Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Embarks On 37th Theatrical Season

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre at Muhlenberg College announces the lineup for its 37th summer season. The season will feature the revolutionary rock musical “Hair,” the classic “My Fair Lady,” and “Wild,” a new modern circus production for all ages.

“Hair” opens the season, running June 14 – July 2. A celebration of freewheeling 1960s youth counterculture, “Hair” commemorates the 50th anniversary of its original Broadway run.

“My Fair Lady,” running July 12-30, was the 1957 Tony Award-winning Best Musical. Lerner and Loewe’s beloved musical features a score that includes such standards as “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “The Rain in Spain.”

“Wild,” running June 28 – July 29, is a world premiere modern circus performance for audiences of all ages, featuring aerial acrobatics, clowning, spectacle, and a touch of magic. The show is recommended for adults and children ages 3 and older.

A free 45-minute circus-themed activity workshop follows each performance of “Wild.” Participation is limited, and advance registration through the box office is recommended. Evening workshops will focus on circus skills for all ages. Daytime workshops are geared toward children and will focus on storytelling and play through circus activities.

Tickets and information are available at muhlenberg.edu/SMT and 484-664-3333.

Join the Age of Aquarius and celebrate the freewheeling counterculture of the 1960s in “Hair.” Passionate, outspoken Claude must choose between submitting to the draft and continuing to fight the establishment through pacifist lifestyle. Joining him is a “tribe” of non-conformists who believe in the power of free speech and free love as they groove to the music, including beloved 1960s hits “Good Morning Starshine” and “Let the Sunshine In.” Director James Peck returns to MSMT following last season’s production of “In the Heights.” He is reunited with musical director Ed Bara and choreographer Samuel Antonio Reyes.

“My Fair Lady” tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl in training to become a lady of society. At first, her lessons with phonetics professor Henry Higgins could not be more frustrating, but their squabbles eventually foster an unlikely partnership — Eliza and Higgins realize they have a lot to learn from each other. MSMT founding artistic director Charles Richter will direct the production. Ed Bara serves as musical director, and Karen Dearborn choreographs.

Atlas Circus Company’s world-premiere modern circus production “Wild” presents the story of a boy who runs away on an adventure through the unknown. Throughout his journey, he meets unusual characters that teach him about love, family, and what it means to be home. The show is designed for audiences of all ages, and incorporates elements of aerial acrobatics, juggling, magic, dance, theater, and clowning.

Relaxed performances of “Wild” will be presented on Saturday, July 8th at 10 am and Thursday, July 13th at 1 pm. The relaxed performances will be followed by an interactive workshop. Relaxed 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.

Audio Description and Open Captioning will be available for all three productions: “Hair” on Sunday, June 25; “My Fair Lady” on Sunday, July 23; and “Wild” on Thursday, July 20, at 10 a.m. Call 484-664-3087 for tickets in the accessible section of these performances.

“Hair” runs June 14 – July 2; “My Fair Lady” runs July 12-30. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices for both “Hair” and “My Fair Lady” are as follows. For the first four performances: $35 regular admission; seniors, $31; students and children, $20. For the rest of the performances: $41 regular admission; seniors, $37; students and children, $24.

“Wild” runs June 28 through July 29. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. All tickets to “Wild” are $11 for the first week of performances and $13 for remaining performances.

Subscriptions and group rates are available at a discount. Contact the box office or refer to the website for details.

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

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‘The Cherry Orchard’ At Muhlenberg

ALLENTOWN, PA — Anton Chekhov’s prescient drama “The Cherry Orchard” will soon take the stage at Muhlenberg College, illuminating the class struggles that permeated early 20th century Russia — which, in turn, illuminate the class struggles of today.

“‘The Cherry Orchard’ captures the full complexity of progress and what it means to live through changing times,” says director and Muhlenberg theater faculty member Matthew Moore. “It is at the same time ordinary and supremely poetic.”

The Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Department will present “The Cherry Orchard,” in a new version by American playwright Stephen Karam, in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, April 26-29.

“I think the play is ultimately about the human condition and our resilience in the face of life’s disappointments,” says Holly Cate, another theater faculty member, who plays the role of Lyubov Ranevskaya.

As Russia hurtles toward revolution at the start of the 20th century, a widowed aristocrat returns home after years abroad to her family’s estate, which is on the verge of financial ruin. Faced with the prospect of losing their beautiful cherry orchard and the world it seemed to represent, she and her brother cast about for a path forward — but they are too deeply immersed in memories and lost dreams of their youth to take control of their shifting fortunes.

A bittersweet story of love, loss, and social change, Chekhov’s last play offers a rich tapestry of characters, interwoven with poignant nostalgia and wry commentary on a society on the brink of upheaval.

“Chekhov plainly foresaw the coming revolution,” Moore says. “His characters encounter the coming change with different attitudes — some with naive optimism, some with an entrepreneurial spirit, some in mourning.”

Moore believes the anxieties at the heart of this play are contemporary.

“This feels like today’s America in many respects,” Moore says. “It’s hard to know if things are getting better or if everything’s going to hell in a handbasket. Progress and catastrophe seem intertwined.”

One of Russia’s best-known playwrights, Chekhov wrote “The Cherry Orchard in 1903. It premiered in Moscow the following year, after his death, helmed by renowned director and theatrical innovator Konstantin Stanislavski.

Chekhov pioneered theatrical naturalism — having his actors perform the everyday instead of the fantastic; the Russian public was used to romanticism, in which a more fantastical style of performance was much more common. Chekhov wanted audiences to experience honesty and realism when they came to the theater.

“The idea that nothing happens in Chekhov’s plays is totally false. Everything happens,” says Cate. “It’s life onstage. Affairs begin and end, familial relationships are torn and then repaired, people die, they are mourned, and communities rebuild.”

While Chekhov incorporated elements of his own life into all of his work, “The Cherry Orchard” is his most autobiographical play. When he was a teenager, his family’s beloved cherry orchard was cut down — his mother was tricked by contractors into selling the family territory.

“Every day in rehearsal you discover something true about the play that you didn’t know,” Moore says. “There’s no imagining circumstances here, only excavating truths.”

The production uses a celebrated new version by award-winning playwright Stephen Karam, written in an American vernacular and style, which debuted last year on Broadway. This is the first collegiate production of Karam’s adaptation.

“It’s so much funnier and more alive in the body than it is on the page,” Cate says. “I hope people understand how amazing it is that we are able to work with this new version.”

Karam won a Tony Award for Best Play for “The Humans” in 2016 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for “The Humans” and “Sons of the Prophet.”

“‘The Cherry Orchard’ deserves a fresh presentation,” says Cate. “We are very lucky to be able to give it new life.”

“The Cherry Orchard” runs April 26-29. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Regular admission tickets are $15. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8.

Tickets and information are available online at muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Baker Theatre in Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance.

‘Dance Emerge’ at Muhlenberg

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg College dancers tell their stories through movement, as the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Departmentpresents “Dance Emerge,” a showcase for dance works created by emerging choreographers, April 19-22.

“Dance Emerge” will be performed in the college’s intimate Studio Theatre, a black box performance space with seating on three sides of the performance. Randall Anthony Smith is the artistic director for the concert.

 “This concert is configured where the audience is encapsulating the performance space,” Smith says. “From three distinct view points, each audience member is able to get a closer look at how the performers are moving and evolving. This year’s concert surely will have you thinking about who you are and how you relate to the world.”

“Dance Emerge” will showcase 7 choreographers and 37 dancers from the department’s dance program, which is among the most highly regarded programs of its kind. The concert features design work by the department’s acclaimed professional staff: costume designer Lex Gurst and lighting designer Paul E. Theisen Jr.

