‘Arts And Access’ Launches Program For Greater Accessibility

Lehigh Valley arts and cultural organizations will be welcoming patrons with intellectual, sensory and physical disabilities as a result of the effort of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council (LVAC) and the Lehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community (Partnership).

They will host an “Arts & Access” reception on July 24, 2015, to launch the yearlong plan to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through the lens of the arts. The event will be held 4:30-6 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Health & Technology Center, 850 S. 5th St., Allentown. It is open to the public, particularly to anyone with a disability.

“Access to the arts is more than just building a ramp,” said Randall Forte, LVAC Executive Director. “To be truly accessible to those with disabilities, performing and visual arts groups need to make important changes in the way they have always done things.”

With the guidance of VSA PA, LVAC has developed staff training and promotional programs to help local arts organizations learn how to remove the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from enjoying their offerings. More than 30 arts organizations have already agreed to move toward greater inclusion and make accommodations for people with disabilities.

Workshops will continue this year on implementing open captioning and audio description for people with vision and hearing loss. Open Captioning provides the audience with an electronic text display to the side of the stage, displaying lyrics, dialogue, and sound effects in real time. Audio Description is a form of audio-visual translation, using natural pauses to insert narrative that translates the visual image into an audible form. Patrons use headsets to hear the audio description.

Together, the arts council and partnership hope to accomplish the following goals:
a) to convince cultural organizations to consider the community with disabilities as a viable market
b) to train arts presenters in how to adapt their work for an audience with varied disabilities.
c) to help arts organizations recognize the needs and the abilities of people with disabilities.
d) to work together to promote accessible events for people with disabilities and their families.

For more information, visit ArtsandAccess.org

Addressing a need
Most of us can go to a concert or play with little thought to attendance details. But those who experience hearing or vision loss, or have mobility or developmental challenges that require special accommodation, are often barred from cultural events.

The 2012 U.S. Census estimated that more than 12 percent of the Valley’s non-institutionalized population lives with some kind of disability. That’s a potential arts audience of about 81,000 people. “Arts groups should realize that in the community with disabilities there is an untapped market for performing and visual arts,” said Forte.

Members of the Lehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community, a coalition of organizations that serve the diverse disabled community, asked the LVAC to involve arts groups in addressing this issue. To date, more than thirty arts and cultural organizations have agreed to participate, including ArtsQuest, Allentown Art Museum, Lehigh University Art Galleries, Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, SATORI, and Williams Center for the Arts.

Arts & Access is already responsible for important changes in the way the arts are presented. For example, this fall the Lehigh University Art Galleries will debut a tactile description program in their teaching gallery, which uses technology to create a three-dimensional relief of a portion of the image for the person to explore through touch. Many local service providers, such as Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living and the Center for Vision Loss, are offering customer service training free-of-charge. For instance, the staff at Center for Vison Loss will work with ushers and box office personnel on how to interact with a person with vision loss. In addition to providing them audio-description, theatres may offer a pre-show sensory tour, where patrons arrive early, meet cast members and handle props and costume accessories.

The LVAC can connect presenters with affordable professionals who do American Sign Language interpreting, audio describing, and open captioning for live events and exhibitions. The council also offers audio-describer training and equipment for organizations who wish to train their in-house personnel. In addition, participants may apply to the council for a Greater Inclusion Grant, a matching grant for up to $300, to help fund a new initiative that meets the approved criteria.

The Americans for Disabilities Act, passed on July 26, 1990, prohibits discrimination against the disabled. It set in motion a frenzy of activity designed to prevent discrimination against those who have difficulty navigating modern life, particularly in employment, transportation, and public buildings. But the act did not specifically address the facilities used by the arts such as theaters, galleries, and auditoriums. http://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm#anchor62335

L.V. Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community is a diverse network of more than 75 people and agencies in the Lehigh Valley united in the goal to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Their vision is to be a catalyst for change in making the Valley a disability-friendly community which is inclusive, accessible, and welcoming. http://disabilityfriendlylv.com/

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council acts as both advocate and catalyst to create new gateways, and bring people together to find solutions that advance greater arts participation. It promotes the arts, supports the development of artists, assists arts organizations, facilitates communication among its constituencies, and conducts research to measure the economic impact of the region’s cultural industry. http://www.lvartscouncil.org/

VSA ARTS in Pennsylvania shares its knowledge of inclusive arts education across Pennsylvania and works with artists with disabilities to develop professional careers.

Schedule for July 24 Launch Party
4:30 p.m.

  • Guests greeted by The Miracle Movers cheerleaders from The Miracle League of the Lehigh Valley
  • Tours of “Beyond Limits”, the Heath & Technology facility

5:15 p.m.

  • Welcome by John Kristel, President and CEO, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network
  • Remarks by Nelvin Vos, founding convener of the Partnership
  • Remarks by Randall Forte, Executive Director, LVAC

5:30 p.m.

