Not all live comedy is contained to Boston’s Theater District. Just ask the folks at Improv Asylum, located in an underground spot in the North End, where local actors perform different sketch and improvisational comedy shows nightly. The subterranean space on Hanover Street hosts 90-minute shows with up to six different actors in each show, performing skits that touch upon family humor, current events and even some adult topics (suggested minimum age for shows is 17 years due to the content). There are nine different shows held here each week, with a cast that interacts with the audience to ensure the authenticity of each show. Best of all, military and student discounts keep the already-low prices at rock-bottom levels.
Dick Doherty's Beantown Comedy Escape has three homes: Below Howl at the Moon in Boston, New England Seafood Restaurant & Lounge in Methuen, and Park Grill & Spirits in Worcester. While the Methuen and Worcester locations bear the name Dick Doherty's Beantown Comedy Escape, the Boston location is known as Dick's Beantown Comedy Den. The Boston location recently moved to the Comedy Den from their previous location at the Vault, where they hosted standup comedians, including Dane Cook, who held a weekly gig there for more than a year, and fellow Boston natives Bill Burr and Joe Rogan. Dick Doherty's comedy clubs as a whole continue to detonate laugh dynamite with their rotating casts of national and local comedians.
Originally opened in 1927, the Genesee Theatre slowly deteriorated over the course of the century until its closing in 1989. But starting in 2001, a $23 million cash infusion from the city allowed 120 volunteers to restore the theater to its Gilded Age splendor. Its elegant trappings include authentic wall fabrics, an exact replica of the original marquee, and a 2,200-pound chandelier that gently spotlights the grand lobby and every audience member passing underneath to show how everyone is a star if you really think about it.
Founded to commemorate local US veterans, Lowell Memorial Auditorium's imposing, neoclassical exterior is ringed with inscriptions immortalizing famous generals and pivotal battles throughout the years, including Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and San Juan Hill. The venue's history hasn't been all serious, however?in its early years, shortly after Word War I, its most popular event was the weekly Bingo game, which often attracted up to 3,000 participants and prompted Life to call Lowell a "natural Bingopolis." The decades following saw everything from conventions and civic affairs to performances by Benny Goodman and the Golden Gloves boxing tournament. By 1979 the building was so worn down from floods, hurricanes, and economic depression that it necessitated a major renovation to bring it into the modern era. Today, its stage is fit for Broadway-scale shows, the behind-the-stage balcony is gone, and air conditioning protects against summer heat and litigious snowmen.
Formed by a pack of game-changing new comedians, The Comedy Studio's casual laugh lab hosts both acclaimed funny people and fresh faces. The jam-packed schedule ensures plenty of opportunities to take in a show. The 8 p.m. shows break up the monotony of a chaotic workweek but end early enough (10 p.m.) to curb next-day exhaustion. Seating is determined on a first-come, first-serve basis. The all-ages facility provides a funny-bone-fondling venue for blind dates, out-of-town visitors, or disgruntled neighbors.
New Bedford Festival Theatre is devoted to musicals. Since 1990, they have entertained over 200,000 audience members with Broadway-style shows that span the genre's past and present. Staples such as Cats and The Producers balance lesser-known works such as La Cage aux Folles and The Producers 2: Playbill of Revenge to enrich the cultural knowledge of the public. And their efforts have not gone in vain. The New England Theatre Conference awarded New Bedford Festival Theatre the Moss Hart Award for its performances of Les Misérables and Hairspray.