The seven original dances include contemporary, jazz, and modern works that investigate such topics as death, family relationships, and the convergence of past, present, and future.

“Dance Emerge” runs April 19-22 in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

 Performances are April 19-22: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 22, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for patrons 17 and under, and $8 for students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.  For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $13.

Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 or muhlenberg.edu/dance.

West End Student Theatre Brings ‘Reckless’ To The Stage At Montgomery County Community College West Campus In April

Pottstown, PA —The Montgomery County Community College West End Student Theatre brings Craig Lucas’s comedy/drama Reckless to the stage April 20-22 at the College’s West Campus in Pottstown. 

On December 24, Rachel is informed by her guilt-ridden husband that he has hired a hitman to kill her – Merry Christmas! She scrambles out into the night alone, and finds a wild, wonderful web of people and events which allow her to become the hero of her own (almost sane) story. The production contains adult themes and language. 

Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists’ Play Services, Reckless is directed by Tim Gallagher and assistant director Zach Clark, with stage direction by Jeff Chernesky. It is produced and designed by students in the Theatre Production Workshop and the West End Student Theatre. 

The cast and crew includes Maliah Buxton of Collegeville, Mika Cave of Bechtelsville, Sebastian Coates of Douglassville, William Cox of Red Hill, Tess Devlin of Collegeville, Duncan DeVore of Perkiomenville, Joseph Donley of Pottstown, Phoebe Kancianic of Pottstown, Derek Peterson of Reading, Shaun Reed of Lancaster, Erik Reyes of Pottstown, Toby Troyer, Hailee Tyson of Sanatoga, and Kayla Velasquez of Royersford. 

Performances will be held April 20 – 22 at 7 p.m., and a special daytime performance on April 21 at 12:30 p.m. in the South Hall Community Room at 101 College Drive in Pottstown, Pa. General admission is $10, and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, please visit www.mc3.edu/theater or call 215-641-6518. 

Proceeds from the production will benefit the Theatre Arts Merit Scholarship fund at the College. 

About Montgomery County Community College 

For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus.   

As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College is also recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu.  

‘Wig Out!’ At Muhlenberg

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg College takes a stroll down the runway and into drag ball culture, as the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Department presents Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Wig Out!,” March 30 – April 2. Rarely produced since its 2008 premiere, “Wig Out!” offers an outlandish and high-style glimpse into the tight-knit world of Harlem drag balls. Muhlenberg theater professor Troy Dwyer directs.

“I’m not sure we’ve ever seen anything quite like this on our stage,” Dwyer says. “It’s going to be an extremity of design — and a leap-of-faith undertaking for the department. It’s also an opportunity to accommodate our population of truly gifted students of color, who aren’t just actors, but a variety of theater-making artists.”

“Wig Out!” focuses on the intense personal connections of  “houses,” the family units at the heart of drag culture — families that typically include a mother, a father, and a group of “children,” while also upending traditional nuclear family roles in favor of something richer and more complex. At the core of “Wig Out!” is the fictional House of Light, with mother Rey-Rey (Cameron Silliman) and father Lucian (Alan Mendez).

“’Wig Out!’ is a quick Alice in Wonderland trip into this topsy-turvy world that’s nothing like ours but very much like ours,” McCraney says. “One of my professors who saw the original run said, ‘I have no idea what’s going on, but it’s the most fun I’ve ever had.’”

Drag balls trace their roots to Harlem in the 1860s, flourishing during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ’30s. Today’s drag ball culture took shape in the 1960s, as black drag queens began hosting predominantly black drag events. In 1990, the drag scene achieved mainstream recognition with the release of the documentary film “Paris Is Burning,” along with pop star Madonna’s drag-inspired hit “Vogue.” The balls themselves are extravagant competitions, in which contestants “walk” and are judged on a specific set of criteria, including the “realness” of their drag, their movement and dance abilities, and their fashion choices.

“What I think is so vital about ‘Wig Out!’ is that it not only makes visible sides of queer culture that aren’t typically part of mainstream culture,” Dwyer says. “It shines a more inclusive light than, say ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ which is about the extent of many people’s familiarity with drag culture.”

“Wig Out!” was first produced at the Off-Broadway Vineyard Theatre in New York City, and the same year at the Royal Court Theatre in London. It has been fully produced only once since, in any venue.

Playwright McCraney’s film “Moonlight” received 2017 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film was written by McCraney and director Barry Jenkins, based on McCraney’s unpublished semi-autobiographical play. McCraney was also recently appointed chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama, beginning in July. His plays have been produced by Steppenwolf Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, among others.

McCraney got together with the Muhlenberg production’s cast and creative team in February, via Skype. He shared some insights, answered questions, and engaged with the actors’ responses to the play.

Dwyer has surrounded himself with an accomplished creative team — which he says has somewhat allayed his concerns as a white director about taking artistic leadership of this project, in which most of the characters are people of color.

“What feels risky to me is making sure my white male privilege doesn’t upstage the heart of the story,” Dwyer says. “I was committed to having the story told, thinking it was probably okay for me to be a creative leader, but not by myself. I’m so fortunate to have some really brilliant, passionate artists of color around me, who are significant creative leaders on the piece.”

The production team includes managing dramaturg Dr. Sharrell Luckett, a Muhlenberg theater professor; accomplished costume designer Andy Jean; and Broadway wig and hair designer Bobbie Zlotnik. Samuel Antonio Reyes, who choreographed last summer’s acclaimed Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre production of “In the Heights,” and a veteran of the ballroom scene himself, has created the show’s extensive choreography.

The show also features makeup design by Joe Dulude II, who designed make-up for the Tony Award-winning Broadway productions of “Wicked” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” Dulude is the Baker Artist-in-Residence for the 2016-17 academic year, thanks to a grant from the Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Foundation. He says his own involvement in the drag scene heavily influences his approach to the work.

“My drag is often about playing with the masculine and feminine,” Dulude says. “Since my own experiences in drag and working with other drag queens is so diverse, that’s what I’m bringing to the show: not just one style of drag but a combination of styles.”

Muhlenberg Junior Evan Brooks, who plays Ms. Nina/Wilson, one of the children of the House of Light, says the production is a vital performance opportunity for theater students at Muhlenberg.

“At this moment in our nation’s history, being able to participate in this production is nothing less than a gift,” Brooks says. “I think it’s essential to provide theatrical and educational experiences for under-represented artists, who aren’t acknowledged in the same way as majority-identifying students — and that’s what the production is doing.”

Dwyer says the show’s second act will feature a drag ball performance for which audience members will be invited onstage to serve as the crowd for the ball. The production also will feature a lobby display about the history of drag, coordinated by Luckett, and a uniquely interactive intermission.

“We want the audience to leave with an appreciation for drag culture, in all its spectacular diversity,” Dwyer says. “The mainstream gets an exceptionally narrow version of queer culture, when they get any version at all — and often it comes at the expense of other, more marginalized versions. We want to broaden their horizons a bit.”

“Wig Out!” plays March 30 – April 2. Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Regular admission tickets are $15. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8. The production is recommended for mature audiences.

Tickets and information are available online at muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg College is a highly selective, private, four-year residential college located in Allentown, Pa., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, sciences, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for eight 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.

Mark Your Calendar For Another Spectacular Pottstown ArtsWalk – A Free Event – Saturday, May 6, 2017!

Pottstown, PA —“We have always recognized and embraced what the arts and collaboration can do for a community”, said Erika Hornburg-Cooper, ArtFusion19464. Join us for a day of discovery on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 12 pm to 9 pm. Arts and culture organizations, local businesses and restaurants are teaming up to bring you an amazing day of fun, food and entertainment.

