A local institution for more than 40 years, Bakersfield Music Theatre pulls in patrons with a schedule of major Broadway musicals and other songful spectacles. Stop by on October 8 for a one-night-only performance of Direct from Vegas: Frank Sinatra, featuring Gary Corsello crooning un-remixed versions of Sinatra classics such as “Luck Be a Lady” and “Come Fly With Me” to the orchestral accompaniment of five full-sized musicians. The hit musical Chicago (November 13, 14, and 20) follows the exploits of a pair of femme fatales driven to murder by the stiff breezes of the Windy City, while "This and That: A Night of Song and Dance" (February 26) combines the mouth-powered melodies of Bakersfield Music Theatre with the legendary leggery of the Civic Dance Center. Hairspray (April 30, May 1, and May 7) caps the season with the tuneful tale of a teenage dance queen whose fancy footwork and well-kempt coiffure help her to defeat her enemies, the Philadelphia Eagles.
California Keyboards Music Center has sharpened the ears and tamed the wandering digits of the Southern Valley for more than 35 years. Each weekly 30-minute lesson is taught by instructors whose performance resumés include enlivening Carnegie Hall, marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and treading alongside jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald.
At Studio 65, guests meet new friends and get into shape at the same time during classes in a wide variety of dance styles, including Latin-dance Zumba workouts. Students of all ages master dance styles from all over the globe, such as the Argentine tango, Louisiana zydeco, salsa, belly dance, lindy hop, and ballroom.
Having grown up in the restaurant business, brothers Kyler, Kanaan, and Kavicka Marcelino followed in the footsteps of their parents to open The Lunch Box in 2009. They've amassed a loyal following of locals who frequent the high-ceilinged bistro, where the chefs send out far more than just lunch. Scrawled on a tall chalkboard behind the counter, the menu is home to familiar sandwiches and wraps, and comfort-food dishes inspired by the brothers' mother such as beef stroganoff and hearty chicken pot pie.
Judas Priest, the influential English rock band that helped define heavy-metal culture, crescendos a globetrotting career on its farewell Epitaph tour. After nearly four decades of shaking Hades's chandeliers with defibrillating beats, jackhammer guitars, and vocals that earn restraining orders from glass, the crew of Judas Priest is revving through one last career-encompassing victory lap, leaving no head unbanged before hanging up its chaps. Singer Rob Halford hits and holds nearly unattainable notes in anthems that may include "Breaking the Law," "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," or "Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Gracing the stage in the open air of the amphitheater, legendary ax-grinder Zakk Wylde leads Black Label Society through a parade of questionable lullabies, and the boisterous lads of Thin Lizzy pump out hits that encourage inter-office dating at classic-rock stations.
Valley Comedy’s rotating roster of joke-tellers lobs laugh grenades from the stage of the intimate banquet hall at Riverlakes Golf Course. On March 2, Tom Clark combines improv with dark musings honed on laugh institutions Comedy Central and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson after opening sets from dry, self-deprecating jester Patrick Keane and Mark Valley. BET alumnus Yoursie Thomas brings his elastic facial expressions and caffeinated physical energy to the stage on April 13, and Dillon Garcia and Aurelio Bocanegra cull from their Latino heritages to provide culture-specific observations on language and relationships on May 4. On June 8, Groupon buyers can take in a set from comedienne Jen Murphy, whose comparison of the romantically jilted to a helpless kitten conjured sizable guffaws from the audience on Last Comic Standing.