|The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is pleased to announce the release of the new ARTix Passport to the Arts, a buy-one, get-one-free ticket to eighteen arts and cultural venues through June 30, 2016. This popular arts promotional campaign introduces the community to a splendid array of dance, musical, theatrical, and historical offerings.
There is definitely something for everyone to enjoy—from symphonic to folk music, fine arts to vintage cars, Shakespeare to Broadway musicals—fun and entertainment for the entire family. “Arts experiences build memories and nurture community through a shared experience,” says Randall Forte, Arts Council Executive Director. “Oftentimes, they provide opportunity to get together and stay connected with our friends, neighbors, and family.”
As a value-added membership benefit, the Arts Council welcomes new members throughout the year. Join today and receive your very own ARTix Passport to the Arts. With passport in hand, you can start booking travel plans to attend the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre, the Sigal Museum, Godfrey Daniels—and many more! Members also receive discounts to seminars, backstage cultural tours, and arts services, subscriptions to the bimonthly Inside the Arts / Arts Calendar and Lehigh Valley Style, and free admission to the annual spring and fall membership receptions.
The Passport is also distributed to real estate and corporate relocation offices in order to introduce new residents to the variety of arts programming in the region. Volunteers and staff at the Lehigh Valley Health Network also receive the passport, which promotes the arts are part of a healthy lifestyle.
“The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is proud to provide regional leadership that advances the arts in this growing community,” says Forte. ARTix Passport is made possible through the support of Christmas City Printing, The County of Lehigh, PPL, and The Harry C. Trexler Trust.
Valley Vivaldi is the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra’s popular summer series of delightful chamber music concerts. In a visually beautiful and acoustically proper setting, an ensemble of nine accomplished musicians performs Baroque music with various combinations of instruments. The result is intimate, welcoming and uplifting. Meet and converse with the musicians and fellow patrons at the post-concert reception.
at 7:30 pm
1245 W. Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA
Telemann- Trio sonata in d minor for violin and recorder, TWV 42: d10
Bach- Trio sonata in G for two violins and cello
Vivaldi- Chamber concerto in g minor for recorder, oboe, violin and cello, RV 107
Albinoni- Violin Concerto in A
Simon Maurer, violin
Inna Eyzerovich, violin
Stephani Bell, violin
Agnès Maurer, viola
Elizabeth Mendoza, cello
Nancy Merriam, bass
Rainer Beckmann, recorder
Cheryl Bishkoff, oboe
Allan Birney, harpsichord
Rush Ticketing is a service of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.
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Northampton and Lehigh counties stand to receive a combined $627,795 in 2014 impact fees from natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale geological formation.
State Rep. Justin Simmons announced the checks will be distributed by July 1 from fees imposed last calendar year on drilling companies under Pennsylvania’s Act 13.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission distributes the Marcellus Legacy Fund money from 40 percent of collected impact fees, said Simmons, a Republican whose 131st District covers parts of Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Allentown, PA —This summer, Doppelskope Theatre Company bring its energetic puppetry, lively music, and interactive theatrical spirit — along with a little bit of magic — to the stories of the Brothers Grimm. Doppelskope’s world premiere children’s musical “Grimm!” will open June 17 at the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre.
“This piece of theater is very playful and present, drawing upon the whole company of everyone involved,” says director Ora Fruchter, who co-wrote the musical with her Doppelskope partner, Christopher Sheer. “It’s really about imagination and getting the audience to imagine along with us.”
The hour-long performance plays June 17 through July 25, Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. It is recommended for ages four and up. Audience members can stay after the show to meet the cast, and then for a free 45-minute activity workshop, featuring storytelling, movement, and crafts with the workshop team and members of the cast.
“Grimm!” offers classic fairy tales as they’ve never been told before. Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm use their Story Machine to capture daydreams and make them into fairytales, but everything goes awry when the machine breaks, releasing colorful, fuzzy stories into the world. It’s up to the audience to help the brothers rescue the stories and keep them from unraveling.
Meanwhile, Charlotte, a young girl with a wild imagination, is on her own quest to save her father from the Blue Glowing Madness. She travels through the storybook landscapes of the Grimm Brothers’ classic fairy tales, including Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and Rumpelstiltskin.
