FROM BALLET & PLAYS TO ROCK & ROLL, ANYTHING GOES AT GILBERT’S PERFORMANCE VENUES
Let’s say you want to relive the folk-rock era of the 1960s with a concert by Roger McGuinn or Art Garfunkel. Maybe enjoying Meet Me in St. Louis or reveling in holiday cheer with The Nutcracker is more your style. Perhaps you like to kick back with a glass of wine and listen to some acoustic guitar.
If you like live music, dance, or theater, Gilbert gives you cause for applause. The town has performance venues large and small that cater to a variety of tastes. Here are just a few.
The 35,000-square-foot Higley Center for the Performing Arts (Instagram @higleycenter) is one of the area’s largest venues, with a concert hall that seats 1,235. Opened in 2006, it has showcased the aforementioned McGuinn and Garfunkel, and offers about a dozen touring shows during each fall to spring season, including the annual Nutcracker ballet as performed by the Southwest Youth Ballet and a live orchestra. This year, look for performances by shadow dance troupe Catapult, plus a one-man play about Charles Lindbergh.
The Hale Centre Theatre (@haletheatreaz), located right in the middle of Gilbert’s downtown Heritage District, opened its 11,000-square-foot venue in 2003. The 365-seat theater, with plush seating in the round and a lobby concession stand, is one of five theaters in the West founded in 1947 by aspiring actors Ruth and Nathan Hale. Still family-run and drawing actors from the community, the Gilbert location features a year-round season of family-friendly entertainment like the recently presented Meet Me in St. Louis. This year, look for upbeat shows that include No, No, Nanette and Sister Act.
Want a few adult beverages with your music? Locally owned Cuisine & Wine Bistro (@cuisineandwinebistro) pairs live performances with a French-inspired seasonal menu and an impressive selection of boutique wines and craft beer. Enjoy the grooves—ranging from pop to jazz and beyond—every Friday and Saturday night. JC’s Steakhouse (@jcssteakhouse) turns it up a notch with live classic rock and a little country on Friday and Saturday nights. The tunes perfectly complement the American menu featuring such beef cuts as porterhouse and rib eye, as well as Alaskan king crab and lobster tail.
For something a bit more rowdy, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row (@whiskeyrowgilbert) is one of the newer additions to the Heritage District. The rambling indoor/outdoor restaurant with a vast central bar has plenty of elbow room so you can grab a burger, have a craft beer, and rock out–even dance–to jammin’ country music. DJs spin tunes nightly, and a live band takes the stage every Saturday. Settle in for the show on comfy orange sofas or enjoy a drink over yard games such as cornhole or ping pong. Don’t forget to wear your cowboy boots.
Venues large and small cater to a variety of tastes.
Fun for all ages, Gilbert’s Downtown Concert Series—held March through May and again in October and November—brings live music performances to the outdoor Water Tower Plaza in the heart of the Heritage District. Pack a picnic or dine at one of the many nearby restaurants, then spread out a blanket and enjoy local bands that perform in a variety of musical genres. During fall’s Gilbert Off The Street Art and Music Festival in the Heritage District, live bands entertain on two stages during a weekend also filled with craft vendors, food trucks, street performers, and demonstrations by chalk artists.
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