‘Ulysses In Nighttown’ At Muhlenberg, April 27-30‏

Allentown, PA — “Ulysses,” James Joyce’s 1922 epic widely regarded as one of the most important works of modernist literature, takes the stage at Muhlenberg College, in an adaptation that director James Peck describes as “weird, sexy, and a little dangerous.” “Ulysses in Nighttown” plays April 27-30 to conclude the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Department’s mainstage season.

Peck says the production employs vivid imagery, unconventional storytelling techniques, and Joyce’s own spectacularly vivid language to capture “a journey into the unconscious.” The play excerpts one lengthy episode of the novel (known to Joyce aficionados as the Circe episode), taking place mostly in the red-light district of Dublin, Ireland.

“The play gives shape to the desires of the three characters at the heart of ‘Ulysses,’” says Peck, a professor of theater at Muhlenberg. “It is surreal, stream-of-consciousness — we go inside the minds of the characters, experience their hallucinations and their faltering sanity. The play is coherent, but it’s coherent in the way that dreams are coherent.”

Aching for fellowship, middle-aged ad salesman Leopold Bloom pursues the alienated young novelist Stephen Dedalus on a late-night bender through Dublin’s red light district. There they find themselves confronting their feverish fears and passions, haunted by their transgressions and fetishes. Full of portent and hallucination, Joyce’s sprawling text takes a dark turn in this episode, which playwright Marjorie Barkentin has adapted as a stand-alone narrative, with context derived from the rest of the novel.

At a fundamental level, Peck says, “Ulysses in Nighttown” is the story of a friendship between two men dealing with loss — Stephen with the loss of his mother, and Bloom with the death of his child and the disintegration of his marriage to Molly, who he knows has taken to pursuing affairs with other men. But the play, like the novel, hardly lends itself to simple synopsis.

The production will feature an original musical score by percussionist Douglas Ovens, a professor and former department chair of music at Muhlenberg, who has previously provided music for “Orlando,” “The Other Shore,” “The Possibilities,” and other plays at Muhlenberg. Ovens will play the score himself in performance.

Peck says he was moved to direct the play by its storytelling challenges and by Joyce’s linguistic virtuosity — but also for more personal reasons.

“I hadn’t done anything strange for a while, and I wanted to do something strange,” he says. “I also think this is some of the most evocative English language that has ever been written. I wanted to delve into that language in the way that creating a production for the stage forces you to do.”

He continues: “I think when I was in my 20s, when I first read ‘Ulysses,’ I identified with the character of Stephen. Now in my 50s, I feel like I identify more with Bloom. When you’re younger, you feel like the world of possibilities is wide open. Then as you get older you find that as many doors are closed to you as are open. I think the play delves very deeply into that maturation, that sense of gain and simultaneous loss that comes with maturity.”

“Ulysses in Nighttown” plays April 27-30. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 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 can be purchased online at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Empire Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

‘Master Choreographers,’ Feb. 11-13 At Muhlenberg College‏

Allentown, PA — This season’s “Master Choreographers” concert at Muhlenberg College will feature restagings of three major works by world-renowned choreographers and four world-premiere works by faculty and guest artists. Presented Feb. 11-13 in the college’s Empie Theatre, the annual concert by the college’s nationally recognized Dance Program will feature more than 70 dancers.

The concert will feature restagings of “Ligeti Essays,” choreographed by Karole Armitage; “Songs of the Disinherited,” choreographed by Donald McKayle; and “To Have and To Hold,” choreographed by Shapiro & Smith Dance.

The concert will also feature world-premiere works by Karen Dearborn, Jeffrey Peterson, Heidi Cruz-Austin, and Shelley Oliver.

Karole Armitage is the artistic director of the New York-based Armitage Gone! Dance Company. Known as the “punk ballerina,” her performance credits include the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, Switzerland, and leading roles in Merce Cunningham’s landmark works. Armitage has choreographed two Broadway productions (“Passing Strange” and “Hair,” which garnered her a Tony Award nomination), videos for Madonna and Michael Jackson, several Merchant-Ivory films, and Cirque du Soleil’s 2012 tent show “Amaluna.”

“Ligeti Essays” is “breathtaking, providing a pristine setting for Ms. Armitage’s partially frozen world,” according to the New York Times. “As the lighting gently shifts from light to dark, the stage takes on the look of a remote, icy pond in the middle of a dream.” The piece is presented with funding from the Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Foundation. The Baker Foundation has sponsored Muhlenberg’s Baker Artist in Residence program every year since 1992.

Donald McKayle has been named by the Dance Heritage Coalition “One of America’s Dance Treasures: the First 100.” He has choreographed more than 90 works for dance companies in the United States, Canada, Israel, Europe and South America, and has received five Tony Award nominations for his work in musical theater.

“Songs of the Disinherited,” originally choreographed in 1972 for the Inner City Repertory Dance Company of Los Angeles, is one of McKayle’s heritage masterworks. Dance critic Madeleine Swift calls the piece “a finely wrought suite of the enduring human heart that reaches out to others and up to God in its despair and joy… The movement is so specific and true to its theme that it breaks your heart and mends it again.”

Shapiro and Smith Dance began as a collaboration between Danial Shapiro and Joanie Smith after meeting in the companies of Murray Louis and Alwin Nikolais. The company has a reputation for performing tales of beauty and biting wit that run the gamut from searingly provocative to absurdly hilarious. Dancing with breathtaking physicality and emotional depth, they have earned an international reputation for virtuosity, substance, craft, and pure abandonment.

Described as a “genuine treasure,” “To Have and To Hold,” has become one of the company’s signature works since its premiere in 1989. “The piece is zestily acrobatic and eerily haunting, by turn,” according to the Seattle Times. “It’s a meditation on revelry, peril and loss. Choreographers Danial Shapiro and Joanie Smith created it when the ravages of the AIDS epidemic were at their most intense, and that may explain some of its power.”

This year’s edition of “Master Choreographers” also will feature four world premiere pieces by Muhlenberg faculty and guest artists.

Karen Dearborn, the concert’s artistic director and the director and founder of Muhlenberg’s dance program, has created a new, all-male piece that incorporates aerial acrobatics. The concert will also feature a new ballet by Heidi Cruz-Austin, alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet; a tap piece by Shelley Oliver, director of Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers; and a modern piece by Jeffrey Peterson, former dancer with Danny Buraczeski’s Jazzdance.

“Master Choreographers” will be performed Thursday, Feb. 11, and Friday, Feb. 12, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Feb. 13, 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 http:///www.muhlenberg.edu/dance

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg 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 2200 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.

Choreographer Bios

Karole Armitage is the artistic director of the New York-based Armitage Gone! Dance Company, founded in 2004. She was rigorously trained in classical ballet and began her professional career as a member of the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, Switzerland (1973-1975), a company devoted exclusively to the repertory of George Balanchine. In 1976, she was invited to join Merce Cunningham’s company, where she remained for five years (1975-1981), performing leading roles in Cunningham’s landmark works. Throughout the 1980s, she led her own New York-based dance company, The Armitage Ballet. She set new works on companies including the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, the Ballet de Monte Carlo, Lyon Opera Ballet, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, The Washington Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Kansas City Ballet, The Greek National Company, The Bern Ballet and Rambert Dance Company. Armitage served as Director of the 45-memeber MaggioDanza, the Ballet of Florence, Italy (1996-2000), the Biennale of Contemporary Dance in Venice (2004), and as resident choreographer for the Ballet de Lorrine in France (2000-2004). After her company’s successful season at the Joyce in 2004, Armitage’s focus shifted to creating her New York-based company, Armitage Gone! Dance. Armitage has choreographed two Broadway productions (“Passing Strange” and “Hair,” which garnered her a Tony nomination), videos for Madonna and Michael Jackson, several Merchant-Ivory films and Cirque du Soleil’s 2012 tent show, “Amaluna.” In 2009, she was awarded France’s most prestigious award, Commandeur dans l’orde des Arts et des Lettres. She is the 2012 recipient of the prestigious artist-in-residence grant at the Chinati Foundation, founded by artist Donald Judd in Marfa, Texas. She has directed operas from the baroque and contemporary repertoire for prestigious houses of Europe, including Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Lyric Opera in Athens, Het Muzik Theater in Amsterdam. She choreographed “The Cunning Little Vixen” in 2011 and “A Dancer’s Dream” in 2013 for the New York Philharmonic and provided choreography for “Marie Antoinette,” by playwright David Adjmi, at the American Repertory Theater Harvard and Yale Repertory Theater.

