SUMMER PLAYGROUP SPONSORED BY POTTSTOWN FAMILY CENTER

Location

Fountain of Youth Spray Park (Memorial Park)

King & Manatawny Streets

Pottstown, PA 19464

United States
Date:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 – 10:00am11:30am

If you are a parent (age 24 or under), join the Pottstown Family Center for FREE Summer Playgroups at the Spray Park!

Playgroups take place in a relaxed setting and feature a discussion topic for parents, a parent/child activity, and snacks for children and parents to enjoy.

When?
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
10-11:30 a.m.

Where?
Fountain of Youth Spray Park
Memorial Park
King and Manatawny Streets
Pottstown, PA 19464

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Kari Williams at 610-326-1610 ext. 326 or kwilliams@fsmontco.org.

Pottstown Community Field Day Aug 27‏

Genesis Housing is joining with the Hill School, Art Fusion 19464, Pottstown Athletic Club, Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation, CustomFit and others to create a day for families to spend time together learning about low-cost outdoor and indoor activities available in our area.

The Pottstown Community Field Day will take place on Saturday, August 27th from 11 AM – 2 PM (Rain date: Sunday, August 28th) at the Chestnut Street Park (Washington & Chestnut Streets). There will be 15 stations of fitness/sports or other activities for group participation for about 5 minutes.  The DJ will play family appropriate music continuously until the 5 minutes are up.   At that time, the DJ will use audio equipment to announce SWITCH and each group will move on to a new station.  Each participant will receive a coin for every station they complete.  When they complete 10 stations, participants will receive a free gift.  We will track how many people completed the minimum challenge equating to at least 45 minutes of fitness.

We are asking for area businesses and organizations to participate in the 3-hour event by making a donation, facilitating fitness stations and setting up information tables. In appreciation for any organization that donates and/or participates, we will advertise their company in social media outlets and in printed materials. We will also provide the opportunity to set up an information table and include coupons or other information in the free gift packs.

For more information or to support the event, please contact me at wash5000@msn.com or (484) 300-2410. Please join us and be a part of this great day!

Great FREE Pottstown Food Program‏

The Borough of Pottstown’s Summer Food Service Program is in full swing serving FREE lunches daily! 
 
Every Monday-Friday from 1-2 PM FREE meals are served at the Memorial Park Pavilion (75 W King Street) for all aged 18 and under! The program is running now until Thursday, August 18th so hurry over! Don’t miss out on this awesome, FREE opportunity!!
 
It is a goal of the program to reach as many children in need of the program’s benefits as possible. They will deliver to numerous sites around Pottstown, and personally oversee the location at the Memorial Park Pavilion.
So far, participation has been great, but they are always looking to gain more youth and offer them a free meal daily.
 
The program is about halfway through but there is still plenty of time for people to benefit!
Share the information with those who need it and those who can help spread the word!
Please contact Kristin Robinson at krobinson@pottstown.org for more information.

Living History Sundays At Pottsgrove Manor August 7, 14, 21, And 28, 2016 From 1:00pm To 4:00pm

stictching

Needlework

Pottstown, PA – On August 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th, 2016 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Pottsgrove Manor’s living history volunteers, dressed in colonial period clothing, will be living life the 18th century way.

Come spend a casual summer Sunday afternoon at historic Pottsgrove Manor and enjoy the 18th century surroundings as volunteers demonstrate colonial trades and pastimes. Activities may include needlework, tape weaving, hornsmithing, cooking, and more. Visitors can watch, learn, and even join in! Activities will vary from week to week, so call ahead or check the site’s webpage at http://www.montcopa.org/PottsgroveManor to find out what will be offered each day.

A donation of $2.00 per person is suggested for this program. Guests can also tour the manor house, see the museum’s current exhibit, “Potts & Family: Colonial Consumers,” and shop in the museum store during their visit.

The “Colonial Consumers” exhibit can also be viewed during a guided tour of Pottsgrove Manor during regular museum hours now through November 6th. Regular museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Tours are given on the hour. The last tour of the day begins at 3:00pm. The site is closed Mondays and major holidays. Groups of ten or more should preregister by calling 610-326-4014.