The play emphasizes the importance of active, creative play, as well as the fun of storytelling of all sorts — encouraging families to engage in creating, recording, retelling and performing their own stories.
“Grimm!” features a script by Christopher Scheer and Ora Fruchter — the members of the Doppelskope theatre company — with music by Toby Singer and lyrics by Fruchter. The trio also collaborated to create last year’s successful world-premiere children’s musical “Gruff!” for Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre. Both shows rely heavily on audience participation, inviting the children in attendance to join in creating the story.
“What we really want is to engage the audience in the storytelling process — to tell the story not just to the audience but with them,” Scheer says. “We can go so much further if we all agree to imagine together. Let’s all collaborate together and collectively create the illusion that we’re in outer space or we’re in a fairy tale realm.”
This year for the first time, Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre presents free activity workshops after every performance. The workshops are designed to encourage children to explore their own family stories in a series of energetic hands-on activities that will get kids up on their feet, thinking, playing and expressing themselves. Members of the cast will join MSMT’s Workshop Team of experienced theater and movement teachers in leading storytelling, movement, and crafts. The Grimm Workshops are sponsored by Embassy Bank, Enterprise Car Rental and Highmark Blue Shield.
Participation in the Grimm Workshops is limited to allow for small group sizes, and advance registration is recommended. Parents can register their children online at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/grimm, or call the workshop team at 484-664-3695. Groups may inquire with the workshop team about bringing the workshop on-site.
“Grimm!” will be presented in two sensory-friendly performances for children with autism spectrum disorders and other sensory processing challenges. At these performances, sound levels are reduced, and startling sounds are avoided; lights remain on at a low level during performance, and strobes and other flashy lights are omitted; patrons are free to talk or leave their seats during the show; and attendance is limited. Social stories will be available in advance from the MSMT website, and the theater staff and cast will receive special training in meeting the needs of patrons with autism and sensory issues. Sensory-friendly performances will be offered Tuesday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 18 at 1 p.m. Tickets and information about these performances are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/grimm or at 484-664-3087.
“Grimm!” runs June 17 through July 25. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m, and Saturday at 10 a.m. only. All tickets to “Grimm!” are $10 for June performances and $12 for July performances. Tickets and information for all of the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre productions are available at www.muhlenberg.edu/SMT or 484-664-3333.
Two New Jersey men were jailed Thursday after an early-morning traffic stop on Interstate 78 West in Upper Macungie Township yielded more than 11,000 packets of heroin, Pennsylvania State Police report.
Shaheed Adrius Minus, 36, of East Orange, was driving a rented 2014 Dodge Avenger at 85 mph when he was pulled over at mile marker 49.9 in the township after first coming to troopers’ attention at 2:59 a.m. at mile marker 53 in South Whitehall Township, court papers said.
Haydn – Symphony 104 in D “London”
Bartok – Divertimento for Strings
Chopin – Concerto No. 2 in f minor for piano and orchestra
free church parking lot across street, handicapped accessible
A Whole Foods executive is slated to join Hamilton Crossings developers and local officials this week for the shopping center’s groundbreaking ceremony.
Whole Foods Market Executive Coordinator David Pinkney will be on hand for the Thursday afternoon event to be held at the future site of his company’s first Lehigh Valley store, developers announced Monday.
Representatives from The Goldenberg Group, of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, and TCH Development, of Staten Island, New York; state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie; a representative from state Sen. Pat Browne’s office; Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller; Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners President Ryan Conrad and Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. President Don Cunningham are expected to attend the 2 p.m. ceremony, as well. It will be held at 4972 Medical Center Circle near the Wescosville Recreation Center.
|Lehigh Valley Arts Council
www.LVArtsCouncil.org ◊ www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org
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Allentown, PA —The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre festival at Muhlenberg College announces the lineup for its 2015 summer season — the 35th in the festival’s history. The season will feature the raunchy but heartwarming musical “Avenue Q,” the classic matchmaker musical “Hello, Dolly!,” and “Grimm!” a new musical for young audiences, based on the stories of the Brothers Grimm.
Opening the summer season, “Avenue Q,” June 10-28, winner of the Tony Award “triple crown” (Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book), is a hilariously adult take on classic children’s characters.
The 10-time Tony Award winner “Hello, Dolly!” runs July 8-26. Jerry Herman’s classic musical takes a whirlwind tour of New York at the turn of the 20th century, following the adventures of America’s most beloved matchmaker, Dolly Levi.