  • Refreshments. Music by The Mississippi Mudders Dixieland Quintet

6 p.m.

  • Conclusion of event

Free, wheelchair accessible parking is available in the Good Shepherd parking deck across from the Health & Technology Center on South 5th St.; it is connected to the center via a bridge on level three.

A Partial List of Arts Organizations participating in Arts & Access
Abbreviations used below: AD – Audio Described; ASL – American Sign Language; OC – Open Captioned;

Allentown Art Museum in collaboration with Via of the Lehigh Valley and artist Jill Odegaard
Contact: Julia Marsh, 610-432-4333, jmarsh@allentownartmuseum.org.
Thru October 11, 2015: “Woven Welcome: Making Community” a community weaving project that connect individuals and groups trough the creative process.

ArtsQuest
Contact: Mark Demko, 610-332-1341, mdemko@artsquest.org
December 19, 2015 – February 15, 2016: “Life Accessible” Photography Beyond the Limits of Life; at Banana Factory. Photographer Stephen Cunic uses braille techniques and braille labels to create stunning visuals for the visually impaired.

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre
Contact: Jessica Bien, 484-664-3807, bien@muhlenberg.edu.
July 26, 2015: AD and OC performance of “Hello Dolly” at 2:00 p.m.
July 18, 2015: Sensory-friendly performance of “GRIMM,” a children’s play for children with autism and their families, followed by an interactive workshop, at 1:00 p.m.

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
Contact: Jill Arington, 610-282-9455, jill.arington@pashakespeare.org
July 25, 2015: American Sign Language (ASL) performance of “Rapunzel” for hard of hearing children, 2:00 p.m.
August 1, 2015: Audio-described (AD) performance of “The Foreigner,” 2 p.m.

Raker Lecture Series
Contact: Nelvin Vos, nvos@ptd.net.
September 29, 2015: Daniel Lasko, retired Marine corporal, accomplished
athlete and member of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team at 7:30 p.m. at Egner Chapel, Muhlenberg College. Presented by Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network.

SATORI in collaboration painter William Christine at the Colonial Intermediate Unit #21
Contact: Nora Suggs, Executive Director, 610-435-6036, nas0710@yahoo.com
October 23, 2015: “See the Music, Hear the Art” at 1:00PM at the CIU #21, Schnecksville. Blends chamber music, art narration and discussion, ASL interpreted.

Williams Center for the Arts/ Lafayette College
Contact: Kelly Prentice, 610-330-5203, prentick@lafayette.edu
September 15, 2015: Dance for PD® Workshop for Parkinson patients, care takers and dance teachers at 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

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About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is the region’s central voice for the arts, promoting arts awareness and advocating its value while strengthening access to the arts for all citizens in our community. The Arts Council’s mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations, and the community. Services include arts research and advocacy, professional development seminars, publications, and cooperative regional marketing initiatives.

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Lehigh Valley Arts Council

840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201
Allentown, PA 18101
610-437-5915 / operations@LVArtsCouncil.org
www.LVArtsCouncil.org / www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre’s 35th Season Features World Premiere Children’s Musical “Grimm!”

Allentown, PA —This summer, Doppelskope Theatre Company bring its energetic puppetry, lively music, and interactive theatrical spirit — along with a little bit of magic — to the stories of the Brothers Grimm. Doppelskope’s world premiere children’s musical “Grimm!” will open June 17 at the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre.

“This piece of theater is very playful and present, drawing upon the whole company of everyone involved,” says director Ora Fruchter, who co-wrote the musical with her Doppelskope partner, Christopher Sheer. “It’s really about imagination and getting the audience to imagine along with us.”

The hour-long performance plays June 17 through July 25, Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. It is recommended for ages four and up. Audience members can stay after the show to meet the cast, and then for a free 45-minute activity workshop, featuring storytelling, movement, and crafts with the workshop team and members of the cast.

“Grimm!” offers classic fairy tales as they’ve never been told before. Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm use their Story Machine to capture daydreams and make them into fairytales, but everything goes awry when the machine breaks, releasing colorful, fuzzy stories into the world. It’s up to the audience to help the brothers rescue the stories and keep them from unraveling.

Meanwhile, Charlotte, a young girl with a wild imagination, is on her own quest to save her father from the Blue Glowing Madness. She travels through the storybook landscapes of the Grimm Brothers’ classic fairy tales, including Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and Rumpelstiltskin.

The play emphasizes the importance of active, creative play, as well as the fun of storytelling of all sorts — encouraging families to engage in creating, recording, retelling and performing their own stories.

“Grimm!” features a script by Christopher Scheer and Ora Fruchter — the members of the Doppelskope theatre company — with music by Toby Singer and lyrics by Fruchter. The trio also collaborated to create last year’s successful world-premiere children’s musical “Gruff!” for Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre. Both shows rely heavily on audience participation, inviting the children in attendance to join in creating the story.