Pottsgrove Manor is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route

100, just off Route 422, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Pottsgrove Manor is operated by Montgomery

County under the direction of the Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites Division of the Assets and Infrastructure Department. For more information, please call 610-326-4014, or visit the website at http://www.montcopa.org/pottsgrovemanor. Like Pottsgrove Manor on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/pottsgrovemanor.

HOOVER FINANCIAL ADVISORS NAMED TO 2016 FINANCIAL TIMES 300 TOP REGISTERED ADVISORS

Pete Hoover accepts Financial Times Top 300 in New York in June.

Pete Hoover accepts Financial Times Top 300 in New York in June.

Malvern, PA – Hoover Financial Advisors, PC was been named to the Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers earlier this month (June). The list recognizes top independent RIA firms from across the U.S.

This is the third annual FT 300 list, produced independently by the Financial Times Ltd. in collaboration with Ignites Research, a subsidiary of the FT that provides business intelligence on the investment management industry.

More than 1,500 pre-screened RIA firms were invited to apply for consideration, based on their assets under management (AUM). Applicants that applied were then graded on six criteria: AUM; AUM growth rate; years in existence; advanced industry credentials of the firm’s advisors; online accessibility; and compliance records. Neither the RIA firms nor their employees pay a fee to The Financial Times in exchange for inclusion in the FT 300.

The average FT 300 firm has been in existence for 22 years and manages $2.6 billion in assets.

The 300 top RIAs hail from 34 states and Washington, D.C.

HFA, which is headquartered on Moores Road in Malvern, was launched in 2005 by Pete Hoover, who has been an independent financial advisor for more than 30 years. Since its inception, HFA has quadrupled in size. Staff members include certified financial planners, financial advisors, investment analysts, insurance and tax specialists, attorneys, a certified portfolio manager, and an information services manager. In 2012, HFA was selected as Small Business of the Year by Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. For more information, visit its website at http://www.petehoover.com or call 610.651.2777.

SOME POTTSTOWN 2016 SUMMER HAPPENINGS

The attached PDF file is a wealth of information about summer events for the whole family that are going on in Pottstown this summer.

http://tcnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/POTTSTOWN-SUMMER-HAPPENINGS-2016x.pdf

‘In The Heights’ Brings Latin Rhythms, Stories To Muhlenberg Summer Stage

Allentown, PA — Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical “In the Heights” — the precursor to his blockbuster Broadway hit “Hamilton” — runs July 13-31 as the second production of the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre season.  The show tells a story that many of its cast hold close to their hearts: the story of families and cultures that have been transplanted from far away.

Many of the show’s 20 actors and dancers can tell you a story about their families coming to the mainland United States from Puerto Rico, or Cuba, or the Dominican Republic. For some, that story is not so long in the past. Wilma Rivera, for example, is a professional actress, a Muhlenberg College alumna, and a first-generation American. She says “In the Heights” is the story of her family.

“When I saw ‘In the Heights’ on Broadway, there was this moment when the music of the first number started, and it captured so beautifully the experience of what it’s like to be a Latino,” says Rivera, who plays Camila. “It’s that struggle to maintain an identity and also to assimilate — especially in New York City.”

“In the Heights” was a hit when it opened in 2008, running more than a thousand performances and bringing its composer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, to the attention of theatergoers. Miranda’s innovative score melded the rhymes and rhythms of hip-hop with the Latin-style music of salsa and merengue, and, together with Quiara Alegría Hudes’ book, captured the sights, sounds and stories of the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.

The show won the Tony Award for Best Musical and was short-listed for a Pulitzer Prize the following year. Miranda also won the Tony for Best Score. Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and musical director Alex Lacamoire also won Tony Awards for their Latin- and hip-hop-inflected choreography and orchestrations. The three would reunite with director Thomas Kail to create “Hamilton.”

“Miranda is deeply versed in ’90s hip-hop,” says James Peck, who directs the production for Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre. “He picks up beats and rhythm structures and song structures from hip-hop, and he incorporates salsa, merengue, and other Latin styles — but he’s also a musical theatre fanboy from the age of five. The results are really a musical tour-de-force.”

