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.
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.
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.
Each day during the Story Improv workshop, students ages 5–8 will enact the adventures of a children's storybook. The On the Spot: Improvisation session, best for students 8–14, will have students acting without scripts in order to build their quick wit and confidence. During the intensive two-week Piece Makers class, budding actors, playwrights, and directors ages 8–14 will create and perform their own original piece of theater. After learning many of the exercises and games used by the Irondale Theater Company, the class will become its own acting troupe and debut their show. This workshop includes pizza dinner for the players followed by post-performance refreshments for all.
Legendary chanteuse Stevie Nicks fulfills the fantasies of her loyal legions of fans, blessing the air with her golden voice as the In Your Dreams tour takes flight. Harmonically and fashionably inimitable, Stevie’s never-ebbing career has entered its latest chapter of acclaim as new generations discover her skilled storytelling, indomitable voice, and the fact that music fits in earholes. In support of her first studio album in 10 years, the acclaimed In Your Dreams, Stevie enables devotees craving a Nicks fix with a tapestry of future classics and seminal solo anthems, sometimes including hits such as “Stand Back” and “Edge of Seventeen.” Casual fans, lifelong fanatics, and hopelessly lost package-delivery workers will spiritually cuddle with Stevie’s tranquilly maternal voice, becoming increasingly mesmerized as a vibrato opens temporal loops and makes space-time continua weep.
Boy-band juggernaut and Nickelodeon sensation Big Time Rush shines like the sun’s sons as its hotly anticipated Big Time Summer Tour enraptures flocks of fans with pop bliss. The fab foursome, known as BTR to fans and preteen stenographers, first snatched the hearts of millions with its eponymous TV show, which is the most-watched live-action series in Nickelodeon’s history. On the group's choreographed carnival of a tour, expert hoofer and crooner Kendall Schmidt leads the affable cast of personalities, which includes James (the ladies' man), Carlos (the joker), and Logan (the smarty warty), through hits from its gold debut, BTR. Chart-topping sophomore album, Elevate, also sees its anthemic tunes represented, such as “Music Sounds Better With U” and “All Over Again.” Expect elastic dance moves from the dapper quadratic and possible numbers from the just-released Big Time Movie, in which BTR covers tunes by obscure boy band The Beatles. Australian wunderkind Cody Simpson starts the show with peppy rallies and aural morality plays about how love can be tough and why stealing your dad’s head to sneak into R-rated movies isn’t cool.