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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Announces Open Audition Dates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lehigh Valley Arts Advocate – February 2017

FEBRUARY 2017

Randall 2 crop

MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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

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

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

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

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

Randall Forte, Executive Director

***

Save the Date for Young at Art!

Young at Art Face Painting pic

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

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

Meet Our Exhibiting Artist

Blue Glass

THOMAS AUGUSTA

January / February

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

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

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

***

Arts Alive 2017

Arts Alive 2017

Engage Your Mind & Spirit!

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

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

How Does Your Garden Show? Saturday, April 29, 2017 | 11 am – 12:30 pm | Garden Design, Inc.
PURCHASE TICKETS
Music of Friends Saturday, June 17, 2017 | 11 am – 12:30 pm | Home of Janet & Malcolm Gross
PURCHASE TICKETS
Wearable Sculpture Sunday, October 15, 2017 | 11 am – 12:30 pm | Studio of Loretta Tryon
PURCHASE TICKETS
2015-Box-Office-Patron-Header

Upcoming Performances

MORAVIAN COLLEGE MUSIC INSTITUTE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

MORAVIAN COLLEGE THEATRE COMPANY

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

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

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

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

***

PENNSYLVANIA SINFONIA ORCHESTRA

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

Engage Your Mind & Spirit With Arts Alive 2017!

ARTS ALIVE 2017

Arts Alive 2017

Engage Your Mind & Spirit!

Each year, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council showcases the creative process of a working artist in the region by visiting them behind-the-scenes.

The 2017 series will explore the “intimacy of space” as imagined by a landscape architect, captured in a musical salon, and depicted in the wearable art of a metalsmith. Expand your appreciation for the arts by attending one (or all three) of our Arts Alive offerings!

SPECIAL MEMBER PRICING FOR ALL THREE EVENTS!

Enjoy all three 2017 Arts Alive events for the price of $60 (savings of $15)!

***
Garden-Design-Inc-image

How Does Your Garden Show?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

11 am – 12:30 pm

Garden Design, Inc.

The series kicks off with the How Does Your Garden Show? event on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at Garden Design, Inc., with award-winning landscape architect Frederick Learey. Whether you like to entertain outdoors or seek sanctuary in nature or provide a playground for your family, you can make your landscape a reflection of your personality. Mr. Learey’s extensive experience from designing formal estate gardens to outdoor living projects including full outdoor kitchens and roof-covered spaces with outdoor heaters, sound and video, will captivate and inspire you.

$25 for Arts Council members, $35 for nonmembers

***
Untitled-2

Music of Friends

Saturday, June 17, 2017

11 am – 12:30 pm

Home of Janet & Malcolm Gross

On Saturday, June 17, 2017, experience the Music of Friends as SATORI introduces classical music selections in the ideal setting for chamber music. This quartet of flute, violin, cello, and classical guitar will showcase selections from a variety of musical periods and introduce new instruments.

Janet and Malcolm Gross welcome guests into their lovely home to enjoy the intimacy of SATORI’s music. By removing the stage in a salon-like atmosphere, guests will engage in a unique experience between artist and audience. The performance will be followed by a light luncheon.

$25 for Arts Council members, $35 for nonmembers

Wearable Sculpture

Sunday, October 15, 2017

11 am – 12:30 pm

Studio of Loretta Tryon

The final offering, Wearable Sculpture, is a visit to the Coopersburg studio of painter and metalsmith Loretta Tryon on Sunday, October 15, 2017. Tryon finds inspiration for her jewelry from the images in her abstract paintings, creating and embellishing three-dimensional shapes with patinas and engraving. Her process visually combines motion and gesture in metal. The studio tour will highlight the evolution of her thirty year career as an artist.

$25 for Arts Council members, $35 for nonmembers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review has ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for eight years in a row, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

Choreographer Bios

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three-Event Arts Alive Series

Arts Alive invites members who are eager to step behind the scenes of an arts experience and rub shoulders with the creative process. The 2017 series will explore the “intimacy of space” as imagined by a landscape architect, captured in a musical salon, and depicted in the wearable art of a metalsmith. All three events will take place at 11:00 am to 12:30 pm.

Seating is limited and preregistration is required at LVArtsCouncil.org. The admission fee for each event is $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers. There is special pricing of $60 for members only who purchase a three-event series ticket.

The series kicks off with the How Does Your Garden Show? event on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at Garden Design, Inc., with award-winning landscape architect Frederick Learey. Whether you like to entertain outdoors or seek sanctuary in nature or provide a playground for your family, you can make your landscape is a reflection of your personality. Mr. Learey’s extensive experience from designing formal estate gardens to outdoor living projects including full outdoor kitchens and roof-covered spaces with outdoor heaters, sound and video, will captivate and inspire you.