Donald McKayle has been named by the Dance Heritage Coalition “One of America’s Dance Treasures: the First 100.” He has choreographed over 90 works for dance companies in the United States, Canada, Israel, Europe, and South America. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Lula Washington Dance Theatre serve as repositories for his works. He is artistic mentor for the Limón Dance Company. Five Tony nominations have honored his choreography for Broadway musical theater. In dance he has received the Capezio Award, Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award, American Dance Guild Award, Living Legend Award from the National Black Arts Festival, Heritage Award from the California Dance Educators Association, two Choreographer’s Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Dance/USA Honors, Irvine Fellowship in Dance, and the 2004 Martha Hill Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. In April 2005, Donald McKayle was honored at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and presented with a medal as a Master of African American Choreography. For his work in education, he has earned the Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching, UCI’s Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award for Research, and he is a recipient of the UCI Medal, its highest honor.  He has received honorary Doctorate Degrees from: Cornish College of the Arts, the Juilliard School, and from CalArts. His autobiography, “Transcending Boundaries: My Dancing Life,” was honored with the Society of Dance History Scholar’s De La Torre Bueno Prize. A television documentary on his life and work, “Heartbeats of a Dance Maker,” was aired on PBS on stations throughout the United States.

Shapiro & Smith Dance began in 1985 as a collaboration between Danial Shapiro and Joanie Smith. After meeting in the companies of Murray Louis and Alwin Nikolais, they went on to create their first choreography during a Fulbright Lectureship in Helsinki, Finland. Since then Shapiro and Smith’s blend of contemporary dance and dramatic theater has elicited enthusiastic receptions across the U.S., Europe, Asia and Canada. The Company has been presented by major festivals and venues including the Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Dance Theater Workshop, St. Mark’s DanSpace Project, PS 122, Festival di Milano, Teatro de Danza in Mexico City, Recklinghausen RuhrFestSpiele, and the Korean International Festival. Danial Shapiro died of complications from prostate cancer in 2006 and now Joanie Smith continues as sole Artistic Director.

Heidi Cruz-Austin is an alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet, and she has danced featured roles in works by choreographers ranging from Alvin Ailey to George Balanchine. In addition to dancing with Pennsylvania Ballet, Cruz-Austin has performed with the Philadelphia-based company Ballet X and as a guest artist throughout the United States and Europe. As a choreographer, Cruz-Austin was a winner for the 2003 Ballet Builders showcase in New York City. She has been commissioned to create works for Franklin and Marshall College, Bryn Mawr College, Repertory Dance Theater, and Ballet D’errico, and she was a recipient of the 2004-2005 New Edge Residency at The Community Education Center of Philadelphia.

Karen Dearborn has choreographed more than 70 works in concert, theater, and musical theater, including national tours of the Tony Award-winning National Theatre of the Deaf and several Equity theatres. She has provided choreography for the Muhlenberg theater productions of “On the Town,” “The Pajama Game,” “Oklahoma!,” “Urinetown,” and “West Side Story,” and Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre productions of “Hairspray,”  “The Sound of Music,” “The Who’s Tommy,” and “Oliver!” to name just a few. Dearborn is the founding director of Muhlenberg’s dance program. Her scholarly research has been published in the Journal of Dance Education, and she contributed an essay to the book “Performing Magic on the Western Stage.” She serves on the executive board of the American College Dance Festival Association.

Shelley Oliver is a Canadian-born tap dancer, choreographer, and educator. She has appeared internationally with some of the legends of the tap world. She is the artistic director of The Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers currently touring with the David Leonhardt Jazz Group throughout the northeast. Oliver is a founding member of Manhattan Tap and served as a co-artistic director and choreographer with the company. She has toured in concert halls in Europe, China, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States. She has performed with Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Jimmy Slide, Buster Brown, Jimmy Slide, and Chuck Green. Oliver’s television appearances include “Tap Dance in America” with Gregory Hines and “Star Search.” On faculty at Muhlenberg College, she directs the Muhlenberg Jazz Tap Ensemble, providing community outreach in the Allentown area. Ms. Oliver has produced a series of “Tap Music For Tap Dancers” CDs that have become a standard pedagogical tool in the tap dance world. She is the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Dance Educator award for the Lehigh Valley Dance Consortium.

Jeffrey Peterson serves as an assistant professor of dance at Muhlenberg College, where he teaches modern, jazz, and partnering techniques. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Peterson began his professional dance career in national tours with JAZZDANCE by Danny Buraczeski in 2000. Since then, he has performed in the work of Clare Byrne, Edisa Weeks, and Mathew Janczewski, as well as Stephan Koplowitz’s “Grand Step Project,” and the Minnesota Opera’s production of “The Pearl Fishers” with choreography by John Malashock. His choreographic work for Jeffrey Peterson Dance has appeared at Joe’s Pub, Joyce SOHO, and Dixon Place in New York City, The Minnesota Fringe Festival, Intermedia Arts, and Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, and in “The Cloth Peddler” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Peterson’s choreography has appeared in the concert repertory of numerous university dance programs. His ongoing creative work includes choreographic projects, colorguard and visual consultation for the Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps, and sound design.

Inclusive Arts – Accessible Events For November-December 2015‏

Exhibitions
ACCESSIBLE ART – PHASE II TACTILE DESCRIPTION
Now through June 1, 2017
Lehigh Main Gallery
Open during gallery hours
Presented by Lehigh University Art Galleries & Museum

Teaching Collection of multiple artists’ work in Audio Description and Tactile Description (3-D image to touch) for the visually impaired. Gallery Hours: Wed-Sat, 11am – 5pm; Sun, 1-5pm; Closed Mon-Tues.
Handicap Access • Blind & Low-Vision


ARTIST IN RECOVERY – MONTHLY ART EXHIBITIONS
November 19, 2015 & December 17, 2015
Recovery Partnership
1:00pm – 3:30pm
Featuring artists who express their journey with mental health. Held every third Thursay. Free.
Handicap Access • Mental Health


“LIFE ACCESSIBLE” – PHOTOGRAPHY BEYOND THE LIMITS OF SIGHT
December 19, 2015 through February 22, 2016
Banana Factory
Open during gallery hours
Presented by ArtsQuest
Photographer Stephen Cunic’s 3-D images, created using various layers and texture, allow visually impaired patrons to experience his scenes using their sense of touch. Free and open to all. Gallery Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-9:30pm, Sat & Sun, 8:30am-5pm.
Handicap Access • Blind & Low-Vision

Theatre
EXHIBIT A – AD PERFORMANCE
November 6, 2015
Arena Theatre, Moravian College
8:00pm
Presented by Moravian College Theatre
A provocative, original play that shines the spotlight on issues of identity: gender, race, disability and religion. Moderated discussion to follow. Tickets: $15 General Admission; $10 Seniors.
Handicap Access • Audio Description


CHICAGO – AD & OC PERFORMANCE
November 8, 2015
Baker Center for the Performing Arts
2:00pm
Presented by Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance

Roxie Hart murders her unfaithful lover and finds herself competing with fellow jailed murderess Velma Kelly for the best lawyer — and best vaudeville bookings — in 1920s Chicago. Tickets: $22/$8.
Handicap Access • Audio Description • Open Captioning


MERRY CHRISTMAS, GEORGE BAILEY! – AD & OC PERFORMANCE
December 5, 2015
Main Stage Labuda Center
2:00pm
Presented by Act 1 DeSales University
Stage production recreating the Radio Luzx broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life, telling the timeless tale of George Bailey, the hardworking everyman who once had big dreams, as he comes face to face with his guardian angel Clarence. A clever and theatrical spin on a Christmas classic—the perfect family-friendly holiday treat. Ages 6+
Handicap Access • Audio Description • Open Captioning

Visit our web portal
ARTSandACCESS.org
for many more accessible events!

Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Stages A Razzle-Dazzle ‘Chicago’

Allentown, PA — The razzle-dazzle vaudeville-style musical “Chicago,” about two fame-obsessed murderesses in 1920s Chicago, will be presented for the first time on the Muhlenberg College stage, Oct. 30 – Nov. 8. Directed by Muhlenberg theater professor Charles Richter, the show shines a spotlight on America’s obsession with celebrity, as well as showcasing the depth of talent in Muhlenberg’s theater and dance department.

“I think the show says something prescient about the nature of American life and the nature of celebrity,” Richter says, “and it says it with a great deal of wit and some venom.”

The show’s score, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, features the Broadway standards “All That Jazz,” “Cell Block Tango,” “Mr. Cellophane,” and “Razzle Dazzle.” The original production in 1975 was directed and choreographed by renowned Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse, who co-wrote the book with Ebb.

“Chicago” will be presented in Muhlenberg’s Empie Theatre, in the Baker Center for the Performing Arts, Oct. 30 through Nov. 8. Muhlenberg dance professor Jeffrey Peterson choreographs the production, and music faculty member Michael Schnack serves as musical director.

In the city of Chicago in the Roaring Twenties, chorus girl Roxie Hart murders her unfaithful lover and convinces her hapless husband to take the rap — until he finds out he’s been duped and turns on Roxie. While behind bars, Roxie connects with fast-talking lawyer Billy Flynn, who’s got a plan to get her acquitted and make her a star. But Roxie soon finds herself vying for the spotlight with another “merry murderess,” Velma Kelly, a vaudeville performer in jail for killing her husband and sister, whom she found in bed together. Ultimately, the two join forces in pursuit of their own version of American Dream: fame, fortune, and acquittal.

“This is a show that demands a stage full of triple-threats,” adept at dancing, singing, and acting, Richter says. “I’m very excited about this cast. It’s one of the best I’ve directed in 38 years at Muhlenberg.”

“Chicago” was revived on Broadway in 1996 — a production that won the Tony Award for Best Revival, and that is still playing today, holding records as the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

“It’s a very different show from the current revival,” Richter says. “The show is fully staged and has elaborate scenery, courtesy of designer Tim Averill. It’s also very much involved with the period of the 1920s in Chicago.”

Performances of “Chicago” are Oct. 30 – Nov. 8. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with an additional 2 p.m. show on Saturday, Oct. 31. Regular admission tickets are $22. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8. Group and season subscription rates are available.

Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts, 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.

Lehigh Valley UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF BETHLEHEM presents:

October 30, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Baker Center for the Performing Arts
Escher String Quartet


PENNSYLVANIA SINFONIA ORCHESTRA presents:

October 23, 2015 | 7:00 pm @ Brookside Country Club
Not-Just-Art Auction


MORAVIAN COLLEGE MUSIC INSTITUTE presents:

October 16, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Foy Concert Hall
Moving Mountains, CD release performance

October 25, 2015 | 7:00 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
Moravian College Early Music Ensembles

October 30, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
Moravian College Celtic Ensemble & Guitar Ensemble

November 1, 2015 | 4:00 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
Moravian College Clarinet Choir, Flute Troupe, & Woodwind Trio

November 1, 2015 | 7:00 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
Delta Omicron Musicale

November 8, 2015 | 4:00 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
Moravian College Women’s Chorus

November 8, 2015 | 7:00 pm @ Foy Concert Hall
Moravian College Community Orchestra

November 11, 2015 | 9:00 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
M.I.M.E. (Moravian Improvised Music Ensemble)


MORAVIAN COLLEGE THEATRE COMPANY presents:

November 5, 6, 7, 2015 | all evening performances 8:00 pm @ Arena Theatre
November 8, 2015 | matinee performance 1:00pm @ Arena Theatre
Exhibit A
Click to purchase tickets for individual performances:
Nov. 5 at 8pm
Nov. 6 at 8pm
Nov. 7 at 8pm
Nov. 8 at 1 pm

PURCHASE TICKETS AT OUR BOX OFFICE TODAY!

Muhlenberg College To Present Free Concert Recital March 14 Featuring ‘Street Scene’ Stars

Allentown, PA — The co-stars of Muhlenberg College’s upcoming production “Street Scene” will perform a free concert recital, “‘Street Scene’ and the Broadway Stage,” on Saturday, March 14, at 2 p.m., in the college’s Baker Center for the Arts.

Guest artist vocalists Ed Bara and Lauren Curnow will perform songs that trace the development of the modern musical from its early days in popular opera. Narrated by “Street Scene” director Charles Richter, the performance will include music from throughout the history of the musical stage, including a selection from “Street Scene.”

Kurt Weill’s 1946 American opera “Street Scene” played an integral role in the historical development of modern musical theater, according to Richter, bridging the gap between classical opera and the vitality of American jazz and blues. The show will be performed on the Muhlenberg mainstage March 26-29.

Bara and Curnow will also conduct a vocal master class on Friday, March. 13, working with five experienced vocal students on techniques of the music theater stage. Observers are welcome. The free event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Baker Center’s Recital Hall.

Both the concert recital and the master class are presented as part of the Charles A. and Leona K. Gruber Lectureship in the Arts at Muhlenberg.

The production of “Street Scene” and associated events are sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, New York City, and the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation. Additional funding comes from the Bessie S. Graham Music Fund and the Amaranth Foundation. The show is a joint production of the Department of Theatre & Dance and the Music Department.

“‘Street Scene’ and the Broadway Stage” will be performed Saturday, March 14, at 2 p.m. Vocal Master Class, conducted by Ed Bara and Lauren Curnow, will be held Friday, March 13, at 7 p.m. Both events will be held in the Baker Center for the Arts Recital Hall. Admission to both events is free and no ticket is required.

“Street Scene” will be performed March 26-29. Further information is available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre 

Muhlenberg College ‘Master Choreographers’ Dance Concert Displays Talents Of Acclaimed Choreographers, More Than 60 Dancers

Allentown, PA — The Muhlenberg College dance program will showcase world premiere works by eight accomplished choreographers in its annual “Master Choreographers” concert, Feb. 5-7. The concert features a diverse selection of styles and genres, ranging from classical ballet to contemporary jazz, modern dance, and tap accompanied by live jazz music.

This season’s concert will feature “Prayers,” choreographed by guest artist Jessica Lang, the recipient of a prestigious 2014 Bessie Award, as well as seven world-premiere pieces choreographed by acclaimed guest artists and faculty members.

Karen Dearborn, founder and chair of Muhlenberg’s dance program, will receive the Distinguished Service Award from the LVAIC Dance Consortium following the performance on Thursday, Feb. 5. Dearborn is the concert’s artistic director and one of the featured choreographers.

“This concert presents a spectacular evening of dance,” Dearborn says. “We are thrilled to showcase choreography by Jessica Lang, along with new works by internationally acclaimed guest artists and faculty.”

In addition to Lang and Dearborn, the concert will feature works by: Danish choreographer Charlotte Boye-Christensen; Corrie Franz Cowart, co-artistic director of Co-Art Dance; Heidi Cruz-Austin, alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet; Dorrell Martin, founder of LEON Dance Arts NY; Shelley Oliver, director of Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers; and Jeffrey Peterson, former dancer with Danny Buraczeski’s Jazzdance.

