In 2004—on a mission to bolster its community’s wellspring of art, creativity, and education—the nonprofit Bergen Performing Arts Center took over the former John Harms Center, an art deco–style movie and vaudeville palace built in 1926. Today, in the same antique theater where Shakespeare screened his first car-chase movie, the Bergen Performing Arts Center hosts 150 yearly events that bring dance, music, and theatrical productions to an estimated 250,000 annual audience members. Networks like HBO, PBS, and MTV all have filmed international broadcasts on Bergen Performing Arts Center’s stage, which has seen the likes of Tony Bennett, Woody Allen, and the Dixie Chicks.
• For $35, you get a one-day festival ticket for Saturday, June 18 (up to a $70 value). • For $35, you get a one-day festival ticket for Sunday, June 19 (up to a $70 value). • For $70, you get a weekend pass for both days of the festival (up to a $95 value).
The Schoolhouse Theater really did start as an elementary school. But in 1983, founder Lee Pope turned it into a visual arts center. And four years later, she invited the New York company Acorn Productions to put on a show in the auditorium. That play did more than pack the house—it also signaled the former school's birth as a haven for community theater.
Since then, The Schoolhouse Theater has developed the second part of its moniker. Theatrical amenities were added and theatrical ghosts politely asked to leave, and in 1998, the building was officially designated as a non-profit, professional regional theater. Along with stateside premieres and revivals of beloved classics, the company has staged productions that have successfully rocketed their way to Off Broadway. And while the space has now moved on from its grade-school days, it continues its educational legacy by hosting classes on topics such as photography and dance.
Winners of the 2011 Grammy Award for best contemporary jazz album, the Stanley Clarke Band makes its first-ever appearance in Westchester on the historic stage of Tarrytown Music Hall. Leading the talented troupe of musicians, legendary bassist Stanley Clarke infuses each jazzy arrangement with a rhythmic pulse more graceful than a bald eagle singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Clarke's remarkable career—which began in the early 1970s—includes innovative work on multiple instruments, numerous film scores, and a lengthy discography that spans classical, jazz, R & B, and pop genres. Built in 1885, Tarrytown Music Hall has stood as a fitting abode to prodigious performers such as Joan Baez, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bruce Springsteen. Noted for its superb acoustics, the century-old institution has also played host to powerful guests such as the Rockefellers, who frequented the hall's elaborate flower shows and championship charades tournaments.
Located on the 250-acre grounds of historic Boscobel, overlooking the Hudson River, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival envelops theatergoers in worlds long past. Its inaugural production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1987 carved a path of critical acclaim for it to expand into summer-long festivals, ongoing educational outreach, and artist-in-residence programs. The organization's canon even extends past that of the Bard on occasion: past seasons have taken on The Three Musketeers and Tartuffe.
The chuckle connoisseurs at Treehouse Comedy Productions have brought laugh-worthy comics to their stages for more than 25 years, giving an audience to future standup-comedy legends such as Rosie O'Donnell, John Stewart, and Jay Leno. Treehouse continues its commitment to busting guts with a calendar of upcoming shows that includes Comedy Central veteran Bill Santiago (April 6–7), who brings a neurotic edge while reflecting on growing up as a Puerto Rican in New York. Kevin Downey, Jr. (April 13–14), on the other hand, cracks macabre one-liners delivered with a distinctively belligerent yell that has been featured on HBO and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Mike P. Burton (April 27), erstwhile warm-up guy for Rachel Ray, uses a sensibility molded by a childhood in the South and an adulthood in New York to launch hilarious jeremiads about children, relationships, and society's foibles.