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.

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Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance 2015-2016 Season‏

ALLENTOWN, PA — Muhlenberg College’s nationally-ranked Theatre & Dance Department announces its 2015-2016 mainstage season. Highlights include works ranging from James Joyce’s “Ulysses” to 18th commedia dell’arte; a biannual festival of student-written plays; and production of the musical theatre classic “Chicago.”

The season features six fully mounted theatrical productions and three mainstage dance concerts, running from September 2015 to April 2016.

“This exciting season features the new and the newly imagined,” says Beth Schachter, chair of the department. “We are presenting world premieres and fresh versions of classics, spanning international topics and American issues through comedic and serious projects.”

The season begins with “New Voices,” Sept. 30 through Oct. 4, a new-play festival featuring the work of current Muhlenberg students. The festival features four world premiere short plays, with Schachter serving as artistic director.

The old razzle dazzle of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s electrifying Jazz Age musical “Chicago” comes to the Muhlenberg stage for the first time ever, Oct. 30 through Nov. 8. Directed by theatre program director Charles Richter, “Chicago” is a scintillating tale of greed, murder, showbiz — and all that jazz.

“Moving Stories,” Nov. 12-14, features original choreography by the department’s upperclass dance majors, in a variety of genres and styles. The concert showcases dance as storytelling, narration in human form, addressing themes as broad ranging as the students’ own diverse backgrounds. Karen Dearborn serves as artistic director.

Carlo Goldoni’s classic 1746 comedy “Servant of Two Masters” finishes the fall schedule, Dec. 3-6, directed by Muhlenberg faculty member Francine Roussel. Presented in the classic tradition of the Italian Renaissance, the play features stock characters of the commedia dell’arte style, wearing traditional-style masks and costumes.

“Master Choreographers,” Feb. 6-8, with artistic direction by Karen Dearborn, features eight works by faculty and guest artists, including a piece by renowned choreographer Karol Armitage, sponsored by the Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Foundation. Also included will be works by Shelley Oliver, Heidi Cruz-Austin, Jeffrey Peterson, and program chair Karen Dearborn.

The “New Visions” Directors’ Festival, Feb. 24-28 will feature three short plays directed by senior Muhlenberg directing students: “Terrible Beautiful Bodies,” by Muhlenberg alumni Ben Nassau and Moriah Benjoseph; “Hello Out There,” by William Saroyan; and “The Exception and the Rule,” by Bertolt Brecht.

“Dance Emerge,” April 21-24, showcases the ideas and talents of our brightest young choreographers. The intimate Dance Studio Theatre is the backdrop for innovative, explorative dance pieces. Jeffrey Peterson serves as artistic director.


The Muhlenberg Circus Workshop now in its third year, will present an evening of contemporary circus in the college’s Studio Theatre, April 21-24. The Workshop’s performances combine the talents of aerialists, acrobats, jugglers, dancers, actors and other skilled artists in an evening of interactive and energetic performances.

A portion of James Joyce’s classic novel “Ulysses” is adapted for the stage in “Ulysses in Nighttown,” April 28 – May 1. Directed by theatre professor James Peck, the play tackles the rich language of Joyce’s esoteric 1922 novel — in particular, Episode 15, the “Circe” episode, taking place in Nighttown, Dublin’s red-light district.

The mainstage performance series is produced by Muhlenberg College’s acclaimed Theatre & Dance Department, The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top 20 in the nation, including a No. 6 ranking in its current college guide. The Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

Tickets and information: 484-664-3333 or http://muhlenberg.edu/theatre&dance. Discounts are available for packages of four or more productions.

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.

Comcast Hiring 5,500, As Part Of Customer Service Improvement

CHICAGO – Comcast’s unhappy customers finally have gotten through to the nation’s largest cable television company.

Comcast Corp. said Tuesday that it would hire 5,500 additional customer-service workers in the United States and hundreds of new service technicians, as part of a broad plan to improve its poorly rated service operations. The company has been bashed nationwide by cable and Internet subscribers as unresponsive and rude.

CEO Brian Roberts told reporters that the customer backlash had served as a “rallying cry to rethink how we do business.”