On Saturday, June 17, 2017, experience the Music of Friends as Satori introduces classical music selections in the ideal setting for chamber music. Janet and Malcolm Gross welcome guests into their lovely home to enjoy the intimacy of performance, followed by a light luncheon.

The final offering, Wearable Sculpture, is a visit to the Coopersburg studio of painter and metalsmith Loretta Tryon on Sunday, October 15, 2017. Tryon finds inspiration for her jewelry from the images in her abstract paintings, creating and embellishing three-dimensional shapes with patinas and engraving. Her process visually combines motion and gesture in metal. The studio tour will highlight the evolution of her thirty year career as an artist.

Whose Business Is The Arts?

Throughout 2016, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council has been gathering data for the Americans for the Arts national economic impact study, Arts & Economic Prosperity V. Once every five years the Arts Council participates in this research by collecting information from cultural nonprofits and their audiences in the counties of Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton. Thanks to your participation, we were able to provide nearly 100 organizational surveys and 800 audience surveys from the Lehigh Valley.

Americans for the Arts will analyze the data over the next several months and provide our region with its own detailed report in June 2017. At that time, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council and the Lehigh Valley Partnership will co-host the Whose the Business is the Arts? public forum to release the results to the community and address challenges of mutual concern.

You are invited to serve on the planning committee for creating the agenda for the Whose Business is the Arts? Public Forum. The first meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 23, 2017, from 4:00 to 5:30pm, in the 2nd Floor conference facility in the Butz Corporate Center, 840 Hamilton Street in Allentown.

Please RSVP your intention to attend to rforte@lvartscouncil.org by January 18, 2017. I look forward to working with you.

***

About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for eight years in a row, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Free Event – Meet The Artists Of Eternally Art!

cordially invites you to a free event…


Meet & Greet
the region’s emerging entrepreneurs

with Lehigh Valley LaunchBox
and the artists of Eternally Art

Michael Kehs | Peter Lewnes | Deborah Slahta | Dana Van Horn


Enjoy refreshments and learn about our newest Arts Council program
Eternally Art
preserving the memories of a loved one with
handmade vessels created by local artists

VISIT OUR NEW WEBSITE!

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2016
5:00 to 7:30pm
Penn State Lehigh Valley
2809 Saucon Valley Rd, Center Valley
The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is the sole agent for Eternally Art, developed in partnership with Heintzelman Funeral Home, Inc. and Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, a signature program of the Invent Penn State Initiative that propels business startups.

‘Pirates Of Penzance’ At Muhlenberg, Oct. 28 – Nov. 6

Muhlenberg’s ‘Pirates of Penzance’

features high seas and high Cs,

Oct. 28 through Nov. 6

Samuel Reyes’ choreography, Charles Richter’s direction

propel Gilbert and Sullivan’s 136-year-old comic opera

out of the past and into the mainstream

Allentown, PA — Fresh direction and choreography will paint a new face on a classic Gilbert and Sullivan comic operetta this fall, as the Muhlenberg College theater and dance department presents “The Pirates of Penzance,” Oct. 28 – Nov. 6.

“Expect a night of great family entertainment,” says theater professor Charles Richter, who directs the production. “It’s a work of comic genius and a real pleasure to direct.”

Music director Ed Bara and choreographer Samuel Antonio Reyes add a modern spin while also highlighting the original conventions of the play. Reyes choreographed Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights” for Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre, this past July. Bara, a member of the music department faculty, also played the lead as a guest artist in the 2014 Muhlenberg production of Kurt Weill’s American opera, “Street Scene.”

“Ed has been a mainstay of the music department for years, and is an expert at coaching students to produce the sort of sound that this show demands,” Richter says. “Sammy is our hip-hop teacher. His choreography is very spunky — really different and interesting.”

Reyes says he loves “Pirates” as much as he loves working with Richter, and that he expects that audiences will be excited by his choreography.

“It’s challenging to perform opera while you’re also moving to very specific stylized movements, gestures, and rhythms,” Reyes says. “This show features such amazing young talent.”

“Pirates” tells the story of an accidental pirate’s apprentice named Frederic and his swashbuckling misadventures on the high seas. Along the way, he encounters the beautiful Mabel, the deceitful Ruth, the powerful Pirate King, and the absurd Major-General Stanley, who patter-sings the famous “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” towards the end of the first act.

“It’s a right work out,” says Nicky Rosolino, one of the two actors who will play Major-General Stanley, of his big song. “There is nothing quite like standing on top of a barrel and boasting about your range of talents to a crowd of pirates and adopted daughters.”

Jake Parisse, the other Major-General, says, “Charlie makes sure that the comedic rhythm of the character is maintained while encouraging Nicky and me to make very different and unique choices.”

Two sets of principal actors will alternate performances to allow vocal rest between shows — and to showcase the talents of the theater and dance department. The cast performs the show’s demanding score with a 21-piece orchestra — and without benefit of microphones.