“The Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA) is excited to be a part in this venture. It has been very exciting to see our downtown community pull together with our arts and cultural organizations to create this amazing event,” states Sheila Dugan, PDIDA.

Viewing the art in a kind of “pub crawl” format adds to the fun and energetic quality of this event. Family-friendly activities are being planned. Nearly 20 downtown business will be open to showcase original artwork displays and live musical entertainment.

“It all starts with the arts!” said Lauren Pierson-Swanson, Steel River Playhouse. “To know Pottstown is to love it. The people behind the businesses and attractions on and around High Street are smart, driven and dedicated to this beautiful historic town. Art has always been a catalyst in the rejuvenation of American communities and is the focus of Pottstown ArtsWalk.”

While this event is free, we ask that you pre-register for your free ticket. Each is valid for one person to join the Pottstown ArtsWalk on Saturday, May 6, 2017, and you can order as many as you need. Visit http://www.artfusion19464.org/artwalk.

Get a taste for all the activities, food and arts presentations. Here is a list of venues joining us Saturday, May 6th to showcase Pottstown and all that our community has to offer:

@107, 107 E. High St. and Advantage Insurance
ArtFusion 19464, 254 E. High St.
Ballroom on High, 310 E. High St.
Beverly’s Pastry Shop, 322 E. High St.
Connections on High, 238 E. High St.
Grumpy’s Handcarved Sandwiches, 137 E. High St.
High Street Music, 135 E. High St.
iCreate Cafe, 130 King St.
Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine, 235 E. High St.
Lily’s Grill, 115 E. High St.
MCCC North Hall Gallery, 16 E. High St.
Memory Madness Photo Studio, 16 N. York St.
MOSIAC Community Land Trust, 10 S. Hanover St.
Potts & Penn Family Diner, 80 E. High St.
Smith Family Plaza, 100 E. High St.
Steel River Playhouse, 245 E. High St.
The Carousel at Pottstown, 30 W. King St.
The Hill School Center for the Performing Arts, 780 Beech St.
Weitzenkorn’s, 145 E. High St.

To get the latest update on locations and activities, visit http://www.artfusion19464.org/artwalk and don’t forget to pre-register for Pottstown ArtsWalk!

Pottstown ArtsWalk is brought to you in partnership through
ArtFusion19464, Steel River Playhouse, @107, Proudly Pottstown and Advantage Insurance Group.

PLAYHOUSE ACCEPTING ENROLLMENT FOR SPRING CLASSES, PRODUCTION WORKSHOPS, HOME SCHOOL DRAMA WORKSHOP AND SUMMER CAMP!

Pottstown, PA — Steel River Playhouse, at 245 E. High Street in Pottstown, PA is now accepting enrollment for the Spring term and summer program, which includes private study in guitar, piano, voice, trumpet and acting, along with group classes in acting, performance, improvisation and much more.

Steel River’s spring term began on Monday, March 28. Classes are available in Acting, Improvisation, Broadway Cabaret, and the popular Flights of Fancy and Imagination Theater programs for young actors to create and perform original works and perform for an audience. A home school drama club original production workshop is also accepting enrollment.

Students may also enroll NOW for workshop productions beginning in mid-March including productions of THE TEMPEST (classical workshop for dramatic actors), A CHARM SCHOOL WITCH (musical workshop for young performers), BANG BANG, YOU’RE DEAD (a contemporary drama workshop) and Broadway Cabaret workshop (Summer Lovin’ Cabaret). For more information on these productions, email the education department at education@steelriver.org.

Summer camp enrollment has also begun, and students may register for three different two week camps.

  • Camp one offers a Variety Show theme, and runs from July 11 to July 22.
  • Camp two runs from July 25 to August 8, and offers students the opportunity to work an original musical theme of global awareness, which explores a variety of cultures from around the world.
  • Camp three offers students to create original one act plays, from August 8 to 19.

Camps run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (with option for half day camp for younger students). Each camp culminates in an original work that is performed for parents, and includes workshops in specialty skills that will be used in that performance, such as juggling, Broadway dance styles and more, while also incorporating lessons in confidence, cultural awareness and collaboration.

Steel River Playhouse employs educators who are regionally and nationally renowned in their fields with many holding advanced degrees. The facility is also renowned as one of the highest rated theatrical venues in PA, featuring state of the art performance spaces, studios, classroom space, sound reinforcement equipment and seating, full set, costume and prop shops as well as the best green room of any theater in the area. Steel River’s goal is to provide the highest possible educational experience for students and participants in the tri-county area, focused on every level of training from beginner to expert!

About Steel River Playhouse – Steel River Playhouse is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable education and performance facility that seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and education for diverse audiences. Designated as a “gateway” performing arts center, Steel River provides affordable, high quality performances, comprehensive educational offerings, and enriching volunteer opportunities in all aspects of theatre arts. Students and volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to explore and grow their skills by working side-by-side with professional instructors, performers, directors, and designers.

Montgomery County Community College Central Campus Presenting Short Play Festival In April

Blue Bell, PA —Could you confront a person who tried to destroy you? How about leave your life a solar system away to be with someone you love? Six one-act plays explore these questions and more in the Short Play Festival coming to the stage at Montgomery County Community College April 6-9.

Chosen and directed by student artists at Montgomery County Community College, the Short Play Festival offers young, fresh productions by playwrights ranging from Chekhov to Neil LaBute.

Performances will be held April 6-8 at 7 p.m., April 7 at 12:30 p.m., and the finale on April 9 at 2 p.m. in the Science Center Black Box Theatre at 340 DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell.

The student directors are drawn from the Directing: World of the Stage course at the College, and the plays are produced and designed by students in the Theatre Arts Production Workshop and the Drama Club. Two of the plays are directed by theatre faculty member Rob Heller, who also oversees the entire project.

Selected plays include:

·         Dancing with the Devil by Brooke Berman, director by student Dajzane Meadows-Sanderlin of Upper Darby, Pa.

·         I’m Going to Stop Pretending (That I Didn’t Break our Heart) by Neil LaBute, directed by student Alondra Santos-Castillo of Norristown, Pa.

·         The Proposal by Anton Chekhov, directed by student Kevin Sene of Norristown, Pa.

·         Under Lubianka Square by Constance Congdon, directed by student Shelby Poston of Pottstown, Pa.

·         Fledging by Nathan Alan Davis, director by Rob Heller

·         Space by Kelly P. Luck, directed by Rob Heller

Cast members for the six plays include Dee Brown of Philadelphia, Kaeleigh Dequevado of Springfield Township, Luke Fletcher of Ambler, Amber Grier of Philadelphia, Matt Heller of Erdenheim, Kalif Johnson of Lansdale, Alex Kilcullen of King of Prussia, Lauren Ralston of Horsham, Gordon Rose of Fort Washington, Jordayn Ross of Norristown, Bill Smith of Rockledge, Shea Walker of Blue Bell, Jess Weigand of Norristown and Dan Wurtz of Jenkintown.

General admission is $10, and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, please visit http://www.mc3.edu/theater or call 215-641-6518. Proceeds from the production will benefit the Theatre Arts Merit Scholarship fund at the College.

About Montgomery County Community College
For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus.

As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College is also recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu .

You’re Invited – Free Arts Education Event For The Whole Community!

Three YAA photos

Hello Lehigh Valley Families!

Back by popular demand, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council is proud to present the second annual Young at Art Expo on March 11, 2017. Won’t you join us?

Our goal is to connect families to the arts community in an expo-style event that’s both engaging and educational. Held at Penn State Lehigh Valley from 10:00am to 2:00pm, we invite children of all ages and abilities to enjoy an entertaining and creative day – FREE to Lehigh Valley families!