The Dance Consortium is a collaborative effort of the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC), created to pool resources to bring world-class performers and choreographers to the Lehigh Valley. Now in its 40th year, the Dance Consortium includes Cedar Crest College, DeSales University, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Moravian College, and Muhlenberg. The Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to a member of the Lehigh Valley dance community for outstanding contributions to the advancement of local dance.

The award will be presented to Dearborn by Deborah Sacarakis, artistic director of the Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University and recipient of the 2014 award. The presentation ceremony will immediately follow the 8 p.m. performance, at about 10 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

Performances of “Master Choreographers” will take place Feb. 5-7: Thursday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Feb. 7, 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.

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.

Choreographer Bios

Charlotte Boye-Christensen is the former artistic director of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, located in Salt Lake City. A native of Copenhagen, Denmark, Boye-Christensen received her formal training at London Contemporary Dance School and at the Laban Centre in London and completed her Master of Fine Arts degree at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She has been commissioned to create new works for numerous dance companies and universities around the world. Boye-Christensen is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and grants from the Theatre and Arts Councils in Denmark, Germany, Mexico and Singapore, as well as a recipient of the Choo-San Goh Award for Choreographic Excellence. In 2002 she joined Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company to assist in the artistic direction of the company. She became the artistic director in 2008 and has created and re-staged 26 pieces on the company. In April 2013, she stepped away from that position in order to form NOW-ID, an interdisciplinary contemporary dance company, and to pursue more international commissions.

Heidi Cruz-Austin is an alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet, and she has danced featured roles in works by choreographers ranging from Alvin Ailey to George Balanchine. In addition to dancing with Pennsylvania Ballet, Cruz-Austin has performed with the Philadelphia-based company Ballet X and as a guest artist throughout the United States and Europe. As a choreographer, Cruz-Austin was a winner for the 2003 Ballet Builders showcase in New York City. She has been commissioned to create works for Franklin and Marshall College, Bryn Mawr College, Repertory Dance Theater, and Ballet D’errico, and she was a recipient of the 2004-2005 New Edge Residency at The Community Education Center of Philadelphia.

Corrie Franz Cowart has performed with the Mary Miller Dance Company, LABCO Dance, Minh Tran and Company, the Dance Theatre of Oregon, and the Pittsburgh Opera. She has performed both nationally and internationally with Impact Productions’ “Dayuma” and “The Masterpiece.” Cowart continues to perform and choreograph for her own company Co-Art Dance, a contemporary dance company she co-founded in 1997 with her husband Tim Cowart. Corrie is an assistant professor at Muhlenberg College, where she teaches modern, dance composition, and dance on camera.

Karen Dearborn has choreographed more than 70 works in concert, theater, and musical theater, including national tours of the Tony Award-winning National Theatre of the Deaf and several Equity theatres. She has provided choreography for the Muhlenberg theater productions of “On the Town,” “The Pajama Game,” “Oklahoma!,” “Urinetown,” and “West Side Story,” and Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre productions of “Hairspray,”  “The Sound of Music,” “The Who’s Tommy,” and “Oliver!” to name just a few. Dearborn is the founding director of Muhlenberg’s dance program. Her scholarly research has been published in the Journal of Dance Education, and she contributed an essay to the book “Performing Magic on the Western Stage.” She serves on the executive board of the American College Dance Festival Association.

Jessica Lang has created more than 80 works on companies worldwide since 1999, including Birmingham Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Japan at the New National Theatre Tokyo, Joffrey Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Ballet San Jose, Richmond Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ailey II, ABT II, Hubbard Street 2, and New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, among many others. American Ballet Theatre has presented her work at the Metropolitan Opera House, and she has received commissions from the Dallas Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum for its Works and Process series. For opera, Lang received acclaim for her directorial debut and choreography of Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater” at the 2013 Glimmerglass Opera Festival. Lang is the recipient of 2014 Bessie Award. Her ballet “Lyric Pieces,” commissioned and performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet, earned a nomination for a coveted 2013 Manchester Theatre Award in the United Kingdom. Lang has received numerous grants for her work on ballet companies from organizations including the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Choo San Goh Foundation. Her receipt of a 2010 Joyce Theater Artist Residency, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, helped launch her own company, Jessica Lang Dance in 2011. Lang, a graduate of The Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy, is a former member of Twyla Tharp’s company, THARP!

Dorrell Martin is founder of the jazz and contemporary dance program, LEON Dance Arts NY, which is associated with LEON Contemporary Dance Company/NY, of which Martin is the artistic director. He was also the creator and director of the jazz and contemporary program at The Joffrey Ballet School. He is former artistic director/co-founder of Houston Metropolitan Dance Company in Houston, Texas. Martin was a soloist for the national and international touring company of “A Few Good Men Dancin’,” and has danced in such shows as “Aida,” “West Side Story,” “The Lion King,” and “Swing.” He has also performed with many professional companies, including Arch Dance, Locke Contemporary Dance, Houston Grand Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and Richard Rivera’s PHYSUAL. Martin has also performed with such recording artists as Jennifer Lopez, Pink, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna and Debra Cox.

Shelley Oliver is a Canadian-born tap dancer, choreographer, and educator. She has appeared internationally with some of the legends of the tap world. She is the artistic director of The Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers currently touring with the David Leonhardt Jazz Group throughout the northeast. Oliver is a founding member of Manhattan Tap and served as a co-artistic director and choreographer with the company. She has toured in concert halls in Europe, China, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States. She has performed with Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Jimmy Slide, Buster Brown, Jimmy Slide, and Chuck Green. Oliver’s television appearances include “Tap Dance in America” with Gregory Hines and “Star Search.” On faculty at Muhlenberg College, she directs the Muhlenberg Jazz Tap Ensemble, providing community outreach in the Allentown area. Ms. Oliver has produced a series of “Tap Music For Tap Dancers” CDs that have become a standard pedagogical tool in the tap dance world. She is the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Dance Educator award for the Lehigh Valley Dance Consortium.

Jeffrey Peterson serves as an assistant professor of dance at Muhlenberg College, where he teaches modern, jazz, and partnering techniques. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Peterson began his professional dance career in national tours with JAZZDANCE by Danny Buraczeski in 2000. Since then, he has performed in the work of Clare Byrne, Edisa Weeks, and Mathew Janczewski, as well as Stephan Koplowitz’s “Grand Step Project,” and the Minnesota Opera’s production of “The Pearl Fishers” with choreography by John Malashock. His choreographic work for Jeffrey Peterson Dance has appeared at Joe’s Pub, Joyce SOHO, and Dixon Place in New York City, The Minnesota Fringe Festival, Intermedia Arts, and Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, and in “The Cloth Peddler” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Peterson’s choreography has appeared in the concert repertory of numerous university dance programs. His ongoing creative work includes choreographic projects, colorguard and visual consultation for the Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps, and sound design.

Muhlenberg Honors Mildred Greene In Costume Retrospective

 

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Production Of Rock Opera ‘Superstar’ Explores Human Side Of Crucifixion Story

Allentown, PA– James Peck vividly remembers the best rock concert he ever attended: U2 at the Meadowlands in 2011.

“It was one of the most quote-unquote ‘ritualistic’ theater experiences I’ve ever had,” he says. “It had that seize-your-body, wash-over-you aspect of rock-and-roll—that feeling that you’re part of something larger than you. That aspect of ritual.”

That’s the feeling that Peck wants to create as the director of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” opening July 10 at the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre.

“‘Superstar’ is a big epic rock musical about one of the greatest stories ever told,” Peck says. “In the way that a really great rock concert makes you feel like you’re part of something big and cosmic, I think a great production of this show should work the crowd into a sort of oceanic sense of being in touch with something in the universe.”