MSMT’s production features choreography by Samuel Antonio Reyes and musical direction by Ed Bara. John Raley designed the set, Lex Gurst designed costumes, John McKernon designed lights, and Patrick Moren designed sound.

Peck credits choreographer Reyes as a driving force behind bringing the show to the MSMT stage.

“Sammy is a hip-hop dancer, a theater artist, and a Puerto Rican. He has a deep understanding of the cultural dynamics at work in this piece,” Peck says. “I wouldn’t have had the temerity to the play without him. It was Sammy saying, ‘I’ve got to do “In the Heights”‘ that made it come together.”

 “In the Heights” tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood — a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.

Miranda himself was born in Washington Heights, and grew up in Linwood, one neighborhood over. His parents had moved to New York from Puerto Rico, and every summer, he visited his grandparents back on the island.

Wilma Rivera’s classmate at Muhlenberg, Gabe Martínez, also remembers feeling like he was watching his own family’s history on stage when he first saw “In the Heights.” Martínez saw the show for the first time a year to the day after his grandmother passed away.

“The actress who played Abuela Claudia was the spitting image of my abuela,” says Martínez, who stars as Usnavi, the role that Miranda played on Broadway. “As soon as she walked out on stage, my father and I started weeping. We were at the matinee; I bought the cast recording on the way home and had it memorized by the time I went to bed.”

Martínez’s grandparents moved from Puerto Rico to New York in the 1940s, shortly after his grandfather returned from service in World War II.

“They wrote to each other every day, planning their move to New York, the American dream,” Martínez says. “When the war was over, he hadn’t been home a week when they bought a plane ticket and headed to the Bronx.”

Rivera has a similar connection to the material. Her father immigrated to the United States from Cuba in the early 1970s. Her mother was born in East Harlem, but moved to Puerto Rico as a small child. Both came from poverty, she says. Her mother was the only one in her family to go to college. When Rivera went off to Muhlenberg to study acting, she was the first in her family to attend college on the mainland — and, like Nina in “In the Heights,” she almost gave it up after her freshman year. Department chair Charles Richter talked her into staying.

“‘We need you here,’ he told me.”

Rivera and Martínez were the only two Latino students in the theater program at the time. Neither of them ever had the chance before now to play a Latino character on the Muhlenberg stage — and the opportunity is what drew them back. Both of them have worked steadily as actors since graduating — Rivera in 2009, and Martínez in 2010 — but they have had to be flexible in order to do it.

“I’ve spent my entire professional career praying to see a casting call saying ‘ethnically ambiguous — slash — Latino,'” Martínez says. “We were the only two Latino kids in our class, and now there are lots of kids, and this is their first professional gig, and we’re just so happy for them to start out this way, that these kids are having this opportunity.”

Rivera echoes his enthusiasm.

“This department has really embraced students of color and encouraged their talents, and really raised them up,” she says. “I’m very proud of this college and to be an alumna of this college, and I just hope it continues to grow.”

Martínez and Rivera’s deep connection to “In the Heights” is a common thread through the entire cast, Peck says.

“When people have a chance to be part of a show that speaks to their own experience, they make a significant personal investment in that show,” he says. “It’s rare that these stories get told, and when people have the chance to be a part of these stories, they grab onto that chance.”

In fact, Rivera’s connection to the show runs so deep that she got a tattoo of one of its lyrics, “Paciencia y fe,” a song sung by Abuela Claudia. The lyric reminds her of her own abuela, who died in January.

“It’s heartbreaking to lose that matriarch of a Latin family,” Rivera says. “She’s the stone and we’re all the ripples of what she leaves behind. It holds weight, I think, in this world, that we remember who we are and where we’re from. Gabe and I are very lucky that we have that image of our parents and remember the struggle.”

The actor who plays Abuela Claudia in the production — jazz vocalist, scholar and activist Roberta Meek — agrees. Meek had only one grandparent growing up, and ike Abuela Claudia — and like Rivera and Martínez’s abuelas — she was the keeper of the family’s stories.

