A Festival Of Innovative One-Act Plays, Muhlenberg’s ‘New Visions’ Spotlights Inspired Work Of Talented Student Directors

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” Directors’ Festival, featuring plays directed by four senior directing students in the College’s Department of Theatre & Dance. “New Visions” plays Sept. 27-30 on Muhlenberg’s Studio Theatre stage.

The festival will be presented in two evenings. Evening A features Federico Garcia Lorca’s “The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa in the Garden,” directed by Allison Lloyd, and Romulus Linney’s “Hrosvitha,” directed by Julia Schneiderman. Evening B features “Out Loud: Three Short Plays,” directed by Michael Witkes, and Caryl Churchill’s “This is a Chair,” directed by Hayley Cooke.

“The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa in the Garden” tells the story of Don Perlimplin, a hopeless bachelor, who is convinced to marry the beautiful but promiscuous Belisa. Four potent scenes illustrate the tale of a man overcome by the spirits of passion and the desire to win the love of the woman to whom he is married.

The title character in “Hrosvitha” was a canoness at Gandersheim Abbey in 10th century Saxony, and is regarded as the first Christian playwright. By imagining the visit of a hostile monk and the conflict that unfolds, Romulus Linney examines the tensions that exist within and around Hrosvitha — a forward-thinking woman with an understanding of the world that didn’t always harmonize with her religious beliefs and deep faith.

“The play contends that we are the authors of our own stories,” Schneiderman says, “and that women, most of all, must struggle to rewrite the world around them.”

“Out Loud” comprises three short plays: “Black Eye” by Carolyn Gage, “Game On” by Gary Garrison and “Baby Steps” by Geoffrey Nauffts. The show explores the importance of overcoming the stigmatization of homosexuality and fighting for one’s sexual identity. One actor plays the lead in all three plays, following a journey from hiding his sexuality, to coming out with hesitation, to finally embracing his sexuality and standing up for himself as a proud gay man.

“This is a Chair” explores the relationship between language and meaning. Eight vignettes, juxtaposed with large title signs, look at the complexities of human relationships and the struggle to connect.

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 in the top twelve in the nation for seven years in a row, 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 Visions” are Sept. 27-30. Evening A will be performed Saturday, Sept. 27, at 2 and 8 p.m and Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m. Evening B will be performed Sunday, Sept. 28, at 2 and 8 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for one evening and $20 for a combination ticket including both nights. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatreanddance or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. For mature audiences.

Audio-Description Training To Be Held In Allentown

Audio DescriptionThe Lehigh Valley Arts Council is offering affordable audio description training to the theatre community in order to help them increase attendance to their productions by becoming more disability-friendly.

Theatre practitioners from all walks of life—actors, students, volunteers, educators—are encouraged to enroll in the upcoming audio description training sessions and acquire new performance skills.

Fee: $25. Typically, this workshop costs $590. Thanks to the underwriting support of LVCIL and an anonymous donor, the Arts Council is able to offer it at a very reasonable price. Audio description assists patrons who are blind/low-vision to access the visual elements of stage productions through live narration provided by trained describers. Patrons use headsets to hear the audio description.

This two-day audio-description training for the Performing Arts will be held:

  • October 3 & 4, 2014 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Lehigh Valley Arts Council
    840 Hamilton Street
    2nd Floor Conference Room (Suite 200)
    Allentown, PA 18101

Includes Audio Described performance of “Harvey” at DeSales University (2755 Station Ave., Center Valley, Pa. 18034) on October 2, 2014 at 8:00 PM

REGISTER NOW FOR THE TRAINING!

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Presents: ‘The Great Divorce’

Monday, June 23, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
DeSales University
Labuda Center for the Performing Arts
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, Pa. 18034

“Unmissable! From the quiet, seemingly casual beginning to the unforgettable final moments, Lawton has us in the palm of his hand.” –  Philadelphia City Paper

 “Brilliantly conceived and performed…as intelligent and provoking an evening as I’ve spent at the theater in a long time.”  – Broad Street Review 

“Passionate acting combined with riveting storytelling.”  – Philadelphia Inquirer

ONE NIGHT ONLY!
The Great Divorce
Based on the novel by C.S. Lewis The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival presents
The Great Divorce – back by popular demand for one night only! Lauded by The Philadelphia Inquirer in this “masterful solo show,” actor Anthony Lawton “delivers a wondrous ride filled with dazzling insight and language.”

An allegorical journey, The Great Divorce weaves philosophical imaginings with theatrical magic!

Audio Description Training For Theatre Practitioners

July 18 & 19, 2014
Lehigh Valley Arts Council
840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201
Allentown, Pa. 18101

Increased Access = Increased Attendance

Allentown, PA –The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is offering audio description training to the theatre community in order to help them increase attendance to their productions by becoming more disability-friendly.

Audio description assists patrons who are blind/low-vision to access the visual elements stage productions through live narration provided by trained describers. Patrons use headsets to hear the audio description.

According to U.S. Census data estimates from 2012, the number of non-institutionalized people with disabilities living in the Lehigh Valley is 81,000, or 12.7%, which represents a significant number of potential new audiences for the cultural community.