This summer marks not only the Muhlenberg premiere of “Superstar,” but also the return of former Muhlenberg dance professor Charles O. Anderson. Anderson returns from Austin, Texas, where he teaches dance at University of Texas Austin. Ken Butler serves as the musical director.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” runs July 10-28, Wednesday through Sunday on the Empie Stage, MuhlenbergCollege.

“Superstar” dramatizes the last seven days in the life of Jesus, from his entry into Jerusalem through his crucifixion. Set to a rock score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, the show looks at those seven days through the eyes Judas, the disciple who betrays Jesus and “one of history’s great so-called villains,” Peck says.

“It is unusual for a show to take the vantage point of Judas,” Peck says. “But it’s what makes ‘Superstar’ unique.”

The show features the hit songs “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Superstar.”

What interests Peck most, he says, is the way the play explores the humanity of the characters—real people at the epicenter of one of history’s great moments.

“You get a sense of Jesus as a human,” he says, “of how exhausting it must be to be at the heart of a world movement.”

“Superstar” features a cast of 27, including Muhlenberg alumni Dan Cary ’08 as Jesus, Jessie MacBeth ’13 as Mary Magdalene, and Equity guest artist Kennedy Kanagawa ’08 as Judas. The show also features guest artists from the LehighValley including Ed Bara as Caiaphas, Bill Mutimer as Herod, and Joshua Neth as Pontius Pilate.

“What I love about ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ is that it takes these iconic figures that we are used to thinking of abstractly, and it humanizes them,” Kanagawa says. “They have emotions and desires and allegiances and secrets. The idea of returning to my alma mater and making these discoveries along with this brilliantly talented creative team is thrilling.”

The show features a spare, earthy design by Tim Averill, who brings his interest in sustainable theater design to the production. Annie Simon’s costume designs draw from 1970s and contemporary grunge fashion. Lighting design by John McKernon brings a rock-show sensibility to the performance. The five-piece band led by Vince Di Mura will feature a lean rock-band sound—less lush Broadway score and more rock-and-roll.

The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre has been bringing excellent theatre to the LehighValley for 33 years. All productions are performed at MuhlenbergCollege, 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 theater and dance.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” runs July 10-28 in the Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown, Pa.

Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Regular admission tickets for the first four shows are $32; seniors (65 +) are $28; students and children are $20. For the remainder of the run, regular admission tickets are $38; seniors (65+) are $35; students and children are $20. Family matinees on Sundays are just $10 for children. For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $25 per person and $16 for students and children.

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

‘Master Choreographers’ Dance Concert, Feb. 7-9, Displays Talents Of Acclaimed Choreographers, More Than 40 Dancers

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, Pa. — Muhlenberg College will showcase world premiere dance works created by five of the region’s most accomplished choreographers and two restagings by internationally acclaimed choreographers, in the College’s annual “Master Choreographers” dance concert, Feb. 7-9.

“This concert is a spectacular evening of ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary dance,” said Karen Dearborn, the director of dance for Muhlenberg’s Department of Theatre & Dance, and the artistic director for “Master Choreographers.” “We are fortunate to be showcasing new works by internationally acclaimed guest artists and faculty.”

The performance will take place on the Empie Theatre stage, in Muhlenberg’s Baker Center for the Arts.

This season’s “Master Choreographers” concert will feature a restaging of the second movement of “Viva Vivaldi,” the Joffrey Ballet‘s signature work, choreographed by Gerald Arpino and restaged for Muhlenberg by Trinette Singleton, co-artistic director of Repertory Dance Company and longtime Joffrey Ballet dancer.

Singleton was the first dancer to appear on the cover of a national news magazine (Time, in 1968). She is featured prominently in the recent Joffrey documentary, “The Joffrey Ballet: The Mavericks of American Dance,” and is one of a handful of choreographers entrusted with restaging Joffrey pieces around the country.

“When it’s your own choreography, you have total license,” Singleton says. “When you’re restaging, you have to stick as closely as possible to the choreographer’s original vision. It’s almost a little more nerve racking restaging someone else’s choreography, because you want to get it right.”

The evening will also feature a restaged work by Danish choreographer Charlotte Boye-Christensen, artistic director of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, as well as world-premiere works by: Corrie Franz Cowart, co-artistic director of Co-Art Dance; Heidi Cruz-Austin, co-artistic director of DanceSpora and a Pennsylvania Ballet alumna; Dorrell Martin, founder and executive artistic director of LEON Dance Arts NY; Shelley Oliver, director of Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers; and Jeffrey Peterson, former dancer with Danny Buraczeski’s JAZZDANCE.

Shelley Oliver’s tap piece, “Inspiration Calls to Me,” will feature a live performance by the David Leonhardt Jazz Group. She says that the band and the dancers both feed off of the synergy of live collaboration.

“When the music is performed live,” Oliver says, “the dancers hear the work exactly as they know it, but with live embellishments that just bring the work to the next level. During performance, the band influences the dancers’ energy, and the dancers’ rhythms influence the band.”

“Master Choreographers” features performances by more than 40 Muhlenberg dance students, in a wide range of contrasting styles, from classical ballet to cutting-edge contemporary. One piece from the latter end of the spectrum is “Passage,” by Dorrell Martin, one of this season’s guest choreographers. Martin says he has found the process of working with Muhlenberg’s dancers to be particularly rewarding.

“Karen gave me the freedom to set whatever inspired me,” Martin says. “A lot of the movement is movement that I have been working on a while. A lot of it came from the heart and just from the music itself. I have wanted to set this piece on my company for a while now. This gave me the opportunity to try out the concept, movement, and music on the Muhlenberg dancers first.

“The Muhlenberg dancers were really a delight to work with,” he says. “Sometimes there are dancers that are used to moving a certain way but the Muhlenberg dancers were open and willing to accept new movement on their bodies. I love that sense of freedom because it opens me up to explore more movement.”

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

Performances of “Master Choreographers” will take place Thursday and Friday, Feb. 7-8, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 9, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for patrons 17 and under and for students, faculty and staff of LVAIC colleges. 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 www.muhlenberg.edu/dance.

‘Master Choreographers’ Dance Concert At Muhlenberg College, February 9th -11th

 

English: George Balanchine in the 1920s

Image via Wikipedia

Allentown, Pa. (Jan. 23, 2012) — Muhlenberg College will showcase world premiere dance works created by six of the region’s most accomplished choreographers, in the College’s annual Master Choreographers dance concert, Feb. 9-11. The concert will also feature a restaging of a work by the acclaimed contemporary ballet choreographer George Balanchine.

Featuring a diverse selection of styles and genres, including classical ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance, Master Choreographers will also showcase performances by more than 40 Muhlenberg dance students. The performance takes place on the Empie Theatre stage, in Muhlenberg’s Baker Center for the Arts.

“This concert is a spectacular evening of ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary dance,” says Karen Dearborn, the director of dance for Muhlenberg’s Department of Theatre & Dance, and the artistic director for Master Choreographers. “We are particularly fortunate to be working with The Balanchine Trust to bring the work of the great Balanchine to a new generation of dancers and audiences.”

This season’s Master Choreographers concert will feature a restaging Balanchine’s “Valse Fantaisie,” set and rehearsed by guest artists Deborah Wingert and Marisa Cerveris. Evening performances will feature dancer Nick Kepley, formerly with the Kansas City Ballet and currently performing on Broadway in “Mary Poppins.”

The evening also will feature original dance works by: Corrie Franz Cowart, co-artistic director of Co-Art Dance; Heidi Cruz-Austin, alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet; Olase Freeman, co-artistic director of BaldSoul modern dance company; Dorrell Martin, director of the Joffrey Ballet School‘s jazz and contemporary program; Shelley Oliver, director of Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers; and New York-based contemporary choreographer Sydney Skybetter.

Deborah Wingert, serves as a Baker Artist-in-Residence, sponsored by the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation. She has been associated with George Balanchine and The Balanchine Trust for more than 25 years, as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher.  