“What we really want is to engage the audience in the storytelling process — to tell the story not just to the audience but with them,” Scheer says. “We can go so much further if we all agree to imagine together. Let’s all collaborate together and collectively create the illusion that we’re in outer space or we’re in a fairy tale realm.”

This year for the first time, Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre presents free activity workshops after every performance. The workshops are designed to encourage children to explore their own family stories in a series of energetic hands-on activities that will get kids up on their feet, thinking, playing and expressing themselves. Members of the cast will join MSMT’s Workshop Team of experienced theater and movement teachers in leading storytelling, movement, and crafts. The Grimm Workshops are sponsored by Embassy Bank, Enterprise Car Rental and Highmark Blue Shield.

Participation in the Grimm Workshops is limited to allow for small group sizes, and advance registration is recommended. Parents can register their children online at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/grimm, or call the workshop team at 484-664-3695. Groups may inquire with the workshop team about bringing the workshop on-site.

“Grimm!” will be presented in two sensory-friendly performances for children with autism spectrum disorders and other sensory processing 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. Sensory-friendly performances will be offered Tuesday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 18 at 1 p.m. Tickets and information about these performances are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/grimm or at 484-664-3087.

“Grimm!” runs June 17 through July 25. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m, and Saturday at 10 a.m. only. All tickets to “Grimm!” are $10 for June performances and $12 for July performances. Tickets and information for all of the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre productions are available at www.muhlenberg.edu/SMT or 484-664-3333.

Study: Mohegan Sun Arena Pumped $62 Million Into Economy In 2013

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, PA  — A new study reveals that Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza contributed $62.6 million to the economy in 2013, and expansion of the concourse is expected to pump in an additional $7 million this year.
 
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance was contracted by the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority, the governing body of the arena, in May 2014 to conduct the study on behalf of the authority. The NEPA Alliance released the study Thursday.
 
The economic impact analysis considers three things:
 
The overall impact of the operations of the arena, which includes the impact from visitors traveling from outside the impact region (farther than 15 miles).

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-local-news-news/153910780/

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES: LEHIGH VALLEY ARTS COUNCIL PRESENTS

June 2, 2015 | 5:30 pm @ Penn State Lehigh Valley
Crowdfunding: What it Means for the Arts


June 9, 2015 | 5:30 pm @ Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Health & Technology Center
Art is a Verb – Let’s All Do It!
please rsvp by phone (610-437-5915) or email (operations@lvartscouncil.org)


June 20, 2015 | 11:00 am @ William Kreider Studio
Wood & Steel: A Studio Tour with Furniture Designer & Craftsman Bill Kreider


PENNSYLVANIA SINFONIA ORCHESTRA presents:

June 7, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Christ Lutheran Church, Allentown
Valley Vivaldi

June 28, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Christ Lutheran Church, Allentown
Valley Vivaldi

Lehigh Valley Arts Council
840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201 ◊ Allentown, PA 18101
610.437.5915 ◊ info@LVArtsCouncil.org
www.LVArtsCouncil.org
LVArtsBoxOffice.org

Montgomery County Community College To Host Tri-County Concerts Association’s 73rd Annual Youth Festival Concert – June 6‏

Blue Bell, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will host the Tri-County Concerts Association’s 73rd Annual Youth Festival Concert on Saturday, June 6, at 7 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.  Tickets cost $10 for general admission; students and children are free.

The Tri-County Concerts Youth Festival is one of the area’s most prestigious competitions for aspiring young classical musicians living in Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties.  Since 1943, the festival has been a stepping-stone to achievement for many emerging young artists, several of whom are now current and retired members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. MCCC is proud to host the concert each year featuring these talented students.

This year, they will perform works by Beethoven, Chopin, Dvorak, Prokofiev, and Elgar, among others.

Many Montgomery County students won top prizes in this year’s Tri-County Youth Festival and will perform at the concert.

First place awards were presented to:  harpist Michael Turner of Phoenixville, a seventh grader at The Wyndcroft School, in the Junior Musica Diversa Division; violinist Ethan Frankel of Royersford, an eighth grader at Spring-Ford Middle School, in the Junior Strings Division; and clarinetist Jack Zhang of Blue Bell, a senior of at Wissahickon High School, in the Senior Winds Division.

Second place awards were presented to: pianist Connie Jiang of Harleysville, an eighth grade student at Pennfield Middle School, in the Junior Piano Division; oboist Nina Cheng of Ambler, a junior at Upper Dublin High School, in the Senior Winds Division.