The day will be jam-packed with hands-on activities and performances from the participating groups, from dance routines and theatre workshops to arts demonstrations and craft projects. Information will be available for classes and camps that are perfect for creative learners.

Come dance, sing, create and play! Enjoy fun with the whole family!

MEET THE INSTRUCTORS AND EXPLORE THE ARTS WITH:

Allegro Dance Studios
The Art Establishment
Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley
Banana Factory Arts Center
The Baum School of Art
Community Music School
Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania
The IceHouse Performing Arts Consortium
Let’s Play Books!
Mayura Academy of Dance
Mikayla’s Voice
Nurture Nature Center
Penn State Lehigh Valley
Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
Puertorrican Culture Preservation
Roey’s Paintbox
School of Rock
The Swain School
TLC Charter Arts

Enjoy FREE face painting provided by Funtastic Faces and Body Art!

young-at-art-logo

Gertrude Stein’s challenging ‘Listen To Me’ finds Vivid Adaption On Muhlenberg College Stage, Feb. 22-26

Allentown, PA — “Listen to Me” is a bittersweet adventure by Gertrude Stein — a love story and a cerebral frolic, in the face of planetary crisis. Directed by James Peck, Stein’s evocative, rarely produced play will be presented at Muhlenberg College, Feb. 22-26.

Written in 1936, Stein’s play is a piece of experimental staged poetry, in which characters laugh, love, philosophize, and struggle heroically to hold onto hope as their prospects dim.

“It has these themes of environmental catastrophe and looming disaster,” says Peck, a theater professor at Muhlenberg. “It asks some questions about the ways in which romance, love, and art matter in the context of a dire planetary situation.”

Peck has directed Stein before, and has also published articles about her theatrical work. He calls her “one of the most original and important theater thinkers of the 20th century,” and says that he wanted to share the experience of working on her plays with students.

In a few words, according to Peck, “Listen to Me” is arguably, partly, possibly a love story at the end of the world — but he resists the effort to impose a synopsis. The play is unusual in several ways: it has only a couple of clearly defined characters; most of the text isn’t so much dialog as it is poetry; and its scenes unfold with only the suggestion of a linear course of events. But Peck says that audience members who have the idea that the play is difficult or inaccessible will be quite surprised.

“I want people to understand that it’s not just ‘weird,’” Peck says. “It’s very deeply felt, it really starts from feeling — that Stein is deeply concerned about how people treat each other and about fairness in human relationships. I want them to know how moving her plays are and how accessible they are once you start to put them on their feet and figure out ways to put the language into actors’ bodies and create stage pictures around the words.”

To that end, the cast of 15 have been collaborating and experimenting their way through the text, finding the moments and phrases that resonate, and exploring ways in which to communicate that resonance to an audience.

“It’s a cooperative process,” says Xavier Pacheco, who plays Sweet William, one of the show’s two named characters. “The only way to rehearse this play is to work consistently through it all together and see where we end up. It’s a brilliant cast. It feels good to be working with people in a way that we’re all in it together.”

Scenic designer Tim Averill has found a design solution that echoes both the circumstance of the play and the process of its creation. It’s a dock, extending off stage from the top of a sphere — the earth, perhaps — on which words and images will be projected. It suggests the last visible piece of a sinking ship, on which the actors perch apprehensively.

“It’s a desperate place where people are trying to live,” Averill says. “It’s about too many people and too much stuff and too much light.”

The production also features an original score by Doug Ovens, who also collaborated with Peck on last season’s “Ulysses in Nighttown.” Ovens says the score will feature a “virtual chamber ensemble” of prerecorded woodwinds, percussion, and piano, as well as a “celestial soprano” derived for samples from recordings of his vocal pieces.

“My music revisits Modernist styles while striving to amplify ideas of love as well as confusion, conflict, and, hopefully, survival,” Ovens says.

Peck says he hopes all these elements will come together in a theatrical experience that feels, on the one hand, cautionary and anxious, and on the other, hopeful and celebratory — because, in these days, that’s how he feels as an artist and global citizen.

“Can we feel love and existential dread at the same time?” he asks. “I think that’s what Stein wants to know. It’s what I want to know. How do those things fit together? I think we can; I think we have to. And that’s what we’ve set out to do.”

“Listen to Me” plays Feb. 22-26. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Regular admission tickets are $15. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8. The production is recommended for mature audiences. 

Tickets and information are available online at muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Announces Open Audition Dates

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre will hold open auditions on Feb. 26 and 27. Performers will be cast for the season’s mainstage productions: “Hair,” performing June 14 – July 2, and “My Fair Lady,” performing July 12-30.

The following audition details can also be found online, at muhlenberg.edu/smt.

Preliminary vocal auditions will be held for both “Hair” and “My Fair Lady” on Sunday, Feb. 26, from 12 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 11pm, and Monday, Feb. 27, from 5 to 10 p.m. All auditions will take place at Muhlenberg College, at the Baker Center for the Arts and the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance.

All auditioners must register in advance and schedule an audition. Auditioners should visit the Summer Music Theatre website, at muhlenberg.edu/smt, and follow the link to the registration form. Auditioners without internet access may call the Theatre & Dance office at 484-664-3087, during regular office hours before Thursday, Feb. 23.

All auditioners should prepare a 32-bar song selection from a Broadway musical written before 1975. Auditioners should bring properly marked sheet music. An accompanist will be provided. Dance will not be a part of the preliminary audition, but will be included in callback auditions. Auditioners should bring two copies of their resumes and headshots.

For “Hair,” performers ages 18-30 are encouraged to audition.  For “My Fair Lady,” the director will be casting actors ages 16 and up, and older auditioners are encouraged to attend. Auditioners may audition for both productions.

All actors participating in Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre productions are paid a stipend. Out-of-town actors are provided with free housing. We will consider casting Equity members on guest artist contracts.

Auditioners who live too far away from the Allentown area or who are unable to attend auditions may submit a preliminary video audition. The video should consist of one song (see guidelines above). Please send a link to a video hosted on the internet; e.g., YouTube or Vimeo. Do not send attached files via email.

Auditioners who receive a callback must attend in person to be considered for a role. Callbacks will include dance and acting auditions, reading from the script.

Callbacks will be held on Monday, March 13, for “Hair” and Tuesday, March 14, for “My Fair Lady.” Auditioners must attend callbacks in person (not by video submission) unless previous arrangements have been made.

“My Fair Lady” will be directed by Charles Richter, with choreography by Karen Dearborn and musical direction by Ed Bara. Rehearsals are June 20 through July 11, Tuesday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m.  Performances are June 12 through July 30, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

“Hair” will be directed by James Peck, with choreography by Samuel Antonio Reyes and musical direction by Ken Butler. Rehearsals are May 23 through June 13, Tuesday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m and 7 to 11 p.m. Performances are June 14-July 2, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Non-performing opportunities are available for technicians and costumers. Carpenters, electricians, props technicians, light board and sound board operators, and stage crew are needed for productions. Costumers, first hand, stitchers, and wardrobe running crew are needed in the costume shop.

The application deadline for technicians, costumers, and administrative personnel is March 9. Applications can be found online at muhlenberg.edu/smt. Completed applications can be sent to smtcompany@muhlenberg.edu.

Lehigh Valley Arts Advocate – February 2017

FEBRUARY 2017

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MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

At only 46 cents per citizen, one has to ask “What does the National Endowment for the Arts actually do for the citizens of this country?” Surprisingly, a lot.

The 2016 budget for the National Endowment for the Arts was $148 million dollars. Annually, the NEA awards more than 2,200 grants and cooperative agreements exceeding $130 million, funding the arts in all 50 states and six U.S. jurisdictions, including urban and rural areas, and reaching civilian and military populations.

