Manhattan's Broadway is one of the world's great theater centers, offering everything from lavish musicals to experimental productions. The city is also one of the world's best places for music, opera and dance. Upstate marquees light the winter months with regional and local theater, light opera and modern dance, dramas and musicals, and Broadway's top touring companies.
The arts refuse to hibernate at famous venues like glittering Shea‘s Smith Theatre in Buffalo, one of two venues in the Shea‘s Performing Art Center hosting Broadway musicals and theater productions year round.
Located in the state's central southern tier, Mandeville Hall and majestic Powers Theater anchor the Clemens Center in Elmira, the region‘s premier performing arts center. Mandeville Hall is a flexible black box venue suitable for intimate performances, while the newly restored Powers Theater celebrates vaudevillian-era grandeur with magnificent murals, gold-leaf and reconstructed opera boxes that recapture the theater's original 1925 grandeur. This 1,618-seat palace has been called the most beautiful theater between New York City and Buffalo.
In Geneva, audiences throughout the Finger Lakes flock to famed Smith Opera House on Seneca Lake, one of the most acoustically perfect performance spaces in the state. Comedy fans will find laughter at Rochester's Geva Theatre Center, host to comedy improv that never strikes the same funny bone twice because every show's unique.
Syracuse visitors find endless entertainment at the John H. Mulroy Civic Center Theaters at the OnCenter, home to the Syracuse Symphony and Opera, and at the Syracuse Stage with productions of the beloved family classic A Christmas Carol, Outer Critics Circle Award winner The Whipping Man, and Chinglish, a comedy about the misadventures of miscommunication, performed in the 499-seat Archbold Theatre. The Landmark, designed by renowned theater architect Thomas Lamb, also graces this city. Heralded as "the last word in theatrical ornateness and luxuriousness" at its 1928 opening, the giant amphitheater wows up to 2900 guests with marble, terrazzo, tapestries, chandeliers and exotic furnishings.
Utica is proud of its Stanley Theatre, another Lamb design in a style dubbed "Mexican Baroque" because of its unique blend of styles. A terra cotta and tiled mosaic exterior disguises a lavish gold leaf baroque interior with Moorish star-splashed ceiling and twisted columns flanking a stage graced by performers from Harry Connick Jr. to Jerry Seinfeld, the Utica Symphony and Mohawk Valley Ballet.
No list would be complete without legendary Proctors Theatre in Schenectady, the premiere performing arts facility in the state's Capital Region. Proctors has grown to a multi-venue art center. Built in 1926, its newly expanded Main Stage is a frequent stop for national Broadway touring productions as well as musical artists, comedians, dance groups, opera and symphony. The GE Theatre is a multi-purpose black box for cabaret events, complete with a giant Iwerks 35' by 50' screen, the largest movie screen in the region. And for informal, intimate and improvisational fare, there's Underground at Proctors.
Visitors to Ithaca will appreciate its innovatively designed Hangar Theatre, a renovated municipal airport hangar. In Poughkeepsie, the state's oldest continuously operating theater and home to the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, the 1869 Bardavon Opera House, continues to define upstate performing arts as it enters its 144th year. The Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) in Kingston, will offer performances by Jim Brickman and Joe Bonamassa.
And we've barely brushed the footlights. With over 100 more amateur theaters and seasoned acting companies complementing our major venues, every winter evening entertains in upstate New York, a state that defines theater.