Full biographies of the choreographers follow.

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.

George Balanchine (1904-1983) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. He came to the United States in late 1933, at the age of 29, accepting the invitation of a young American arts patron Lincoln Kirstein, whose great passions included the dream of creating a ballet company in America. The first product of the Balanchine-Kirstein collaboration was the School of American Ballet, founded in 1934, an American academy of ballet that would eventually rival the long-established schools of Europe. Eventually, with a performance on Oct. 11, 1948, the New York City Ballet was born. Balanchine served as its ballet master and principal choreographer from 1948 until his death in 1983. Balanchine’s more than 400 dance works include “Serenade” (1934), “Concerto Barocco” (1941), “Orpheus” (1948), and “Mozartiana” (1981). His final ballet, a new version of Stravinsky’s “Variations for Orchestra,” was created in 1982. A major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Balanchine revolutionized the look of classical ballet. Although at first his style seemed particularly suited to the energy and speed of American dancers, especially those he trained, his ballets are now performed by all the major classical ballet companies throughout the world.

Marisa Cerveris is a former dancer with The New York City Ballet, Compania Nacionale de Danza, and Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse. She is currently the owner of ByMarisa: handmade, couture quality, designer dancewear, pilates-wear and yoga-wear, the only elastic-free bodywear on the market. ByMarisa apparel has been featured in Sony Pictures’ “The Company,” starring Neve Campbell, and on the hit ABC series “Dancing with the Stars,” season 10. ByMarisa is manufactured completely in the USA.

Corrie Franz Cowart has performed with the Mary Miller Dance Company, LABCO Dance, Minh Tran and Company, the Dance Theatre of Oregon, and the Pittsburgh Opera. She is also the co-artistic director of Co-Art Dance and has performed both nationally and internationally with Impact Productions’ “Dayuma,” and “The Masterpiece.” Cowart continues to perform and choreograph for her own company Co-Art Dance, a contemporary dance company she co-founded in 1997 with her husband Tim Cowart. Corrie is an assistant professor at Muhlenberg College, where she teaches modern, dance composition, and dance on camera.

Heidi Cruz-Austin is an alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet, and she has danced featured roles in works by choreographers ranging from Alvin Ailey to George Balanchine. In addition to dancing with Pennsylvania Ballet, Cruz-Austin has performed with the Philadelphia-based company Ballet X and as a guest artist throughout the United States and Europe. As a choreographer, Cruz-Austin was a winner for the 2003 Ballet Builders showcase in New York City. She has been commissioned to create works for Franklin and Marshall College, Bryn Mawr College, Repertory Dance Theater, and Ballet D’errico, and she was a recipient of the 2004-2005 New Edge Residency at The Community Education Center of Philadelphia.

Olase Freeman recently completed his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, focusing on issues of black post-modernism. He is honored to serve as the 2011-2012 Visiting Lecturer in Dance at Muhlenberg College. A partial list of the companies with which he has worked include Jane Comfort & Co., Creach/Dance and Marlies Yearby’s Movin’ Spirits Theater, Headlong Dance Theater, and Leah Stein Dance Company. Mr. Freeman’s choreographic work has been performed in such diverse venues as The Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Movement Research at Judson Church, Links Hall (Chicago), the Cunningham Studio, Joyce/Soho, Dixon Place, Thelma Hill (Long Island University), and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival (2002). Mr. Freeman is the co-artistic director of BaldSoul, a company he shares with his partner in dance, and life, Kathryn McNamara.

Dorrell Martin is founder of LEON Dance Arts NY, a jazz and contemporary dance program associated with LEON Contemporary Dance Company/NY, of which Martin is the artistic director. Martin, a native of Houston, Texas, is the creator/director of the jazz and contemporary program at the Joffrey Ballet School. He is also former artistic director of Houston Metropolitan Dance Company. Martin was a soloist for the national and international touring company of “A Few Good Men Dancin” and has danced in shows such as “Aida,” “West Side Story,” “The Lion King” and “Swing.” Martin has also performed with many professional companies, including Arch Dance, Locke Contemporary Dance, Houston Grand Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and Richard Rivera’s PHYSUAL as well as Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular, just to name a few.

Shelley Oliver has more than 20 years experience as a professional tap dancer. She is a founding member of the noted dance ensemble “Manhattan Tap,” and she has toured extensively throughout Europe, China, the Caribbean, Canada and the United States, performing with such tap notables as Savion Glover, Jimmy Slide, Buster Brown and Chuck Green. She has conducted lecture demonstrations for Lincoln Center, New York City public schools, and universities throughout the United States. She teaches a comprehensive jazz tap program at Muhlenberg College and directs the Muhlenberg Jazztap Ensemble, providing community outreach programs in the Allentown area. Oliver’s piece will feature live musical accompaniment by the David Leonhardt Jazz Group.

Sydney Skybetter is a choreographer, curator, and consultant for performing arts organizations. After studying at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Columbia University, and New York University, Skybetter performed with Christopher Williams and the Anna Sokolow Foundation. His choreography has been presented in New York at The Joyce Theater, The Joyce SoHo, Dance Theater Workshop / New York Live Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, and The Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, among many others. Skybetter is a founding partner at Edwards & Skybetter | Change Agency, which provides product development, brand management and technology consulting for such international organizations as the Mark Morris Dance Group and the DBNA Group, and has written about performance history and technology for the Ballet Review and The Huffington Post. He received his Master of Fine Arts in dance performance and choreography from New York University.

Deborah Wingert was selected by George Balanchine at age 16 to join the company of the New York City Ballet. During her 15 years with the company, Ms. Wingert danced over 25 principal, soloist, and featured roles in productions that include Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Coppelia,” “Orpheus,” “Prodigal Son,” Peter Martins’ “The Sleeping Beauty,” and many more. A principal and soloist with numerous nationally acclaimed companies, her film and television credits include “The Nutcracker” (Time-Warner), PBS Great Performances’ “Dinner With Balanchine,” and Live from Lincoln Center’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Ms. Wingert is a prize-winning choreographer, and is one of a small group of artists selected by the Balanchine Trust to set his choreography.

Karen Dearborn, artistic director, has choreographed more than 70 works in concert, theater, and musical theater, including national tours of the Tony Award-winning National Theatre of the Deaf and several Equity theatres. She has provided choreography for the Muhlenberg theater productions of “Oklahoma!,” “Urinetown,” and “West Side Story,” and Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre productions of “The Sound of Music,” “The Who’s Tommy,” and “Oliver!” to name just a few. Dearborn is the founding director of Muhlenberg’s dance program. Her scholarly research has been published in the Journal of Dance Education, and she contributed an essay to the book “Performing Magic on the Western Stage.” She serves on the executive board of the American College Dance Festival Association.

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

Sondheim’s “Merrily” At Muhlenberg‏

Merrily We Roll Along‘ takes audiences backwards through a life in the arts

Wistful and innovative, Sondheim musical opens Oct. 28 at Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance

Allentown, Pa. (Oct. 17, 2011) — When “Merrily We Roll Along,” the wistful 1981 musical by Stephen Sondheim, opens Oct. 28 at Muhlenberg College, it will take audiences on a journey through time, as many musicals do. The difference is that “Merrily’s” audiences will be journeying backwards, following a group of artists from the end of their long friendship, at the beginning off the show, to their first moments together, at the show’s end.

Rueful and nostalgic, the show explores the lure of show business and the price of success, says director James Peck, chair of the college’s Theatre & Dance Department. Also, he says, the importance of having a network of friends to remaining grounded and connected to what matters.

“It’s a cautionary tale about how not to screw up your life in the arts,” Peck says. “It’s inspiring and heartbreaking, and it contains some of Sondheim’s most irresistible songs.”

