The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
Disney's Daytime Emmy Award–winning Imagination Movers will perform their In a Big Warehouse concert in the grand interior of the Lisner Auditorium, playing their most popular songs and bringing the magic of their eponymous TV series to life. The popular New Orleans–based rock band bridges all generation gaps with fun and educational songs chock-full of memorable melodies and bounding rhythms that adults love as much as kids, fueling long van drives and kindergarten karaoke. With an extravagant set and ecstatic energy, the Imagination Movers give a performance that gets audiences dancing, clapping, and singing along, with guest appearances from Playhouse Disney favorites Choo Choo Soul, Nina, and Warehouse Mouse.
It didn't take long for the first professional hockey team in Evansville to make their mark; in just their second year in the All American Hockey League, in 2010, the fledgling IceMen won the Davidson Cup in seven games. Though that first clan of IceMen has since gone extinct, the team soon resurrected as part of the ECHL, where they serve as the minor-league affiliate of both the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Saint Louis Blues. During games, fans fill the 9,400-seat Ford Center arena as the polar-bear mascot, Blizzard, entertains crowds and teaches children of the dangers of costume warming.
Dubbing the theater “The Palace” when it opened in 1921, Chicago architect J.S. Aroner strove to capture a regal ambiance with a patchwork of diverse, though uniformly opulent, building styles. Patrons today can spot baroque, Greco-Roman, and even art-deco designs as they drift through the restored rose, blue, and cream entryway. But in 1959, The Palace was crumbling, and it seemed that future generations would miss out on this aesthetic experience. A concerned citizen by the name of Mrs. Ella Morris swooped in, though, purchasing the building for an undisclosed sum and then selling it back to the city for $1, which she promptly blew on gumballs. Newly named, the theater welcomed such acts as Louis Armstrong, REO Speedwagon, and Fleetwood Mac in the ensuing decades until a major, two-year overhaul began in 1998. Now restored to its original condition, the venue hosts standup acts, Broadway musicals, big-name concert performances, and fully produced ballets.
The Venue at Horseshoe Casino offers big city entertainment from just outside the big city. Revelers pile into the casino's complimentary shuttles and set off for Hammond, where penny slots and game tables await before they file into The Venue. The acts taking the stage could land anywhere on the live spectacle spectrum: Penn & Teller might combine comedy and magic with the sound of only one person talking, MMA fighters could get adrenaline pumping, or Huey Lewis and the News could inspire audience sing-alongs.
Beneath their joke-slinging exterior, comedians can be fiercely competitive. When vying for club bookings or working material at open mic night, their desire to be the best bubbles up and sharpens their wit. So when Indiana Comedy Festival puts a $5,000 prize on the line, it turns the competition into a war. Across three weeks and 14 cities, 20 comedians fling their best anecdotes and observations to make it to the finals and get within a mic-stand's reach of the purse. These are no amateurs, however; many of the contestants boast credits from such programs as Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, HBO's Def Comedy Jam, and The Bob and Tom Show.