Additionally, the Dolce String Quartet with violinist Rachel Sigler of Gilbertsville, who is home-schooled, violinist Bryn Borzillo and violist Emily Adams of Royersford, who both attend Spring-Ford 5-6 Center, and cellist Sarah Lesher of Telford, a seventh grader who attends Indian Crest Middle School, won second place in the Senior Ensemble Division.

Several other Montgomery County students won Honorable Mention at the auditions. In the Senior Ensemble Division, La Chasse Quartet with violinists Stephanie Ko and Julia Povlow, violist Madeline Herman, and cellist Mark Egan placed. Ko, Povlow and Egan attend Methacton High School, and Herman attends Spring-Ford High School.

In the Senior Strings Division, cellist Nina Chae-Gordon, a freshman at Saint Joseph’s Academy, and violinist Fiyi Adebekun, a freshman at Pennfield Middle School placed. In the Junior Strings Division, violinist Jolade Adebekun, an eighth grade student at Pennfield Middle School placed.

For further information about the concert, contact Eleanor James at 610-986-3555 or tricountyyouthfestival@gmail.com or visit www.tricountyconcerts.org. For more information about Montgomery County Community College, visit www.mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518.

“WELCOME HOME, SOLDIER”, A Tribute To Vietnam Veterans May 29th, July 12th In Philadelphia

This Friday we open our award-winning drama, “WELCOME HOME, SOLDIER”, a tribute to Vietnam Veterans which tells true stories of how veterans were treated when they came home from that war. It plays in the Philadelphia area for TWO UPCOMING PERFORMANCES and we hope you will join us and help spread the word.

All Veterans, but especially Vietnam Veterans, need to see this play! It has been running for 24 years in Los Angeles, and many veterans have attended dozens and dozens of times. It’s an important story you won’t hear or see told anywhere else.

FRIDAY, MAY 29, 8 p.m.
SUNDAY, JULY 12, 2 p.m.

VENICE ISLAND PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
1 Cotton Street (off Main St. in Manayunk)
Philadelphia, PA 19127

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT: http://welcomehomesoldierphilly.brownpapertickets.com/

In The Lead: Carnegie / The Comeback Continues

Hans and Virginia Gruenert wanted to start a theater company when they lived in New York City. That’s where you’d do something like that.

But Off the Wall Theater Co. was destined to be born in Western Pennsylvania when Mr. Gruenert’s work brought the couple here in 2007. And after five years in Washington, Pa., they found a better fit in Carnegie.

Their decision happened to mesh with the borough’s trajectory of late.

The economic doldrums that gripped the region for years didn’t miss Carnegie. Then in 2004, when Chartiers Creek overran the business district as a remnant of Hurricane Ivan, dozens of businesses were damaged and many did not return.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/in-the-lead-2015/reports/2015/05/14/In-The-Lead-Carnegie-The-comeback-continues

Braddock’s Backers See Lots Of Potential In Community’s Future

When talking about Braddock, Molly Rice and Jeffrey Carpenter avoid the word “revitalization.”

The term, they say, implies what already exists in the community isn’t vital, and, therefore, doesn’t apply to the historic town.

“Braddock isn’t what you might think it is. There are so many elements and varieties of colors and layers and things to see,” says Rice, a playwright who’s working with Carpenter’s Bricolage Production Company and Real/Time Interventions to bring her “Saints Tour” immersive theater experience to Braddock in May and June.

The show is one of many efforts to draw outsiders in while the community continues to move forward from its unstable past.

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/moreaande/8147634-74/braddock-sousa-theater#ixzz3ZrLDNYdB
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Olde York Street Fair Packs Downtown York City

Benefitting non-profits and showcasing local artists was the fair’s original goal 40 years ago and remains so today.

The 40th Olde York Street Fair sprawled over several blocks Sunday afternoon, stretching between Pine and Pershing streets east and west and King and Philadelphia streets north and south.

Pop-up stands lined the streets and they clustered around Continental Square.

Some vendors sold the typical wares: food, clothes and jewelry. But others sold unique crafts and represented local businesses

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_28089011/olde-york-street-fair-packs-downtown-york-city

Event Packed Weekend In Pottstown

Every now and then there are those weekends that are jam-packed with activities.  This warm and sunny weekend was just such a time.  If you live in the TriCounty Area here’s what went on.

