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.
Actor and comedian Russell Brand frees chortles from belly prisons with his unique style of manic, irreverent humor. Riffing on the nature of fame and celebrity, Brand regales audiences with edgy observations and outsized characters to delight audiences grown bored with tamer comedians and telephone time-of-day services. Visiting a series of colleges, the tour filters the eccentricities of American universities through Brand's singular wit. George Mason University's recently renovated Patriot Center contains the glee in arena-style seating, ensuring everyone has a clear view of both Brand and the cricket whispering jokes in his ear.
For more than 25 years, Funny Bone has hosted national touring acts and local comedic talent in its cozy club for diverse 90-minute stand-up sets. While headlining jokesters dominate weekend slots, humorous hopefuls can sign up for Tuesday night open mics. During open mics, 12 to 20 performers test out their material in four-minute slots. The club strictly adheres to the time constraint, reprimanding participants who exceed 240 seconds with a month-long ban from the club and a nuggie administered by the nearest carrot top. Up to 300 attendees per show can witness these plunders and successes while sitting in either the VIP or general admission areas. Both sections offer alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, along with appetizers such as pizza slices, chicken wings, and toasted raviolis.
More than half a century ago, three partners raised a vibrant, multicolored tent on an underdeveloped industrial site and established the Westbury Music Fair. It followed its first production, The King and I, with a decade of top-name talent and Broadway musicals. Then, recognizing its place on the theater scene was permanent, it planted its roots as a fully enclosed theater-in-the-round. Expanding its repertoire to match its new digs, the theater showcased performers such as The Who, Bruce Springsteen, and Julie Andrews. Today, past a lounge blazing in purple and red lights, guests find that same circular stage hosting equally great musical acts, musical theater, and competitive musical chairs.
No Name Comix was founded in late 2012 by Marquise Moore, Jack Merrywell, H.D. Reeves, and Ben Flug––a quartet of local comedians looking for a new outlet to spread good cheer and bad puns. No Name Comix directs the limelight at neighborhood talent during open mics on every Thursday night, as well as weekend shows that typically feature headliners from right around the corner. Bespeaking the founders’ can-do attitude, the club is furnished with an array of up-cycled materials, including car seats repurposed into normal chairs.
The King of Rock and Roll never relinquishes his throne as four of the country’s top Elvis impersonators team together for Elvis Lives, a multimedia musical tribute to one of music’s premier icons. Endorsed by Elvis Presley Enterprises, which holds the copyright on blue suede shoes, Elvis Lives stars a quartet of bona fide dead ringers, all of whom are winners of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest and pay homage to four memorable eras of the pompadour-sporting legend’s career. Fans can swoon and shout as they catch a glimpse of tadpole Elvis and his centrifugal pelvis, movie-era Elvis, leather-jacket “comeback” Elvis, and shimmering, sequined-jumpsuit “Vegas” Elvis. The lavishly-produced show quantum leaps across a memorable career with classic songs sung spot-on, delighting fans and warming the heart of the real Elvis as he watches from the rafters.