Madison's experiential comedy show takes place at the eastside Glass Nickel Pizza Company on Atwood Avenue and begins at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.). The Monkey Business Institute features no sets, props, or scripts, which allows the hilarious ensemble to craft improv hilarity off the spur of their cufflinks. With decades of improvisational cosmonaut experience and interactive audience participation, each show is distinct and spontaneous. This simian comedy collective features improvisers such as Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda, who have received more than 70 million YouTube hits for viral video sensations such as "Chad Vader." Keep a third eye peeled for other local favorites Brad Knight, Jason Stephens, Sheila Robertson, and more.
Budding artists of all ages can begin to imprint their creative legacies in two-hour printmaking workshops that consist of stamp-making and hands-on card-making with cards on colored paper stocks. Professional artist Aliza Rand draws on more than 10 years of teaching experience to guide small groups of students through the creative process, demonstrating how to whittle stamps with finesse and strap them securely to feet before using monkey bars to cross gooey fields of ink. Holiday-themed workshops spread the season’s cheer with step-by-step instructions for fashioning festive Christmas cards or stamps in the shapes of fir trees to remind Santa of home during his circumnavigational blimp ride.
Groundbreaking Canadian chanteuse K.D. Lang has always been ahead of her time. During the late '80s, while country music was busy trying on rock 'n' roll britches, K.D. moseyed in with a voice as pure as a Mountie's heart, giving honky-tonk purity back to the airwaves while curing the cowgirl blues. Her striking stage presence and ability to lasso Patsy Cline’s poltergeist with her herculean larynx led to multiple Grammy awards, and her sound branched out into lush pop territories in hits such as “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine.” With the support of her first backing band in 23 years, Siss Boom Bang, K.D. yowls and purrs with grace and intensity through a live set of twangy barnburners and heart-tugging torch songs in support of her latest album, Sing it Loud. From comfy and wide lumbar-supported seats, fans savor the majesty and opulence of Overture Hall, where the exemplary acoustics allow K.D.’s unmistakable voice to reverberate like whale calls through the Grand Canyon.
The Crystal Grand Music Theatre allows audiences to get up close and personal with top performers in an intimate 2,000-seat setting. Night Ranger—’80s arena-rock legends and sellers of millions of albums—takes to the recently renovated stage for one night only, treating fans to their signature melodic fusion of hard-rock intensity and radio-friendly hooks. Rock out to the band's beloved epic power ballads including “Sister Christian” and "When You Close Your Eyes," as well as ripping guitar-driven hits such as “(You Can Still) Rock in America,” a pointed response to the Regan administration's brief ban on scissors and paper. The Crystal Grand Music Theatre's size ensures every concertgoer has a clear view of the stage, and its innovative design and updated acoustic technology ensure that every chord, beat, and "motoring" evokes the appropriate head-banging response.
Founded in 1884, the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center is among the oldest community music organizations in the U.S., inviting patrons into its halls year after year to support and experience the excitement of live music. The center is home to the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, which won the 2011 award for Best Chamber Orchestra from the Illinois Council of Orchestras. The group of in-residence musicians keep fans of classical music thoroughly entertained with concerts throughout the year and tag-team wrestling matches between the string and brass sections.
Voted Best Theater of 2010 and 2011 in KCRG-TV9's CityVoter poll, the community collective of Theatre Cedar Rapids gathers accolades as it grows. The seeds of the company were planted in 1925, when a tiny troupe of thespians played its heart out to audiences of only 30. The theater now reaches more than 50,000 eastern Iowans with its education programs and full seasons of musicals, comedies, and dramas. Although its Iowa Theater Building home has been recently refurbished with new sound and light systems, the theater maintains the charm of its 1920s vaudeville and movie-house origin with a functioning Rhinestone Barton theater organ, 550-seat capacity, and absence of holographic ushers.