Saturday and Sunday in Memorial Park a Native American Powwow took place.  There was music, dancing, food etc…  Nice write up in the Mercury about it with pictures:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150502/pottstown-jam-packed-with-saturday-full-of-fun

Saturday night was the first Nostalgia Night of the season on High Street, downtown Pottsown.  The first Saturday of May, June, July, August and September you can find hundreds of classic cars downtown along with music and food.  To learn more about Nostagia Nights, click here:

http://www.pottstownclassics.com/

This weekend was the opening weekend for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” at the Steel River Playhouse in downtown Pottstown.  The show continues next weekend.  Click here for details and to buy tickets: http://www.steelriver.org/current-season/4438-2/

Today, Sly Fox Brewing Company held their annual Bock Fest and Goat Races in Pottstown at the site of their brewery on the Circle of Progress.  Thousands of people attended.  The event featured live music, food, beer and goat races.  Here are some pictures from this afternoon:

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Act 1 DeSales University Performing Arts Presents: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

Saturday ◊ May 2, 2015 ◊ 2:00 p.m. Matinee
Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034
Book by Abe Burrows & Jack Weinstock & Willie Gilbert • Music by Frank Loesser •Based on How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying by Shepherd Mead • Directed by Steven Dennis

“Fast, funny, and glitzy…a non-stop delight.” –The New York Times

Long before Mad Men, there was J. Pierrepont Finch’s story of power, ambition and greed. This Pulitzer Prize winning musical from the authors of Guys and Dolls follows Finch as he steps off the ledge from his window-washing job and rises to chairman of the board. Following a “how to” manual and breaking hearts and stepping on toes along the way, this musical’s great score features dazzling dance numbers and songs such as “I Believe in You,” “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm,” and “Brotherhood of Man.”Ages 10+

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

(price of regular ticket at the door $27.00)
Rush Tickets available online only
through Lehigh Valley Arts Council Box Office


Please Note:
** Rush Tickets are available for Balcony 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)

For additional information, please visit Act 1, DeSales University’s Website or call: 610-282-1100.

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

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Embarks On 35th Theatrical Season

Allentown, PA —The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre festival at Muhlenberg College announces the lineup for its 2015 summer season — the 35th in the festival’s history. The season will feature the raunchy but heartwarming musical “Avenue Q,” the classic matchmaker musical “Hello, Dolly!,” and “Grimm!” a new musical for young audiences, based on the stories of the Brothers Grimm.

Opening the summer season, “Avenue Q,” June 10-28, winner of the Tony Award “triple crown” (Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book), is a hilariously adult take on classic children’s characters.

The 10-time Tony Award winner “Hello, Dolly!” runs July 8-26. Jerry Herman’s classic musical takes a whirlwind tour of New York at the turn of the 20th century, following the adventures of America’s most beloved matchmaker, Dolly Levi.

The world premiere family musical “Grimm!” June 17 – July 25, is a playful, puppet-filled interpretation of the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, created by the neo-vaudeville theater group Doppelskope. “Grimm!” is recommended for ages 4 and up. New this year, MSMT will offer free 45-minute workshops for children, following every performance of “Grimm!” Participants can register in advance through the box office.

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

“Avenue Q” is a puppet-filled musical that follows a group of 20-somethings as they struggle to find their purpose in big-city life. Filled with gut-busting humor and an ingeniously catchy score, “Avenue Q” is a one-of-a-kind theatre experience. MSMT veterans Bill Mutimer and Ed Bara serve as director and musical director. Mutimer last directed “Schoolhouse Rock” for MSMT, and Bara recently starred in the Muhlenberg Mainstage production of Kurt Weill’s “Street Scene” and as King Arthur in last summer’s MSMT production of “Spamalot.” “Avenue Q” features full-frontal puppet nudity, songs about porn, and other risqué puppet hijinx, and is intended for mature audiences.

A ten-time Tony Award winner, “Hello, Dolly!” tells the story of self-professed “meddler” Dolly Levi, on a quest to make a match of her own, to Horace Vandergelder, the richest man in Yonkers. Audiences will leave the theatre humming the show’s irresistible score — and charmed by the ebullient personality of one of musical theater’s most fabulous characters. MSMT founding artistic director Charles Richter will direct the production. Michael Schnack serves as musical director, and Karen Dearborn choreographs.

Doppelskope’s new family musical “Grimm!” offers classic fairy tales like Rumpelstiltskin told as they’ve never been told before, and invites young audiences to join the Grimm Brothers in their quest to rescue their precious stories and make things right. In a world where the line between story and reality is as thin as a golden thread, the Grimms are on a mission to protect all stories from unraveling. Doppelskope’s interactive theatrical adventure combines puppetry, music and magic, and invites the audience to discover their own magical stories. Following each performance, audiences will have the opportunity to meet and interact with the performers and puppets.

A free 45-minute workshop follows each performance of “Grimm!” Participants will explore their own family stories in a series of energetic hands-on activities designed to get kids up on their feet, thinking, playing and expressing themselves. Participation is limited, and advance registration through the box office is recommended.

Sensory-friendly performances of “Grimm!” will be presented on Tuesday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 18 at 1 p.m. The July 18 performance will be followed by an interactive 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.

Audio Description and Open Captioning will be available at the Sunday, July 26 performance of “Hello, Dolly!” Call 484-664-3087 for tickets in the accessible section of this performance.