“My grandmother was literally the historian of the family,” Meek says. “Her father was born into slavery, and he had been searching for his mother ever since. My grandmother was the griot,” the person who maintains the oral history tradition in many West African cultures. “You came to her for school.”

“In the Heights” is Meek’s first musical theater performance, although she has been performing as a jazz vocalist in the Lehigh Valley for more than 20 years. She also contributed stories and songs to the Touchstone Theatre project “Another River Flows: a Celebration of the Lehigh Valley Black Experience.”

One of the things that “In the Heights” gets right, Rivera says, is the sabor — the flavor of Latin culture and of the Washington Heights community.

“This show is packed full of sabor,” she says.

Some of that flavor is visual; much of it comes from the rhythm and choreographic energy that choreographer Samuel Reyes has brought to the project.

“The blend of salsa, hip-hop and contemporary movement is very exciting for me as a choreographer — and we have found such a dynamic, crazy talented cast,” Reyes says. “This show is going to punch a hole in the wall, both visually and emotionally. I’m just so damn proud to be part of it.”

“In the Heights” plays July 13-31 at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre. Performances take place in the Dorothy Hess Baker Theatre, in the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices for the first four performances are $33 regular admission; seniors, $29; students and children, $18. Prices for the rest of the run are $39 regular admission; seniors, $36; students and children, $20.

Tickets and information are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/smt or 484-664-3333.

Lehigh Valley Arts Council Releases 2016-2017 ARTix‏

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council announces to the community the release of the new ARTix Passport to the Arts, a buy-one, get-one-free ticket to eighteen arts and cultural venues through June 30, 2017. Dance, musical, theatrical, and historical offerings are just some of the travel destinations offered by the passport.

“This year marks the 18th anniversary of this successful arts marketing promotion,” says Randall Forte, Arts Council Executive Director. “The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is proud to provide regional leadership that advances the arts in this growing community.”

Over the years, the Arts Council has increased the circulation of ARTix and opened the door wider for all people to enjoy the arts. Real estate and corporate relocation offices give passports to new residents relocating to the Valley. Local health networks encourage volunteers to enjoy the arts as part of a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, the social service sector offers ARTix to their clients with disabilities, allowing them affordable access to disability-friendly events. There is definitely something for everyone to enjoy—from symphonic to folk music, fine arts to vintage cars, Shakespeare to Broadway musicals—fun and entertainment for the entire family.

The most direct way to receive your very own ARTix Passport to the Arts is simply join the Arts Council. An Individual Membership is reasonably priced at $40 annually. With passport in hand, start planning your itinerary today and build your circle of arts friends. Members also receive discounts to workshops and conferences, subscriptions to the bimonthly Inside the Arts, / Arts Calendar and Lehigh Valley Style, and free admission to the annual spring and fall membership receptions.

ARTix Passport is made possible through the support of Christmas City Printing, The County of Lehigh, and The Harry C. Trexler Trust.

Lehigh Valley Arts

The 25th Annual Pottstown Rumble June 23-26, 2016

Center Court action

Center Court action

LET’S GET READY TO RUUUMBLE!!!!!

Thousands will descend on Memorial Park in Pottstown this weekend for the Annual Pottstown Rumble Grass Volleyball Tournament.  One of the largest such events in the country.

Memorial Park is located off King Street, along the Manatawny Creek, and can be easily reached from Routes 422 and 100.  Spectators are welcome and there are food vendors for your convenience.

More information: https://pottstownrumble.com/index.php

MCCC GED Program Reaches Milestone Of 1,000 Graduates

GED 2016 Group: Sixty-one students graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s GED program on June 15, 2016. Included in this class is the program’s 1,000th graduate.  Photo by Sandi Yanisko

GED 2016 Group: Sixty-one students graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s GED program on June 15, 2016. Included in this class is the program’s 1,000th graduate. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Pottstown, PA — Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) General Education Diploma (GED) program reached a milestone during its annual graduation ceremony on June 15. Among the 61 individuals who earned their diplomas was the program’s 1,000th graduate.