The second production in the department’s 2011-12 mainstage season, “Merrily We Roll Along” plays Oct. 28 through Nov. 6 in the college’s Baker Center for the Arts. Because of the college’s Family Weekend programs, tickets will be scarce for Oct. 28-30.

“Merrily” features music and lyrics by Sondheim and a book by George Furth, Sondheim’s collaborator on the earlier hit musical “Company.” The show’s musical score received rave reviews, and features the Broadway standards “Good Thing Going,” “Not a Day Goes By” and “Our Time.”

The show tells the story of composer and film producer Franklin Shepard and his two closest friends, playwright Charley Kringas, Shepard’s lifelong collaborator, and novelist Mary Flynn. The trio begin their careers full of idealism and ambition–and they find success, but not necessarily fulfillment. The play moves backwards through their personal and professional milestones–starting with a disastrous opening-night party for Shepard’s uninspired new movie, and journeying back to a rooftop at dawn, at the start of a friendship and a career.

“The play is about being a middle-aged person, and the struggles of staying true to your vision,” Peck says. “It’s also about being a very young person, just starting out in the world, with a certain vision of yourself and of the kind of artist you’ll turn out to be.

“I’m in one stage of that journey, and I remember the other,” he says. “And my cast are still very much at the beginning of that journey, looking forward to their careers. And that’s the heartbreak, in a way. Some young artists will of course go on to have splendid careers, and some will be disappointed, but certainly none will have exactly the careers they envision for themselves. That vision can be hard to let go of, and looking back, can be hard to come to terms with.”

Choreographer Jeremy Arnold, a senior dance major at Muhlenberg, says that the play resonates especially strongly for him as a young artist.

“It’s very much about the choices we make in our lives,” Arnold says. “And it’s very applicable to where we are as students. I can identify with the characters as an artist about to start my career.”

Senior Andrew Clark concurs. In his portrayal of Charley Kringas, he says he has found himself thinking about his own decisions, and wondering what effects they might have down the road.

“Every decision we make resonates out like ripples in a pond,” Clark says. “We are shown how things resonate with and affect others without our being aware of it. This show is very sad, but there is an inherent sense of hope in our production because, like our characters at the end, we’re all so young.”

“Merrily’s” backwards-running structure is also reflected in its musical score, according to musical director Ken Butler. Shepard composes a musical theme early in his life that becomes the basis for several later compositions, and Butler says that sharp-eared patrons will hear that theme develop backwards as the play progresses.

“The glory of the reversal is when the audiences has those ‘a-ha’ moments,” Butler says. “It’s a process of excavation, and it’s always a jolt.”

The Sunday, Nov. 6 performance at 2 p.m. will feature Open Captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing and Audio Description for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. Tickets are available at a reduced rate to patrons who require these services. To purchase tickets for OC or AD services at the Nov. 6 performance, contact Jess Bien at boxoffice@muhlenberg.edu or 484-664-3087.

Muhlenberg College’s Theatre & Dance Department is the top-rated college performance program in the country, according to the Princeton Review‘s 2012 survey report. Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa, offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance.

“Merrily We Roll Along” runs Oct. 28 to Nov. 6. Opening-weekend performances are: Friday, Oct. 28, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 29, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2 p.m.  The second week of performances are Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 2-5, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 6, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20; patrons 17 and under, $8; students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges, $7. For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $15. Performances are in the Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew Street, Allentown.

Tickets and information: 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre

‘The Tempest’ at Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance‏

Prospero and Miranda from a painting by Willia...

Image via Wikipedia

Dance theater adaptation of ‘The Tempest
delves deeper into Shakespeare’s classic


With its parallel universes, Afro-contemporary choreography, non-traditional casting, and a keen ear for issues of power and privilege, Charles O. Anderson and Troy Dwyer’s ‘Tempest’ is anything but traditional Shakespearean fare

Allentown, Pa. (March 12, 2011)—Your high school English teacher might not approve.

If you’re planning to attend Charles O. Anderson and Troy Dwyer’s dance theater adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” opening March 31 at Muhlenberg College, they would like you to know they have no interest in doing “traditional Shakespeare.”

“Come prepared to know that everything’s up for grabs,” says Anderson, a dance professor in the College’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

“Shakespeare finished ‘The Tempest’ in 1611, so it’s exactly 400 years old,” says Dwyer, a theater professor in the department. “We don’t believe it has exactly aged well, despite what many say. Our production aims to recoup ‘The Tempest’ for 2011. That means no doublets—but it also means getting honest about the play’s blemishes.”

Those familiar with Shakespeare’s fantasia of magic, power and revenge will certainly recognize that narrative in Anderson and Dwyer’s production, which runs March 31 to April 3 on the Empie Theatre stage, in Muhlenberg’s Baker Center for the Arts. “The Tempest” is the story of Prospero, a sorcerer set adrift by his rapacious brother, Antonio, and washed up on the shore of a remote island with just three souls for company: his beguiling child Miranda; Ariel, a mischievous sprite; and the bitter so-called “monster,” Caliban. When Antonio strays near the island, Prospero conjures a storm to wreck his ship and exact revenge—but the vessel crashes ashore bearing much more than Prospero could have anticipated.

This production, however, works to transform Shakespeare’s classic into a richer, more complicated experience, for audiences and actors alike—one that weaves the words of the Bard with movement and dance and alternate realities to create  distinctly non-traditional points of view.

Anderson and Dwyer have collaborated before, most notably on the 2009 Muhlenberg world premiere production “Caw,” a dance theater fantasia spanning from the Yoruba religion of Nigeria to Uncle Remus tales of the Deep South to the drag balls of urban gay culture in the late 20th century.

Their work, both individually and in collaboration, takes a particular interest in issues of power and privilege: the ways in which history and literature can make it difficult for those not of the privileged classes—that is, the wealthy, white, straight, male, Western classes—to be heard.

This interest in part fueled their exploration of “The Tempest,” with its problematic gender roles, class violence, and slavery—many of which, they say, tend to be glossed over in traditional productions.

“Directors and actors have to bend the narrative in a way to find the whole person of Caliban and Ariel,” Dwyer says. “We’re complicating the Caliban story—ripping open characters and situations and letting the story of ‘The Tempest’ represent other stories and other power dynamics.”

The production features a star turn by Muhlenberg acting faculty member Holly Cate in the role of Prospero—another sign of its distinctly doublet-free nature. Along the same lines, Prospero’s servant Ariel will be portrayed by a group of five actors, each embodying a different facet of the ethereal character. Many of the characters, in fact, are inhabited by actors who do not look the part in any traditional sense.

“If you follow the conventional interpretation, this play has one role for an actor of color, and it’s as a savage,” Dwyer says. “It has one role for a woman. We are interested in creating opportunities for all artists to participate in and respond as artists to Shakespeare.”

Another significant departure is the parallel universe that directors and cast have created around the traditional story. In this meta-narrative, which frames the Prospero tale, Cate plays an elderly white woman wrestling with the bewildering urbanization of her surroundings, and the dire toll it takes on her own tattered imagination.

In this alternate reality, each of the company’s actors plays a different character, with a different set of relationships to each other and to the world of the play. Their story, told entirely through movement, often overlaps the tale of “The Tempest,” working sometimes in harmony or in counterpoint with the main narrative, and sometimes in conflict, creating dissonance and complication.

Anderson’s background as a dancer and choreographer is in Afro-contemporary movement forms, a synthesis of traditional West African movement and rhythms with modern dance techniques and the urban beats of today. He brings this fusion to the dance elements of this “Tempest,” which features contemporary music and what Dwyer calls “streetwise grittiness” alongside the poetry of Shakespeare.

While the production leaves off the doublets, the couplets are largely intact. Most of Shakespeare’s dense, poetic, often problematic language remains—and the element of dance allows the actors to clarify, comment on, and sometimes contradict the text they’re speaking.