“I’d think about coming twice,” Richter says. “The show is different with each cast. I think both of them have some really great comics and some really great singers. There are bright futures here.”

Between the Mainstage season and Summer Music Theatre, this is Muhlenberg’s fifth production of “Pirates.” Members of past productions are invited to return to campus for a reunion reception after the performance on Saturday, Nov. 5.

The last production, in 2005, featured what Richter calls “an all-star cast” of actors who have gone on to high-profile success, including Frankie J. Grande (“Rock of Ages,” “Mamma Mia!” on Broadway), George Psomas (“Fiddler on the Roof,” “South Pacific” on Broadway), and Michael Biren (national tour of “Billy Elliot”), among others.

“The Pirate King was one of my favorite roles at Muhlenberg,” say Psomas, who played the fierce but loveable rogue in Richter’s last production. “Who doesn’t want to sing that incredible music, lead a band of pirates, and carry a sword? The experience taught me so much about playing into the unique style and comedy of Gilbert and Sullivan, and it also taught me that I am capable of growing mutton chops.”

Along with “HMS Pinafore” and “The Mikado,” “The Pirates of Penzance” stands the test of time as one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most widely produced and well-received operettas, Richter says. Its wry humor, clever lyrics, and catchy tunes make it popular even 136 years after its premiere.

“The play was written by the best comic writer of his time and the best composer of his time,” Richter says. “It’s a parody of 19th century melodramas and 19th century grand opera. All kinds of zany plot devices happen. Modern audiences have the best time with it. It’s opera for people who think operas are ridiculous.”

The production is family friendly, and young audiences are encouraged to attend. Children who attend the matinee performance on Sunday, Nov. 6 dressed as pirates can attend for just $4.

Thursday, Nov. 3 will be an Accessible Performance, with Open Captioning for patrons with hearing loss and Audio Description for patrons who are blind or low-vision. Please reserve tickets in advance for the accessible section of the performance by calling Jess Bien at 484-664-3087 or emailing boxoffice@muhlenberg.edu.

“The Pirates of Penzance” will be performed in the Empie Theatre, in the Baker Center for the Arts. Performances are Friday, Oct. 28, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 29, at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m.; Nov. 3-5, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 6, at 2 p.m. Regular admission is $22. Youth and student tickets are $8, and groups of 15 or more can purchase discount tickets for $16. Tickets and information are available at muhlenberg.edu/theatre or 484-664-3333.

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 No. 1 in the country in its 2017 edition, and has consistently ranked the program in the top twelve in the nation. 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.

RUSH To Get Tickets To Showtune For $9.99!

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

Act 1 DeSales presents

SHOWTUNE:

Celebrating the Words and Music of Jerry Herman


Saturday, October 22, 2016
8:00 p.m.
Schubert Theatre
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034
 
 
_
A BIG AND BRASSY SLICE OF MUSICAL THEATRE HEAVEN
Celebrating the remarkable songs of Broadway tunesmith Jerry Herman, Showtune features 40 of Herman’s biggest hits from such shows as Mame, Mack & Mabel, La Cage aux Folles and, of course, Hello, Dolly! Featured songs include “Time Heals Everything,” “We Need a Little Christmas,” and “Before the Parade Passes By.” “A great big bouquet of memorable tunes!”– The Journal News. Ages 6+
Click Here to Buy
Last Minute Discount
RUSH Tickets
for ONLY
$9.99!
(price of a regular ticket is $23.00)
Rush Tickets available online only
through Lehigh Valley Arts Council Box Office


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

For additional information, please visit Act 1, DeSales University’s Website or call: 610-282-3192.

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

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

Arts Advocate – October 2016

MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Despicable Me

Data collection and analysis are essential advocacy tools. It requires a certain amount of ruthlessness however, to collect information from the arts community.

Every five years the Lehigh Valley Arts Council has undertaken research to track the state of the arts in the region and compare the results to national trends. The findings from the 2012 Arts & Economic Prosperity study of the region’s nonprofit arts industry revealed a $208 million industry—one that provides 7,114 full-time jobs and generates $21 million in state and local taxes annually. Very impressive, don’t you think?

Currently, the Arts Council is in the midst of gathering data for the 2017 study. Throughout 2016, I have been urging cultural nonprofits to complete an organizational expenditure survey, as well as assist me in surveying audiences at 16 various performances or events. We now have 40 groups onboard and 500 audience surveys completed. That leaves another 60 groups and 300 audience members to chase down.

The more data we collect will translate into a bigger story about how the region’s nonprofit arts industry boosts our economy. Heads up! I’m coming for you!
Randall Forte, Executive Director

ARTS COUNT: Get fired up for Arts Count at Smooth-On!

“What’s the deal with this place, Smooth-On?”