The world premiere family musical “Grimm!” June 17 – July 25, is a playful, puppet-filled interpretation of the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, created by the neo-vaudeville theater group Doppelskope. “Grimm!” is recommended for ages 4 and up. New this year, MSMT will offer free 45-minute workshops for children, following every performance of “Grimm!” Participants can register in advance through the box office.
Tickets and information are available at muhlenberg.edu/SMT and 484-664-3333.
“Avenue Q” is a puppet-filled musical that follows a group of 20-somethings as they struggle to find their purpose in big-city life. Filled with gut-busting humor and an ingeniously catchy score, “Avenue Q” is a one-of-a-kind theatre experience. MSMT veterans Bill Mutimer and Ed Bara serve as director and musical director. Mutimer last directed “Schoolhouse Rock” for MSMT, and Bara recently starred in the Muhlenberg Mainstage production of Kurt Weill’s “Street Scene” and as King Arthur in last summer’s MSMT production of “Spamalot.” “Avenue Q” features full-frontal puppet nudity, songs about porn, and other risqué puppet hijinx, and is intended for mature audiences.
A ten-time Tony Award winner, “Hello, Dolly!” tells the story of self-professed “meddler” Dolly Levi, on a quest to make a match of her own, to Horace Vandergelder, the richest man in Yonkers. Audiences will leave the theatre humming the show’s irresistible score — and charmed by the ebullient personality of one of musical theater’s most fabulous characters. MSMT founding artistic director Charles Richter will direct the production. Michael Schnack serves as musical director, and Karen Dearborn choreographs.
Doppelskope’s new family musical “Grimm!” offers classic fairy tales like Rumpelstiltskin told as they’ve never been told before, and invites young audiences to join the Grimm Brothers in their quest to rescue their precious stories and make things right. In a world where the line between story and reality is as thin as a golden thread, the Grimms are on a mission to protect all stories from unraveling. Doppelskope’s interactive theatrical adventure combines puppetry, music and magic, and invites the audience to discover their own magical stories. Following each performance, audiences will have the opportunity to meet and interact with the performers and puppets.
A free 45-minute workshop follows each performance of “Grimm!” Participants will explore their own family stories in a series of energetic hands-on activities designed to get kids up on their feet, thinking, playing and expressing themselves. Participation is limited, and advance registration through the box office is recommended.
Sensory-friendly performances of “Grimm!” will be presented on Tuesday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 18 at 1 p.m. The July 18 performance will be followed by an interactive workshop. Sensory-friendly performances are designed for children with autism and other sensory challenges. At these performances, sound levels are reduced, and startling sounds are avoided; lights remain on at a low level during performance, and strobes and other flashy lights are omitted; patrons are free to talk or leave their seats during the show; and attendance is limited. Social stories will be available in advance from the MSMT website, and the theater staff and cast will receive special training in meeting the needs of patrons with autism and sensory issues.
Audio Description and Open Captioning will be available at the Sunday, July 26 performance of “Hello, Dolly!” Call 484-664-3087 for tickets in the accessible section of this performance.
“Avenue Q” runs June 10-28; “Hello, Dolly!” runs July 8-26. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Ticket prices for both “Avenue Q” and “Hello, Dolly!” are as follows. For the first four performances: $33 regular admission; seniors, $29; students and children, $18. For the remaining 11 performances: $39 regular admission; seniors, $36; students and children, $20.
“Grimm!” runs June 17 through July 25. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m, and Saturday at 10 a.m. only. All tickets to “Gruff!” are $10 for June performances and $12 for July performances.
Subscriptions to “Avenue Q” and “Hello, Dolly!” are available for $52 for the first four shows, or $62 for the remaining 11 shows. Subscriptions for students and children are $32 for any shows throughout the runs. Group discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. Sundays are Family Matinee Day; mainstage tickets for children ages 5-18 are just $10 when purchased with a full-price or senior ticket. (Limit two discounted tickets per full-price ticket.)
Tickets and information are available at www.muhlenberg.edu/SMT or 484-664-3333.
|In the increasingly competitive environment for arts funding, artists and emerging organizations are finding both access and success through crowdsourcing platforms.