“Dance theater allows tension and ambiguity to exist in a work,” Anderson says. “You can present remarkably clear but contradictory meanings through the movement and words of a piece.”

A dance theater approach also can bring a deeper, visceral understanding of the language of the play, according to Dwyer and Anderson, particularly language as dense as Shakespeare’s.

“Movement has the power to be this battery that can fuel an audience’s understanding,” Dwyer says. “No one can fully, cognitively grasp all of the language of Shakespeare’s characters. The meaning is associative, more than it is rational; you get it in your chest, more than in your brain—at least, you do when you’re in the hands of talented actors.

“And if you get someone who can really move, you take the Duracell out and put a nuclear reactor in there.”

Both Dwyer and Anderson would regard their relationship to Shakespeare as respectful without being reverential.

“Privileging the traditional narrative was never on the table,” Dwyer says, “because it just doesn’t make sense with what we do. Charles and I are both queer artists, Charles is an artist of color. We have a certain relationship with authority that doesn’t really allow for an adaptation that is both honest and ‘traditional.'”

“The Tempest” performances are Thursday through Saturday, March 31 through April 2, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 3, at 2 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.

“The Tempest” performance information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre.

‘Master Choreographers’ Dance Concert, Feb. 10-12, Displays Talents Of Acclaimed Choreographers, 40+ Dancers

Allentown, Pa. (Jan. 18, 2011) — Muhlenberg College will showcase world premiere dance works created by seven of the region’s most accomplished choreographers, in the College’s annual “Master Choreographers” dance concert, Feb. 10-12.

Featuring a diverse selection of styles and genres, ranging from classical ballet to jazz, tap, and modern dance, “Master Choreographers” also will showcase performances by more than 40 Muhlenberg dancers. The performance will take place on the Empie Theatre stage, in Muhlenberg’s Baker Center for the Arts.

“This concert is a spectacular evening of ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary dance,” says Karen Dearborn, the director of dance for Muhlenberg’s Department of Theatre & Dance, and the artistic director for “Master Choreographers.” “We are fortunate to be showcasing new works by internationally acclaimed guest artists and faculty.”

This season’s “Master Choreographers” concert will feature works by: Charles O. Anderson, artistic director of the Philadelphia-based dance theatre X; Corrie Franz Cowart, co-artistic director of Co-Art Dance; Heidi Cruz-Austin, alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet; Nicholas Leichter, director of Nicholas Leichter Dance; Shelley Oliver, director of Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers; Trinette Singleton, protege of ballet icon Robert Joffrey; and New York-based multidisciplinary performance artist Nicole Wolcott.

[Full biographies of the choreographers follow.]

“I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to work with such a talented group of professionals,” says Kelsey Griffith, a senior at Muhlenberg, who will perform in the concert, as well as serving as its production manager. “Working so closely with faculty and guest artists, we get to experience a deeply creative, artistically intense studio process. I’ve learned an incredible amount about the creative process of these choreographers.”

Performances of “Master Choreographers” will take place Feb. 10-12: Thursday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Feb. 12, 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.

Charles O. Anderson is artistic director of the Philadelphia-based dance company dance theatre X. Both as a solo artist and with dance theatre X, Anderson has presented his work nationally and internationally. His choreographic research has led to collaborations with international choreographers working in fusions of traditional dance forms and contemporary movement styles. In the fall of 2010, Anderson premiered his new evening-length work “World Headquarters,” inspired by the writings of late science fiction writer Octavia Butler. Recipient of numerous grants and awards, Anderson was most recently selected as one of 12 “Emerging Scholars” for 2011, by Diverse magazine. He is an associate professor of dance at Muhlenberg College and the director of the African American studies program.

Heidi Cruz-Austin is an alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet, and she has danced featured roles in works by choreographers ranging from Alvin Ailey to George Balanchine. In addition to dancing with Pennsylvania Ballet, Cruz-Austin has performed with the Philadelphia-based company Ballet X and as a guest artist throughout the United States and Europe. As a choreographer, Cruz-Austin was a winner for the 2003 Ballet Builders showcase in New York City. She has been commissioned to create works for Franklin and Marshall College, Bryn Mawr College, Repertory Dance Theater, and Ballet D’errico, and she was a recipient of the 2004-2005 New Edge Residency at The Community Education Center of Philadelphia.

Corrie Franz Cowart has performed with the Mary Miller Dance Company, LABCO Dance, Minh Tran and Company, the Dance Theatre of Oregon, and the Pittsburgh Opera. She is also the co-artistic director of Co-Art Dance and has performed both nationally and internationally with Impact Productions’ “Dayuma,” and “The Masterpiece.” Cowart continues to perform and choreograph for her own company Co-Art Dance, a contemporary dance company she co-founded in 1997 with her husband Tim Cowart. Corrie is an assistant professor at Muhlenberg College, where she teaches modern, dance composition, and dance on camera.

Nicholas Leichter is the director of Nicholas Leichter Dance, for which he has created more than 25 works. He was a member of Ralph Lemon Company from 1993 to 1995, and has performed with the companies of Jennifer Muller, Ronald K. Brown, and others. Leichter has taught throughout the United States, at festivals in Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, and Canada. He has been on faculty at Tisch School of the Arts and the American Dance Festival in Durham, New York, Russia, Korea, and most recently, Shanghai. Leichter and his company presented “The Whiz,” a reimagining of Broadway’s “The Wiz,” at the Zoellner Arts Center in January in conjunction with the Muhlenberg Dancers.

Shelley Oliver has more than 20 years experience as a professional tap dancer. She is a founding member of the noted dance ensemble “Manhattan Tap,” and she has toured extensively throughout Europe, China, the Caribbean, Canada and the United States, performing with such tap notables as Savion Glover, Jimmy Slide, Buster Brown and Chuck Green. She has conducted lecture demonstrations for Lincoln Center, New York City public schools, and universities throughout the United States. She teaches a comprehensive jazz tap program at Muhlenberg College and directs the Muhlenberg Jazztap Ensemble, providing community outreach programs in the Allentown area. Oliver’s piece will feature live musical accompaniment by the David Leonhardt Jazz Group.

Trinette Singleton is a protege of ballet icon Robert Joffrey and was on faculty at The Joffrey Ballet School in New York City, teaching until 2004. Singleton has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe in ballets by such notable choreographers as Joffrey, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Kurt Jooss, and Twyla Tharp. She was the first dancer to ever appear on the cover of a national news magazine — Time, in 1968. Currently, Singleton is co-artistic director of Repertory Dance Theatre in Allentown, and is on the faculty at DeSales University. Her original work “Capriccios” garnered the Outstanding Choreographer award at the semifinals of the Youth America Grand Prix, spring 2010.

Nicole Wolcott is a choreographer, teacher, and performance artist based in New York City. In 2003 Wolcott co-founded Keigwin + Company with Larry Keigwin and was the associate artistic director until 2010. Nicole has performed at the Metropolitan Opera House under the direction of Julie Taymor and Mark Dendy, worked with site-specific choreographer Noemie Lafrance, was a featured dancer in Doug Elkin’s original “Fraulein Maria,” appeared in music videos and concerts with Fischerspooner; and is a featured dancer in “Across the Universe,” an Oscar-nominated film by director Julie Taymor.

Artistic director Karen Dearborn has choreographed more than 70 works in concert, theater, and musical theater, including national tours of the Tony Award-winning National Theatre of the Deaf and several Equity theatres. She has provided choreography for the Muhlenberg theater productions of “Oklahoma!” “Urinetown,” and “West Side Story,” and Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre productions of “The Sound of Music,” “The Who’s Tommy,” and “Oliver!” to name just a few. Dearborn is the founding director of Muhlenberg’s dance program. Her scholarly research has been published in the Journal of Dance Education, and she contributed an essay to the book “Performing Magic on the Western Stage.” She serves on the executive board of the American College Dance Festival Association.

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