New Haven is Connecticut’s center for the arts and music. The enormously successful “International Festival of Arts and Ideas” is a three week long celebration of arts and music that fills indoor and outdoor venues daily with dance, discussion, drama, film, art, and music. Headline acts have included free outdoor performances by Yo-Yo Ma, Harry Belafonte, and the NY Metropolitan Opera. Throughout the city are many clubs and venues that offer live pop, rock, and alternative acts. For example, Toad’s Place, one of the country’s best-known nightclubs, features artists from all genres; even Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones have appeared at this special club. Yale’s own “GPSCY” (Graduate and Professional Student Center at Yale, pronounced “Gypsy”), owned and operated by Yale graduate and professional students, hosts its own live acts throughout the year.
For classical music lovers, New Haven maintains one of the most active classical music performance schedules anywhere outside New York. There are several local orchestras, including the Yale Symphony Orchestra, the Yale Philharmonic Orchestra, the Yale Concert Band, Orchestra New England, and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the third oldest orchestra of its kind in the country. The world famous Yale School of Music hosts several orchestral and chamber concert series that continually attract top artists from around the world. There is a summer chamber music series at the Yale-owned Ellen Battelle Stoeckel estate in scenic Norfolk, Connecticut, as well as many faculty and student recital series.
The city’s Shubert Theater is famous for launching The King and I, The Sound of Music, and countless other famous musicals that world-premiered in New Haven. Today the theater continues its tradition of debuting productions that go on to become Broadway hits and also books dramas, dance, and Broadway touring productions. The Long Wharf Theatre spotlights works written by the likes of John Guare, Al Pacino, and David Rabe and performed by personalities that include Julie Harris, Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, Joanne Woodward, and Sam Waterston. The Yale Repertory Theatre remains at the cutting edge of American theater, and the Yale Cabaret offers dinner theater at very reasonable prices. The Elm Shakespeare troupe brings free outdoor theater to New Haven audiences each summer.