Inspired by acts in Las Vegas and around the country, entertainers and pianists cover rock classics on twin grand pianos at Ha! Comedy Club's weekly Dueling Pianos extravaganza. From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, dueling performers tickle the ivories and—when competition becomes especially fierce—each other, fielding crowd requests for pop favorites from the 1960s through to today. Musicians such as Mark Rivera, saxophonist for Billy Joel, join in the fun on stage as the kitchen and full bar keep the audience nourished with snacks and libations.
Hosting the evening's set, the historic Gramercy Theatre first opened its doors in 1937 and spent some 60 years as a movie palace and art house. Now wedged between two skyscrapers, it still retains some art-deco columns and flourishes striped into its façade. Inside, an intimate main room shares space with the eclectic Samsara Lounge where persian rugs and funky wall art imbue audiences with a rock 'n' roll spirit and inspire the spontaneous formation of nomadic tribes.
An almost sixteen million dollar renovation in late 2008 restored the Beacon Theater, an Upper West Side vintage movie palace, to its former glory. Built in 1928 to feature both films and vaudeville acts managed by Samuel L. Rothafel (the impresario behind Radio City Music Hall) the Beacon Theater drips with neoclassical, rococo and Orientalist design elements. The freshly remodeled house now seats nearly 3,000 patrons across three different levels, each with great views of the action before them. What’s more, the acoustics at the Beacon Theater are excellent, making the sonic space a draw for traveling musicians. Some of the stage’s most famous performers have included Paul Simon, the Grateful Dead, the Pet Shop Boys and the Rolling Stones, though new acts arrive weekly, looking to fill the room with adoring fans.
At the intersection of St. Marks Place and Second Avenue in the East Village, the 299-seat Orpheum Theatre has been staging performances and projecting films behind its red-brick, neo-classical façade for more than a century. What the interior lacks in old world grandness, it more than makes up in intimacy, thanks to its two narrow levels, which makes every seat in the house a good one. Achieving greater notoriety in the 1980s for premiering the musical Little Shop of Horrors, the theater went on to become the home of the percussive Stomp, which has lived here since 1994. Since then, the walls have gradually filled with a mélange of street-life ephemera related to the show; subway signs, motorcycle parts, chains and metal scaffolding all give the room a theatrically urban ambiance.
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.
Second Stage produces work by respected playwrights and helps emerging authors heat up the stage with fresh crowd-pleasing talent. This season, audiences can enjoy productions such as the world premiere of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, which starts in April. Created by Pulitzer Prize–winning playscribe Lynn Nottage, the show delves into the life and legacy of African-American actress Vera Stark.