It’s okay to wonder what Smooth-On, Inc. is and how it relates to our upcoming event, Arts Count! We’ve received a few inquiries about this company and it’s location with a huge warehouse in Macungie (formerly Day-Timers) that doesn’t appear to be a place to host a celebration. However, when you see the work of Smooth-On products, it will all make perfect sense! The entrance alone is sure to wow our guests.

Trust us, you won’t want to miss the Arts Count fun!!

Head over to Smooth-On’s Facebook page and you’ll get a taste of how their products are used for movie props and characters!


ARTS COUNT
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
5:30–7:30 PM
Smooth-On, Inc., 5600 Lower Macungie Road, Macungie, PA

Don’t forget to RSVP at 610-437-5915 by Friday, October 14th!

MEMBERS FREE
NONMEMBERS $10

PURCHASE TICKETS

AUDIO DESCRIPTION TRAINING: Two-Day Workshop Opportunity
INCREASE YOUR JOB SKILLS!
BUILD YOUR RESUME!

Theatre practitioners from all walks of life—actors, students, volunteers, educators—are invited to enroll in the upcoming audio description training session and acquire new performance skills.


Audio Description Training

Two-Day Workshop
NOVEMBER 4 & 5, 2016
9am to 4pm (both days)
Muhlenberg College | Allentown, PA

As an introduction to the training, students of the workshop will enjoy an audio-described performance, Pirates of Penzance, on
Thursday, NOVEMBER 3, 2016
8:00pm
Trexler Pavilion | Muhleberg College | Allentown, PA


MEMBERS $35
NONMEMBERS $50
 
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER FEATURED ARTIST: Dattatreya Phadke

We are pleased to have our newest Featured Artist’s work displayed through the end of October.

Dattatreya Phadke is a local pathologist by training, but he also has an artistic side that he dedicates much of his free time to producing beautiful, intricately constructed work – ALL IN FABRIC! His work is quite mesmerizing – at first glance it appears to be a painting, but when the viewer steps forward, the thousands of tiny fabric scraps (some brought over directly from India) are visible. His work is truly a must-see!

Come visit our office and view Dattatreya’s work during normal business hours until the end of October. Our parking lot is open for visitors now (it had previously been under construction)!

To view images of Dattatreya Phadke’s work, visit his Exhibiting Artist page!

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF BETHLEHEM presents:

Aizuri Quartet
October 14, 2016 at 7:30pm

Foy Hall | Behtlehem

Modigliani String Quartet
November 18, 2016 at 7:30pm
Cathedral Church of the Nativity | Bethlehem


MORAVIAN COLLEGE MUSIC INSTITUTE presents:

“A Boo-Roque Hallowe’en II” – Baroque & Monteverdi Ensembles
October 23, 2016 at 7:00pm
Peter Hall | Behtlehem

Moravian College Celtic Ensemble & Guitar Ensemble
October 30, 2016 at 7:00pm
Peter Hall | Bethlehem

Moravian College Jazz Fusion Ensemble & Jazz Vocal Ensemble
November 4, 2016 at 7:30pm
Foy Concert Hall | Bethlehem

Moravian College Jazz Combo I & Jazz Combo II
November 5, 2016 at 7:30pm
Foy Concert Hall | Bethlehem

Moravian College Flute Troupe – Saxophone Quartet – Woodwind Ensemble
November 6, 2016 at 4:00pm
Peter Hall | Bethlehem

Delta Omicron Musicale
November 6, 2016 at 7:00pm
Peter Hall | Bethlehem

M.I.M.E. – Moravian Improvised Music Ensemble
November 9, 2016 at 9:00pm
Peter Hall | Bethlehem

Moravian College Community Orchestra
November 13, 2016 at 7:00pm
Foy Concert Hall | Bethlehem

Moravian College Salon Ensemble
November 14, 2016 at 7:30pm
Peter Hall | Bethlehem

Moravian College BIG Band
November 18, 2016 at 7:30pm
Foy Concert Hall | Bethlehem

Moravian College Trombone Ensemble & Percussion Ensemble
November 21, 2016 at 7:30pm
Peter Hall | Bethlehem


MORAVIAN COLLEGE THEATRE COMPANY presents:

Murdered to Death


PENNSYLVANIA SINFONIA ORCHESTRA presents:

not-just-Art Auction
October 21, 2016 at 7:00pm
Brookside Country Club | Macungie

Enchantment Times Three
November 19, 2016 at 7:30pm
First Presbyterian Church | Allentown

