The scriptless, propless performers of improv troupe Darwin’s A-Team conjure absurd situations with nothing more than audience members' suggestions and their own imaginations. Characterized by surprising dialogue and a refusal to release laughing gas into the audience, the chuckle-hungry collective rings in 2012 with It’s the New Year … Now What?, its first performance of the year. The show takes place in the High Desert Center for the Arts, a recently refurbished theater whose chandeliers, plush seating, and coat-check room full of tiaras create an elegant atmosphere for refined rib-tickling.
The Tony Award–winning musical Evita, by esteemed writers Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, charts the rise of the world's first political celebrity, Argentine first lady Eva Perón. Peppered with familiar personages such as Che Guevara, nail- and toe-biting political maneuvers, and immaculate six-part harmonies, Evita reaches even the iciest heart with the fire of its emotional exuberance. Allow eager eardrums to savor the dulcet tones of the score, headlined by the famous “Don't Cry for Me Argentina.” In the intimate environs of the Lewis Family Playhouse, peepers can pick out every detail of the stage's goings-on, from artfully rendered emotion to the tragic parting of lovelorn curtains for the entirety of the play.
By the late 1940s, the world of customized cars was truly in its golden age, so it's not surprising that those enterprising mechanics wanted someplace to show off their hard work. Enter the Sacramento Autorama, which began bringing together the community of custom-car builders in 1951. Now one of the longest-running indoor car shows in the world, the Autorama continues to bolster Sacramento's status as one of the world's custom car capitals. Over the years, the show has showcased hot rods, muscle cars, and chrome creations from master designers ranging from George and Sam Barris to Boyd Coddington. This year's edition will be no different; hundreds of show vehicles will compete for show honors including the coveted Custom d’Elegance and King of Kustoms prizes and the "Big B" awards, which reward engineering ingenuity while honoring the memory of Sacramento customizers from years past.
UltraStar Cinemas cossets moviegoers in cushy seating as they enjoy Hollywood hits alongside buttery servings of popcorn. Film buffs can peruse the current showtimes to handpick an action-packed flick, romantic comedy, or chilling thriller featuring inexplicably aggressive hamsters. The concession stand outfits moviegoers with snacks, drinks, and buckets filled with warm kernels, keeping stomach grumblings to a minimum during showings and providing crunchy projectiles in case of sudden younger-sibling attacks.
All veterans of the entertainment industry, the instructors at Ovation School for the Performing Arts don't believe in just instilling acting, singing, or dancing skills into their students. Instead, they impart all three, turning students of all skill levels into triple threats of stage and screen. Designed for kids and teens aged 5–18, the nonprofit's twice-weekly sessions are divided into 45-minute blocks whose subjects include acting, singing, and dance styles such as hip-hop and tap. Ovation also hosts private lessons focused on voice, piano, and guitar.
In 1938, Kurt and Max Laemmle, the nephews of Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle, opened their very own movie house dedicated to Hollywood and foreign pictures alike. Though it's since grown to encompass seven locations, Laemmle Theaters is still a family-run business that remains dedicated to its original mission.
A mix of blockbuster and art-house flicks are projected digitally into auditoriums with stadium seating, and share showtimes with special events such as premieres and one-night screenings. To spotlight smaller films, the Sneak Preview Club features upcoming movies for free, an easier way to see new releases than changing your name to Steven Spielberg. Complement each cinematic voyage with one of Laemmle Theaters' classic concessions, such as popcorn drenched in real butter.