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.
The building that would eventually become Merriam Theater opened as the Sam S. Shubert Theater in 1918, honoring the famous, theater-owning Shubert family’s youngest member, who died tragically in a train accident a decade earlier. Following the fortunes of its fellow theaters, the Merriam's inaugural years saw success with toe-tapping Gershwin musicals and spine-tingling Shakespearean performances by John Barrymore. As vaudeville petered out and the country slid into a depression, the theater struggled to pay the bills through more tawdry means, hosting burlesque shows and letting patrons see the stage without its curtain. The University of Arts eventually bought the building in 1972, and restored the venue to its former glory as host to the country's finest performers.
The senses are stuffed with aural and visual excess as English tribute act Brit Floyd recreates the sonic mind expansion and visceral enlightenment of a real Pink Floyd show. The band of highly trained virtuosos and a quintet choir of chanteuses does justice to its subject like a jury of smitten rock critics, nailing every note and nuance of Pink Floyd’s signature sound. Rollicking through all of The Floyd’s epic oeuvre, the British group finesses a catalog of timeless hits, including “Wish You Were Here” and “Learning to Fly.” The elaborate stage setup replicates The Division Bell tour, replete with metamorphic lasers and lighting, avant-garde screen projections, and a mammoth ocular stargate, giving fans the closest thing to seeing a Pink Floyd show without being miniaturized and injected into their uncle’s subconscious.
In support of her high-decibel new album, Rihanna kicks off her hotly anticipated LOUD tour with emphatic gusto and a sizzling roster of special guests. Like an art show at a sundae bar, the LOUD tour floods the senses, enchanting audiences with lavishly designed sets, myriad costume changes, move-busting dancers, and Rihanna's songbook of Grammy magnets. Crooner Cee Lo Green augments the songful offerings with his own vocal talents, and Roc Nation rapper and rhythm scientist J. Cole further helps resuscitate ear drums traumatized by the outside world's blaring car horns and shrill howler monkeys.
Hard-rock juggernauts Five Finger Death Punch give audiences four for flinching on their Share The Welt tour, a high-octane evening of nail-driving metal and chugging aural concrete. Since bursting onto the scene in 2007 with its gold-selling debut, The Way of the Fist, Five Finger Death Punch has scaled the charts and the musical food chain, gulping its competition like a possessed Takeru Kobayashi. For the tour in support of its latest effort, American Capitalist, the gang enlists an entire posse of heavy hitters. Massachusetts metal mavens All That Remains, fresh from melting soles on the Vans Warped Tour, bludgeon audiences with an arsenal of hits, and hardcore shredders Hatebreed share unkind words as they haze the speed of sound. Adding power-chord crunch to the show, Fort Wayne’s Rains sprinkles audiences with raw and emotional sonic sleet.
“This ‘PC’ world has never been more ready for Sarcasm,” exclaims Sarcasm Comedy Club founder Steve Trevelise. The WIP radio personality and veteran comedian, who honed his emceeing and managerial chops at the esteemed Catch a Rising Star, believes that “the comedy stage is the last place for freedom of speech.” Although some shows are rated PG and some are hard Rs, Sarcasm Comedy Club refuses to sanitize its performers for sensitive ears. For those who can take a joke, the uncensored humor hub’s calendar offers two Saturday-night shows per week that spotlight local cutups and national headliners. Those who dream of becoming comedians themselves can enlist in the Sarcasm Comedy School, in which they’ll learn the craft of standup, including joke writing, audience mining, and how to make your own heckler spray.