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

$9.99 RUSH TICKETS: Charley’s Aunt, Presented By Act 1 DeSales L

Act 1 DeSales presents

Charley’s Aunt

Friday, September 30, 2016
8:00 p.m.
Main Stage of the
Labuda Center of the Arts

2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034
 
_
ONE OF THE MOST SENSATIONAL FARCES EVER WRITTEN

Charley’s Aunt is set during the Victorian era at Oxford University, in the quarters of two undergraduates who frantically search for a way to express their love to their soon departing sweethearts. The solution to their problem comes in the form of Charley’s aunt who is visiting from Brazil. With her acting as a chaperone, the boys can invite their lovers to an official lunch and finally pop the question. However, all goes wrong when a message arrives informing the boys that the aunt is delayed and won’t make it in time. In a last ditch effort the young lads coerce their friend to don a dress and become “Charley’s aunt.” Throughout the afternoon the troublesome trio fumble through spastic conversations, unexpected suitors, cat-and-mouse meet-ups, and the occasional teatime mishap. Charley’s Aunt is a frenzied farce filled with so many twists and turns it will make your head spin.

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

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


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

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

For additional information, please visit Act 1, DeSales University’s Website or call: 610-282-3192 .

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

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

Muhlenberg College Directors’ Festival Features Will Eno Short Plays, World Premiere One-Act

Allentown, PA — An evening of visionary experimental theater will be on display as Muhlenberg College’s mainstage theatre and dance season opens Sept. 28, with “Attention: New Visions Directors’ Festival.” The directors whose work will be featured in the festival say they aim to shine a light on human behavior in a complicated, broken, beautiful society. The festival is the first of two on the Muhlenberg mainstage this fall and will showcase the work of two talented directors from the College’s Department of Theatre & Dance.

Running through Oct. 2, the evening includes short, relatable plays that use heightened, imaginative situations to offer witty and moving answers to questions about knowing each other. The world premiere of “The Imaginary Audience” by Mattie Brickman is directed by Emma Steiger ’17, and “Oh, the Humanity & Other Good Intentions,” three short plays by Will Eno, is directed by Sarah Bedwell ’17.

“The Imaginary Audience” tells the story of three adolescent ballet dancers learning the difference between performing onstage, performing in society, and performing identity, Steiger says.

“The title of the play is taken from a psychological concept I think we all understand too well,” Steiger says. “Clinically, the Imaginary Audience comes from the way that adolescents perform in society due to a feeling of constant surveillance. But the concept has broader implications for all of us.”

The play invites us to eavesdrop on the three young dancers, desperate to meet the dance world’s harsh standards and to fit in. While flexing their internet muscle, the girls take things a step too far—and discover a shocking secret. 

Steiger worked with playwright Mattie Brickman in Los Angeles over the summer, and she and the cast will continue collaborating with her by email and phone. Brickman plans to attend a performance.

“I want the play to both resemble and mock reality,” Steiger says. “I want it to come as a shock.”

“Oh, the Humanity & Other Good Intentions” is a collection of three short plays in which the characters set out to present themselves in the best light, given some difficult circumstances—”or ultimately, desperately, any light at all,” says Sarah Bedwell, who directs the collection.

“I’m really interested in exploring how people deal with tragic events,” she says. “We often overlook the way we react to others in the face of those events.”

In “Enter the Spokeswoman, Gently,” an inexperienced airline spokeswoman gives a press conference to the families of victims immediately after a plane has gone down. In “The Bully Composition,” a photographer and his assistant seem to be asking the audience to recreate a famous photo from the Spanish American War. In the title piece, a husband and wife figure out that they can’t get where they want to go because they are in a play and their car is made of chairs.

“I want my audience to look at these absurd events and realize they are not so absurd,” Bedwell says. “In exploring that, we’re exploring what it means to be human.”

“Attention: New Visions Directors’ Festival” plays Sept. 28 – Oct. 2. For mature audiences. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Regular admission tickets are $15. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8.

Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Studio Theatre in Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 West Chew St., Allentown

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

Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for eight years in a row, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES ANNUAL MEMBER RALLY AND GRANT AWARD CELEBRATION

ALLENTOWN, PA – Dragon sightings are on the rise in the Lehigh Valley and that is exciting news for our arts community! On the big screen, movie-goers are enjoying the performance of Allentown child actor Oakes Fegley in the title role of Pete’s Dragon. Another fire-breathing beast greets visitors at the entrance of the new manufacturing facilities of Smooth-On, Inc. in East Texas. Dragons are powerful, mythological creatures that epitomize courage, vigor, and unbridled imagination—vital attributes for risk-takers like artists.

In homage to the dragons in our midst, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council invites you to ignite your imagination at ARTS COUNT 2016, the annual arts rally and grant award ceremony. The magic happens on October 19, 2016, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Smooth-On, 1725 Willow Lane, East Texas, PA 18046.

“We are very grateful to Smooth-On for hosting this event,” says Randall Forte, Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. “This international arts business is a giant in the realm of special effects.“ Smooth-On’s technologies and materials have been used to make movie figures and props for Star Wars, The Hobbit Trilogy, Harry Potter, The Walking Dead, and many other films and TV shows. (As a special treat, the Smooth-On staff will be on hand to give you scars, bruises, and bloody gashes.)

