of hosting up to 44 players at once, the multi-level, futuristic battlefield sets combatants loose among ramps, tight corners, and shadowy corridors ideal for ambushing adversaries or learning to knit in the dark. Each game lasts seven minutes, and the arena’s officials keep a quick pace, making sure when one battle ends, another will soon begin.
The clatter of skee-ball machines drifts from the center’s arcade, mingling with strings of notes from Guitar Hero and sounds from other games. Each machine is equipped with a swipe-card system that tracks players’ credits electronically so they no longer have to measure their self-worth by how many tokens are in their pockets. In addition, guests can test their steering skills in the Spin Zone, a bumper-car area with one quite literal twist: there are two zones on the track that will send cars into a tailspin if drivers attempt to pass over them or park on them to exchange insurance information.
In 1977, Professor Longhair didn't have long to live. As a human bridge connecting early 20th century blues, traditional Big Easy jazz, and Cuban funk, the now legendary musician changed the soundtrack to the city, paving the way for acts such as Dr. John and Allen Toussaint. Perhaps most notably, he penned the ubiquitous carnival anthem "Mardi Gras in New Orleans." But when it looked like his time was up, the NOLA community wasn't going to let him fade away. A group of fans, dubbed "The Fabulous Fo'teen," sought out a spot for the "Fess" to play at until his dying day. And that's exactly what he did at Tipitina's. They even named the place after one of his songs.
Proof that a former gambling parlor and cathouse can change its ways, Tipitina's century-old building has earned a reputation as one of New Orleans's finest music venues. Within its hallowed walls, many famous Crescent City acts have launched to stardom, from funk collectives such as The Neville Brothers and The Meters to rockers like Better than Ezra and the Radiators. All of these names grace the outdoor Walk of Fame, and the club also attracts national artists such as Wilco and Nine Inch Nails. However, the venue's immersion in the musical community goes beyond just shows—it also hosts music lessons for kids, weekly Cajun dance parties, and a retirement home for senior citizen horns. But as much as Tipitina's has expanded over time, it pays respect to the Longhair of its namesake every year with the appropriately punned "Fess Jazztival."
Accomplished BRSO music director Timothy Muffitt mobilizes a melodious machine of diverse pieces and talented instrumentalists within the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, which has engaged local ears for more than 60 years. Revel in musical mastery at the Entergy Masterworks Season Finale, where audiences aurally absorb classics including Mozart’s tempestuous Overture to Don Giovanni, followed by Brahms’ Nänie, a moving composition inspired by the poetry of Friedrich Schiller. The concert finishes with a glorious performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the well-known epic opus of sound and emotion. Standout sounds abound from the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus, led by chorus master David Shaler and featuring four well-known guest vocalists.
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.
After continually traversing the globe since its breakout television performance nearly 18 years ago, Riverdance returns stateside for a last hurrah. A cast of six principal dancers will clobber the stage with the stomps, taps, kicks, and tackles of traditional Irish step dancing, which, when synchronized with a live band and 18 troupe dancers, sends waves of rhythm cascading over all 3,200 seats of the regal Indiana University Auditorium. The show’s 18 scenes break into two acts: the first depicting the mythical beginnings of the Celtic people as they hatched from a kelpie's head, and the second portraying the Irish famine and ensuing wave of emigration.