As part of its Professional Development Series, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council is presenting a crowdfunding seminar, featuring the largest arts fiscal sponsor in the country, Fractured Atlas, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, at Penn State Lehigh Valley from 5:30 to 8:00PM.
Fractured Atlas helps more than 3,500 artists and organizations in every discipline to find funding and other resources to support their creative projects. With fiscal sponsorship, one can solicit tax-deductible donations and apply for grants; the sponsored “project” might be a one-time collaboration or an independent artist or even an arts organization that does not have its own 501(c)(3) status.
“The popularity of crowdfunding is definitely on the rise,” says Randall Forte, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. “We are pleased to offer the arts community this opportunity to learn first-hand how it works.”
Fractured Atlas Project Specialist Theresa Hubbard from the New York office will serve on a panel with local arts professionals who have used the program. Hubbard will explain the application process and the many of the ancillary benefits that the company provides, such as marketing and ticketing services.
The basic criteria for eligibility to attain a fiscal sponsorship are:
Saturday ◊ April 25, 2015 ◊ 8:00 p.m.
Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034
|Book by Abe Burrows & Jack Weinstock & Willie Gilbert • Music by Frank Loesser •Based on How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying by Shepherd Mead • Directed by Steven Dennis|
“Fast, funny, and glitzy…a non-stop delight.” –The New York Times
Long before Mad Men, there was J. Pierrepont Finch’s story of power, ambition and greed. This Pulitzer Prize winning musical from the authors of Guys and Dolls follows Finch as he steps off the ledge from his window-washing job and rises to chairman of the board. Following a “how to” manual and breaking hearts and stepping on toes along the way, this musical’s great score features dazzling dance numbers and songs such as “I Believe in You,” “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm,” and “Brotherhood of Man.”Ages 10+
Click Here to Buy
Last Minute Discount
for ONLY $9.99!
(price of regular ticket at the door $27.00)
Rush Tickets available online only
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Allegiant Air pilots, who are locked in tense contract negotiations with the low-cost carrier, say they are worried about repeated safety problems with the carrier’s fleet, according to a report.
The carrier serves Lehigh Valley International Airport and maintains major hubs in Orlando, Phoenix, Tampa and Las Vegas. The pilots authorized a strike last month but later agreed to stay on the job while a federal judge reviews arguments from their union and the airline’s management.
The pilots are now saying they’re concerned about mechanical problems with the airline’s fleet of older planes, poor maintenance and “a culture where profits come before safety,” according to a story published Monday on the New York Times website.
Allentown, PA – During one month in the summer of 2014, in separate incidents in cities across the United States, four unarmed black men were killed while being arrested by police officers. None of the officers who used lethal force in these cases were held legally accountable.
Police violence against black men is not a new issue, but the frequency of recent incidents and intense media coverage has pushed it to the fore in the national discourse. This spring, a group of young theater artists, led by faculty member and director Troy Dwyer, enters the dialogue with an audacious production of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The show runs April 22-26 at Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance.
“It’s definitely a piece of protest art, and one I imagine Shakespeare purists won’t like,” Dwyer says. “I’m cool with that.”
Dwyer’s production will remain essentially faithful to the events and language of Shakespeare’s classic, but will feature two important twists: the action of the play will be set in a modern Midwest, and Juliet’s family, the Capulets, will be a black family.
“This will be the first time an African-American family will be represented on the Muhlenberg stage since I have worked at the college,” says Dwyer, who joined the Muhlenberg faculty in 2003. “Muhlenberg Admissions has been courting a more diverse student body for years, and it is exciting that we can finally represent that on the stage.”
Dwyer’s adaptation envisions love blooming one sweltering summer night on a city street in the American Midwest. Two young lovers make an unlikely and courageous connection, a spark that defies distinctions of race, class and culture. But when a black teenager dies, the city’s long-simmering tensions escalate into full-scale violence, leaving the lovers on opposite sides in a brutal and deadly conflict.
“Shakespeare’s plays truly stand the test of time,” Dwyer says. “The story is not only easy for college actors to relate to, but takes on new meaning when placed in a society that is very similar to Staten Island, Ferguson, Madison… or Allentown.”
