Upcoming Lehigh Valley Arts Box Office Performances

lehigh-valley-arts-council-box-office.jpgBach & Handel Chorale:

April 26th: 30th Anniversary Concert Gala

Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem

April 11th: Daedalus Quartet

April 25th: Gryphon Trio

May 16th: Walden Chamber Players

Moravian College Music Institute

April 4th: Moravian College Wind Ensemble

April 6th: Moravian College Community Orchestra

April 12th: Jazz @ Moravian

Moravian College Theatre Company

April 25th & 26th: Jesus Christ Superstar

PA Sinfonia Orchestra

April 12: Chamber Orchestra – All Nature Sings

Click here for more information and tickets: http://lvartsboxoffice.org/

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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

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Embarks On 33rd Theatrical Season

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, Pa. —The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre festival at Muhlenberg College announces the lineup for its 2013 summer season — the 33rd in the festival’s history. The season will feature “Crazy for You,” the musical based on the music of George and Ira Gershwin; Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar”; and Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s “Seussical,” the Dr. Seuss musical for young audiences.

Opening the summer season is “Crazy for You,” June 12-30, winner of the 1992 Tony Award for best musical. Based on the music of George and Ira Gerswhin, “Crazy for You” features some of the best-loved Gershwin tunes, as well as virtuoso tap dance numbers, choreographed by Karen Dearborn.

The groundbreaking rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar,” featuring lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, runs July 10-28. Directed by James Peck, the show dramatizes the last seven days in the life of Jesus. Former Muhlenberg dance professor Charles O. Anderson choreographs the production.

“Seussical,” the Dr. Seuss Musical, runs June 19 through July 27, presented in a special hour-and-15-minute Young Audiences edition. This show brings a slew of popular Dr. Seuss characters to the stage, with music and lyrics by Tony Award-winning songwriting duo Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. “Seussical” is recommended for ages 4 and up.

Tickets and information are available at www.muhlenberg.edu/SMT and at 484-664-3693.

“Crazy for You” is the story of Bobby Child, a well-to-do 1930s playboy, whose dream in life is to dance—and despite the serious efforts of his mother and soon-to-be-ex-fiancée, Bobby achieves his dream. Full of showgirls, tap dancing, and mistaken identity, this musical comedy features the classic Gershwin tunes  “I Got Rhythm,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

The Broadway production of “Crazy for You” garnered numerous awards when it premiered in 1992, including the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Choreography, and Best Costume Design. Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre founding artistic director Charles Richter directs the production. Ed Bara is musical director, and Karen Dearborn is choreographer.

The Muhlenberg premiere of the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” dramatizes the last seven days in the life of Jesus, from his entry into Jerusalem through his crucifixion. With a lively score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, this hit musical gained prestige in its 1972, 2000, and 2012 Broadway productions. MSMT veterans James Peck and Ken Butler serve as director and musical director, respectively.

Former Muhlenberg faculty member Charles O. Anderson returns to choreograph “Superstar.” Anderson was named one of “25 to Watch” in 2008 by Dance Magazine, and his work has been presented at high-profile regional venues around the country.

“Seussical,” the Dr. Seuss Musical, the Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have lovingly brought to life an assortment of Dr. Seuss’s most beloved characters, including the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, the lazy bird Mayzie, and Jojo, a little boy with a big imagination.

This hour-and-15-minute Young Audiences edition of “Seussical” is directed by Benjy Shaw, with musical direction by David Dabbon and choreography by Nina Pongratz. It is appropriate for ages four and up.

“Crazy for You” runs June 12-30; “Jesus Christ Superstar” runs July 10-28. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices for both “Crazy for You” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” are as follows. For the first four performances: $32 regular admission; seniors are $28; students and children are $18. For the remaining 11 performances: $38 regular admission; seniors are $35; students and children are $20.

“Seussical” runs June 19 through July 27. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m, and Saturday at 10 a.m. only.  All tickets to “Seussical” are $10 for June performances and $12 for July performances.

Sundays are Family Matinee Day; mainstage tickets for children ages 5-18 are just $10 when purchased with a full-price or senior ticket. (Limit two discounted tickets per full-price ticket.)

Subscriptions to “Crazy for You” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” are available for $50 for the first four shows, or $60 for the remaining 11 shows. Group discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.

Audio Description for patrons who are visually impaired will be available at the Sunday, June 23, performance of “Crazy for You.” Call 484-664-3087 for tickets in the accessible section of this performance.

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