ARTS COUNT also serves as the occasion for the Lehigh Valley Arts Council to distribute grant awards to the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Project Stream recipients in Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties. Project Stream is open to individual artists and community groups who apply for support of an arts-related project with strong public impact. More than $34,000 in state funds will be awarded to 22 applicants for activities held from September 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017.

“ARTS COUNT celebrates the public/private partnerships that fuel the arts in our region,” says Executive Director Randall Forte, “and features local business and foundation leaders giving testimony on the value and impact of the arts.” Locally elected officials are invited to present checks to the grant recipients from their districts. In keeping with the spirit of fellowship, Arts Council members are encouraged to bring a guest and rally for the arts.

The October reception is free to Arts Council members and grant recipients; the cost to guests and nonmembers is $10. Refreshments will be served. R.S.V.P. to 610-437-5915 to attend.

For more information about the PPA grant application, contact PA Partners in the Arts Coordinator Zach Kleemeyer at ppa@LVArtsCouncil.org.

List of 2016-17 PPA Grant Awardees:
Allentown Public Theatre
Anthony Smith
Arts Academy Charter School
Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission
Buchanan Elementary School
Concord Chamber Singers
DanceLink
Emmaus Recreation & Entertainment Commission
Fairfield Duo
Friends of the Allentown Parks
Jennie Gilrain
Jim Thorpe Film Festival
Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange
Marilyn Hazelton
Moravian College
Pennsylvania Jazz Collective
Puertorrican Cultural Preservation
Sarah Steele
Summit Hill Heritage Center
Ukrainian American Heritage Foundation
WDIY 88.1 FM
West Park Civic Association

***
About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

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

Muhlenberg College’s Acclaimed Theatre & Dance Department Announces 2016-2017 Season

ALLENTOWN, PA — Muhlenberg College’s nationally-ranked Theatre & Dance Department announces its 2016-2017 mainstage season. Highlights include classics by Gilbert & Sullivan and Anton Chekhov, a dance-theatre performance based on Harlem drag ball culture, a rarely produced Gertrude Stein play, and works by acclaimed guest choreographers.

The season features six fully mounted theatrical productions and three mainstage dance concerts, running from September 2016 through April 2017.

The season begins with “Attention: New Visions Directors’ Festival,” Sept. 28 through Oct. 2, featuring two short plays directed by senior Muhlenberg directing students: “The Imaginary Audience,” by Maddie Brickman, presented in its world premiere, directed by Emma Steiger; and “Oh, the Humanity, and Other Short Plays,” by Will Eno, directed by Sarah Bedwell.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic swashbuckling comic opera “The Pirates of Penzance” is presented Oct. 28 through Nov. 6, directed by Charles Richter, with choreography by Samuel Antonio Reyes and musical direction by Ed Bara.

“Moving Stories,” Nov. 10-12, features original choreography by the department’s upper-class 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.

“Falling: New Visions Directors’ Festival” continues this season’s series of short plays, with classic short works directed by talented senior directing students. The evening’s plays include “Salome,” by Oscar Wilde, directed by Simon Evans, and “Icarus’s Mother,” by Sam Shepard, directed by Karina Fox. The festival runs Nov. 30 through Dec. 4.

“Master Choreographers,” Feb. 9-11, will feature major restagings and original works in ballet, contemporary dance, tap, and jazz, showcasing work by nationally and internationally acclaimed guest artists and faculty. Guest choreographers include Orion Duckstein, Cristina Perera, and Trinette Singleton.

Gertrude Stein’s “Listen to Me,” directed by James Peck, is a rarely produced avant garde play — a cerebral frolic in the face of planetary crisis, in which characters philosophize, laugh, and struggle heroically to hold onto hope as their prospects dim. The show runs Feb. 22-26.

“Wig Out!,” up-and-coming playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney’s tell-it-like-it-is look at the Harlem drag ball scene, is presented March 30 through April 2. The production is directed by Troy Dwyer and features choregraphy by Samuel Antonio Reyes.

“Dance Emerge,” April 19-22, 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 season concludes with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s classic “The Cherry Orchard,” a bittersweet comedy about love and loss, playing April 26-29. Matthew Moore directs, with a faculty spotlight performance by Holly Cate.

The mainstage performance series is produced by Muhlenberg College’s acclaimed Theatre & Dance Department, currently ranked the No. 1 production program in the country by The Princeton Review. The Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

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

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts 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, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences as well as selected pre-professional programs, including accounting, 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.

Training Workshop For Audio Description, Presented By The Lehigh Valley Arts Council‏

On November 4 and 5, 2016, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council, in cooperation with Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance, will present a two-day workshop, “Audio Description for the Theatre,” from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. As an introduction to the training, attendees will also experience an audio-described performance of The Pirates of Penzance on Thursday evening, November 3rd at 8:00 p.m. in the Baker Center.

