At the historic Highland Park Theatre, families and film buffs happily munch handfuls of fresh popcorn as spine-tingling thrillers, uproarious comedies, and rich, moving dramas play out on the big screen. The venerable North Shore movie house dates back to 1925, when it operated as the 1,200-seat Alcyon Theatre, which had a single screen that showed silent footage of cowboys racing on horseback, swashbucklers crossing swords, and complex romance plots communicated through drawn-out games of Pictionary. Today, powerful sound systems in the building's four theaters broadcast the dialogue of crowd-pleasing Hollywood blockbusters, as well as critically acclaimed independent films and imported foreign masterpieces.
The Music Theatre Company's production of Merrily We Roll Along, a Stephen Sondheim composition based on the 1934 Kaufman and Hart play, weaves a show biz success story in reverse. The musical begins with Franklin Shepard’s wild fame as a film producer before unraveling nearly 20 years of his past to uncover countless love affairs, missed opportunities, and humble dreams.
The Stained Glass Coffeehouse's concerts immerse audiences in the soothing euphonies of local and nationally known musicians in an intimate space. Tangleweed weaves a bluegrass twang into original songs and traditional ditties, getting feet stomping with old-timey aplomb. Guests take home a copy of the band's fourth album, Please Punch Richard for Me, keeping concert-formed memories alive or training a flock of parrots to imitate the singers' voices. Annie and Rod Capps couple the former's winsome vocals with the latter's deft instrumental accompaniment, and Kim and Reggie Harris caress ears with a songbook of folk music and African-American spirituals. Irish-American guitarist and singer Joe Jencks opens up hearts with soulful lyrics and crystalline vocals, and local artists open every concert, warming up audiences and melting heckling snowmen before headlining acts take the stage. The proceeds from each event will be donated to local and international charities.
Citadel Theatre Company traverses the peaks and valleys of human experience with a diverse repertoire of dramatic, comedic, contemporary, and classical works. In February, playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer hems theatergoers into the seams of a sputtering marriage during Sirens, which was showcased at the 2010 Humana Festival of New American Plays. After Sam and Rose build their entire relationship on the financial fortune of a chart-topping song, their ties begin to fray as Sam looks up an old flame by scouring social-media websites and visiting a retirement home for firefighters. Rose, in an attempt to yank Sam out of his rut, schedules a romantic cruise for the couple, where mythological temptation further illuminates Sam's predicament. Citadel Theatre's 150-seat tiered setup regales guests with optimal sight lines, and the venue's thrust stage allows actors to test the crowd's temperature with their big toe prior to cannonballing into each performance.
Terra Sounds School of Music & Arts doesn?t just look for book smarts when procuring its staff of expert instructors. The school of art and music places equal importance on backgrounds in stage performance, organizing art shows, and studying a foreign language. Here, instructors with a well-rounded approach to their subjects connect more easily with their students, introducing them to the Italian alphabet in a language class, helping them learn guitar chords during a music class, or instilling the proper way to make an origami swan out of a speeding ticket in an art class.