“Avenue Q” runs June 10-28; “Hello, Dolly!” runs July 8-26. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices for both “Avenue Q” and “Hello, Dolly!” are as follows. For the first four performances: $33 regular admission; seniors, $29; students and children, $18. For the remaining 11 performances: $39 regular admission; seniors, $36; students and children, $20.

“Grimm!” runs June 17 through July 25. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m, and Saturday at 10 a.m. only. All tickets to “Gruff!” are $10 for June performances and $12 for July performances.

Subscriptions to “Avenue Q” and “Hello, Dolly!” are available for $52 for the first four shows, or $62 for the remaining 11 shows. Subscriptions for students and children are $32 for any shows throughout the runs. Group discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. Sundays are Family Matinee Day; mainstage tickets for children ages 5-18 are just $10 when purchased with a full-price or senior ticket. (Limit two discounted tickets per full-price ticket.)

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

Crowdfunding: What It Means For The Arts

In the increasingly competitive environment for arts funding, artists and emerging organizations are finding both access and success through crowdsourcing platforms.

As part of its Professional Development Series, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council is presenting a crowdfunding seminar, featuring the largest arts fiscal sponsor in the country, Fractured Atlas, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, at Penn State Lehigh Valley from 5:30 to 8:00PM.

Fractured Atlas helps more than 3,500 artists and organizations in every discipline to find funding and other resources to support their creative projects. With fiscal sponsorship, one can solicit tax-deductible donations and apply for grants; the sponsored “project” might be a one-time collaboration or an independent artist or even an arts organization that does not have its own 501(c)(3) status.

“The popularity of crowdfunding is definitely on the rise,” says Randall Forte, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. “We are pleased to offer the arts community this opportunity to learn first-hand how it works.”

Fractured Atlas Project Specialist Theresa Hubbard from the New York office will serve on a panel with local arts professionals who have used the program. Hubbard will explain the application process and the many of the ancillary benefits that the company provides, such as marketing and ticketing services.

The basic criteria for eligibility to attain a fiscal sponsorship are:
1. You must be a Professional or Organizational member of Fractured Atlas.
2. You must submit the online application.
3. Your project must be artistic.
4. Your project must have some public benefit and be non-commercial in nature.

Refreshments will be provided. The fee is $30 for Lehigh Valley Arts Council members, $50 for nonmembers. Registration is required. To order tickets, visit LVArtsCouncil.org.

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About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is the region’s central voice for the arts, promoting arts awareness and advocating its value while strengthening access to the arts for all citizens in our community. The Arts Council’s mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations, and the community. Services include arts research and advocacy, professional development seminars, publications, and cooperative regional marketing initiatives.

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Lehigh Valley Arts Council

840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201
Allentown, PA 18101
610-437-5915 / operations@LVArtsCouncil.org
www.LVArtsCouncil.org / www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org

Act 1 DeSales University Performing Arts Presents: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

Tuesday ◊ April 28, 2015 ◊ 7:00 p.m.
Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

Book by Abe Burrows & Jack Weinstock & Willie Gilbert • Music by Frank Loesser • Based on How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying by Shepherd Mead • Directed by Steven Dennis

“Fast, funny, and glitzy…a non-stop delight.” –The New York Times

Long before Mad Men, there was J. Pierrepont Finch’s story of power, ambition and greed. This Pulitzer Prize winning musical from the authors of Guys and Dolls follows Finch as he steps off the ledge from his window-washing job and rises to chairman of the board. Following a “how to” manual and breaking hearts and stepping on toes along the way, this musical’s great score features dazzling dance numbers and songs such as “I Believe in You,” “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm,” and “Brotherhood of Man.”Ages 10+

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

(price of regular ticket at the door $27.00)
Rush Tickets available online only
through Lehigh Valley Arts Council Box Office

Act 1 DeSales University Performing Arts Presents: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

Saturday ◊ April 25, 2015 ◊ 8:00 p.m.
Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

Book by Abe Burrows & Jack Weinstock & Willie Gilbert • Music by Frank Loesser •Based on How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying by Shepherd Mead • Directed by Steven Dennis

“Fast, funny, and glitzy…a non-stop delight.” –The New York Times

Long before Mad Men, there was J. Pierrepont Finch’s story of power, ambition and greed. This Pulitzer Prize winning musical from the authors of Guys and Dolls follows Finch as he steps off the ledge from his window-washing job and rises to chairman of the board. Following a “how to” manual and breaking hearts and stepping on toes along the way, this musical’s great score features dazzling dance numbers and songs such as “I Believe in You,” “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm,” and “Brotherhood of Man.”Ages 10+

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

(price of regular ticket at the door $27.00)
Rush Tickets available online only
through Lehigh Valley Arts Council Box Office

Modern Retelling Of ‘Romeo And Juliet’ Sheds Light On Race Relations, Police Violence At Muhlenberg College

Allentown, PA – During one month in the summer of 2014, in separate incidents in cities across the United States, four unarmed black men were killed while being arrested by police officers. None of the officers who used lethal force in these cases were held legally accountable.