As determined by the Americans for the Arts in their Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study, the nonprofit arts and culture industry in the United States generates $135.2 billion dollars of activity annually. This activity supports 4.1 million jobs and generates $22.3 billion dollars in revenue to local, state and federal governments.

That’s quite a healthy return on investment at less than four bits.

Economics aside, public funding for the arts validates the important role that the arts play in our lives. Arts are the highest form of expression. They have the power to make our lives better, heal emotional wounds, and spark initiatives, As a citizen, I would gladly support $5 of my tax dollars toward increasing the budget for the NEA. It would go a lot further in bringing people together in this country than spending $30 billion dollars for a wall.

Randall Forte, Executive Director

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Save the Date for Young at Art!

Young at Art Face Painting pic

You won’t want to miss this year’s day of creative fun for the whole family!

SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 2017
10:00am to 2:00pm
Penn State Lehigh Valley
free admission for the community
lvartscouncil.org/young-at-art
The day will be jam-packed with hands-on activities and performances from the participating groups, from dance routines and theatre workshops to arts demonstrations and craft projects. Kids of every age and ability will find a way to sample the arts in all forms, while parents can gather information about classes and summer camps.

Meet Our Exhibiting Artist

Blue Glass

THOMAS AUGUSTA

January / February

“As a painter, I am more interested in how the subject appeals to me. I paint what I think is pleasing or compelling to the eye. My watercolors are more detailed than others, I try to bring in the viewer in with color, composition and detail.”

Thomas is a watercolor painter currently living in Bethlehem, PA, painting plein air and in his “Crow’s Nest Studio” at home. His inviting watercolor landscapes and still lives capture light and color, creating a balanced and interesting setting that tells a story.

Thomas’s exhibit will be on display in our office until the end of February – stop by and see the collection!

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Arts Alive 2017

Arts Alive 2017

Engage Your Mind & Spirit!

Join us in exploring the “intimacy of space” as imagined by a landscape architect, captured in a musical salon, and depicted in the wearable art of a metalsmith. Expand your appreciation for the arts by attending one (or all three) of our Arts Alive offerings!

SPECIAL MEMBER PRICING FOR SERIES TICKET
Enjoy all three 2017 Arts Alive events for the price of $60 (savings of $15)!

How Does Your Garden Show? Saturday, April 29, 2017 | 11 am – 12:30 pm | Garden Design, Inc.
PURCHASE TICKETS
Music of Friends Saturday, June 17, 2017 | 11 am – 12:30 pm | Home of Janet & Malcolm Gross
PURCHASE TICKETS
Wearable Sculpture Sunday, October 15, 2017 | 11 am – 12:30 pm | Studio of Loretta Tryon
PURCHASE TICKETS
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Upcoming Performances

MORAVIAN COLLEGE MUSIC INSTITUTE

February 18 at 7:30pm
Sounds of New Orleans
Foy Hall, Moravian College

February 19 at 2:00pm
Gamelan Gita Semara
Foy Hall, Moravian College

February 26 at 4:00pm
An Afternoon of Jazz
Foy Hall, Moravian College

March 16 at 7:30pm
Expressionism – The Art & the Music
Peter Hall, Moravian College

March 19 at 7:00pm
Moravian College Jazz Fusion Ensemble & Jazz Combo II
Foy Hall, Moravian College

March 24 at 7:30pm
Moravian College BIG Band
Foy Hall, Moravian College

March 26 at 4:00pm
Early Music Ensembles
Peter Hall, Moravian College

March 26 at 7:00pm
Celtic Ensemble – “Heather & Thistle – Music of Scotland”
Peter Hall, Moravian College

March 31 at 7:30pm
Moravian College Dance Company
Foy Hall, Moravian College

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MORAVIAN COLLEGE THEATRE COMPANY

February 23 at 8pm
Boeing-Boeing
Arena Theatre, Moravian College

February 24 at 8pm
Boeing-Boeing
Arena Theatre, Moravian College

February 25 at 8pm
Boeing-Boeing
Arena Theatre, Moravian College

February 26 at 2pm
Boeing-Boeing
Arena Theatre, Moravian College

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PENNSYLVANIA SINFONIA ORCHESTRA

March 5 at 4pm
An Afternoon with Mozart
Christ Lutheran Church, Allentown

Second Annual Young At Art Expo Is Back!

young-at-art-logoThe Lehigh Valley Arts Council is proud to present the second annual Young at Art Expo.on Saturday, March 11, 2017. Held at Penn State Lehigh Valley, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, this event invites families with children of all ages to enjoy music, dance, arts and exploration. Admission is free and open to the public.

Local arts providers will assist parents with selecting the right summer class for their aspiring creatives. Parents will witness first-hand how the arts ignite their children’s imagination, while their kids get the chance to explore their inner dancer, actor, musician, author or visual artist.

“Young at Art is a day devoted to curiosity and entertainment,” says Executive Director Randall Forte. “Last year, we welcomed over 300 guests to our inaugural event, and the positive response from local families was wonderful!”

“My girls loved the different activity tables and face painting,” said Hazel Singleton Chumo, mother of two fun-loving girls, ages 7 and 4. “They also enjoyed the live performances which made it more entertaining.”

The expo showcases twenty arts and cultural businesses in the region that offer a wide range of children’s programming, both for beginners and for kids at an intermediate level. Among them include Community Music School, Banana Factory, Allegro Dance Studio, Swain School, Mikayla’s Voice, and the Mayura Academy of Dance.

The day’s festivities will feature an arts demonstration or performance every fifteen minutes, so kids will have a chance “to imagine what kind of artist” they want to be this summer. Families will have the opportunity to meet different arts instructors and join in hands-on activities. Lunch will be available for purchase, and parking is free.

For more information, visit http://www.lvartscouncil.org/young-at-art/.

Muhlenberg College ‘Master Choreographers’ Dance Concert, Feb. 9-11, Displays Talents Of Acclaimed Choreographers, More Than 70 Dancers

Allentown, PA — The Muhlenberg College dance program will showcase two iconic re-stagings and one original piece from three world-renowned choreographers, as well as four world-premiere works by accomplished returning contributors, in its annual “Master Choreographers” concert, Feb. 9-11.

This year’s “Master Choreographers” features restagings of “Radical Severance,” choreographed by Cristina Perera, and “When We Fly,” choreographed by Orion Duckstein. The concert also features an original balletic piece, “Without Words,” by Trinette Singleton, as well as new works by four Muhlenberg dance faculty: Heidi Cruz-Austin, alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet; Shelley Oliver, director of Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers; Randall Anthony Smith, répétiteur and assistant to choreographer Donald McKayle; and Jeffrey Peterson, former dancer with Danny Buraczeski’s Jazz dance.

“This concert presents a spectacular evening of dance,” says Karen Dearborn, founding director of Muhlenberg’s dance program, and the concert’s artistic director. “We are thrilled to showcase new work from Trinette Singleton and guest works by Cristina and Orion, as well as our fabulous faculty choreographers.”

Perera’s piece is funded by a Mellon Choreographers on Campus grant. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation brings established and emerging choreographers to the classrooms, studios, and stages of area colleges. The collaborative program explores the use of dance as an art form and how its creative powers can be infused across a liberal arts curriculum.

Perera has performed as a soloist and principal dancer around the world, with some of the most notable figures in the performing arts. A veteran of the Alvin Ailey Dance School, she has choreographed ballets, concert dance pieces, dance theatre, musicals, film and music videos in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. In 2008 Perera became artistic director of Cirque du Soleil’s “Alegria.” Perera received the 2010 Aesthetics Interaction prize from the Brazilian National Arts Foundation FUNARTE for one of her production “Constructions.”

