Upcoming Lehigh Valley Arts Box Office Performances

lehigh-valley-arts-council-box-office.jpgBach & Handel Chorale:

April 26th: 30th Anniversary Concert Gala

Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem

April 11th: Daedalus Quartet

April 25th: Gryphon Trio

May 16th: Walden Chamber Players

Moravian College Music Institute

April 4th: Moravian College Wind Ensemble

April 6th: Moravian College Community Orchestra

April 12th: Jazz @ Moravian

Moravian College Theatre Company

April 25th & 26th: Jesus Christ Superstar

PA Sinfonia Orchestra

April 12: Chamber Orchestra – All Nature Sings

Click here for more information and tickets: http://lvartsboxoffice.org/

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Muhlenberg College Dancers To Perform At National Festival

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ALLENTOWN, PA — “Key,” a dance work performed by Muhlenberg College dance students and choreographed by longtime Muhlenberg guest choreographer Charlotte Boye-Christensen, has been selected for inclusion at the National College Dance Festival, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington, D.C.

The work was selected by the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), which presents the National Festival. The five-member cast will perform in the festival June 5-7.

“Key” is one of just 31 dance works to be selected for the festival, from among 506 submissions nationwide. It was one of only three selected from the 45 works performed at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, March 17-20.

ACDFA holds 12 annual regional conferences around the country, and holds the National College Dance Festival every other year. Muhlenberg’s dance program has been included in five of the seven national festivals in the past 14 years.

“The conference gives us national exposure, and enhances the reputation of the program,” says Karen Dearborn, professor and chair of the dance program for Muhlenberg’s Theatre and Dance Department. “Especially because we’re a small liberal arts school, people tend to be absolutely shocked at how accomplished our dancers are. We’re competing against BFA and master’s degree programs and conservatories.”

A native of Copenhagen, Denmark, Boye-Christensen is best known as the former artistic director of the renowned Ryrie-Woodbury Dance Company, a position she held from 2008 until April 2013, when she stepped away from the role in order to form NOW-ID, an interdisciplinary contemporary dance company. Boye-Christensen has been commissioned to create new dance works by prestigious dance companies around the world.

“‘Key’ was inspired by the life and music of Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, an artist who epitomizes strength, originality and vulnerability,” Boye-Christensen says. “To strive for such excellence and profound artistry in one’s work, as he did, is deeply inspiring.”

“Key” features dancers  Allison Berger ’14, Katharine Dougherty ’14, Gwynne Jones ’15, Krysta Parker ’16 and Annabel Williams ’14. It was initially performed as part of Muhlenberg’s “Master Choreographers” concert in February 2014.

“It was an absolute joy for me to re-create ‘Key’ on the dancers at Muhlenberg,” Boye-Christensen says. “They came to the work with a tremendous amount of physicality, attention to detail and, perhaps most importantly, musicality. Congratulations to them, Karen and the rest of the dance faculty.”

The five dancers in the piece hail from five different states: Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. All five are dance majors, and three are double-majors, in biology, anthropology, and English.

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of about 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The College offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. Princeton ranks Muhlenberg’s theater program first in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

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New Visions Emerging Artists’ Festival At Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA – Emerging theatrical talents will be on display in Muhlenberg College‘s “New Visions” Emerging Artists’ Festival, featuring plays directed by four senior directing students in the college’s Department of Theatre & Dance.

Presented by the college every other year, the “New Visions” festival features rarely produced, avant-garde works for theater, and offers a rare opportunity for audiences to see the work of the next generation of up-and-coming theater artists. This year’s festival includes three productions, performed in repertory. Benjamin Wald directs Tom Stoppard’s rarely produced “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.” Alex McKhann directs “Still Life with Iris,” Steven Dietz’s fantastical adventure for young audiences. Matt Dicken will perform the world premiere of his one-man play “butyou’reaman, or The Seven Men I Came Out to in India,” directed by Arthur Strimling.

The festival runs Wednesday through Sunday, March 19-23. “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” and “butyou’reaman” will be performed together for a single ticket price, March 19, 20 and 22 at 8 p.m. and March 23 at 2 p.m. “Still Life with Iris” will be performed March 21 at 8 p.m. and March 22 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

In “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” Soviet dissident Alexander Ivanov has been imprisoned in a mental hospital until he admits that the statements he has made against the government were caused by a mental disorder. He shares a cell with a schizophrenic triangle player who believes he is in command of a symphony orchestra. Stoppard’s politically charged black comedy serves as a powerful fable about truth and dissent and as an absurd fantasia, set to the music inside your head.

An out-since-age-13 American man, playwright and actor Matt Dicken navigates the cultural dangers of staging his recent travels in India as stories for an audience in the USA. Evoking intimate landscapes rich with political and sensual variety, Dicken asks what it means to find love in a yet-to-be-legalized body.

“Still Life with Iris” centers on a little girl’s search for the simplest of things: home. Iris lives with her mom in the land of Nocturno—a magical place in which the workers make, by night, all of the things we see in the world by day. In Nocturno, memories reside not in people’s minds but in their coats. In their desire to have the best of everything, the rulers of Nocturno take Iris away from her home to be their daughter. To ease the pain of this separation, they remove her memory coat, leaving her with no recollection of her home or family. All that remains of her past is a single button. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

Tickets for either performance (“Still Life with Iris” or the combined “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” and “butyou’reaman”) are $15 for adults and $8 for LVAIC students, faculty and staff and for patrons 17 and under. Combination tickets, including both performances, are $20 for adults, $12 for students, faculty and staff, and can be used for any two performances.

Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Performance information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre

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Upcoming Lehigh Valley Arts Box Office Performances

Moravian College Music Institute
Black diamond (cards)February 9: Lou Lanza, jazz vocalist “Billy Joel Songbook…Jazz Style”
Black diamond (cards)Feburary 15: The Empty Bell-Shakuhachi Music, Faculty Recital with Nora Suggs on shakuhachi flute
Black diamond (cards)February 16: Seasons of the Heart with Suzanne Kompass, soprano
Black diamond (cards)February 21: Moravian College Wind Ensemble
Black diamond (cards)February 23: Community Orchestra with Jesus Morales
Black diamond (cards)March 16: Moravian College Woman’s Chorus

Moravian College Theatre Company
Black diamond (cards)February 13, 14, 15, 16: Hello Herman

PA Sinfonia Orchestra
Black diamond (cards)February 22: Sinfonia Virtuosi

Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem
Black diamond (cards) 
March 14: Cuarteto Quiroga 

Lehigh Valley Arts Council box office

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Steel River Playhouse’s New Artist Director Can Do It All

Picture 577Actor, director, producer, playwright, teacher — Steel River Playhouse’s new artist director Gene Terruso is comfortable in all those roles. But that was not always the case.

Unlike so many theater people, despite his mother’s unflagging encouragement, he was not dying to get on stage. In fact he studiously avoided it until high school.

Terruso grew up in a West Philadelphia neighborhood and back then, it wasn’t cool to be a theater geek.

Trying out for shows, “was not a manly thing to do,” he said with a bemused smile.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/lifestyle/20140125/steel-river-playhouses-new-artist-director-can-do-it-all

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Muhlenberg Honors Mildred Greene In Costume Retrospective

 

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA – Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance will remember Mildred Greene, long-time costumer and costume designer, with a special exhibition of her work Feb. 5-27. The exhibition, titled “It Fits, You’ll Wear It & Love It,” will honor Greene’s impact on the department and its productions.


Greene built and designed costumes for the Theatre & Dance Department and Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre from 1979 until her retirement in 2003. During her 24-year career at Muhlenberg, she designed and produced thousands of costumes for the stage.


The exhibition will feature costumes as well as photographs of Greene’s design repertoire spanning her Muhlenberg career. A free reception for the exhibition will be held Friday, Feb. 7 from 4 to 6 p.m.


Greene’s skill, expertise, and no-nonsense charm endeared her to her colleagues and hundreds of students, according to Curtis Dretsch, professor of design and technical theater.


“Mildred could do more, with less, more quickly than anyone else I’ve ever known,” Dretsch says.


Greene was destined to create costumes for the stage, as her father was an upholsterer and her mother sewed clothing and dance costumes for the family. She worked in New York City during World War II as a pattern maker for McCall’s Pattern Company while also work in alterations shops honing her construction skills.


Reviewers consistently praised Greene’s work throughout her career. “Mildred Greene’s costumes deserve to be kept on display as examples of theater art even after audiences can no longer enjoy the sterling play they frame,” wrote Morning Call theater critic John Flautz in his 1988 review of “The School for Scandal.” “They are nothing short of stunning!”


Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review has ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program as in the top twelve in the nation for the past seven years, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.


“It Fits, You’ll Wear It & Love It” runs Feb. 5-27. The exhibition will take place in the Galleria Lobby, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

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Muhlenberg Guest Artist Doppelskope Offers Existential Therapy Session — With Puppets

doppelskopeAllentown, PA — The performance duo Doppelskope — Ora Fruchter and Muhlenberg alum Christopher Scheer ’07 — brings its trademark show “An Existential Sing-Along” to the Muhlenberg College campus, Oct. 8 and 9.

The Scheer describes Doppelskope as “an interactive and absurd neo-vaudeville theater group that makes wild, freewheeling new shows with puppetry, magic and clown in order to splatter your reality in an hour or less.”

The duo employs whimsical performance techniques to explore obsession, anxiety and uncertainty. Scheer says that the interactive show features nightly raffles, giveaways, and choose-your-own-adventures, and that “after you leave ‘An Existential Sing-Along’ your perspective and/or marital status will never be the same again.”

“These two slightly off-the-wall and uninhibited artists take the personalized human experience and condition to an entirely new level,” writes Alan Vetter in the Taos (N.M.) News. “Singularly, Scheer and Fruchter’s energy are downright enchanting, but together, they put forth what appears to be mind-numbing brilliance.”

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review has ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program as in the top twelve in the nation for the past seven years, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

Performances of “An Existential Sing-Along” are Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 9 at 7 and 9 p.m. All tickets are $8. Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

‘New Voices’ World Premiere Festival At Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA – From the minds of four emerging playwrights comes Muhlenberg College‘s “New Voices,” an evening of world premiere theater that includes three short plays and one original musical.

“This season, four excellent plays promise an evening of entertainment and deep psychological engagement,” says Matthew Moore, Muhlenberg faculty member and the artistic director for the production.

“New Voices” plays Oct. 2-6 on Muhlenberg’s Studio Theatre stage.

In “Sinternet! The Musical,” a college professor sells his soul to the devil in exchange for the destruction of the internet. Josh Shapiro ’13 wrote the book and lyrics, with music by Jakeim Hart ’16 and Richie Kormos ’16. Moore directs the play, with choreography by Meredith Testa ’14.

In “Restroom Rehearsal,” Jeremy Russial ’13 explores the idea of what it means to be honest—in the women’s restroom. Jeremy Borut ’14 directs. Pricking,” by Eliana Sagarin ’14, tells the story of three young people trying to cope with feelings they can’t understand in the wake of their friend’s death. Jenna Spiwack ’14 directs. And in “Superhuman,” by Zachary Shery ’14, four people endowed with extraordinary powers struggle to find their place in the world. Alyssa Trombitas ’14 directs.