Introduced in 2006, MCCC’s six-week GED program is among the most accelerated in the state. Students spend one week of intensive study in each GED subject—reading and language arts, science, social studies and math—then they take the respective test. The program alternates between day and evening classes every six weeks to accommodate as many students as possible.

The GED program and tests are free to Montgomery County residents, thanks to generous sponsorship from Montco Works, Montgomery County’s Workforce Investment Board. The program costs $100 for out-of-county students.

At least 20 of this year’s graduates are already enrolled in credit courses at MCCC. Graduate speaker Timothy Ream, of Schwenksville, is one of them.

“In the last nine months, I have accomplished more than I did in nine years,” Ream told the audience of graduates, family and friends during his remarks. “I’m currently taking summer classes at Montco, and I have a 3.5 GPA. I know it’s not a 4.0, but it’s better than the 0.6 GPA I left high school with.”

Following his emotion-filled speech, Ream surprised GED Program Coordinator Ed Sasek by presenting him with a plaque on behalf of the graduates.

“This man has dedicated his whole life to adult education,” shared Ream.

MCCC Assistant Professor of Geography Samuel Wallace provided the keynote address, during which he shared the story of his father, who earned his GED after surviving polio.

“My father never attended a year of school, not uncommon in a 1940s Kansas dustbowl,” he said. “After surviving polio, he realized he would never again make money with his legs and back. He got a GED and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in science and engineering.”

Wallace shared that his father wrote the first set of guidelines for federal highway maintenance.

“Your career is not the one you thought you would have when you were 16. A GED is one way to get a second strike at the ball. It’s your jumpstart,” he said.

Janet Rojas, youth research and performance coordinator for Montco Works, presented the graduates with their diplomas. She was joined by Dr. David DiMattio, vice president of the West Campus; Nicole Henderson, dean of student affairs; and Peggy Schmidt, chair of the Workforce Investment Board Youth Council.

In her closing remarks, Schmidt drew applause with a reference to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” television show.

“You, tonight, have in your hands your own Mirrorball Trophy,” said Schmidt. “You are on the steps of an exciting future. So get out and DANCE!”

To learn more about the GED program or GED testing services, visit http://www.mc3.edu/adm-fin-aid/ged.

Learn About MCCC Nursing Program During Summer Info Sessions

Nursing Lab

Students work with a simulated patient in Montgomery County Community College’s Nursing Laboratory.

Blue Bell, PA — The community is invited to explore nursing career opportunities at Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, during information sessions this summer.

Sessions will be offered on June 15 and June 21 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and on July 27, Aug. 4 and Aug. 10 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. All sessions will be held in room 218 of MCCC’s Advanced Technology Center, except for the July 27 session, which will be held in room 212. Sessions are free of charge and are open to the public. Pre-registration is not required.

During the information sessions, participants will learn about MCCC’s Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Nursing degree program, which prepares graduates for careers as caring, professional nurses who employ critical thinking skills to the nursing process in order to care for clients in a variety of health care settings. Participants will learn about the program’s admissions requirements, competitive application process, laboratory and clinical experiences, and transfer opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects a higher-than-average 16 percent job growth rate for Registered Nurses (RN) through 2024, due, in part, to increased demand for health care services by an aging population and greater access to health care as result of health care insurance reform.

To learn more about MCCC’s Nursing program, visit http://www.mc3.edu/academics/areas-of-study/health-sciences/nursing.

Physical Therapist Assistant Program Coming To MCCC In Summer 2017‏

Blue Bell, PA — Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will introduce a new Physical Therapist Assistant program starting summer 2017. The 70-credit Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) program will prepare graduates for employment as entry-level physical therapist assistants.

The program will integrate classroom and laboratory instruction with full-time practical clinical experiences. Graduates will be prepared to take the Physical Therapist Assistant National Physical Therapy Examination for state certification and licensure.

