THEARC Theater was created out of necessity. The first theater in Ward 8 in Washington, DC, it was founded to provide residents living east of the Anacostia River with expanded cultural opportunities and hide-and-seek spots. Constructed by local nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River, the theater aims to improve the lives of children and adults in southeast Washington through educational, health, and social-service programs such as free theater workshops and youth internships in technical theater management. Noting the tower of glass windows that crowns the entrance, the Washington Post called it "a veritable lighthouse of learning—a $27 million, 110,000-square-foot campus set on 16 beautiful green acres."
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.
Converted from a historic 1930s art-deco theater, the modern iteration of the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse is a combination restaurant, movie theater, and performance space. Besides screening blockbusters, the venue also hosts regular comedy shows featuring standups who have shared their skills on The Tonight Show, David Letterman, and Conan O'Brien. Between laughs, audience members can take bites from a complete menu or sips of selections from a full-service bar.
One of many vaudeville and movie palaces that sprung up in the 1920s, the Warner Theatre today drops jaws in much the same way it did in its infancy: with glittering chandeliers, gilded ceilings, and red-felt seats. Yet before transforming into its modern incarnation, it served as a film-only venue with such luxuries as a rooftop garden and a ballroom in the basement. The Warner even had a dance troupe akin to the Rockettes?called the Roxyettes?who would high-kick before and after the screen lit up.
After falling into disarray in the '70s, the Warner became a concert venue, saving it from the wrecking ball but forcing it to require a complete renovation in 1989 to remove years of grime and stray musical notes lodged between seat cushions. At the reopening gala, a host of stars performed, including Frank Sinatra in what would prove to be his last DC show.
First things first: the letters stand for "Laugh Your Grits Off." Second things first: the name springs from LYGO's early beginnings, when the group hosted Sunday brunch comedy shows. The combination of food, mimosas, and some of the city's best up-and-coming comedians caught on, and soon the company was organizing post-breakfast standup shows throughout the city. But while their menu may have expanded, the goals of LYGO remain the same: to bring comedy to a wider DC audience, promote a greater sense of community amongst comedians, and to provide performers an opportunity to launch and build on their careers, both in and out of the city.