Building on the writing tradition of William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, and other players in Mississippi's literary heritage, New Stage Theatre populates its stages with contemporary and classic works by American playwrights. Often comical, often challenging, each season's flock of five musicals and straight plays spreads across colorfully set stages with an aim to attract a culturally diverse audience. The artistic staff balances works by the likes of Lorraine Hansberry, Arthur Miller, and Horton Foote with new and developing productions through the Eudora Welty New Play Series, named for the writer who served on the board of directors. New Stage Theatre staff complements their theatre's strong artistic vision with educational programs for youth and adults, including touring programs. These outreach endeavors earned theater staff the 1995 Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. While the original New Stage Theatre was founded in an old church 46 years ago, all of its performances currently fill the large and small theaters at Jane Reid Petty Theatre Center.
Certified dance instructors who have trained with Arthur Murray, Fred Astaire, and the National Dance Council of America impart ballroom, Latin, and swing moves to dancers in all-level and wedding-specific courses. The main ballroom's mammoth disco ball, grown from a sequin planted on the roof, tosses light across a blacked-out ceiling that, along with high-tech lighting, fosters a nightclub atmosphere during weekly dance parties.
Top of the Hops Beer Festival Stretching along the northern Gulf Coast, The Wharf Marina serves as the picturesque venue for the Top of the Hops Beer Festival, a celebration of the craft-beer industry. Abita Brewing Company, a Louisiana outfit known for its large variety of seasonal and flagship brews, joins local sponsors, including Maggie's Bottle & Tail and Alabama Gulf Seafood, in hailing the beloved concoctions made of barley, wheat, and hop leaves known for their ability to inspire Elizabethan conversational skills. The festival introduces patrons to tastes of more than 150 craft brews and offers a variety of beer-related seminars.
Recently featured in the Washington Post, Ballet Magnificat! became the first Christian-based professional ballet company in the nation when it was established in the mid-1980s by award-winning dancer Kathy Thibodeaux. With this deal, ballet fans can get a up-close view to watch Thibodeaux and others perform in this year's performance, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Christmas production in Jackson. More than 150 other dancers and 300 different costumes will be a part of A Christmas Dream, which will depict a spectacular battle between a grand multitude of angels and fly-like creatures set to the music of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Enjoy the rich acoustics and intimate views inside Thalia Mara Hall, an ideal setting for ballets or ballet-inspired monster-truck rallies. Following the show, guests are invited to drop by the after-parties for cookies, book-signings, and conversations with some of their favorite twirlers.
The five members of Blackberry Smoke sear a new brand into the hide of Southern rock with their signature brew of country, bluegrass, metal, and gospel influences. Frontman Charlie Starr will pitch anthemic lyrics about coolers packed with cold beers and electronic cigarettes off Duling Hall's stained-glass windows. Gearing up to release a third full-length album within the year ahead, the quintet is currently swinging around the country on the strength of singles such as "Up in Smoke" and "Good One Comin' On" and the funding of using their flowing rock locks in shampoo commercials. Quick-riffing openers Matt Poss Band plant their Midwestern country rock into the fertile Mississippi soil with their brand-new album Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride.
For decades, Hal & Mal’s has lured locals into its cheerful pub with frothy brews and refreshing cocktails. Live music floods the hangout almost every night of the week, offering patrons a metronome by which to pace their sipping, chewing, and socializing. The eatery's menu of solid sustenance is filled to the brim with home-style belly warmers, shining a spotlight on Cajun creations like gumbo ($5.50 for a cup, $6.75 for a bowl), red beans and rice ($8.50 for a whole order, $6.50 for a half), and po’ boys sandwiches ($8.75-$9.25), served by friendly waiters, or, if you opt for the more authentic experience, gators. Swing by on a Tuesday night to test your trivia and post-Monday noshing skills.