The cost to execute its “aggressive” customer service improvements will be on top of $300 million Comcast has invested in recent years in service upgrades, company officials said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150506_Cable_leader_admits_the_downside_of_being_disliked.html#CbSPg5D4sPheVYyd.99

Frontier Increasing Its Presence In Philadelphia

Frontier Airlines has announced  it will fly to Chicago O’Hare, Charlotte, and Atlanta daily from Philadelphia International Airport, beginning March 13.

An introductory fare starting at $19 one-way will be available until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday at http://www.flyfrontier.com for travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through April 29.

Fares from $49 one-way will be available on the company’s website until 11:59 p.m. Jan. 10 for travel on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through May 16. Seats may be limited, and blackout dates will apply.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150107_Frontier_increasing_its_presence_in_Philadelphia.html#PjJgmfXpSLdGHhOs.99

Report: Bright Millennials Flocking To Center City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The number of educated millennials living in Center City ballooned 78 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to a report released Monday.

“The Young and Restless and the Nation’s Cities,” published by cityobservatory.org, found that 25 to 34 year olds with at least a bachelor’s degree have been flocking to major metropolitan areas, fueling economic growth and stimulating urban revitalization.

Philadelphia ranked sixth among major cities which have attracted young college graduates to their booming city centers. New York City topped the list followed by San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago and Boston.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Report_Number_of_educated_millennials_living_in_Center_City_skyrockets.html#MqLbhuE2OgqeDAdH.99

Frontier Airlines To Return To Philadelphia

English: Frontier Airlines N929FR at FLL.

English: Frontier Airlines N929FR at FLL. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frontier Airlines – with new owners, a new management team, and a new logo on its planes – is coming to Philadelphia with flights to seven cities.

Denver’s hometown airline will announce Tuesday nonstop flights from Philadelphia International Airport to Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, Fla., and Cancun, Mexico, in December, and to Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Chicago next spring.

“These are underserved markets with very high fares,” Frontier chief executive officer David Siegel said. “We’re going to expand the market, stimulating it with low fares and dropping in a little bit of capacity.”

Frontier hasn’t flown scheduled service from Philadelphia since January 2013, soon after it began flights from Trenton-Mercer Airport.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140930_JETTING_BACK_IN.html#sifzAxdbfOBcouvv.99

Wealth Gap Is Widest In Some Affluent US Cities

WASHINGTON (AP) – The gap between the wealthy and the poor is most extreme in several of the United States’ most prosperous and largest cities.

The economic divides in Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are significantly greater than the national average, according to a study released Thursday by the Brookings Institution, the Washington-based think tank. It suggests that many sources of both economic growth and income inequality have co-existed near each other for the past 35 years.

These cities may struggle in the future to provide adequate public schooling, basic municipal services because of a narrow tax base and “may fail to produce housing and neighborhoods accessible to middle-class workers and families,” the study said.

“There’s something of a relationship between economic success and inequality,” said Alan Berube, a senior fellow at Brookings. “These cities are home to some of the highest paying industries and jobs in the country.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/homepage/20140220_ap_9abeed9da7e24c51a0a078a9ca8c73b9.html#fRdwGmPM2m6ZEQji.99

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U.S. Catholics Back Pope Francis On Changing Church’s Focus

CHICAGO, IL — Pope Francis‘ comments that the Catholic Church should not focus so much on homosexuality, abortion and contraception have met with strong approval from U.S. Catholics, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Friday.

Sixty-eight percent of American Catholics agree with comments the Pope made to that effect in an interview published last month in the Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica, while 23 percent disagreed, according to the poll. There was little difference in opinion between observant and less-observant Catholics, women and men, and among age groups, the poll found.

American Catholics also like their new pope, with 89 percent having a “favorable” or “very favorable” opinion, and only 4 percent voicing an unfavorable opinion, the poll found.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/mc-usa-catholics-pope-francis-20131004,0,236895.story#ixzz2gleE6dyM
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Of Big Cities, Philadelphia Worst For People In Deep Poverty

Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty – people with incomes below half of the poverty line – of any of the nation’s 10 most populous cities.

The annual salary for a single person at half the poverty line is around $5,700; for a family of four, it’s around $11,700.

Philadelphia’s deep-poverty rate is 12.9 percent, or around 200,000 people.

Phoenix, Chicago, and Dallas are the nearest to Philadelphia, with deep-poverty rates of more than 10 percent.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130319_Of_big_cities__Phila__worst_for_people_in_deep_poverty.html