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.
With its plush couch and bookcase stocked with esoteric objects, the stage at Side Splitters Comedy Club might make audiences feel as though they?re watching the evening?s comedian in their own living room, right down to the emcee who keeps announcing what?s about to happen. The homey stage?s brick walls and off-kilter neon sign have played host to numerous local comedians, as well as talents such as Tom Arnold and Gilbert Gottfried.
For nearly 50 years, the Improv chain has incubated standup talent?notable alumni such as Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, and Robin Williams all conquered their stage fright there before their big breaks. The Tampa location carries on the Improv?s tradition of catching rising stars before they turn into supernovas spewing dangerous molten punch lines with a calendar of up-and-comers and nationally touring talent.
Though entertainment fads come and go, movie theaters remain, tempting audiences with fantastical stories new and old. The film buffs behind the Tampa Pitcher Show understand this craving for narrative connection, filling their movie hall and bar space?s calendar with first-run films, alternative events, and live music that helped them take home the prize for Best Kept Secret in Creative Loafing's
Best of the Bay 2011 Reader?s Poll. Within the theater, projectors hum to life with current hits and cult classics every night; weekends welcome special happenings that include independent film and live stage shows, shadow-casts, art bazaars, and comedy shows. The Take 2 Lounge dispenses a sprawling menu of bar fare, including burgers, pizzas, and beers such as Magic Hat #9, Southern Tier, and Florida Avenue Ale flowing from 13 tap lines.
Wall Street Nightclub’s goal is simple: as stated on its site, the venue aims to provide entertainment every bit as diverse as its community. Throughout the week, the LGBT venue might pair country music with hip-hop, drag performers with strippers, or DJs with dance videos. Friday nights kick off each month with the "Midwest's largest lesbian dance party," and Sundays see the club transformed into a cabaret. Although its calendar is packed with weekly, monthly, and bicentennial get-togethers, plenty of performances and parties are special one-time-only events, such as standup sets or DJ competitions.
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.