Between July 17 and Aug. 9, four African-American men were killed in the United States. In Staten Island, Eric Garner was seen selling untaxed cigarettes and was smothered in a choke-hold, a method that is prohibited by Staten Island Police. In Beavercreek, Ohio, a black man was shot by police in a Walmart, and in Los Angeles, an unarmed black man was shot by police the next week. In Ferguson, Missouri, in what was the most intensely covered news story of the summer, Michael Brown was shot at twelve times by a local police officer while unarmed.
“My communities were having pointed conversations about the criminalization of black bodies,” Dwyer said. “I wanted to explore the socioeconomic structures that coordinate with racial and ethnic privilege.” None of the police officers in these incidents was held legally accountable for their actions. These and other recent incidents have escalated racial tensions and widened the rift between the police and the public that they serve, according to Dwyer.
“There has always been something unsettling about how, in the show, Romeo doesn’t face any consequences for murdering Tybalt,” Dwyer says. “No one in authority seems concerned, and this facet of the play is given more meaning if Tybalt is a man of color.” Dwyer’s other recent Shakespeare productions at Muhlenberg, “The Winter’s Tale” and “The Tempest,” both addressed social issues and included actors of non-traditional sexes playing pivotal characters. “The Winter’s Tale” raised questions about contemporary marriage, while “The Tempest” explored issues of gender and sexual politics.
This production of “Romeo and Juliet” also features music written by a student composer. Jakeim Hart, ’16, worked with Dwyer to being new life to Shakespeare’s work through song. Hart previously composed an original musical, “Sinternet!,” for the Muhlenberg stage two years ago.
“I am hoping to bring new joy, laughter, and pain to a well-known story through the music that I write,” says Hart, who is also playing the role of Paris in the production. “Everyone is the production sings throughout the show, and I also play the guitar.”
Muhlenberg College’s Theatre & Dance Department offers one of the top-rated college performance programs in the country, according to the Princeton Review rankings. Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa., offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in theatre and dance. It has been named annually among the Fiske Guide to Colleges’ top 20 small college programs in the United States.
“Romeo and Juliet” runs April 22-26 in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Seating is very limited. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 8 p.m. (Sunday’s performance was originally scheduled for 2 p.m.; it is at 8 p.m.) Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre&dance.
If it seems the Lehigh Valley is growing jobs at a faster rate than other parts of the state, a new study says that’s true.
The valley Statistical Metropolitan Area now has nearly 3 percent more jobs than it did in December 2007, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. reports from its analysis. That’s a larger percentage gain than any of the other eight Metropolitan Statistical Areas — Philadelphla-Camden-Wilmington, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg-Carlisle, Lancaster, Reading, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and York — studied in Pennsylvania, according to a news release.
The Lehigh Valley statistical area includes Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties in Pennsylvania and Warren County in New Jersey, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg College dancers tell their stories through movement, as the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Department presents “Dance Emerge,” a showcase for dance works created by emerging choreographers, April 16-18 in the College’s Baker Theatre. Jeffrey Peterson is the artistic director for the concert.
“Choreographers in this year’s ‘Dance Emerge’ are honoring their own unique voices as they create personal dances which celebrate the joys of life and unearth the depths of their souls,” Peterson says. “The journey for the audience will undoubtedly juxtapose the human experience with quirky character-driven studies and more intimate work — all blending physical skill with choreographic imagination.”
“Dance Emerge” will showcase 12 choreographers and 60 dancers from the department’s dance program, which is among the most highly regarded programs of its kind. The concert features costume and lighting designs by the department’s acclaimed professional staff.
The 12 original dances include contemporary jazz, dance theater, and modern works that investigate such topics as platonic love, the grieving process, and the individual vs. the whole. Choreographers drew inspiration from such diverse sources as dance history, travel, personal relationships, and college experiences.
Muhlenberg College’s Theatre & Dance Department offers one of the top-rated college performance programs in the county, according to the Princeton Review rankings. Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa., offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. It has been named annually among The Fiske Guide to Colleges’ top 20 small college programs in the United States, and the American College Dance Festival Association has consistently recognized dances premiered on the Muhlenberg stage for excellence in choreography and performance.
“Dance Emerge” runs April 16-18 in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.
Performances are April 16-18: Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 12, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for patrons 17 and under, and $8 for students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.
Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 or muhlenberg.edu/dance.
