A crack rings out from the jousting arena as armored knights clash in the pursuit of honor, while sword-swallowers thrill crowds with their death-defying art, jesters spin windy jokes, and townspeople in 15th-century garb roam the grounds tearing into turkey legs with their teeth. The Connecticut Renaissance Faire hosts these medieval-theme blowouts every year, including the Robin Hood Spring Festival and King Arthur’s Fall Harvest Faire. Under the themed umbrella of each gathering, actors caper about a constructed medieval village, engaging in Old English–flavored conversation and clapping games with fair-goers. In a tented marketplace, vendors sell beaded crafts, art, and tyrannical-king repellent alongside stands serving mead, beer, and other satisfying sundries. Although the shows and events vary at each fair, past spectacles have included archery displays, pub sing-alongs, and costume parades.
The instructors at Fit Club believe that getting in shape should be fun. That’s why each of their cardio classes, such as Booty Beat, Flirty & Dirty, and three types of Zumba, are designed to engage cores and slenderize frames while keeping the mood upbeat and invigorating. Even the boot camp puts a joyous spin on the otherwise strenuous routines associated with boot camps, emphasizing positive reinforcement rather than shouting and intimidation. Small, 15-person boot camps keep things personal, encouraging interaction and mutual motivation between students.
The Connecticut Repertory Theatre, the producing appendage of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Dramatic Arts, casts visiting professional actors and talented university students in its plays, musicals, and contemporary performances. This summer’s marquee boasts three musicals: Guys and Dolls, Seussical the Musical, a musical journey through the works of Dr. Seuss, and My Fair Lady. A cast of veteran performers, including Broadway entertainers Terrence Mann, Eileen Fulton, and Charlotte d’Amboise and comedian Steve Hayes, breathe life into the shows in the same way a stack of old books can breathe life into a fire. Performed 12 times over the course of independent 10-day runs, each musical offers up a surfeit of opportunities for reveling in drama and singing along inside your head as loudly as possible.
Fronted by British-Nigerian lead singer Sade Adu, Grammy-winning band Sade has seduced eardrums with a potent mélange of R & B, soul, and jazz for nearly 30 years. Performing songs from the new compilation album The Ultimate Collection, Sade will delight fans with greatest hits as well as a smattering of brand-new songs, melding soul-stroking vocals with eye-tickling dancing and onstage spectacle. Special guest John Legend will also throw his honeyed voice into the ring, soothing ears that have been damaged by the cacophony of city life and the screeching of prima-donna chalkboards.
The chuckle connoisseurs at Treehouse Comedy Productions have brought laugh-worthy comics to their stages for more than 25 years, giving an audience to future standup-comedy legends such as Rosie O'Donnell, John Stewart, and Jay Leno. Treehouse continues its commitment to busting guts with a calendar of upcoming shows that includes Comedy Central veteran Bill Santiago (April 6–7), who brings a neurotic edge while reflecting on growing up as a Puerto Rican in New York. Kevin Downey, Jr. (April 13–14), on the other hand, cracks macabre one-liners delivered with a distinctively belligerent yell that has been featured on HBO and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Mike P. Burton (April 27), erstwhile warm-up guy for Rachel Ray, uses a sensibility molded by a childhood in the South and an adulthood in New York to launch hilarious jeremiads about children, relationships, and society's foibles.
John Oliver, winner of a 2009 Emmy Award for comedy writing, wields his sharp, satirical voice on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with John Stewart and plays a recurring character on NBC's Community. The British-born comic, who floated to the United States on a barge carrying highly flammable coal oil, will steer his barbed tongue toward political realms within Comix at Foxwoods' 1,400-seat theatre. Though not covered by this Groupon, Comix at Foxwoods has a full-service bar and selection of boneless wings, pizza, spring rolls, and classic issues of National Geographic.