“The pieces speak greatly to the voices of a maturing generation,” Spiwack says. “But I think everyone will be able to find a moment that holds true to their experience at any age, and that’s what I think makes the experience so powerful.”

The New Voices Playwright’s Festival is presented every other year as a part of the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Mainstage season. The festival provides emerging young playwrights the opportunity to showcase their work in a collaborative and intimate environment. It also offers a rare opportunity for audiences to see the work of the next generation of up-and-coming theater artists.

“I am proud to facilitate the performance of these important student works,” Moore says. “The ‘New Voices’ festival represents this department’s dedication to providing students with professional experience. For the playwrights, this is a unique opportunity to develop a work and see it though from conception to staging.”

MuhlenbergCollege is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review has ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program as in the top twelve in the nation for the past seven years, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

Performances of “New Voices” are Oct. 2-6: Wednesday through Friday, Oct. 2-4, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 5, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students. Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. For mature audiences.

New Offerings! Open House & Registration – Sept 7 & 8 At Steel River Playhouse

Picture 577We’ve changed things up but kept your favorites!  Join us Saturday, Sept 7 and Sunday, Sept 8 from 12 noon to 3:00 pm.  Meet the teachers, try a sample class, tour the facility, enjoy refreshments!

NEW THIS FALL: STAGE COMBAT, MUSICAL THEATER AUDITION WORKSHOPS, COMMERCIAL ACTING FOR TV, GUITAR CALISTHENICS, SONGWRITING, CONTEMPORARY PIANO, GROUP GUITAR, TEEN SCENES WITH ROBB, ACTING/MUSIC THEATRE COLLEGE PREP, and so much more!

For our 2013-14 Education Calendar, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Group Classes, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Private Lessons, CLICK HERE.

Steel River website: http://www.steelriver.org/

Muhlenberg College’s Acclaimed Theatre & Dance Department Anounces 2013-2014 Season

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ALLENTOWN, PA — Muhlenberg Muhlenberg College‘s nationally-ranked Theatre & Dance Department announces its 2013-2014 mainstage season. Highlights include works ranging from Shakespeare to Caryl Churchill, a biannual festival of student-written plays, and a murder mystery musical comedy.

The season features six fully mounted theatrical productions and three mainstage dance concerts, running from October 2013 to April 2014.

“This exciting season features the new and the newly imagined,” says Beth Schachter, newly-appointed chair of the department. “We are presenting world premieres and fresh versions of classics, spanning international topics and American issues through comedic and serious projects.”

The season begins with “New Voices,” Oct. 2-6, a new-play festival featuring the work of students and alumni. The festival features four world premiere plays, with Muhlenberg faculty member Matthew Moore as artistic director.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” Oct. 25 through Nov. 3, directed by Charles Richter, is the musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ final, unfinished novel, filled with mistaken identity, humor, and audience participation. And since the story is unfinished, the audience gets to vote at each performance on how the play will end.

“Moving Stories,” Nov. 14-16, features original choreography by the department’s upperclass dance majors, in a variety of genres and styles. The concert showcases dance as storytelling, narration in human form, addressing themes as broad ranging as the students’ own diverse backgrounds. Karen Dearborn serves as artistic director.

Shakespeare’s rarely produced “The Winter’s Tale,” Nov. 20-24, shows the Bard at his most brilliantly experimental. Director Troy Dwyer’s lean, quick-paced re-envisioning will feature original music and dance by Muhlenberg student artists.

“Master Choreographers,” Feb. 6-8, with artistic direction by Karen Dearborn, features seven works by faculty and guest artists, including a restaging of “D-Man in the Waters” by acclaimed choreographer Bill T. Jones. The “D-Man” performance will be the culmination of a residency by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, sponsored by the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation.

“The Learned Ladies,” Feb 20-23, directed by James Peck, is one of the most popular comedies of 17th century playwright Molière. A satire of academic pretention, the play will feature a faculty spotlight performance by Francine Roussel in the role of Belise.

The “New Visions” Directors’ Festival, March 19-23, will feature the work of three student theater artists. The festival includes: Tom Stoppard’s “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” directed by Ben Wald ’14; “butyou’reaman” a one-person show by Matt Dicken about his experience as a gay man visiting India; and “Still Life with Iris,” directed by Alex McKhann, Muhlenberg’s first mainstage student-directed children’s show.

“Dance Emerge,” April 10-13, showcases the ideas and talents of our brightest young choreographers. The intimate Dance Studio Theatre is the backdrop for innovative, explorative dance pieces. Artistic direction is by Corrie Franz Cowart.

Caryl Churchill’s “Mad Forest,” April 24-26, directed by Beth Schachter, is a play of romance and politics, bookended by weddings. Set during and after the 1989 Romanian Revolution, the play uses the tale of two families to evoke the internal psychological landscapes of people suffering under oppression. The production features a faculty spotlight performance by Holly Cate.

The mainstage performance series is produced by Muhlenberg College’s acclaimed Theatre & Dance Department, Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

Discounts are available for packages of four or more productions. Tickets and information: 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre&dance

Steel River Playhouse Annual Gala

Picture 577Join us for The event of the season!!

Annual Gala

June 7, 2013

6:00 PM

This dynamic event will honor Susan and Scott Bentley, local philanthropists and prinicpal owners of the high tech company, VideoRay.  We will also be recognizing our Artistic Director, Deborah Stimson-Snow, recipient of the 2013 Advocacy For Equal Opportunity Award from the PA Human Rights Commission.

Event includes live entertainment, wonderful refreshments from local food establishments including Sly Fox Brewery, Clique Vodka, Lindt Chocolates, Cutillo’s, Baird’s, Moyer’s and many more, a performance of the hit Broadway musical, La Cage aux Folles, and a grand light show and musical reprise outside on High Street.  It will once again be the “event of the season”!

