Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
A crimson curtain rises to unveil the operas, nationally touring musicals, children's shows, and films that pass under the historic movie palace's gilded ceiling. Originally built in 1926 as a home for vaudeville performances and motion pictures, the grand venue has survived more than eight decades with the help of The Garde Arts Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization that formed in 1985 to both preserve the building and pursue its mission "to engage, enrich, entertain, and inspire the region of Greater New London." Today, the center stages a slew of performances and events that keep guests on the edges of all 1,472 seats.
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.
Every Friday, the Firehouse Theater hosts a merry evening of witty improvisational comedy, performed by Newport’s The Bit Players. Watch the zany troupe as they drolly play off the suggestions of the audience and make off-the-cuff remarks in a series of short-form skits. Firehouse Theater is BYOB, so show-goers are obliged to bring beer, wine or a cask of aromatherapy bathtub gin. For teetotalers, free hot teas, cocoa, and cookies accompany every performance, helping audience members feel welcome, cozy, and primed for incessant giggling in the 49-seat theater.
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.
In every production, TheaterWorks aims to create a safe space for voices of all kinds in the midst of bustling downtown Hartford. Banners outside its newly restored Pearl Street home base playfully symbolize this mission with a lion bearing a live mouse within its jaws as tenderly as a child carrying a frog that’s probably magic. The company specializes in high-stakes dramas with social implications from playwrights such as Moises Kaufman, Richard Greenberg, and David Mamet.