Audio Description assists patrons who are blind/low-vision to access the visual elements of stage productions through narration provided by trained describers. Patrons use headsets to hear the audio description.

The Arts Council has contracted Mimi Smith, former Executive Director of VSA Pennsylvania, and her husband Steve Smith to provide the training. Both of them have been describers for more than two decades and were cofounders of Amaryllis Theatre Co., a professional Philadelphia theatre that regularly hired theatre artists with disabilities. They will introduce the class to the foundational skills—Observation, Analysis, and Communication—necessary to audio describe stage productions.

$35 for members; $50 for nonmembers. For additional information on location and registration, visit LVArtsCouncil.org.

***
About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

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

Lehigh Valley Arts Advocate – August 2016‏

MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: What I Did This Summer

This summer I have been out front in the Lehigh Valley more than usual, surveying audiences at various arts events. The study, Arts & Economic Prosperity V, is part of a national study to determine the economic impact of the nonprofit arts industry.

Sounds dry, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s been fun to mingle with arts patrons and bump into old friends at the theatre or a concert. It is too early to tell, but attendance at these events seems very strong.

The data collection continues through 2016, and the results of the analysis will be released in Spring 2017 at a public forum, Whose Business is the Arts? For the past twenty years, the Lehigh Valley region has enjoyed double-digit increases that are far above the national average. The previous study in 2012 determined that arts and culture was a $208 million industry. It will be fascinating to see what the numbers tell us this time. Maybe I am turning into a data-geek!
Randall Forte, Executive Director

SAVE THE DATE! Arts Count 2016

Arts Count celebrates the essential public and private partnerships that fuel the arts, engages business and foundation leaders as well as elected officials to be advocates for arts and culture, and acknowledges the year’s grant recipients.

Free to members of the Arts Council and grant recipients, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council event honors the Project Stream and Program Stream recipients awarded state arts grants through the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts.


SAVE THE DATE!

ARTS COUNT 2016

October 19, 2016
Smooth On
5600 Lower Macungie Road
Macungie, PA 18062

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

PENNSYLVANIA SINFONIA ORCHESTRA presents:

Valley Vivaldi
August 21, 2016 at 7:30pm

Wesley Church, Bethlehem

Trio Solisti
September 16, 2016 at 7:30pm
Foy Hall, Bethlehem

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

‘In The Heights’ Brings Latin Rhythms, Stories To Muhlenberg Summer Stage

Allentown, PA — Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical “In the Heights” — the precursor to his blockbuster Broadway hit “Hamilton” — runs July 13-31 as the second production of the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre season.  The show tells a story that many of its cast hold close to their hearts: the story of families and cultures that have been transplanted from far away.

Many of the show’s 20 actors and dancers can tell you a story about their families coming to the mainland United States from Puerto Rico, or Cuba, or the Dominican Republic. For some, that story is not so long in the past. Wilma Rivera, for example, is a professional actress, a Muhlenberg College alumna, and a first-generation American. She says “In the Heights” is the story of her family.

“When I saw ‘In the Heights’ on Broadway, there was this moment when the music of the first number started, and it captured so beautifully the experience of what it’s like to be a Latino,” says Rivera, who plays Camila. “It’s that struggle to maintain an identity and also to assimilate — especially in New York City.”

“In the Heights” was a hit when it opened in 2008, running more than a thousand performances and bringing its composer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, to the attention of theatergoers. Miranda’s innovative score melded the rhymes and rhythms of hip-hop with the Latin-style music of salsa and merengue, and, together with Quiara Alegría Hudes’ book, captured the sights, sounds and stories of the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.

The show won the Tony Award for Best Musical and was short-listed for a Pulitzer Prize the following year. Miranda also won the Tony for Best Score. Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and musical director Alex Lacamoire also won Tony Awards for their Latin- and hip-hop-inflected choreography and orchestrations. The three would reunite with director Thomas Kail to create “Hamilton.”

“Miranda is deeply versed in ’90s hip-hop,” says James Peck, who directs the production for Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre. “He picks up beats and rhythm structures and song structures from hip-hop, and he incorporates salsa, merengue, and other Latin styles — but he’s also a musical theatre fanboy from the age of five. The results are really a musical tour-de-force.”

MSMT’s production features choreography by Samuel Antonio Reyes and musical direction by Ed Bara. John Raley designed the set, Lex Gurst designed costumes, John McKernon designed lights, and Patrick Moren designed sound.

Peck credits choreographer Reyes as a driving force behind bringing the show to the MSMT stage.

“Sammy is a hip-hop dancer, a theater artist, and a Puerto Rican. He has a deep understanding of the cultural dynamics at work in this piece,” Peck says. “I wouldn’t have had the temerity to the play without him. It was Sammy saying, ‘I’ve got to do “In the Heights”‘ that made it come together.”