$75 per person (price includes ticket to La Cage aux Folles)

$50 per person (Gala only)

Space is limited to so make your reservations now! Email Gala Invitation

SPONSORSHIPS:

Your sponsorship will provide much-needed programming and operations support for our current and upcoming season. Sponsor acknowledgement will appear in theatre programs throughout our 2013-14 Season, and include many other exciting perks.

We are very grateful for your support of Steel River Playhouse through the sponsorship of our Annual Gala. Every sponsorship level includes tickets to our Season Finale production of the Broadway hit musical, La Cage aux Folles running June 6 – 23.  Your sponsorship will make this and many more programs possible at Steel River Playhouse.

Sponsorship opportunites are now available!  Annual Gala Sponsorship Package

marybeth@steelriver.org or call Mary Beth Kerekes at 216-577-0269.

Muhlenberg’s ‘Marriage of Figaro’ Brings Beaumarchais’s 18th Century Comedy To A Modern Audience

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, Pa – “The Marriage of Figaro” is known worldwide to opera aficionados and Bugs Bunny fans from the opera composed by W.A. Mozart. Less well-known to modern audiences is the 1784 comedy by French playwright Beaumarchais, upon which Mozart based his opera.

The Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance Department will present the Beaumarchais play as the finale to its 2012-13 Mainstage Series, April 25-28. Directed by Francine Roussel, the production will feature an original score by composer and musician Mike Krisukas, known to Lehigh Valley audiences as the guitarist and lead songwriter for the band Zen For Primates.

“‘The Marriage of Figaro’ is so well built, the characters so real, and the spirit of the play so uplifting that it deserves exposure to an American audience,” Roussel says. “Opera buffs may know the Mozart classic, but less often the play on which it is based. On Beaumarchais’ behalf, we hope to rectify that inequity.”

Writing a few years before the French Revolution, Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais pours his rage at the aristocracy into “The Marriage of Figaro,” which manages equal parts hilarity and outrage. First produced in 1784, the play was a sequel to “The Barber of Seville,” picking up three years after the wedding of the Count and Countess that concludes that play. Now Figaro, the Count’s valet, plans to marry, but the Count has tired of his lovely Countess and lusts for Figaro’s bride-to-be, Suzanne. He determines to revive the ancient “droit du seigneur” — the lord of the manor’s right to bed any new bride on her wedding night.

Figaro, Suzanne and the Countess concoct a counter-plot, but the Count’s page, Cherubin, makes hash of it through his passionate crush on the Countess. The multiple layers of misunderstanding yield what Roussel calls “one of the most perfect farce scenes of all time,” in one of the most scathing critiques of aristocratic privilege ever written.

“Le droit du seigneur — while anathema to modern sensibilities — was the ‘natural order’ for the aristocracy in much of 18th century Europe,” Roussel says. “Beaumarchais had the temerity to write a comedy about this shocking practice, subtly undermining class privilege, exposing gender inequalities, and revolutionizing the condition of women. Danton claimed that ‘Figaro killed off the nobility.’ Perhaps — but with laughter, not the guillotine.”

Krisukas says his starting point for the show’s original score was his and Roussel’s mutual interest in Spanish flamenco styles.

“Part of the excitement in entering a new artistic project is the opportunity to be quickly thrust into a new world,” Krisukas says. “It’s like going on a journey and immersing yourself in some new land with its own culture, language, history and artistic perspective.”

The production also features original choreography by Nina Pongratz, scenic and lighting design by Curtis Dretsch, and costume design by Liz Covey.

“All Will End with Joyful Songs: A Panel Discussion” will be held Thursday, April 25, at 12:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall, Baker Center for the Arts. This discussion will provide unique perspectives on the content and context of “The Marriage of Figaro.” Theatre professor James Peck and French professor Kathy Wixon will moderate the discussion. The panel will include Roussel, Krisukas, Pongratz, and students of Wixon’s French Theatre of the Resistance course.

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

Performances of “The Marriage of Figaro” are April 25-28: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for LVAIC students, faculty and staff and for patrons 17 and under.

Performances are in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Performance information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre.

Mental Landscapes, March 20-24 At Muhlenberg‏ College

‘New Visions’ Directors’ Festival to showcase promising young directors

March 20-24 festival includes ‘Iphigenia and Other Daughters,’ evening of one-act plays

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, Pa – Emerging directorial talents will be on display in Muhlenberg College‘s “New Visions” Directors’ Festival, featuring plays directed by four senior directing students in the college’s Department of Theatre & Dance.

Presented by the college every other year, the “New Visions” festival features rarely-produced, avant-garde works for theater, and offers a rare opportunity for audiences to see the work of the next generation of up-and-coming theater artists. This year’s festival includes two productions, performed in repertory: Ellen McLaughlin’s “Iphigenia and Other Daughters,” directed by Danielle Barlow, and “Mental Landscapes,” an evening of three one-act plays directed by Jimmy Morgan, Abby Wylan, and Riva Rubenoff.

The festival runs Wednesday through Sunday, March 20-24. “Iphigenia and Other Daughters” will be performed Wednesday and Friday at 7 p.m., Thursday and Saturday at 10 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. “Mental Landscapes” will be performed Wednesday and Friday at 10 p.m., Thursday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m.

“Iphigenia and Other Daughters,” McLaughlin’s poetic modern adaptation of the legend of Agamemnon and the aftermath of the Trojan War, offers a provocative feminist perspective on a story of lust, fury, sacrifice and rebellion. The “good girl” of the bloodiest family in Greek legend, Iphigenia is sent in a time of suffering and war as a sacrifice to appease the gods. She is saved at the eleventh hour, but by then her family has spiraled into vengeful obsession and self-destruction.

