Wall Street Nightclub’s goal is simple: as stated on its site, the venue aims to provide entertainment every bit as diverse as its community. Throughout the week, the LGBT venue might pair country music with hip-hop, drag performers with strippers, or DJs with dance videos. Friday nights kick off each month with the "Midwest's largest lesbian dance party," and Sundays see the club transformed into a cabaret. Although its calendar is packed with weekly, monthly, and bicentennial get-togethers, plenty of performances and parties are special one-time-only events, such as standup sets or DJ competitions.
Short attention spans are rewarded at the Rocksino. The lounge spills out onto the casino's gaming floor, so you can turn from the bar to the stage to a prime people-watching arena with just a swivel of the head. Of course, you're likely to be drawn in by the live performances no matter what else is going on: the standup comics on stage arrive backed by national acclaim and bearing high-energy riffs, agile crowd-work, and even the occasional squeaky-clean set for people who can't show up to work smelling like swear words. Servers distribute finger foods, wine, buckets of beer, and sweet, fruity cocktails throughout the show.
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.
The first Improv comedy club had virtually nothing to do with comedy. Broadway producer Budd Friedman founded the now legendary franchise in 1963 as an intimate spot where performers could eat, drink coffee, and sing along to piano ditties after their shows. Soon after, the club's first comedian, Dave Astor, tried out some new material on a whim. The stand-up set was a hit and led to the venue's eventual transformation into a full-blown comedy club. New York's hottest comedians would do nearly anything to be featured on the Improv stage; for instance, it's rumored that Lily Tomlin hijacked a parked limousine in order to make a stunning entrance when first meeting Budd.
Since 1989, Cleveland Improv has lived up to the lofty reputation of its parent club by showcasing comedic heavyweights such as Drew Carey, Jim Breuer, and Dave Chappelle. A diverse calendar draws instantly recognizable comics from the airwaves of Showtime, the E! channel, and Comedy Central—including Tommy Davidson, Godfrey, and Christina Pazsitzky—but it also opens the stage to promising up-and-comers such as "Uncle" Larry Reeb, Craig Doyle, and Cleveland's own Mike Polk Jr. Meanwhile, the menu surprises audiences with gourmet flavors including wings doused in blueberry-habañero sauce and bleu cheese and applewood bacon-topped burgers.
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."
More than half a century ago, three partners raised a vibrant, multicolored tent on an underdeveloped industrial site and established the Westbury Music Fair. It followed its first production, The King and I, with a decade of top-name talent and Broadway musicals. Then, recognizing its place on the theater scene was permanent, it planted its roots as a fully enclosed theater-in-the-round. Expanding its repertoire to match its new digs, the theater showcased performers such as The Who, Bruce Springsteen, and Julie Andrews. Today, past a lounge blazing in purple and red lights, guests find that same circular stage hosting equally great musical acts, musical theater, and competitive musical chairs.