 “In the Heights” tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood — a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.

Miranda himself was born in Washington Heights, and grew up in Linwood, one neighborhood over. His parents had moved to New York from Puerto Rico, and every summer, he visited his grandparents back on the island.

Wilma Rivera’s classmate at Muhlenberg, Gabe Martínez, also remembers feeling like he was watching his own family’s history on stage when he first saw “In the Heights.” Martínez saw the show for the first time a year to the day after his grandmother passed away.

“The actress who played Abuela Claudia was the spitting image of my abuela,” says Martínez, who stars as Usnavi, the role that Miranda played on Broadway. “As soon as she walked out on stage, my father and I started weeping. We were at the matinee; I bought the cast recording on the way home and had it memorized by the time I went to bed.”

Martínez’s grandparents moved from Puerto Rico to New York in the 1940s, shortly after his grandfather returned from service in World War II.

“They wrote to each other every day, planning their move to New York, the American dream,” Martínez says. “When the war was over, he hadn’t been home a week when they bought a plane ticket and headed to the Bronx.”

Rivera has a similar connection to the material. Her father immigrated to the United States from Cuba in the early 1970s. Her mother was born in East Harlem, but moved to Puerto Rico as a small child. Both came from poverty, she says. Her mother was the only one in her family to go to college. When Rivera went off to Muhlenberg to study acting, she was the first in her family to attend college on the mainland — and, like Nina in “In the Heights,” she almost gave it up after her freshman year. Department chair Charles Richter talked her into staying.

“‘We need you here,’ he told me.”

Rivera and Martínez were the only two Latino students in the theater program at the time. Neither of them ever had the chance before now to play a Latino character on the Muhlenberg stage — and the opportunity is what drew them back. Both of them have worked steadily as actors since graduating — Rivera in 2009, and Martínez in 2010 — but they have had to be flexible in order to do it.

“I’ve spent my entire professional career praying to see a casting call saying ‘ethnically ambiguous — slash — Latino,'” Martínez says. “We were the only two Latino kids in our class, and now there are lots of kids, and this is their first professional gig, and we’re just so happy for them to start out this way, that these kids are having this opportunity.”

Rivera echoes his enthusiasm.

“This department has really embraced students of color and encouraged their talents, and really raised them up,” she says. “I’m very proud of this college and to be an alumna of this college, and I just hope it continues to grow.”

Martínez and Rivera’s deep connection to “In the Heights” is a common thread through the entire cast, Peck says.

“When people have a chance to be part of a show that speaks to their own experience, they make a significant personal investment in that show,” he says. “It’s rare that these stories get told, and when people have the chance to be a part of these stories, they grab onto that chance.”

In fact, Rivera’s connection to the show runs so deep that she got a tattoo of one of its lyrics, “Paciencia y fe,” a song sung by Abuela Claudia. The lyric reminds her of her own abuela, who died in January.

“It’s heartbreaking to lose that matriarch of a Latin family,” Rivera says. “She’s the stone and we’re all the ripples of what she leaves behind. It holds weight, I think, in this world, that we remember who we are and where we’re from. Gabe and I are very lucky that we have that image of our parents and remember the struggle.”

The actor who plays Abuela Claudia in the production — jazz vocalist, scholar and activist Roberta Meek — agrees. Meek had only one grandparent growing up, and ike Abuela Claudia — and like Rivera and Martínez’s abuelas — she was the keeper of the family’s stories.

“My grandmother was literally the historian of the family,” Meek says. “Her father was born into slavery, and he had been searching for his mother ever since. My grandmother was the griot,” the person who maintains the oral history tradition in many West African cultures. “You came to her for school.”

“In the Heights” is Meek’s first musical theater performance, although she has been performing as a jazz vocalist in the Lehigh Valley for more than 20 years. She also contributed stories and songs to the Touchstone Theatre project “Another River Flows: a Celebration of the Lehigh Valley Black Experience.”

One of the things that “In the Heights” gets right, Rivera says, is the sabor — the flavor of Latin culture and of the Washington Heights community.

“This show is packed full of sabor,” she says.

Some of that flavor is visual; much of it comes from the rhythm and choreographic energy that choreographer Samuel Reyes has brought to the project.

“The blend of salsa, hip-hop and contemporary movement is very exciting for me as a choreographer — and we have found such a dynamic, crazy talented cast,” Reyes says. “This show is going to punch a hole in the wall, both visually and emotionally. I’m just so damn proud to be part of it.”

“In the Heights” plays July 13-31 at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre. Performances take place in the Dorothy Hess Baker Theatre, in the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices for the first four performances are $33 regular admission; seniors, $29; students and children, $18. Prices for the rest of the run are $39 regular admission; seniors, $36; students and children, $20.

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