PENNSYLVANIA SINFONIA ORCHESTRA
invites you to spend
“An Afternoon with Mozart”
Breathe. Listen. Smile. Repeat.
Robin Kani, flute
Susan Shaw, bassoon
and their colleagues, Sinfonia Virtuosi
Concerto in G for flute and orchestra, K. 313
Concerto in B Flat for bassoon and orchestra, K. 191
Meet and converse with the musicians and fellow patrons at the post-concert reception.
The Sinfonia is a professional chamber orchestra that presents high quality, approachable classical music in the Lehigh Valley. The orchestra is widely respected for its talented musicians and imaginative programming, and in particular for the warm rapport it promotes between the musicians and audience members.
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Regular Prices: Adults $25 & $35 / Seniors 62+ $20 & $30
Rush Tickets available online only through Lehigh Valley Arts Council
Allentown, PA — Kurt Weill’s American opera “Street Scene” was a revelation when it opened in 1947: a piece of musical theater that — to great acclaim — bridged the gap between classical opera and the vitality of American jazz and blues. Featuring a Tony Award-winning score and vivid, vivacious lyrics by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, “Street Scene” was hailed by the New York Times as “a musical play of magnificence and glory.”
Muhlenberg College will present Weill’s groundbreaking work in an ambitious full-scale production, March 26-29, featuring a 35-piece professional orchestra, a cast of more than 50 performers, and guest artists Ed Bara and Lauren Curnow in the lead roles. The show is a co-production of Muhlenberg’s Department of Theatre & Dance and Music Department.
“An opera of this scale has never been scene in the Lehigh Valley,” says Charles Richter, professor of theater at Muhlenberg and the production’s director. “I think audiences will be carried away by the magnificent music of Kurt Weill, as performed by these great singers and musicians.”
“Street Scene” premiered on Broadway in 1947, with a book by Elmer Rice, based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1929 play of the same name. Passions stir and gossip swirls in the brutal summer heat of a tenement in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan in the late 1920s. It’s a world filled with hope, violence, and love, in which the characters struggle — some to rise up, some to get out, some to find joy, some simply to survive.
“The play deals in issues of social justice and oppression, and the idea of how we interact with others to control our lives,” Richter says. “These issues never loses its relevancy.”
The production receives funding from The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, New York, and from the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation. Additional funding comes from The Amaranth Foundation and The Bessie S. Graham Music Trust.
The Charles A. and Leona K. Gruber Lectureship in the Arts has underwritten the participation of guest artists Bara and Curnow. In addition to their mainstage performance, they are presenting a concert recital titled “‘Street Scene’ and the Broadway Stage,” March 14 at 2 p.m., and a series of vocal master classes for advanced performance students, Feb. 21 and March 13.
“The guest artists have been a great inspiration to students,” says Michael Schnack, the production’s musical director and a member of Muhlenberg’s music faculty. “The students are smart about it. They consciously observe how the professionals go about their work.”
Schnack has been working with the students since early January to help them master the sophisticated musical score. He will also conduct the 35-member orchestra.
“Working on this score is not only difficult; it requires a vocal maturity that is challenging for singers of any age,” Schnack says. “They have to sing like opera singers, act like actors, and speak like actors, all with no microphones, over an orchestral underscore. And they’re rising phenomenally to the challenge. Working on this production has inspired students to consider classical singing as a viable option for them as a career.”
Curnow and Bara are both veterans of the Muhlenberg stage. Curnow, a 1996 Muhlenberg graduate, was last seen as Marion in Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre’s “The Music Man.” She has performed professionally around the world for more than a decade, with such companies as Wolftrap Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, the Opera Theater of St. Louis, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She holds masters degrees from The Juilliard School and The Curtis Institute of Music.
Bara recently played King Arthur in MSMT’s “Spamalot,” as well as Caiaphas in 2013’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” and the title role in 2010’s “The Mikado.” He has been heard in 14 countries and some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, New York. In all, Bara has performed in more than 100 feature roles of opera, oratorio and theater. He is also a featured soloist on over a dozen orchestral recordings for Sony-Vox Classics, Time-Warner, and Lyrichord Records.
“With my voice type, I get to play villains a lot,” Bara says. “This character is a strong villain with opportunities for good, strong, big singing, which I really appreciate. I don’t often get the opportunity to sing this fully.”
