A rare outlet for commercially sanctioned laughter in downtown Los Angeles, Garrett Morris’ Downtown Blues and Comedy Club helps visitors escape the stresses of the workweek with a rotating stable of top-tier standup talent every Friday and Saturday. Comic legend Garrett Morris, now seen as Earl on CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, hosts showcases of comic talent with charming wit and tales of how he outlived the original cast of Saturday Night Live. The bill remains consistently loaded with fresh-faced and seasoned funny folk, with past luminaries including George Lopez, Margaret Cho, and Wayne Brady, along with aspiring stars in the twilight before their first mismatched-marriage sitcom.
Keeping true to its name and Morris’ roots in the New Orleans music scene, the venue often punctuates its comedy shows with performances from top blues artists—including Morris himself, who has lent his soulful pipes to the Harry Belafonte Singers—that add melody to the mirth. While weekend shows feature Garrett’s hosting and harmonies along with the headlining acts, the Thursday Night Experience allows youthful burgeoning comics and musicians to hog the spotlight.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats.
####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
Presiding over the south side of the Lincoln Center's main plaza, the David H. Koch Theater is undergoing a 10-year renovation to keep it as stunning as the day it opened during the 1964 World's Fair. Even without restoration, the theater's 7,875-square-foot promenade creates a magnificent backdrop to the plaza's fountain—particularly at twilight, when the floors of inlaid travertine marble glow in golden harmony with 40-foot ceilings filigreed with gold leaf. Classical statuary bookends the lobby, and four balcony levels give visitors plenty of vantage points during intermission.
For decades, patrons of the New York City Ballet (and, until 2008, the New York City Opera) have ascended the spiral staircases and bathed in the light of the auditorium's spherical chandelier, the luminous center of the ceiling's ornate flower pattern. The David H. Koch Theater also plays host each year to a variety of local and international dance troupes, such as the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Shen Yun Performing Arts, and the Nederlands Dans Theater.
Though they hail from all over the world, the instructors at Bellyqueen are united by their passion for belly dance. Their dedication to the Middle Eastern art?and their eagerness to educate others about the empowering, often misunderstood dance form?led co-founder Kaeshi Chai to established their own bellydancing company and school in the East Village. Kaeshi's enthusiasm has caught on?since opening in 1998, Bellyqueen has gained acclaim for its unconventional workouts welcoming participants of all sizes and skill levels.
Today, the bustling studio continues to teach traditional bellydancing techniques while incorporating world-fusion styles. Experienced instructors guide guests through the sensual movements, encouraging them as they practice footwork, breath, and presentation. When they aren?t fine-tuning their routines to eyeball-enticing perfection, students can watch Bellyqueen?s professional dancers perform at weekly Djam NYC shows at Jebon and special events.
Warm in winter, cool in summer, and filled with amazing acts in every season, the Big Apple Circus's pair of Italian-made big tops contains the best of several generations' worth of circus traditions. A look at any show's cast finds a complex network of venerable European circus families passing the arts of juggling and trapeze artistry down through the years, while the tents' motors and seating make for a comfortably modern spectator experience.
You might never guess that the troupe started small in 1974, when American circus artists Paul Binder and Michael Christensen joined forces as a juggling act on the streets of Europe. They moved from streetlights to spotlights in a hurry, appearing on the stage of the Nouveau Cirque de Paris, before returning to the U.S. and creating their own not-for-profit circus in 1976 and raising their first tent in New York's Battery Park.
Imagination Movers bring their unique style of kid-friendly pop rock to New York City, and to Disney Junior. Based in New Orleans, friends Rich Collins, Scott Durbin, Dave Poche and Scott “Smitty” Smith decided to put together a band and build a children’s television show. The program offers catchy, upbeat songs with lyrics that speak to young children, and contemporary beats that keep everyone else interested. As a result, Imagination Movers has become a national sensation for children of all ages, selling more than 250,000 CDs and DVDs and appearing on national daytime shows like The View and Good Morning America. They even grabbed a Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding original song on a children’s show. Since then, the group has played shows at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square, as well as sold out shows domestically and in Canada.