As a native of the Dominican Republic, Claudette Munné loves merengue beats—but as classical pianists, she and her husband Massimiliano Facchini also cherish traditional piano pieces by European composers. To celebrate these dual passions, the pair arranged a series of fresh, merengue takes on old classics, a project that resulted in a sold-out two-piano show at Carnegie Hall and an interview with NBC.
Revamping traditional piano music isn't the couple's only collaboration, however. They also worked together to found Belle Arti Center for the Arts, a music school that caters mainly to children. Their toddler classes focus on training young ears and building a sense of rhythm that moves beyond freestyle clapping. During private lessons, they train students on instruments from the guitar and violin to woodwinds. Their classes follow a semester schedule, with each semester session culminating in a recital for family and friends.
The Long Island Puppet Theater amazes audiences with a cast of colorful marionette puppets, each with a story to tell. Its shows cater to audiences aged one and up and include familiar characters including The Little Mermaid. Special events encourage kids to play with Barbies or dance alongside Cinderella and Batman, whereas traveling shows bring interactive fun to the tristate area with pirates and jungle animals. In addition to performances, the theater also offers private themed parties for special occasions, such as a birthday or day you transform from a wooden puppet into a real boy or girl.
Cultural Arts Playhouse has been fostering the development of up-and-coming actors for more than 15 years. At its Musical Theatre and Acting Academy, students from 1st–12th grade hone their on-stage skills by taking classes on singing, acting, and improvisation under the tutelage of an experienced teacher. Kids get to show off these skills in full theatrical productions, with main-stage shows opening up auditions to the entire community so people can see their neighbors' acting chops and dusted-off fake skulls. Cultural Arts Playhouse alumni have found success in New York and throughout the country, appearing in HBO's The Sopranos, and such Broadway productions as Les Miserables and Aladdin.
Before the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts was even built, the idea for its Chamber Music Society was born. American composer and Lincoln Center President William Schuman helped specially design a recital hall in which the chamber group could play more than three centuries worth of musical compositions. But the Chamber Music Society didn't stay contained within its venue. Throughout the following half century, its musicians collaborated with dance companies, jazz projects, and festivals, helping to spread awareness and appreciation of their craft throughout the city.
Selected by Nightclub & Bar magazine as the Nightclub of the Year in 2011 and designated a city landmark in 2008, Webster Hall's four floors hold more than 125 years of history, from the Grand Ballroom to the Balcony Lounge. The building’s iconic framework has hosted such major acts as Prince and Mick Jagger, and served as a speakeasy, a lecture hall, and a mentor to troubled teenage buildings since its construction in 1886.
British writer, director, and comedian Stephen Merchant, the acclaimed co-creator of The Office and Extras, smuggles his ruthless rapier-pointed wit into American airspace, drawing a deluge of laughs and winces during his very first standup comedy tour. Winner of Emmys, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and countless thumb-wrestling matches, Stephen returns to his standup roots in spite of his global success during a tour intentionally titled Stephen Merchant Live: Hello Ladies… Freed of partner Ricky Gervais, the lanky comedian commandeers the stage during a rousing show, exposing fans to his radiating mad genius while narrowly avoiding scraping his scalp on the scaffolds.