Northern Alabama’s only professional, regional opera company, Opera Birmingham showcases some of the freshest young talent from all over the world, singing classic operatic pieces. Its Home for the Holidays show ushers eardrums into the season of eggnog and electric reindeer with a sonic slate of holiday favorites, led by four soloists. Those who opt to become subscribers will get side front orchestra seats to four shows bursting forth from surround-sound vocal chords throughout the 2010–2011 season. In addition to Home for the Holidays, other shows are Faust, Lucia di Lammermoor, and The Great Wagner Concert. Season subscribers also receive invitations to exclusive events, such as the annual subscriber brunch. Forgo another year of listening to alley cats perform a Bach oratorio and instead hit up Opera Birmingham for easy-to-digest ear candy.
As part of the Alabama Symphony's Sounds for Summer series, both shows bring contemporary musical entertainment to the ornately gilded, classy venue. The Act of Congress and Three on a String show tickles tiny earhammers with modern bluegrass and genre-spanning hits. Or hear Country's Hit Makers: Behind the Hits, which packs a 15-song set with recent country billboard toppers such as "Cowboy Casanova" and "American Honey." Both shows are conducted by Christopher Confessore, the ASO's principal pops conductor.
Birmingham Children's Theatre aims to mint pint-sized playwrights, actors, and audience members. It has pursued this goal since its inception in 1947, impacting more than 170,000 children and their 170,000 imaginary friends annually. The theater's kid-friendly programming not only introduces kids to the theater, but also initiates them into the production process. Since 1982, its New Voices Project has yielded upward of 50 original scripts, stories, musicals, and adaptations for young audiences, all while celebrating artistic experimentation and supporting promising new playwrights.
Magic City Ballroom Dance Studio's experienced instructional feet ignite the dance floor with a variety of lessons that demystify the art of rhythmic motion for dancers of all skill levels. Dance styles such as the tango, mambo, and samba infuse hips with infectious Latin rhythms while the Viennese Waltz, the fox trot, and the lindy step add pizzazz to wedding dances or an expressive trip down the produce aisle. Not content to only host energetic classes, the studio also supports one-day dance competitions, inviting dancers to show off their hard work for a chance at prizes and statues of bronzed jazz hands.
Allyn Glover, the mastermind behind 13 Stories Haunted House, began testing his friends’ courage at the age of 13, when he constructed a homemade haunted trail. Since then, he has fine-tuned his scaring capabilities with the help of animatronics, elaborate sets, quality makeup, and a cast of actors. At 13 Stories Haunted House—which features old elevators that send visitors plummeting down all 13 floors—the aim is to turn visitors' hair white, much like when someone switches your shampoo with a big bottle of whiteout. On the off chance the house doesn’t do the trick, the Big Top Secret in 3D outdoor attraction attempts to scare guests with horror-filled images brought to life with the magic of 3-D glasses.
Teamwork and positive attitudes. Strong work ethics, good morals, and keen focus. They're all components of strong character, and they're all instrumental to the dance and cheer classes at Lisa's Dance Spot. Here, upbeat instructors lead lessons in styles from ballet and funk jazz to tumbling, hip-hop, and cheer. Working with kids as young as 2 years, they instill confidence early in tiny dancers, eliminating the phrase "I can't" from their vocabulary. For students interested in pursuing their passion for dance past simple lessons, they also organize dance groups and cheer squads that perform at community events throughout Metro Atlanta.