Act 1DeSales University Performing Arts Presents: Dancing At Lughnasa

Friday ◊ February 20, 2015 ◊ 8:00 p.m.
Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

By Brian Friel • Directed by Dennis Razze

“The poetry of this play…like the most fragrant music, strikes deep chords that words cannot begin to touch.” –The New York Times

This extraordinary Irish drama, set in the Autumn of 1936 near Ballybeg, Ireland, is a memory play about the five brave Mundy sisters and their older brother Jack, who has just returned home after 25 years as a missionary priest in Africa. As the sisters prepare to celebrate the festival of the God Lugh they erupt into a wild dance celebrating their way of life before it changes forever. Ages 13+

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Jeffrey Sweet In A One Man Show February 14 At Steel River Playhouse

Picture 577On February 14, 2015, Jeffrey Sweet, the author of “Court Martial at Fort Devens”, will be appearing at Steel River Playhouse in his one-man show, “You Only Shoot The Ones You Love”, a 75-minute yarn about how the Cossacks almost killed his grandmother and what that has to do with a generation of Jews bringing teeth and cojones (look it up) to American comedy. In response to Joe McCarthy, Nixon and HUAC, wits like Nichols and May, Alan Arkin, Shelley Berman, and Jules Feiffer (and Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Neil Simon and Mel Brooks) invent modern American satire. For more information, click here.

Beth Henley’s Wildly Warm-Hearted Southern Comedy ‘The Miss Firecracker Contest’ Premieres At Muhlenberg

Allentown, PA — Beth Henley’s Southern comedy “The Miss Firecracker Contest” opens Feb. 18 at Muhlenberg College, with a cast of six college seniors. Director Francine Roussel says that the cast is ideally suited to convey the play’s themes of accepting ourselves for who we are in order to move ahead in our lives.

“Henley’s themes are really strong, but there is a lightness to her writing,” Roussel says. “The show is a comedy, almost to the point of farce, but at the same time, there are extremely moving moments where the characters are at a precipice, looking at their lives.”

“The Miss Firecracker Contest” runs Feb. 18-22 on the college’s Studio Theatre stage. Tickets and information are available at muhlenberg.edu/theatre and 484-664-3333.

Roussel says she selected the show because college students can relate to it — both those playing the characters and those watching in the audience.

“They are at a point in their lives where they are going to invent their life after college,” she says. “I think the play is at the core of what’s on their minds. What are their dreams? What are their concerns for the future?”

“The Miss Firecracker Contest” tells the story of 25-year-old Carnelle Scott, known around her tiny Mississippi town as “Miss Hot Tamale” for a past that she would like to forget. She’s got flaming red hair, a sparkler between her teeth, tap shoes on her feet, and The Star Spangled Banner on the tape deck, not to mention a burning desire to win the crown in this year’s Miss Firecracker Contest — the annual beauty pageant in her town. Carnelle hopes a Firecracker victory will help her shake her tarnished reputation and leave town in a blaze of glory.

“All these characters are dealing with crucial rites of passage,” Roussel says. “You can laugh out loud, but at the same time realize how desperate the characters really are.”

“The Miss Firecracker Contest” is Henley’s followup to her Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy “Crimes of the Heart.” First produced in 1980, the play also explores themes of femininity and beauty.

Russell Norris plays Delmount, Carnelle’s older cousin who has just been released from an asylum. Norris says he and his character are quite different in many respects, but they are both people at a crossroads, learning all they can before they move forward.

“This process is the perfect culminating experience,” Norris says. “We’re all going out into the professional world so soon, and we’re all in it together. It’s really bringing us together as a cast, and we all have a similar goal to learn as much as we can in this last opportunity, and soak in the experience.”

Norris’s castmate Julia Garber, who plays Carnelle, agrees. But she also points out that, for all the play’s complex and dynamic characters, it is also very funny.

“I think the audience is going to laugh really hard,” Garber says. “It’s not just a crazy, Southern comedy, but a play that has a lot more depth. I can take a lesson from Carnelle to always stay hopeful and believe in myself.”

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 15 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.

Performances of “The Miss Firecracker Contest” are Feb. 18-22: Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for LVAIC faculty and staff. The performance is intended for mature audiences. Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 and muhlenberg.edu/theatre.