The Arts Council has contracted Mimi Kenney Smith, Executive Director of VSA Pennsylvania, to provide the training over the course of two days, July 18 &19, 2014. Smith, a veteran describer for more than two decades, is also the producing director for Amaryllis Theatre, a professional Philadelphia theatre that regularly includes artists with disabilities. She will introduce the class to the foundational skills—Observe, Analyze and Communicate— necessary to audio describe a play. At the end of the first day, the class will experience an audio described performance of Monty Python’s Spamalot at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre.

Theatre practitioners from all walks of life—actors, students, volunteers, educators—are encouraged to enroll and acquire new performance skills.

Reservations required, reserve your spot today!
Fee: $25. For more information and to reserve your spot:

Call: 610-437-5915.
Email: operations@LVArtsCouncil.org
Web: http://www.lvartscouncil.org/Access/training.html
Tickets: http://www.etix.com/ticket/online/performanceSearch.jsp?performance_id=1821982&cobrand=lvartsboxoffice

Location: Butz Corporate Center, 840 Hamilton Street (2nd Floor conference Room), Allentown Pa. 18101
Date / Time:
July 18, 2014:
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Lehigh Valley Arts Council; 2nd Floor conference Room
7:30 PM – 10:00 PM: Monty Python’s Spamalot; Baker Theatre/Trexler Pravilon

July 19, 2014:
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Lehigh Valley Arts Council; 2nd Floor conference Room

***
About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council
The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is a nonprofit 501(c)3, membership-supported organization that serves as a regional advocate and ambassador for the Lehigh Valley arts community. Its mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations and the community. Through collaborative partnerships, it continues to provide access to the local arts community through education, research, professional development seminars and cooperative marketing initiatives.

***

Lehigh Valley Arts Council
840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201
Allentown, PA 18101
610-437-5915 / operations@LVArtsCouncil.org
http://www.LVArtsCouncil.org / http://www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org 

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Lehigh Valley Arts Box Office – Upcoming Performances

Lehigh Valley Arts Council
Black diamond (cards) Saturday, July 12 / 11:00 am: Behind the Scenes – Arts Alive 2014
Black diamond (cards) Friday, July 18 & 19 / 10:00 am: Audio Description Training

Moravian College Music Institute
Black diamond (cards) Saturday, June 28 / 7:30 pm: Rupert Boyd, Classical Guitar 

Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra
Black diamond (cards) Sunday, June 8 / 7:30 pm: Valley Vivaldi Series, Concert I
Black diamond (cards) Sunday, June 29 / 7:30 pm: Valley Vivaldi Series, Concert II
Black diamond (cards) Sunday, July 20 / 7:30 pm:Valley Vivaldi Series, Concert III

For more performances, visit www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org

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Arts Alive 2014 – Behind The Scenes

Arts Alive 2014 – Behind the Scenes

The second installment of the Arts Alive! 2014series,“Behind the Scenes” features Curtis Dretsch, stage designer for Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre’s production of Monty Python’s Spamalot. Dretsch is the Director of Design and Technical Theatre for Muhlenberg College, and has designed sets, costumes, and lighting for more than 100 theatre and dance productions on local and national stages. Guests will get a glimpse into his design process—from concept to scale model to the completed stage set.

Behind the Scenes” will be held on July 12, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College (2400 W. Chew Street, Allentown, Pa.). Tickets are $10 for Members / $15 for nonmembers; space is limited.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS FOR “BEHIND THE SCENES” !

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COMING UP! Two-Day Audio-Description Training For The Performing Arts On July 18 & 19, 2014!

Audio Description assists patrons who are blind/low-vision to access the visual elements of stage productions through narration provided by trained describers. Patrons use headsets to hear the audio description. Trainees will also attend an audio-described performance of Monty Python’s Spamalot. Click HERE for more information on this training.

July 18, 2014 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
July 19, 2014 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Lehigh Valley Arts Council
840 Hamilton Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room (Suite 200)
Allentown

July 18, 2014 | 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM:
Monty Python’s Spamalot (Audio Described Performance)
Baker Theatre/Trexler Pravilon, Muhlenberg College
2400 Chew St. Allentown

FEE: $25 RESERVE YOUR SEAT!

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Marta Kiesling Resigns As Steel River Playhouse Executive Director

Picture 577POTTSTOWN, PA — Marta Kiesling, the dynamic executive director of Steel River Playhouse who grew a small acting group that performed in her living room into the region’s premiere venue for live theater, has parted ways with the institution she helped found.

A Monday evening e-mail from the board of directors to community leaders announced that Kiesling’s resignation had been accepted, effective May 1.

“We’re saddened to lose such a visionary person who built the playhouse to the strong cultural and educational institution it is today,” the release said.

What started as Village Productions was grown by Kiesling into the TriCounty Performing Arts Center, which with the help of grants from Montgomery County and a variety of other sources, established a theater in the former J.J. Newberry Department store at 245 E. High St. in 2008.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140506/marta-kiesling-resigns-as-steel-river-playhouse-executive-director

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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.