Police violence against black men is not a new issue, but the frequency of recent incidents and intense media coverage has pushed it to the fore in the national discourse. This spring, a group of young theater artists, led by faculty member and director Troy Dwyer, enters the dialogue with an audacious production of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The show runs April 22-26 at Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance.

“It’s definitely a piece of protest art, and one I imagine Shakespeare purists won’t like,” Dwyer says. “I’m cool with that.”

Dwyer’s production will remain essentially faithful to the events and language of Shakespeare’s classic, but will feature two important twists: the action of the play will be set in a modern Midwest, and Juliet’s family, the Capulets, will be a black family.

“This will be the first time an African-American family will be represented on the Muhlenberg stage since I have worked at the college,” says Dwyer, who joined the Muhlenberg faculty in 2003. “Muhlenberg Admissions has been courting a more diverse student body for years, and it is exciting that we can finally represent that on the stage.”

Dwyer’s adaptation envisions love blooming one sweltering summer night on a city street in the American Midwest. Two young lovers make an unlikely and courageous connection, a spark that defies distinctions of race, class and culture. But when a black teenager dies, the city’s long-simmering tensions escalate into full-scale violence, leaving the lovers on opposite sides in a brutal and deadly conflict.

“Shakespeare’s plays truly stand the test of time,” Dwyer says. “The story is not only easy for college actors to relate to, but takes on new meaning when placed in a society that is very similar to Staten Island, Ferguson, Madison… or Allentown.”

Between July 17 and Aug. 9, four African-American men were killed in the United States. In Staten Island, Eric Garner was seen selling untaxed cigarettes and was smothered in a choke-hold, a method that is prohibited by Staten Island Police. In Beavercreek, Ohio, a black man was shot by police in a Walmart, and in Los Angeles, an unarmed black man was shot by police the next week. In Ferguson, Missouri, in what was the most intensely covered news story of the summer, Michael Brown was shot at twelve times by a local police officer while unarmed.

“My communities were having pointed conversations about the criminalization of black bodies,” Dwyer said. “I wanted to explore the socioeconomic structures that coordinate with racial and ethnic privilege.” None of the police officers in these incidents was held legally accountable for their actions. These and other recent incidents have escalated racial tensions and widened the rift between the police and the public that they serve, according to Dwyer.

“There has always been something unsettling about how, in the show, Romeo doesn’t face any consequences for murdering Tybalt,” Dwyer says. “No one in authority seems concerned, and this facet of the play is given more meaning if Tybalt is a man of color.” Dwyer’s other recent Shakespeare productions at Muhlenberg, “The Winter’s Tale” and “The Tempest,” both addressed social issues and included actors of non-traditional sexes playing pivotal characters. “The Winter’s Tale” raised questions about contemporary marriage, while “The Tempest” explored issues of gender and sexual politics.

This production of “Romeo and Juliet” also features music written by a student composer. Jakeim Hart, ’16, worked with Dwyer to being new life to Shakespeare’s work through song. Hart previously composed an original musical, “Sinternet!,” for the Muhlenberg stage two years ago.

“I am hoping to bring new joy, laughter, and pain to a well-known story through the music that I write,” says Hart, who is also playing the role of Paris in the production. “Everyone is the production sings throughout the show, and I also play the guitar.”

Muhlenberg College’s Theatre & Dance Department offers one of the top-rated college performance programs in the country, according to the Princeton Review rankings. Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa., offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in theatre and dance. It has been named annually among the Fiske Guide to Colleges’ top 20 small college programs in the United States.

“Romeo and Juliet” runs April 22-26 in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Seating is very limited. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 8 p.m. (Sunday’s performance was originally scheduled for 2 p.m.; it is at 8 p.m.) Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre&dance.

Montgomery County Community College West End Student Theatre And Theatre Arts Program to Present Peter Shaffer’s ‘Black Comedy’

Pottstown, PA — Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program are proud to present “Black Comedy,” a farce by Sir Peter Shaffer.  Show dates are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 23, 24 and 25 at 7 p.m., with a special afternoon performance on Friday, April 24, at 12:30 p.m. All performances will be held in the College’s South Hall Community Room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, call 215-641-6518 or visit www.mc3.edu/livelyarts. Free parking is available.

“Black Comedy” is a wild, comic farce by renowned British playwright Sir Peter Shaffer, author of “Amadeus.” In it, a desperate sculptor hopes to impress his fiancée’s father and a millionaire patron by “borrowing” a few antiques from his absent neighbor. But after a fuse blows in his apartment and plunges them all into darkness, a hilarious race against time ensues to set things right before the lights come back on and the neighbor returns.

