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.
Florida Orchestra has delighted ears across the Tampa Bay area for 44 seasons filled with time-tested masterworks and sprightly pops concerts. Created in the 1968 merger between the St. Petersburg Symphony and the Tampa Philharmonic, Florida Orchestra ties the two sides of the bay together into one musical tradition. The ensemble has continued its program of outreach ever since, which has recently included cultural exchange programs with Cuba, collaborations with local institutions, and the tradition of allowing one lucky child to sleep inside a tuba during each performance.
A bastion of family-friendly arts and entertainment since its curtain first rose in 1983, Ruth Eckerd Hall demonstrates its commitment to the community through concerts, movie screenings, and all-ages education at the Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Institute. Graduates of the school go on to star in musical and theater productions on the stage, overlooking 2,180 sloping seats arranged continental style for great sightlines and impeccable acoustics.
The State Theatre was saved, as its website states, from "the ravages of time." Built in 1921 as a vaudeville and silent-film palace, the venue fell on hard times in the 1970s. In 2003, however, a $3 million renovation restored the State Theatre to much of its original glory, as crews painstakingly rehabbed the ornamental plaster, terracotta exterior, and actor holding cells. Inside the theater, a stunning chandelier sparkles more brightly than ever below the venue's signature dome.
Classical, opera, and popular orchestral compositions make up the repertoire of the Southwest Florida Symphony, which has made quality programming its mission since 1961. Aiming to make music accessible to all, the symphony visits schools, offers scholarships, books youth-friendly concerts, and provides a friendly First-Timer’s Guide for new audience members unfamiliar with the proper way of applauding.
The Imperial Symphony Orchestra is an approximately 80-member coterie of melodically-minded do-gooders, largely made up of volunteer musicians, who provide high-quality entertainment. Today’s deal gets you a best-available reserved seat to all five of the orchestra’s 2010–2011 Masterworks performances, which celebrate the accomplishments of some the world’s finest, most eccentric composers. The initial, October 5 concert kicks things off by traversing the fifth symphonies and concertos of such storied composers as Beethoven, Bach, and Tchaikovsky, whose Symphony no. 5, movement II revealed that Paul was dead and John was the walrus nearly a century before it became popular knowledge. Future concerts include Respighi’s Pines of Rome and symphonized Christmas music featuring a kinetic kick from members of Florida Dance Theatre.