“Mental Landscapes” includes three plays that explore the topography of the world in our heads, the anxiety of forging a path through it, and the uncertainty that lies beyond. Morgan directs “The Man Who Turned Into a Stick,” by Kobo Abe. Wylan directs “Intermission,” by Will Eno. Rubenoff directs “Rough for Theatre II,” by Samuel Beckett.

Both evenings are intended for mature audiences.

MuhlenbergCollege is a liberal arts college of 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

Tickets for either “Iphigenia and Other Daughters” or “Mental Landscapes” are $15 for adults and $8 for LVAIC students, faculty and staff and for patrons 17 and under. Combination tickets, including both performances, are $20 for adults, $12 for students, faculty and staff, and can be used for any two performances. Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, MuhlenbergCollege, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Performance information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre

Muhlenberg’s ‘Bartholomew Fair’ Offers ‘Mix Of Punk And Puritan,’ Still Relevant 400 Years After Debut

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, Pa. – For years, Muhlenberg College theater students have looked forward to working with Kevin Crawford, a professor at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. Now, Crawford brings his unique brand of physical theater to the Muhlenberg Mainstage with Ben Jonson‘s over-the-top comedy “Bartholomew Fair.”

One of Europe’s premiere schools for the performing arts, Accademia dell’Arte is a popular study-abroad location for Muhlenberg theater and dance majors. Kevin Crawford has worked with Muhlenberg students since 2002 as a professor at the Accademia and currently directs the school’s Master of Fine Arts program in physical theater. Crawford makes his Muhlenberg directing debut.

The production runs Feb. 21-24 in the Baker Theatre at Muhlenberg. Crawford and musician Caroline Boersma are this season’s Baker Artists-in-Residence, sponsored by the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation.

Jonson’s 1614 play is “a noisy, exuberant slice of Jacobean life,” Crawford says.  Depicting a day in the 17th century life of the Fair, the play pits Puritan excesses against the cruder vices and pleasures of the Fair’s underclass — the thieves, swindlers, prostitutes and pimps who thrived there.

“It’s about the upper-class society meeting the underbelly at the Fair and what happens when they interact,” Crawford says. “Madmen become prophets. Prophets humiliate themselves and gradually become madmen themselves. It’s a mix of punk, puritan, and opposition. Clean versus dirty.”

Crawford says that despite its 17th century origins, the story still resonates with modern audiences. Crawford wants to take the world of “Bartholomew Fair,” Jonson’s last great comedy, and show exactly how relevant it still is today.

 “I’ve done ‘Bartholomew Fair’ before with students and I liked it,” Crawford says. “I was attracted to its language and its time. It’s a contemporary of ‘The Tempest,’ but a bit more racy. It’s quite unusual. … It’s a comedy, definitely not a heavy piece. It’s a fun piece.

“The thing that’s fun for me is watching this 400-year-old text just bursting to life. It’s like a firework display.”

Kevin Crawford is a founding member of the Roy Hart Theatre Company, whose groundbreaking influence on contemporary voice-work for theater is internationally recognized. He toured extensively with the company for more than 20 years, during which time the company received several prestigious prizes including an Obie Award in New York and the Prix Jean Vilar at The Printemps des Comédiens.

Crawford’s Accademia colleague, Boersma will provide original musical arrangements to the production. Her unique score uses music from the early 1600s, which she will accompany on cello, along with vocal and instrumental performances by the actors themselves. Boersma is coordinator of the music program at the Accademia dell’Arte, where she also teaches,

The music is important because it’s written into the show,” Boersma says. “Characters are always singing. It’s quite integrated. For me as a musician, it’s always interesting to work with theater. It adds a dimension.”

The show will also feature Muhlenberg faculty member Holly Cate in the role of Ursula, the Pig Woman. Cate describes Ursula as a grandmother figure to the Fair participants.

“Ursula is mean and nasty,” she says, “but she also takes care of everyone, and they take care of her.”

She describes the humor as “funny and bawdy,” with extreme characters and outrageous situations, and she says audiences will empathize with the characters’ faults and hypocrisies, as well as their successes.

 “It’s like Monty Python in 1605,” she says.

Cate originally signed on to do the show because she wanted the opportunity to work with Crawford.

“If he wanted me to read from the telephone book, that is what I would do and I would have been delighted,” Cate says. “He’s fabulous. It’s incredible to be in the room with an artist of his caliber and a teacher of his caliber.”

Faculty member Tim Averill’s scenic design will add another dimension to the show. Recently returned from sabbatical during which he explored ways in which sustainability can be incorporated into the theatrical process, Averill seeks to keep the production as eco-friendly as possible.

“Limitation is a path to creativity,” Averill says. “Sustainable theater happens when conscious choices to be sustainable are part of the artistic aesthetic.”

Averill’s set design will use elements from previous productions as well as found objects that will be modified for the show. In addition, all the paint on set will be water based, not petroleum based, and he will use the least amount of “new stuff” possible to create a hand-crafted aesthetic, he says.

Averill hopes to use “Bartholomew Fair” as an example of how a designer can preserve production values while also creating a sustainable piece of theater.

“I’m excited about the challenge of the production,” Averill says, “and I’m excited to be part of a process that puts fun out into the world.”

Both Averill and Crawford have tried to incorporate fun into every aspect of the show, from the rehearsal and design processes to the performance itself. For Cate, the process has shown her how accessible the humor in the script really is.

“Kevin has a love for the language, which is rich and nasty and fabulous and profane,” Cate says. “I think it’s going to be like a little confection that everyone is going to enjoy. It’s going to be very funny — a grand experiment.”