“This production of ‘Black Comedy’ is akin to Mel Brooks and Dick Van Dyke having a baby – it’s a racy, raunchy, and raucous good time,” says Director Samantha Clarke. This production contains adult themes and language.

Directed by Clarke and stage managed by Anna Taylor, the cast includes Joe Donely, Carly Watson, Allison Wentzel, Zach Clark, Jeff Chernesky, Myasia Bynum, Nicholas Bartelmo, and Joseph Borders. The production is designed, produced and presented by the students of the West End Student Theatre, which includes Morgan Carrasquillo, Desiree Humes, Zachary Clark, Joe Donley, Andrew Miller, Alex Hollowell, Christian Flint, Tess Devlin, Tom Keller, Merissa Crabtree, Anthony Confino, Rianna Isbell and Mariah Blank, under the guidance of Theatre Instructor Tim Gallagher.

Photographs:  Cast members rehearse for the upcoming performances of Peter Shaffer’s “Black Comedy” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 23, 24 and 25, at 7 p.m. and on Friday, April 24, at 12:30 p.m. in Montgomery County Community College’s South Hall Community Room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Photos by Diane VanDyke.

Accessing The Cultural Community: A Celebration Of Vision

The 2015 spring membership reception, Art is a Verb—Let’s all do it, embraces the excitement and promise of greater cultural accessibility in the Lehigh Valley. On Tuesday, June 9, 2015, from 5:30 – 7:30 PM, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council introduces the community-wide plans for the upcoming Arts & Access celebration, which commemorates the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act through the lens of the arts.We are pleased to announce that JohnKristel, MBA, MPT, President & CEO of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital is our host for our annual membership event. Join us for a reception at Good Shepherd’s Health & Technology Center and learn more about the number of participating cultural organizations andindividuals who have signed on toparticipate in Arts & Access. This annual get-together is a popular occasion for members to renew their connection to the arts and to each other.Three prominent cultural leaders and their respective organizations will be celebrated for their vision in expanding cultural accessibility: Jessica Bien, General Manager at Muhlenberg College Theater & Dance Department; Nora Suggs, Executive Director of Satori; and Ricardo Viera, Director/Curator of Lehigh University Galleries and Museums.

“We chose to recognize these members in the arts community for their leadership in reaching out and accommodating people with various disabilities,” says Randall Forte, executive director. “Their commitment to greater inclusion is about being pro-active, not re-active—there is much we can learn from them!”

Festivities will include the creation of a “Word Cloud“,” as arts professionals, patrons, and guests will collaborate in visualizing the future of the arts in our community. Members and their guests will also enjoy a tour of the Health & Technology Center.

Generously underwritten by PPL, light food will be provided. Members attend for free; nonmembers pay $10. Reservations are encouraged so please call the Arts Council at 610-437-5915 or register online at http://www.LVArtsCouncil.org. Parking is available in the garage located at 850 South 5th St., Allentown. Access to the Health & Technology Center is via the third floor of the parking garage.

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About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is the region’s central voice for the arts, promoting arts awareness and advocating its value while strengthening access to the arts for all citizens in our community. The Arts Council’s mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations, and the community. Services include arts research and advocacy, professional development seminars, publications, and cooperative regional marketing initiatives.

***

Lehigh Valley Arts Council

840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201
Allentown, PA 18101
610-437-5915 / operations@LVArtsCouncil.org
www.LVArtsCouncil.org / www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org

‘Dance Emerge’ At Muhlenberg College

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg College dancers tell their stories through movement, as the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Department presents “Dance Emerge,” a showcase for dance works created by emerging choreographers, April 16-18 in the College’s Baker Theatre. Jeffrey Peterson is the artistic director for the concert.

“Choreographers in this year’s ‘Dance Emerge’ are honoring their own unique voices as they create personal dances which celebrate the joys of life and unearth the depths of their souls,” Peterson says. “The journey for the audience will undoubtedly juxtapose the human experience with quirky character-driven studies and more intimate work — all blending physical skill with choreographic imagination.”

“Dance Emerge” will showcase 12 choreographers and 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 12 original dances include contemporary jazz, dance theater, and modern works that investigate such topics as platonic love, the grieving process, and the individual vs. the whole. Choreographers drew inspiration from such diverse sources as dance history, travel, personal relationships, and college experiences.

Muhlenberg College’s Theatre & Dance Department offers one of the top-rated college performance programs in the county, according to the Princeton Review rankings.  Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa., offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. It has been named annually among The Fiske Guide to Colleges’ top 20 small college programs in the United States, and the American College Dance Festival Association has consistently recognized dances premiered on the Muhlenberg stage for excellence in choreography and performance.

“Dance Emerge” runs April 16-18 in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

Performances are April 16-18: Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 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.

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