Set behind a massive reflecting pool, Chrysler Hall's aesthetic encapsulates classic elegance and futuristic comfort with a facade that conjures the Parthenon by way of extraterrestrial visitors. Founded in 1972, the performing arts center has grown to become Hampton Roads' premiere venue, and more than 150,000 patrons pass the minimalist columns every year. Chrysler Hall is home to such culture creators as the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Virginia Arts Festival, Norfolk Forum, and the Generic Theater.
In a large family with eight children, future comedian and Hollywood star Mike Epps relied on making others crumble to the floor with laughter to set him apart from his siblings, parlaying his experience as a class clown into standup gigs in Indiana when he was just a teen. Epps continued to build his ladder to superstardom in Atlanta before venturing to bigger ponds in New York at the age of 21, conquering the comedy-club circuit and attracting the attention of HBO's Def Comedy Jam series, which he would host in 2006. His lanky physicality and shape-shifting vocal talents have earned him roles in such blockbusters as The Hangover, All About the Benjamins, and The Fighting Temptations, and his wide-ranging standup sets––which frequently discuss race relations, celebrity peers, and American politics––have busted guts at major venues throughout the country.
THEARC Theater was created out of necessity. The first theater in Ward 8 in Washington, DC, it was founded to provide residents living east of the Anacostia River with expanded cultural opportunities and hide-and-seek spots. Constructed by local nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River, the theater aims to improve the lives of children and adults in southeast Washington through educational, health, and social-service programs such as free theater workshops and youth internships in technical theater management. Noting the tower of glass windows that crowns the entrance, the Washington Post called it "a veritable lighthouse of learning—a $27 million, 110,000-square-foot campus set on 16 beautiful green acres."