“Bartholomew Fair” will feature costume design by guest artist Annie Simon and lighting design by Gertjan Houben. Molly Serpi is the production stage manager.

Performances of “Bartholomew Fair” are Feb. 21–24: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for patrons 17 and under and LVAIC students, faculty, and staff. Performances are in the Baker Theater, Trexler Pavilion for Theater and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Muhlenberg Theater & Dance performance information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 orwww.muhlenberg.edu/main/academics/theatre-dance/

Theaters, Playhouses Fear Financial Problems And Technical Demands Will Lower Their Curtains

At Oyster Mill Playhouse, the aging rooftop heating and air conditioning system is threatening to stage a death scene worthy of “King Lear.”

With audiences — and therefore revenues — down, there’s no money for a replacement, so managers of the not-for-profit community theater in East Pennsboro Twp. are hoping the community will donate about $25,000 to keep Oyster Mill going for another year.

“Like many other theaters, we are having our financial problems,” said Howard Hurwitz, vice president of the 91-seat theater’s board of directors. “This year has been kind of a bad year. We just haven’t been getting the attendance. We used to sell out on opening nights, but now we are lucky if we get the theater half-full.”

Oyster Mill is far from alone.

Read more:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/11/oyster_mill_playhouse_theaters.html

Muhlenberg Theatre And Dance Launches 2012-13 Season

Mainstage season will feature seven theater productions, three dance concerts, including a world premiere play

Allentown, Pa. (Sept. 11, 2012)—The Muhlenberg College Department of Theatre & Dance will open its 2012-13 Mainstage season later this month, with the first of seven theater productions and three dance concerts. Last September, the department was named the No. 1 theater production program in the country for 2012, by The Princeton Review.

The season is as follows. Ticket information for all production follows the listings.

“44 Plays for 44 Presidents”

Sept. 29 – Oct. 3

by The Neo-Futurists

production artistic director: Troy Dwyer

in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance

This raucous theatrical mosaic of the U.S. presidency tours the audience through a fractured funhouse of 44 short, non-realist plays, each inspired by a different president. The plays range in length from seconds to several minutes, in tone from poetic to slapstick, and in style from song-and-dance to cowboy western.

Performances are Sept. 29 through Oct. 3: Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Monday through Wednesday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Youth and campus tickets are $8, including students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.

Saturday, Sept. 29, 8 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 30, 2 and 8 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 1, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 8 p.m.

“On the Town”

Oct. 26 – Nov. 4

music by Leonard Bernstein

book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green

based on an idea by Jerome Robbins

directed by Charles Richter; musical director, Ed Bara; choreographer, Karen Dearborn

in the Empie Theatre, BakerCenter for the Arts

“On the Town” is a love letter to the Big Apple by four iconic talents of the American musical theater. Three sailors look for love and excitement on a one-day pass in New York City, in this 1940s blockbuster, featuring superb dancing, a gorgeous musical score, and zingy book and lyrics.

Performances are Oct. 26 through Nov. 4: Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 28, at 2 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, Nov. 1-2, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 3, at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m.. Tickets are $22. Youth and campus tickets are $8, including students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.

Friday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 28, 2 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 2, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2 and 8 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 4, 2 p.m.

“Moving Stories”

Nov. 15-17

Student-choreographed dance

Artistic director Karen Dearborn

in the Dorothy Hess Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance

Original dance pieces by upperclass students in the nationally acclaimed Muhlenberg College Dance Program span a variety of genres and styles.

Performances are Nov. 15-17: Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Youth and campus tickets are $8, including students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.

Thursday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 16, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 17, 2 and 8 p.m.

“The Bourgeois Pig”

Nov. 28 – Dec. 2

A World Premiere Play

by Brighde Mullins

directed by Beth Schachter

in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance

It’s 1978 Los Angeles, and the Riley family is trying hard to hang on—to their hopes and to each other—in the face of serious dysfunction. Jack, the father, is a brilliant but damaged former war photographer-turned-reluctant paparazzi. His ex-wife can’t face the reality of a failed acting career. Their daughters cope with the fallout of their parents’ struggles. This funny and powerful new play by Guggenheim Fellow Brighde Mullins explores the power of the image—on the page and in the public eye.

Performances are Nov. 28 through Dec. 2: Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15. Youth and campus tickets are $8, including students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 8 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 29, 8 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 30, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 1, 2 and 8 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 2, 2 p.m.

“Master Choreographers”

Feb. 7-9, 2013

artistic director Karen Dearborn

in the Empie Theatre, BakerCenter for the Arts

A spectacular evening of ballet, contemporary dance, tap and jazz, “Master Choreographers” showcases exciting new dance works by nationally and internationally acclaimed guest artists and faculty. This year’s concert features a restaging of part of “Viva Vivaldi,” the Joffrey Ballet’s signature work, staged by Trinette Singleton, co-artistic director of Repertory Dance Company and longtime Joffrey dancer.

Performances are Feb. 7-9: Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Youth and campus tickets are $8, including students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.

Thursday, Feb. 7, 8 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 8, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2 and 8 p.m

“Bartholomew Fair”

Feb. 21-24, 2013

by Ben Jonson

directed by Kevin Crawford

in the Dorothy Hess Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance

Ben Jonson’s 1614 play is a noisy, exuberant slice of Jacobean life, pitting the excesses of Puritanism against the cruder vices of the Fair’s underclass. The production features a new musical score by Caroline Boersma, based on traditional folk melodies, and a faculty spotlight performance by Holly Cate.

Performances are Feb. 21-24: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15. Youth and campus tickets are $8, including students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.

Thursday, Feb. 21, 8 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 22, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m.

