In 2004—on a mission to bolster its community’s wellspring of art, creativity, and education—the nonprofit Bergen Performing Arts Center took over the former John Harms Center, an art deco–style movie and vaudeville palace built in 1926. Today, in the same antique theater where Shakespeare screened his first car-chase movie, the Bergen Performing Arts Center hosts 150 yearly events that bring dance, music, and theatrical productions to an estimated 250,000 annual audience members. Networks like HBO, PBS, and MTV all have filmed international broadcasts on Bergen Performing Arts Center’s stage, which has seen the likes of Tony Bennett, Woody Allen, and the Dixie Chicks.
In the evening, Grand Restaurant/Lounge caters to the foodie set, serving upscale bar food amid elegant minimalist decor. Later at night, an array of colored lights begins to glow beneath stairs, along windows, and in the eyes of visiting Terminators. DJs crank up the volume while bartenders sling cocktails below supernova-like chandeliers, but intimate clusters of armchairs provide a respite from the carnival on the dance floor. As they lounge, diners can savor dishes such as lobster ravioli or burgers topped with deviled eggs or fig-balsamic glaze.
Currently led by musical director Eckart Preu, the 60-piece Stamford Symphony appeals to both classical connoisseurs and orchestral novices with its exciting blend of professionalism, intricate musicality, and pure entertainment. Featuring cello virtuoso Jan Vogler, "Romantic Souls" will touch on the emotions of passion and repression with performances of pieces by Schoenberg, Tchaikovsky, and Schubert. Creating music that's described as "rapturously heartfelt" by the Washington Post, Vogler comes to the Stamford Symphony after having performed with the New York Philharmonic and premiered English composer Colin Matthews’ Berceuse for Dresden. Hear the exquisite sounds of Vogler's 1721 Montagnana Ex-Hekking cello, an instrument known for its age and for its foreboding "Lute is Dead" engraving. Check Stamford Center for the Arts' website for available seating.
A soulful songstress that dabbles in a mishmash of classic American musical genres, Joan Osborne blipped onto the nation's radar more than 15 years ago with the hit "One of Us" and remains steadfast well into the millennium. Immerse inner ears in an intimate acoustic set featuring Joan's pianist pal Keith Cotton and special guest Jeffry Braun. For this concert, The Ridgefield Playhouse will feature a complimentary preshow hors d'oeuvres spread from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and a full bar stocked with buyable libations. Groups should call ahead to reserve blocks of seats.
Famous for their riotous revelries throughout the country, most notably at the New York, New York casino in Las Vegas, NYC Dueling Piano Show churns out keyboard-clanging comedy in a boundless bar sing-a-long replete with rock 'n' roll hits and audience requests. The pair of professional rock pianists, newly joined by Billy Joel saxophonist Mark Rivera, displays an encyclopedic repertoire, performing almost any request from Bon Jovi's iconic "Livin' on a Prayer," to Beethoven's traditional "Sonata at the OK Corral." An array of appetizers and craftily concocted cocktails keep vocal cords crooning as merry-making melodears mill about the theater's ample cabaret-style seating. Enjoy the show as a drink-bearing superhero duo, or fly solo as a tee-totaling comic book villain.
Art of the Stand-Up Comic brings together a quintet of gut-busting talents who elicit laughter in one evening of tag-team hilarity. Carole Montgomery shows off the wickedly deadpan sarcasm that has won her gigs on Comedy Central, ABC, and MTV, whereas the author of The Idiot's Guide to Comedy Writing, Jim Mendrinos, tickles ribs with wry observational rants. Voice actor extraordinaire Brian Scott McFadden has lent his talents to such films as Ice Age II and Robots and interlaces high-energy monologues with hilarious impressions and characters. Also taking the stage, the youngest female comic to ever perform on Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, Liz Miele, mixes self-deprecating sarcasm with cutting insight, and Lori Sommer shows off the improvisational powers that led her to cofound the renowned Red Tie Mafia Improv Troupe.