According to Robert Cullen, Physical Therapist Assistant program director, the program is composed of two distinct phases. During the Pre-Technical Phase, students complete their general education and foundational requirements at their own pace. Students who successfully complete the first phase may then apply for admission into the highly specialized and competitive full-time Technical/Clinical Phase.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists physical therapist assistant third among the 20 fastest growing occupations nationwide, and employment of physical therapist assistants is projected to grow 41 percent through 2024. Locally, physical therapist assistant is identified as a High Priority Occupation for Montgomery County and the surrounding four-county region.

Physical therapist assistants work under the direction and supervision of licensed physical therapists in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, rehabilitation centers, school systems, sports medicine facilities and private practice.

The Physical Therapist Assistant degree program will be offered at MCCC’s Central Campus in Blue Bell in the new Health Sciences Center, an integrated and active learning environment. Slated for completion in January 2017, the expansion will add 91,000 square feet to the existing 69,000 square-foot Physical Education Center.

The mission of the Health Sciences Center is to position MCCC as the regional leader in health and wellness education to be the catalyst that transforms lives. The center will house MCCC’s athletics programs and wellness center, as well as its existing Health Sciences programs—Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Medical Laboratory Technician, Medical Assisting, Phlebotomy, Radiography, Surgical Technology, Exercise Science and Wellness, Health and Fitness Professional, and Personal Training, among others. A certificate program in Massage Therapy is also being developed.

To learn more about MCCC’s Health Sciences programing, visit http://www.mc3.edu/academics/areas-of-study/health-sciences.

Accreditation Information

Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone; 703-706-3245; accredition@apta.org, is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Montgomery County Community College is seeking accreditation of the new physical therapist assistant education program from CAPTE. The College will submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage, on March 1, 2017. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the Technical Phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in PTA courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted CAPTE accreditation.

‘GROWL!’ At Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre‏

Allentown, PA —For the past two seasons, the theatre company Doppelskope has created world-premiere musicals for young audiences at the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre. In 2014, they presented “Gruff!” a troll’s eye view of the story of the three billy goats Gruff, and last season it was “Grimm!” a tale of the storytelling Brothers Grimm and their quest to chase down their escaped stories with the help of a rambunctious little girl.

This season, MSMT and Doppelskope will complete the “Grilogy” with another new show, “Growl!” — playing June 29 through July 30. “Growl!” brings Doppelskope’s energetic, innovative puppetry, lively music, and interactive theatrical spirit to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Co-authors Ora Fruchter and Christopher Scheer describe “Growl!” as a “zany reinvention” of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, in which a group of woodland creatures has come together to solve a series of break-ins by a certain mysterious blonde figure. They are led by an imaginative young bear who likes to be known as Danger Bear, and who has no time for breakfast while the world needs a hero to make freedom sing in the hearts of all animal-kind.

“Our inspiration always comes from a lot of different sources,” Scheer says. “For ‘Growl!’ we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what made us laugh as children, and what still makes our inner-children laugh now. So as we got ready to write the show, we spent some time researching the cartoons we grew up watching — Chip and Dale, Roadrunner, Bugs Bunny, and lots of other classic cartoons. We like to create comedy that works on at least two levels, so that we can engage adults just as much as we engage kids.”

The eight-member cast of “Growl!” plays an ensemble of woodland animals, who in turn present the story of Goldilocks and the Bear family through puppetry. The cast members also play all the music themselves, on instruments ranging from washboard and stand-up bass to banjo and accordion — all while selling the audience a variety of woodland merchandise such as Hats, Buckets, Porridge, and Four-Month Energy Drink (the alternative to hibernating).

“We want our audiences to laugh in a deep, satisfying way,” Fruchter says. “And we want them to walk away amazed by the possibilities of live theater, puppetry and imagination.”

“Growl!” features a script by Fruchter and Scheer, with music composed by Tony Singer, who also serves as musical director. Fruchter, Scheer and Singer also made up the core creative team for both “Gruff!” and “Grimm!” The team’s show has evolved from recorded musical accompaniment, the first year, to live piano accompaniment last year, to this year’s approach of letting the actors accompany themselves.