“New Visions Directors Festival”

March 20-24, 2013

in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance

“Iphigenia and Other Daughters”

by Ellen McLaughlin

directed by Danielle Barlow

“Mental Landscapes: An Evening of One-Act Plays”

featuring: “The Man Who Turned Into a Stick,” by Kobo Abe, directed by Jimmy Morgan; “Intermission,” by Will Eno, directed by Abby Wylan; and “Rough for Theatre II,” by Samuel Beckett, directed by Riva Rubenoff

“Iphigenia and Other Daughters,” McLaughlin’s poetic modern adaptation of the legend of Agamemnon and the aftermath of the Trojan War, offers a bold, provocative feminist perspective on a story of lust, fury, sacrifice and rebellion.

In “Mental Landscapes,” three of Muhlenberg’s most accomplished student directors present an evening of life, death and absurdity.

Performances are March 20-24. “Iphigenia” will be performed Wednesday and Friday at 7 p.m., Thursday and Saturday at 10 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.. “Mental Landscapes” will be performed Wednesday and Friday at 10 p.m., Thursday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for either production, or $20 for both. Youth and campus tickets are $8 for either production, or $12 for both. Campus tickets include students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.

Wednesday, March 20: “Iphigenia” at 7 p.m., “Mental Landscapes” at 10 p.m.

Thursday, March 21: “Mental Landscapes” at 7 p.m., “Iphigenia” at 10 p.m.

Friday, March 22: “Iphigenia” at 7 p.m., “Mental Landscapes” at 10 p.m.

Saturday, March 23: “Mental Landscapes” at 2 and 7 p.m., “Iphigenia” at 10 p.m.

Sunday, March 24: “Iphigenia” at 2 p.m.

“Dance Emerge”

April 18-21, 2013

Student-choreographed dance

Artistic directors Jeffrey Peterson and Teresa VanDenend Sorge

in the Dance Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance

Original dance pieces by upperclass students in the nationally acclaimed Muhlenberg College Dance Program span a variety of genres and styles.

Performances are April 18-21: Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Youth and campus tickets are $8, including students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.

Thursday, April 18, 8 p.m.

Friday, April 19, 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 20, 2 and 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 21, 8 p.m.

“The Marriage of Figaro”

April 25-28, 2013

by Beaumarchais

directed by Francine Roussel

in the Dorothy Hess Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance

Writing a few years before the French Revolution, Beaumarchais pours his rage at the aristocracy into a comedy of class and sexual inequality that manages equal parts hilarity and outrage. First produced in 1784, this play about plots, assignations, and the “droit du seigneur” served as the inspiration for Mozart’s famous 1786 opera.

Performances are April 25-28: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15. Youth and campus tickets are $8, including students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.

Thursday, April 25, 8 p.m.

Friday, April 26, 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 27, 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 28, 2 p.m.

Ticket Information

All venues are at the Muhlenberg College performing arts campus, 2400 Chew Street, Allentown, 18104. Tickets are available at the box office, on the first floor of the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, or at 484-664-3333, Monday through Friday noon to 6 p.m. and two hours before each performance. Tickets and information are available online at www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre&dance.

Reviving Live Arts At The State Theatre Of Boyertown

It’s a work in progress for owner Kevin Rhude, who would like to turn the 100-year-old State Theatre of Boyertown into a theater of the arts.

At 61 N. Reading Ave., the theater shows three to four movies a week at 4:30 and 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays in addition to a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturdays and Sundays.

But Rhude of Boyertown wants the theater to go beyond film and be a venue for arts of all kinds.

Rhude purchased the State Theatre in 2008.  Having worked in real estate for more than 20 years, Rhude said he has an appreciation for old buildings and art.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=412991

’44 Plays For 44 Presidents’ Opens Discussion Of Who Will Be No. 45

Muhlenberg College‘s production, running Sept. 29 – Oct. 3, celebrates democracy in conjunction with the first Plays for Presidents Festival

Allentown, Pa (Sept. 7, 2012) – As the 2012 presidential election approaches, Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance Department prepares to celebrate with a production of the Neo-Futurists‘ “44 Plays for 44 Presidents,” opening Sept. 29. Director Troy Dwyer leads the way as one of the founding fathers in the inauguration of the first Plays for Presidents Festival.

“People should expect to have fun, to laugh, and to be inspired to think about the world outside of the theatre,” Dwyer says.

Dwyer serves as artistic director for the production, as well as co-directing the plays with Lily Dwoskin, Jerald Kaplan and Judith Mandel, and choreographers Allison Berger and Nina Pongratz.  The play runs Sept. 29 through Oct. 3 in the college’s 100-seat Studio Theatre, in the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance.

The play highlights the lives of all 44 presidents in short, often comedic, quasi-biographical scenes.  The plays vary in style from a sepia-washed cowboy movie homage to a modern game show.

“You think you are going to see a play that will essentially be a history lesson–you’re not,” Dwoskin says.  “All of the facts in the show are historically accurate, but it is NOT a historical play.  It’s really uniquely vaudeville.  It’s crazy, a lot of things are going on.”

Muhlenberg’s production is presented as part of the Plays for Presidents Festival 2012, in which 44 theater groups from all over the country will produce “44 Plays for 44 Presidents.”  The festival is closely tied with the Rock the Vote campaign to inspire people to both register and vote.  The festival culminates in shows all around the nation in the months leading up to the presidential election, as well as an online video production of the show, including one scene from each of the 44 productions. Muhlenberg College’s scene for the collaborative film will be James Buchanan, the 15th and only Pennsylvania-born president.

“The presidential election will be less than 80 days away during show week,” Kaplan says.  “With the election quickly approaching, ’44 Plays for 44 Presidents’ really puts into perspective what we are voting this person to do.  It promotes the actual weight of being a president and reminds the audience that they have this incredible right to choose our next leader.”