“You’re going to see the kind of movement and dancing that you do not often see,” says the Lansing State Journal, “What Cristina does is very unique. She has a strong choreographic style.”

Duckstein’s “When We Fly” was originally choreographed in 2006 for Adelphia University, where he is currently a member of the dance faculty. Duckstein danced for the Paul Taylor Company for 11 years, and before that with Taylor 2, the outreach and performance arm of the company. During his tenure he danced pivotal roles in nearly every major Taylor work and served as Taylor’s choreographic assistant for several major works. Duckstein has set his own works in New York and throughout the country.

Trinette Singleton was a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet for nearly 20 years. She was thrust into national prominence in 1967, appearing in Robert Joffrey’s multi-media ballet “Astarte.” She was also the first dancer to appear on the cover of the national news magazine “Time.” Currently, Trinette is co-artistic director of Repertory Dance Theatre in Allentown, and she serves on the dance faculty at Muhlenberg and at DeSales University, Center Valley.

The annual “Master Choreographers” concert features premiere dance performances in a diverse selection of styles and genres, ranging from classical ballet to contemporary jazz, pointe, modern dance, and tap accompanied by live jazz music.

Performances of “Master Choreographers” will take place Thursday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Feb. 11, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for patrons 17 and under. Performances are in the Empie Theatre, in the Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or muhlenberg.edu/dance.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg College is a highly selective, private, four-year residential college located in Allentown, PA., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, sciences, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 

Muhlenberg 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 eight 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.

Choreographer Bios

Heidi Cruz-Austin began her dance training at the age of four at the Dolly Haltzman Dance Academy in Allentown. She went on to study at the School of American Ballet and the Pennsylvania Ballet. Cruz-Austin received an apprenticeship with the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1994 and joined the company as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 1995. She danced numerous featured roles in her tenure there including leads for various choreographers such as George Balanchine, Val Caniparoli, Ben Stevenson, Alvin Ailey, Margo Sappington, Christopher d’Amboise and Matthew Neenan. In addition to dancing with Pennsylvania Ballet, Ms. Cruz-Austin danced with the Philadelphia-based company Ballet X and has performed as a guest artist throughout the United States and Europe. Cruz-Austin currently teaches for the Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts, Muhlenberg College, The University of the Arts, and Temple University. Heidi received a 2008 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for her choreography and is currently the co-artistic director and resident choreographer of DanceSpora dance company.

Orion Duckstein danced with the Paul Taylor Dance Company for 11 years, and before that with Taylor 2, the outreach and performance arm of the company. During his tenure he danced pivotal roles in nearly every major Taylor work, such as “Company B,” “Esplanade,” “Cloven Kingdom,” and Taylor’s own role in “Aureole.” Near the end of his performing career with the Taylor Company, Mr. Taylor chose Duckstein as his choreographic assistant for several dances. Before dancing for Taylor, Duckstein danced for noted choreographers Sung Soo Ahn, Peter Pucci, Robert Wood, and Margie Gillis. He still performs professionally, most recently joining Take Dance NY with choreographer Takehiro Ueyama for their 2015 New York season and summer tour. Duckstein has set his own choreography on New York-based companies Mazzini Dance Collective and Patricia Kenny Dance Collection and shown his work in many venues in New York and beyond, including the Downtown Dance Festival and the Jacob’s Pillow International Dance Festival. Duckstein has been artist-in-residence at colleges in Texas, California, and New England.

Shelley Oliver is a Canadian-born tap dancer, choreographer and educator. She has appeared internationally with some of the legends of the tap world, including Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Buster Brown, Jimmy Slide, and Chuck Green. She is a founding member of Manhattan Tap and served as a co-artistic director and choreographer with the company touring concert halls and festivals in Europe, China, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States.  Oliver was the artistic director of the Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers for 15 years, touring with the David Leonhardt Jazz Group throughout the northeast. Her television appearances include “Tap Dance in America” with Gregory Hines and “Star Search.” A dedicated teacher and educator, Oliver has conducted lecture demonstrations for Lincoln Center, New York City Public Schools and various universities throughout the United States. On faculty at Muhlenberg College, she directs the Muhlenberg Jazz Tap Ensemble, providing community outreach in the Allentown area. Oliver has produced a series of Tap Music for Tap Dancers CDs that have become a standard pedagogical tool in the tap dance world. More recently as a soloist she toured as guest artist with the River City Brass Band in Pittsburgh and with Le Sextet Clic-Clac-Cloc in Geneva, Switzerland. She is the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Dance Educator Award from the Lehigh Valley Dance Consortium.

Cristina Perera had her dance education in classical ballet at the Municipal Theatre of Rio de Janeiro Brazil and Salle Pleyel in Paris, France. Her modern and contemporary education started in London at the London Contemporary Dance Theatre School and continued in New York at Alvin Ailey Dance School with a full merit scholarship. Perera has performed as a soloist and principal dancer around the world with various companies, as she has worked with some of the most notable figures in the performing arts, including Frederick Ashton, Flemming Flindt, Ulysses Dove, Judith Jamison, Mark Morris, Peter Sellars, Robert Wilson, John Adams, Philip Glass, George Tabori, Marcia Haydee and many others. She has choreographed ballets, concert dance pieces, dance theatre, musicals, film and music videos in many European countries, in Asia, North America and South America. Perera was one of eight choreographers chosen by Ballet Builders in New York to present original works, debuting her piece “Under Time.” In 2008 she became the artistic director of Cirque du Soleil’s “Alegria.” In 2010, Perera received the Asthetics Interaction prize from the Brazilian National Foundation for the Arts, FUNARTE, for one of her productions in Brazil. As a teacher she has taught in the School of Performing Arts Vienna, Austria; dance Festivals such as ImPuls Tanz (Vienna) and Tanz Bozen/Bolzano Danza (Italy); Dance Theatre Bralen (Bratislava, Slovakia); SUNY Purchase; and many other schools in Europe and the United States alike. Perera has given workshops and master classes at the National Theatre in Weimar, Germany; Maxim’s Dance Company (Brno, Czech Republic); the National Theatre of the Czech Republic; and Duncan Dance Conservatory in Prague, Czech Republic, among many others. Currently she is working on her own projects, teaching and choreographing in Europe, the United States and Brazil.

Jeffrey Peterson is an assistant professor of dance at Muhlenberg, teaching studio coursework in jazz, modern, partnering, composition, and Laban Movement Analysis. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a certification in Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals from Integrated Movement Studies. Early performing highlights include works by Chris Aiken, Zvi Gotheiner, Bill T. Jones, José Limón, Doug Varone, and Johannes Wieland. Peterson began his professional dance career in national tours with JazzDance by Danny Buraczeski. Since then, he has performed in the work of Clare Byrne, Edisa Weeks, and Stephan Koplowitz, and with the Minnesota Opera, among others. His choreographic work, called “poetic precision” by the Minneapolis StarTribune and “moving and heart-racingly joyous” by the St. Paul Pioneer Press, has been commissioned by Dance New Amsterdam, Movement Research at Judson Church, and Rhythmically Speaking. His choreography has been seen in venues in Philadelphia, New York City, Minneapolis, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and around the Lehigh Valley. At Muhlenberg, he has choreographed for the last four “Master Choreographers,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and “Chicago.” Peterson’s ongoing creative and scholarly work includes choreographic projects as well as research on the application of Laban and Bartenieff Studies to dance and life.