“Toby has created this super-catchy, playful score for us,” Scheer says. “And because of our actor-musicians, we’re able to have fantastic live music throughout the show.”

Scheer says that the group’s puppetry has also evolved, both in the design and in performance. The show uses both tabletop puppets, created by Fruchter, and detailed shadow puppetry, projected on giant screens to create “surprisingly cinematic moments” throughout the show.

“We’re really exploring and innovating what’s possible with puppetry on stage,” he says. “We’re learning quite a lot as we experiment, with some really exciting results. Ora’s puppets are beautiful and hilarious. They’re like cartoon characters come to life, and they create this fantastic connection with the audience.”

Young audiences members can participate in a free 45-minute Imagination Workshop, following every performance of “Growl!” Participants will join members of the cast to explore the themes of the show through movement, storytelling, and creative play. Participants can register in advance through the box office or on the MSMT website.

Cast members are available after the show to meet the audience and sign autographs.

A Sensory-Friendly Performance of “Growl!” will be presented on Saturday, July 23 at 1 p.m. The performance will be followed by an interactive Imagination Workshop. Sensory-friendly performances are designed for children with autism and other sensory challenges. At these performances, sound levels are reduced, and startling sounds are avoided; lights remain on at a low level during performance, and strobes and other flashy lights are omitted; patrons are free to talk or leave their seats during the show; and attendance is limited. Social stories will be available in advance from the MSMT website, and the theater staff and cast will receive special training in meeting the needs of patrons with autism and sensory issues.

American Sign Language interpreters will interpret the 10 a.m. performance on Saturday, July 23. The interpreters will be available prior to the show and following the show at the meet-the-cast session and Imagination Workshop. All patrons are welcome to attend.

“Growl!” runs June 29 through July 30 in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. All tickets to “Growl!” are $10 for June performances and $12 for July performances.

Tickets and information are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/SMT or 484-664-3333.

Donors Recognized For Generosity And Impact On MCCC Students‏

Montalbano-Cross gift

PHOTO: A new plaque outside of the Presidential Reading Room in the Brendlinger Library at Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus recognizes Richard Montalbano and Deborah Cross for their contributions to the Foundation’s Futures Rising campaign. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Blue Bell, PA —Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) celebrated the naming of its Presidential Reading Room on June 13 in Blue Bell, thanks to the generosity of Richard Montalbano and Deborah Cross, of Dresher. Their generous pledge to the Student Success Endowed Scholarship as part of the MCCC Foundation’s Futures Rising campaign was commemorated with a plaque.

“The College wholeheartedly thanks Rich and Deb for their generous contribution to the Futures Rising campaign and for their commitment to the success of our students,” shared MCCC President Dr. Kevin Pollock. “For many of our students, a Foundation scholarship is the reason they are able to stay in school and complete their education. By supporting scholarships, Rich and Deb are making a significant and positive impact on the lives of our students.”

Montalbano is a member of MCCC’s Board of Trustees, for which he chairs the Personnel Committee. He also chaired the College’s recent Presidential search.

“I have been involved with MCCC for about a dozen years now, and I am captivated by the unique needs of the student body and the non-traditional students we serve,” said Montalbano. “We are thrilled to provide resources for the students of MCCC to bootstrap themselves into a better future.”

Montalbano has been a hospital administrator for over 40 years, most recently serving as the vice president and project executive for Einstein Healthcare Network. In that capacity, he was part of the leadership team that helped build the new Einstein greenfield hospital and campus in East Norriton.

Cross is an Adult Certified Nurse Practitioner who currently works for Abington Medical Plaza. She previously taught at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing for 17 years.

Montalbano and Cross have been involved in multiple charitable endeavors, including Impact 100, Habitat for Humanity and healthcare mission trips to Haiti.

Futures Rising, the MCCC Foundation’s first-ever comprehensive campaign, exceeded its $9 million goal to raise a total of $10,526,000 over two years. In addition to establishing 82 new student scholarships, the campaign provided support for key student success initiatives and arts programming, among other areas of need.

To learn more giving opportunities at MCCC, visit http://www.mc3.edu/giving.