Like Rock the Vote, the Plays for Presidents Festival is an entirely non-partisan movement, intended to inspire all eligible voters to hit the polls, regardless of party affiliation.

“This show puts political options in different terms, making us think more about the historical moment of now,” Dwyer says.  “It helps us imagine what the 45th play might be.”

The four directors will each be working on 11 of the scenes, working with an ensemble of 20 actors.  By incorporating multimedia, dance and music, “44 Plays for 44 Presidents” showcases a diverse group of performers.

“We’re not trying to have the actors embody each president,” Mandel says.  “The audience will and should know that they are actors; at times they even speak as themselves.  By integrating dance and song alongside the acting, the show manages to really highlight so many kinds of talent in a short amount of time.”

The show is interactive in a “super flavorful and playful way,” says Dwyer. “’44 Plays for 44 Presidents’ incites people to talk about politics by showcasing politics in a fun light.  There’s a narrative momentum to the piece that makes the audience anxious to see how the modern presidents are depicted.”

Dwyer says that — with four directors, two choreographers, five designers, four stage managers, and 20 actors — the theatre production is itself a model of the democratic process in action.

“I have been working with the other directors to ensure that this project is a democracy and not a dictatorship,” Dwyer says.  “I want to help them notice both the pitfalls and potential of their ideas.  It’s difficult to do a project of this scale, but democracy is always a challenge, because you’re catering to more than one person’s vision.  We will hopefully become a chorus of voices which will strike a harmonious final chord.”

“We are the people and we are shaping the play,” Mandel says.  “Much like ‘we the people’ are shaping the future of America with our right to vote.”

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa.  The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance.  The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

Performances of “44 Plays for 44 Presidents” are Sept. 29 through Oct. 3: Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Monday through Wednesday at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for LVAIC students, faculty and staff and for patrons 17 and under.  Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.  Performance information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre.

Month-Long Performing Arts Camps At Muhlenberg Give Young People A Taste Of The Stage At Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre

Allentown, Pa.  — Every summer, Muhlenberg College plays host to dozens of young performers, participants in two month-long arts education programs that are part of the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre program. Covering grades 6 to 12, the Camp Imagine and Performing Arts Workshop programs run July 2-27, and enrollment is still available in both.

Camp Imagine, now in its 14th year, gives middle schoolers a daily experience in drama, vocal expression and movement. About 60 participants rotate through the three activities, learning from Muhlenberg College students and alumni — and from each other. At the end of the four-week session, the ensemble presents a world premiere showcase performance, developed over the course of the program.

Founded in 1999 as a program to supplement the arts curriculum in the Allentown School District, Camp Imagine was originally conducted on site at Harrison-Morton Middle School. The camp has since both expanded and moved to the state-of-the-art performance facilities on the Muhlenberg Campus.

“We found that one of the most important aspects of the program was giving the students a chance to experience the college campus environment,” says Charles Richter, a Muhlenberg theater professor who helped found Camp Imagine. “Many have gone on to study the arts in college — and study other things in college — in part because they came to Camp Imagine.”

Camp Imagine remains free to Allentown School District students, and many other students benefit from full and partial need-based scholarships. The program participates in the District’s free lunch program, and provides free daily busing to and from all four ASD middle schools.

Camp Imagine runs 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily, July 2-27, and a showcase on Saturday, July 28, at 10 a.m.

Camp Imagine’s sister program, the Performing Arts Workshop, is now in its fifth year. The Workshop gives high school students — many of them alumni of Camp Imagine — a chance to extend their performance training through intensive workshop performances taught by professional performers, as well as master classes with Muhlenberg faculty members.

The Workshop runs 1:30 to 4:30 daily, July 2-27, with a showcase Friday, July 27, at 7 p.m.

“The objective of both programs is to use the arts as a means of helping young people to nurture their passions and enhance their social and communication skills,” Richter says. “And also to build self-esteem, concentration, and confidence — all of which help them in the performing arts, in school, and in life.”

And it’s working. Parents of participants consistently report that their children are more independent, more self-confident, better able to focus on tasks, and better at cooperating and collaborating within their families.

“The best thing was that my child, who is usually negative, was positive, upbeat and excited,” wrote one parent. “He came home one day and said, ‘I asked my teacher if I could do this a certain way. The teacher said that not only could I be loud, silly and different, but that they encouraged me to be! It’s the first time that everything I do at school is right. There is no one saying, Don’t! Stop! Wrong!’ This camp was a very positive experience in my child’s life and for our family.”

Enrollment is still available in both the Camp Imagine and Performing Arts Workshop programs. Tuition for Camp Imagine is $365 for non-Allentown School District students. Tuition for the Workshop is $465. A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available for both programs, based on financial need.

More information and enrollment forms are available online at www.muhlenberg.edu/camp, or by calling 484-664-3693.

Pottstown’s Tri-County Performing Arts Center Transforms Into Steel River Playhouse

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA  — You might call it their third act.

What began as a small local theater company called Village Productions, and then grew into the Tri-County Performing Arts Center has now matured into the Steel River Playhouse, the name and brand which will adorn the soon-to-be completed facade of Pottstown’s premier arts center.

As anyone who has driven or walked down the 200 block of High Street knows, the front of the former Newberry’s store has been “getting a little work done” for quite some time now.

But now that the appropriate materials have arrived, and a June 15 “grand re-opening” looms, look to see that new marquee finished in a short time, said Marta Kiesling, executive director of the Steel River Playhouse.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120429/ENTERTAINMENT01/120429390/tri-pac-transforms-into-steel-river-playhouse&pager=full_story