Curnow and Bara play Anna and Frank Maurrant, a married couple whose marriage is on its last legs. Anna is having an affair — despite the looming threat of violence from her abusive husband. Their teenage daughter, Rose, longs to escape the tenement and her father’s temper and live an ordinary life.
“The show catches Frank at the end of a long declining slope,” Bara says. “The audience never gets a chance to see a good side. He has lost faith in his family and society. He’s really angry and tired, so he starts to drink and becomes extraordinarily violent toward everyone he cares about. He will be the villain of the play — but ‘Street Scene’ features no straightforward ‘good people.’ All of the characters are flawed.”
Curnow adds: “This production is exciting to work on because of its current cultural relevance. Despite its classical roots, it has modern elements of story and music, and audiences will be able to really connect with the emotional life of the story and the struggles that the characters are going through.”
Curtis Dretsch designed the scenery for the production — the exterior of an early 20th-century New York tenement house. Lara de Bruijn designed the costumes. Gertjan Houban designed the lighting. Karen Dearborn choreographed.
Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theatre and dance. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theatre and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. OnStage.com recently named Muhlenberg’s program the sixth-best Bachelor of Arts in Theatre program in the country.
Performances of “Street Scene” are March 26-29: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults and $8 for children and students, as well as for LVAIC faculty and staff. Performances are in the Empie Theatre, in Muhlenberg College’s Baker Center for the Arts, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.
Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 or www.muhlenberg.edu.
|On April 24 & 25, 2015, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council, in partnership with the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, will present atwo-day workshop, ”Audio Description for the Visual Arts,” from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Allentown Art Museum. Audio description assists patrons who are blind or low-visionto access the visual elements of two- and three-dimensional works of art in the gallery or museum setting through narration provided by traineddescribers. More and more, museums in larger cities are offering to people with disabilitiesaccommodations that include audio description and staff training to help visitors with vision loss feel welcome.The Arts Council has contracted Mimi Smith, Executive Director of VSA Pennsylvania to provide the training over the course of two days. She has been a describer for more than two decades and is a founder of Amaryllis Theatre, a professional Philadelphia theatre that regularly includes artists with disabilities. She will introduce the class to the foundational skills—Observe, Analyze and Communicate— necessary to audio describe artwork. Additionally Street Thoma, Accessible Programs Manager at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will attend and discuss the evolution of the museum’s program.
Typically, this workshop would cost $590. Thanks to the underwriting support of an anonymous donor, the Arts Council is able to offer it at a very reasonable price: $50 per person. Please purchase your tickets at LVArtsBoxOffice.org.
Allentown, PA — The co-stars of Muhlenberg College’s upcoming production “Street Scene” will perform a free concert recital, “‘Street Scene’ and the Broadway Stage,” on Saturday, March 14, at 2 p.m., in the college’s Baker Center for the Arts.
Guest artist vocalists Ed Bara and Lauren Curnow will perform songs that trace the development of the modern musical from its early days in popular opera. Narrated by “Street Scene” director Charles Richter, the performance will include music from throughout the history of the musical stage, including a selection from “Street Scene.”
Kurt Weill’s 1946 American opera “Street Scene” played an integral role in the historical development of modern musical theater, according to Richter, bridging the gap between classical opera and the vitality of American jazz and blues. The show will be performed on the Muhlenberg mainstage March 26-29.
Bara and Curnow will also conduct a vocal master class on Friday, March. 13, working with five experienced vocal students on techniques of the music theater stage. Observers are welcome. The free event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Baker Center’s Recital Hall.
Both the concert recital and the master class are presented as part of the Charles A. and Leona K. Gruber Lectureship in the Arts at Muhlenberg.
The production of “Street Scene” and associated events are sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, New York City, and the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation. Additional funding comes from the Bessie S. Graham Music Fund and the Amaranth Foundation. The show is a joint production of the Department of Theatre & Dance and the Music Department.
“‘Street Scene’ and the Broadway Stage” will be performed Saturday, March 14, at 2 p.m. Vocal Master Class, conducted by Ed Bara and Lauren Curnow, will be held Friday, March 13, at 7 p.m. Both events will be held in the Baker Center for the Arts Recital Hall. Admission to both events is free and no ticket is required.
“Street Scene” will be performed March 26-29. Further information is available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre