After searching Sacramento to no avail for a venue where kids could explore their creative impulses, two moms took the matter into their own hands and set about constructing their ideal children's art space. Eschewing the formalized, expensive art classes they found elsewhere, the duo opened ArtBeast with the goal of providing kids aged seven and younger with a mind-opening playground. In the three-level building, children can roam free, playing musical instruments, splattering paint, or dressing up in a constantly rotating wardrobe of costumes. Regular classes inculcate un-self-conscious expression with more structured activities, helping toddlers create their own works of art based on favorite pieces of lint or introducing them to ballet in dance classes. Complimentary organic coffee keeps parents as energetic as their offspring, and the studio's month-long passes encourage guardians to stick around and bond with fellow caretakers of insane miniature people.
The comedians at Sacramento Comedy Spot, named one of the best places to take a date by Sacramento News & Review readers in 2008, split sides with weekly lineups of improv, sketch-comedy, and standup routines. The club’s various comedy shows transform snacks into projectile objects as guests wet their whistles with beer, and munch on popcorn and candy. Those wanting to try their hands at the laugh-luring profession can participate in an open mic, or enroll in one of the Spot's improv, standup, or sketch classes.
For 23 years, the Sacramento Ballet has been enchanting audiences with The Nutcracker's magical holiday story of a young girl's journey through a land of princes, dancing snowflakes, and sugar plum fairies. The production features 30 professional dancers and 40 members of the Sacramento Philharmonic, and uses 2,500 pounds of dry ice over the course of the season to entice fog enthusiasts. Constantly looking to keep the show fresh and surprise audiences, artistic director and choreographer Ron Cunningham has incorporated a showstopping new Spanish dance this year.
Ballyhooed actors and comedians Kevin James and Ray Romano return to their standup roots for their first ever co-headlining national tour. Having paid their dues together in the nightclub trenches many moons ago, the bosom buddies found fame as leading men in two of television's most respected sitcoms. The charismatic Kevin James rose to ubiquity with his Emmy-nominated work on the smash sitcom The King of Queens and in leading-man roles in movies such as Zookeeper and Paul Blart: Mall Cop, whereas Ray Romano's alter ego Ray Barone lives forever on the syndicated classic Everybody Loves Raymond. Live, the jocular pair unloads fresh musings and wry insight into bits ranging from relationship foibles and sports and fitness to the joys of aging, all filtered through Kevin's gruff teddy-bear persona and Ray's everyman affability.
Director Lena Logan already has a proven track record in the arts, racking up accolades as an actress, model, and Broadway dancer. Now, thanks to her work at Contemporary Dance Conservatory, she can add teacher to her already-sterling resume. Lena trains students based on their individual needs, strengths, and skills, sharing honest tutelage in ballet and contemporary styles that has helped former students gain admittance to the likes of NYU, Alvin Ailey, and Julliard. Students also display their skills in company productions as well as competitions that always seem to be held during a slow-motion rainstorm in a wind tunnel.
Each year, the Mainstage troupe stages seven challenging, emotion-evoking plays in an intimate theater setting. The current production, Old Love (running Aug. 1–Sept. 12), jumps back and forth through 25 years in the relationship of a salesman, Bud Mitchell, and his boss's wife, Molly Graham. The illicit infatuation is portrayed through scenes of sporadic encounters interspersed with heartfelt monologues and comedic moments both light and dark. Adult tickets for Friday-, Saturday-, and Sunday-evening shows are normally $30 (senior and student tickets are $28); Tuesday-, Wednesday-, and Thursday-evening shows are normally $25 (senior/student $23); and Wednesday matinees are normally $22 (senior/student $18). Check the schedule for showtimes, and put on your play-watching pilot's goggles for an evening of stellar stagework at B Street Theatre.