Trinette Singleton was a principal dancer with The Joffrey Ballet for nearly 20 years. She was thrust into national prominence in 1967, appearing in the multi-media ballet “Astarte,” created on her by her mentor, Robert Joffrey. Singleton was the first American dancer to appear on the cover of the national news magazine Time. Following her performing years, she was administrative assistant to Robert Joffrey and ballet mistress for the company from 1979 to 1984.  In 1984, Singleton joined the faculty of The Joffrey Ballet School, New York City, teaching until 2004. In 2008, Trinette appeared as a guest artist in the Joffrey Ballet Company’s Tudor Centennial, in Chicago. Since 2000, she has been on the faculty of The Joffrey Texas Workshop, in San Antonio. She is prominently featured in the documentary, “The Joffrey Ballet: Mavericks of American Dance. Singleton serves as a director on the Arpino Foundation; she is also a member of Cecchetti USA and an honorary member of Cecchetti International Classical Ballet.  In 2014, she served as a judge during the Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition. Currently, Singleton is co-artistic director of Repertory Dance Theatre in Allentown. She is also on the faculty at Muhlenberg College and DeSales University, Center Valley. She holds her Licentiate, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, London, England, and her Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa, DeSales University.

Randall Anthony Smith is a current dancer with Armitage Gone! Dance (New York City), Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre (New York City), and the Megan Flynn Dance Company (Philadelphia). He  serves as a répétiteur and assistant to choreographer Donald McKayle, having performed for McKayle’s Etude Ensemble for four years. Smith earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from the University of California, Irvine. He maintains a practice of performing, restaging, and interpreting McKayle’s repertory, creating his own dance works, and teaching dance nationally. In 2012, Smith performed with acclaimed ballerina and choreographer Jodie Gates in “Mein Zimmer.” Other recent performances include works by Bulareyaung Pagarlava, Shen Wei, and zoe|juniper, as well as “WOW” (2014), an experimental opera created by Joe Diebes, Christian Hawkey, and Adam Levin. Smith’s recent credits include a restaging of McKayle’s “The Fight” (from the musical “Golden Boy,” starring Sammy Davis, Jr.) for the American Dance Machine of the 21st Century (2015). Last summer Smith performed in Philip Glass’s opera “Witches of Venice,” commissioned by Opera Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, New York. On May 12, 2016, Smith received a Distinguished Alumni Award at the 46th Annual Lauds and Laurels Awards Ceremony at the University of California, Irvine.

Lehigh Valley Arts Advocate – December 2016

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DECEMBER 2016

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MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Happy Holidays!

This holiday season will shine a little brighter because I will be witnessing it through the eyes of my new grandchild. He teaches me about wonder and renews a sense of hope for the future. What a piece of work is a child. The beauty of the world.

Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season.

Randall Forte, Executive Director

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The most wonderful time of the year…to enjoy the Arts and Culture of the Lehigh Valley! These festive months are full of chances to celebrate, creating memories to last a lifetime. Catch a holiday themed dance or theatre performance, listen to the songs of the season, shop handmade for cherished gifts, or create a holiday craft perfect for giving.

Here’s your guide to get into the spirit of the season with the Arts!

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Save the Date for Young at Art!

You won’t want to miss this year’s day of creative fun for the whole family!

SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 2017
10:00am to 2:00pm
Penn State Lehigh Valley
free admission for the community
The day will be jam-packed with hands-on activities and performances from the participating groups, from dance routines and theatre workshops to arts demonstrations and craft projects. Kids of every age and ability will find a way to sample the arts in all forms, while parents can gather information about classes and summer camps.

Join us as an Exhibitor!

The deadline for early registration is Friday, December 2nd!

Advertising is available for our full-color program!

Our event brings in local families with children of all ages – reach this target audience with an affordable ad, while supporting arts education in our region!

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Kiddos enjoying an interactive performance with Mock Turtle Marionette!

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Upcoming Performances

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BACH & HANDEL CHORALE

December 3 at 12pm
Christmas Concert
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

December 3 at 3pm
Christmas Concert
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

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MORAVIAN COLLEGE THEATRE COMPANY

December 1 at 8pm
Everyman on Trial
Arena Theatre, Moravian College

December 2 at 8pm
Everyman on Trial
Arena Theatre, Moravian College

December 3 at 8pm
Everyman on Trial
Arena Theatre, Moravian College

December 4 at 2pm
Everyman on Trial
Arena Theatre, Moravian College

Muhlenberg College ‘New Visions’ Festival Showcases Directorial Talents, Nov. 30 – Dec. 4

Allentown, PA — Two talented Muhlenberg College senior directing students will present their work in Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance’s “New Visions Directors’ Festival: Falling,” Nov. 30 – Dec. 4.

The evening includes 19th century playwright Oscar Wilde’s “Salome,” based on the biblical tale of the beheading of John the Baptist, and 20th century playwright Sam Shepard’s ominous exploration of Cold War anxiety, “Icarus’s Mother.”

“Despite the fact that ‘Salome’ is classical in style and ‘Icarus’ uses American vernacular, the plays complement each other,” says “Icarus’s Mother” director Karina Fox. “They are both about identity and self-acceptance in a judgmental universe.”

Oscar Wilde’s “Salome,” directed by Simon Evans, tells the biblical story of Salome, Princess of Judea, stepdaughter of Herod, the lecherous ruler. Salome’s affections lie with the prophet Iokanaan (John the Baptist), who rejects her sexual advances. To Herod’s delight, Salome finally agrees to dance the infamous Dance of the Seven Veils. When Herod offers her anything she wants in return, Salome makes a startling and gruesome demand.

In a departure from theatrical tradition, all of the characters in this production of “Salome” are performed by female actors.  

“We are creating a sort of parallel universe where men do not exist and female queerness and sexuality can be celebrated,” Evans says. “I want to explore how women can be empowered through their bodies and through their actions.”

Evans says he hopes to create a world the late playwright would have been proud to experience.

“I think the queering of the tale is really true to Wilde’s vision,” he says. “I’m trying to pay tribute to a really brilliant man who had some really awful stuff happen to him.” Oscar Wilde died destitute and humiliated after his imprisonment for homosexuality.

Evans says he hopes to create “beautiful stage pictures while really allowing the bodies onstage to tell the story.” He sees this production as a collaborative effort among himself, the production team, and the show’s 13 actresses.

“I’m really interested in working with my collaborators and finding what feels best for everybody,” he says. “I’m definitely open to new things, and allowing for work to go in directions I never expected.”

Collaboration is a value Evans shares with “Icarus’s Mother” director Karina Fox.

“I love to work directly and collaboratively with actors because the show belongs to all of us,” she says.

In “Icarus’s Mother,” by Sam Shepard, a lazy picnic develops into a surreal nightmare. While a group of young picnickers waits for the fireworks, they start acting bizarrely — sending smoke signals from the barbecue, playing cruel mind games, and play-acting disasters. The group dynamic spins into chaos, and the disastrous fantasies somehow become a fiery reality.

“In this piece, Shepard takes a seemingly perfect world and allows it to devolve into something mysterious, complex, and even terrifying,” Fox says.

Like Evans, Fox draws a lot of inspiration from her playwright.

“I chose this play because of Shepard,” she says. “I think he’s one of our most insightful modern playwrights. He creates really complicated dramatic worlds that explore what it means to be human in new and inventive ways.”

“Shepard is widely produced and well-beloved,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity to work with one of his earlier, less-produced works because I have a chance to really make it my own.”

Fox’s actors have spent the past few months of rehearsal digging deeply into the world of the play, examining group dynamics and trying to figure out what they would do in the face of crisis, she says.

This play was written in 1965, in the shadow of the Cold War. The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Kennedy assassination were recent memory, and anxieties ran high. Fox says the play’s uneasiness comes across as very contemporary in today’s similarly tense environment.

“I’m excited for the audience to experience the raw, human emotions that Shepard has created on the page,” she says. “It’s a fun play, but it’s also full of mystery and suspense. You will laugh as much as you are terrified.”

“New Visions Directors’ Festival: Falling” plays Nov. 30 – Dec. 4. Recommended for mature audiences. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Regular admission tickets are $15. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8.

Tickets and information are available online at muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Studio Theatre in Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 West Chew St., Allentown.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg College is a highly selective, private, four-year residential college located in Allentown, PA., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, sciences, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for eight 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.

$9.99 RUSH For Contemporary Choreography At The Williams Center

RUSH TICKETS AVAILABLE!
Last Minute Discount…Only $9.99!
Friday, November 18, 2016
8:00 p.m.
Williams Center for the Arts
Lafayette College
317 Hamilton Street
Easton, PA 18042
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From ballet to Breaking, internationally acclaimed choreographers are creating dance’s next wave right here in the Lehigh Valley!

This exceptional showcase offers up-to-the-minute, state-of-the-dance work in Nora Gibson’s 2^57,885,161 -1, an abstract ballet about the beauty and opacity of prime number theory, and in Land Bridge, French-Canadian artist Helen Simoneau’s meditation on traversing dualities, inspired by the endangered caribou. From the perspective of a mature artist in the form, 2016 Guggenheim Fellow Raphael Xavier explores the notion of sustainability in Breaking, a highly physical idiom associated with youth, in Point of Interest.


View an excerpt of Land Bridge on YouTube

 

Click Here to Buy
Last Minute Discount
RUSH Tickets
for ONLY
$9.99!

(price of regular General Admission ticket is $23.00)
Rush Tickets available online only
through Lehigh Valley Arts Council Box Office
Please Note:
** Convenience fee of $2.50 is charged at checkout in addition to the price of a standard Rush Ticket (total ticket price + convenience fee = $12.49).

**For admittance, please present the Rush Ticket print-out sheet to “will call” in the lobby.

For additional information, please visit the Williams Center for the Arts website or call: (610) 330-5009.

Lehigh Valley Arts Council
www.LVArtsCouncil.orgwww.LVArtsBoxOffice.org
 

Rush Ticketing is a service of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. For more information, visit:
www.lvartscouncil.org/RushTicketing.html

RUSH For $9.99 Tickets To Aliens, Immigrants And Other Evildoers!

RUSH TICKETS AVAILABLE!
Last Minute Discount…Only $9.99!

Touchstone Theatre presents

Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers
an original show by José Torres-Tama


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2016

8:00 p.m.


Touchstone Theatre

321 East Fourth Street
Bethlehem, PA
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Award-winning performance artist José Torres-Tama returns to the Lehigh Valley for his sixth visit since 1998 to present Aliens, a sci-fi Latino Noir Multimedia Solo. The performance, the second in a planned trilogy, satirizes the status of Latino immigrants as aliens and explores the trends in hate crimes against immigrants across the United States.

Torres-Tama deftly shape-shifts into a variety of ‘aliens’ — from a Swamp Shaman to a Nicaraguan woman to a Mexican Methodist Minister — who expose the hypocrisies of a system that vilifies the same people whose labor it readily exploits.

“Torres-Tama is both a versatile writer who can be lyrically evocative as well as bitingly humorous, and an impressive performer.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Torres-Tama treads that dangerously vague turf of performance art gracefully… He takes Latino life on a magical mystery tour with dexterity and daring.”
The Village Voice (New York)

Run time: 80 minutes, talkback with artist follows the show after a brief pause

Click Here to Buy
Last Minute Discount
RUSH Tickets
for ONLY
$9.99!

(price of regular General Admission ticket is $25.00)
Rush Tickets available online only
through Lehigh Valley Arts Council Box Office


Please Note:
** Rush Tickets are available for GENERAL ADMISSION seating only.

** Convenience fee of $2.50 is charged at checkout in addition to the price of a standard Rush Ticket (total ticket price + convenience fee = $12.49)

Tickets or more information: www.touchstone.org / 610 867-1689
Follow Touchstone Theatre on Facebook!

Lehigh Valley Arts Council
www.LVArtsCouncil.org | www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org

Rush Ticketing is a service of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.

MCCC Student Theatre To Present “Slip Shot” – Nov. 10, 11 And 12

slipshot-470-w-textPottstown, PA—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program are proud to present “Slip/Shot,” a drama by Philadelphia playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger. Show dates are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10, 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. with a special afternoon performance Friday, Nov. 11 at 12:30 p.m. All performances will be held in the College’s South Hall Community Room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown, PA.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit

https://www.mc3.edu/arts/student-performance or call 215-641-6518.

During this mesmerizing drama, a rookie police officer finds even an accident can have paralyzing consequences when his gun goes off in an encounter with a young African-American man. Did his gun slip, or was it shot? A heartbreaking performance about violence, fear, and our need to move forward. This production contains adult themes and language.

“Slip/Shot” earned the Brown Martin Award and the Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play. Additionally, it was named one of the “Top 10 Productions of 2012” by “Philadelphia Weekly.”

“This is thoughtful and engaging work that encourages us to talk to each other,” says West End Student Theatre Advisor Tim Gallagher.

Directed by Samantha Clarke and stage managed by Morgan Carrasquillo, the cast includes James Rodgers, Maliah Buxton, Hailee Tyson, Erik Reyes, Zach Clark, Jeff Chernesky, and Phoebe Johnson. The production is designed, produced and presented by the students of the Theatre Production Workshop and West End Student Theatre, which includes Derek Peterson, Kayla Velasquez, Toby Taylor, Morgan Carrasquillo, Erika Blue, Maliah Buxton, Quin Newman Zachary Clark, Joe Donley, Tess Devlin, under the guidance of Chris Kleckner.

‘Moving Stories’ At Muhlenberg College, Nov. 10-12

‘Moving Stories’ dance concert showcases innovative work by student choreographers in a nationally acclaimed program

 

Dance performance Nov. 10-12 displays talent of nine young choreographers and faculty member Teresa VanDenend Sorge, with more than 60 dancers

 

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg College dancers tell their stories through movement, as the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Department presents “Moving Stories,” a showcase for dance works created by emerging choreographers, Nov. 10-12 in the College’s Baker Theatre.

 

Artistic Director Megan Flynn says the program represents a diverse and sophisticated approach to dance-making.

 

“Drawing from their liberal arts education, the choreographers have created innovative dances that deeply examine and illuminate the human experience,” Flynn says.
The concert will showcase the work of nine student choreographers as well as guest choreographer and faculty member Teresa VanDenend Sorge. It will feature more than 60 dancers from the department’s dance program, which is among the most highly regarded programs of its kind. The concert features costume and lighting designs by the department’s acclaimed professional staff.

 

The ten original dances include contemporary jazz, tap, modern, and hip-hop infused works that investigate, among other things, memory and nostalgia, the cycle of life, the concept of waiting, and the experience of distrust. Choreographers have drawn inspiration from such sources as their dreams, their interpersonal relationships, and experiences abroad.

 

Choreographer Marissa Finkelstein ’18 worked with her cast throughout the rehearsal process, pulling from the dancers’ own memories to create a personal narrative behind the movement.

 

“Through discussions of our experiences, my cast and I have been working to build a collective memory,” Finkelstein says. “The dancers will fade in and out of this collective memory throughout the piece.”

 

“Moving Stories” runs Nov. 10-12 in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

 
Performances are Thursday and Friday, Nov. 10-11, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 12, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for patrons 17 and under, and $8 for students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.  For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $13. Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/dance.