The Venue at Horseshoe Casino offers big city entertainment from just outside the big city. Revelers pile into the casino's complimentary shuttles and set off for Hammond, where penny slots and game tables await before they file into The Venue. The acts taking the stage could land anywhere on the live spectacle spectrum: Penn & Teller might combine comedy and magic with the sound of only one person talking, MMA fighters could get adrenaline pumping, or Huey Lewis and the News could inspire audience sing-alongs.
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.
Chicago Sinfonietta was already markedly different from its counterparts when it played its first notes in 1987. Its founder and conductor Paul Freeman wanted to create a symphony that actually reflected the community in which it existed. The ensemble he formed brought together musicians from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, who interpreted both classical pieces and forgotten compositions from composers of color. His concept proved successful—the symphony toured Europe, played the Kennedy Center twice, and produced 14 albums, all while tunefully demonstrating the universality of music.
Today, Chicago Sinfonietta continues to perform unique programs, and supports music education and professional development opportunities for members of underrepresented communities. Freeman retired from his post at the end of the 2011 season, passing the reins new music director Mei-Ann Chen, but his legacy lives on in the music of performers he helped get started, including classical-music legend Yo-Yo Ma.
Founded in 1997 by inventive Chicago artist Sean Graney, The Hypocrites curates unorthodox theatrical endeavors with inimitable panache and an underlying emotional vulnerability. Praised by the Chicago Sun-Times for its propensity to “never do things the expected way,” The Hypocrites have applied its unconventional approach to classic texts such as The Threepenny Opera, Frankenstein, and Kafka's The Trial. Throughout the years, these productions have earned the company a trophy case of Joseph Jefferson citations, as well as an After Dark Award and a letter of recommendation from Shakespeare’s great-great-great-great grandfather.
For nearly 40 years, the Civic Opera Barber Shop has offered straightforward men's grooming services inside the Civic Opera building, with all its gold-leafed art-deco finery. A red, white, and blue barber pole outside the salon beckons potential customers while representing the three colors of human hair. Within, plush burgundy thrones elevate heads to the ideal styling height, giving the veteran barber full sway over every strand as he shaves stubble with straight razors and hot lather, cuts hair into no-nonsense styles, and trims back beards to distinguish man from wolfman.
A 15-year veteran of the Chicago theater community, Lauren Wolf returned to the Second City after recording her debut album All My Secrets in LA in 2011. Backed by a talented band—including Josh Groban’s guitarist Ricky Z—the singer and single mother has graced the stage at The House of Blues, Hard Rock Cafe, and Mayne Stage, drawing comparisons to Janis Joplin for her powerful pipes. Lauren soulfully croons lyrics inspired by her personal struggles and unfinished macramé projects set to upbeat rhythms influenced by the music of the '60s, '70s, and '80s.