Upcoming Performances In The Lehigh Valley

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

REPERTORY DANCE THEATRE presents:

March 7, 2015 | 4:00 pm @ Scottish Rite Cathedral
Cinderella


BACH & HANDEL CHORALE presents:

April 11, 2015 | 3:00 pm @ Zion U.C.C. of Lehighton
The Bach and Handel Easter Concert


CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF BETHLEHEM presents:

February 13, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Foy Hall
Auryn Quartet

March 13, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Foy Hall
Vienna Piano Trio


PENNSYLVANIA SINFONIA ORCHESTRA presents:

March 22, 2015 | 4:00 pm @ Christ Lutheran Church, Allentown
An Afternoon with Mozart


MORAVIAN COLLEGE MUSIC INSTITUTE presents:

February 14, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Peter Hall
Chamber Music from Old Japan – SATORI East

February 16, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Foy Hall
Dame Evelyn Glennie, percussion

February 20, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Peter Hall
Faculty Recital, featuring: “Dueling Sopranos”

February 22, 2015 | 7:00 pm @ Foy Hall
Moravian College Community Orchestra, featuring: Jeffrey Biegel

February 27, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Foy Hall
Moravian College Wind Ensemble, “Harmony & Conflict”

March 22, 2015 | 7:00 pm @ Foy Hall
Moravian College Jazz Combo II & Jazz Fusion

March 22, 2015 | 4:00 pm @ Peter Hall
Moravian College Early Music Ensembles

March 29, 2015 | 7:00 pm @ Peter Hall
Celtic Ensemble & Guitar Ensemble

March 29, 2015 | 4:00 pm @ Peter Hall
Delta Omicron Presents: “Hey Old Friends” Alumni Concert


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Performances of “Master Choreographers” will take place Feb. 5-7: Thursday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Feb. 7, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for patrons 17 and under. Performances are in the Empie Theatre, in the Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Information and tickets are available at

484-664-3333 or muhlenberg.edu/dance.

Muhlenberg College’s Theatre & Dance Department offers one of the top-rated college performance programs in the county, according to the Princeton Review rankings.  Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa., offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. It has been named annually among The Fiske Guide to Colleges’ top 20 small college programs in the United States, and the American College Dance Festival Association has consistently recognized dances premiered on the Muhlenberg stage for excellence in choreography and performance.

Choreographer Bios

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audio-Description Training For The Performing Arts

February 20 & 21, 2015
10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Lehigh Valley Arts Council
Butz Corporate Center
2nd Floor Conference Room
840 Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101

As the Lehigh Valley Arts Council prepares for the 25th anniversary and yearlong celebration of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we are offering a two-day audio-description training workshop to the performing arts community. By becoming more disability-friendly, a cultural venue can also increase its capacity to attract a larger audience. Theatre practitioners from all walks of life—actors, students, volunteers—are invited to enroll in the upcoming audio-description training session and acquire new performance skills. The training also prepares performing arts groups to participate in the Arts & Access Celebration and to receive recognition and promotion in the Lehigh Valley for creating a more inclusive region.

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

The Arts Council has contracted Mimi Smith, Executive Director of VSA Pennsylvania, and Steve Smith to provide the training over the course of two days, February 20 & 21, 2015. The Smiths have been describers for more than two decades, and are the founders of Amaryllis Theatre Co., a professional Philadelphia theatre that regularly includes artists with disabilities. They will introduce the class to the foundational skills—Observe, Analyze and Communicate— necessary to audio describe a play.

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.

The workshop also includes admission to an audio-described performance of Dancing at Lughnasa at the Labuda Performing Arts Center on Thursday, February 19, 2015, at 8:00 p.m.

Reservations required, for more information and to reserve your spot:

Call: 610-437-5915
Email: operations@LVArtsCouncil.org
Web:http://www.lvartscouncil.org/Access/default.html#events
Tickets:http://www.etix.com/ticket/online/performanceSearch.jsp?performance_id=7941980&cobrand=lvartsboxoffice

Act 1 DeSales University Performing Arts Presents: Little Women The Musical

Friday * December 5 * 8:00 p.m.
Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

Based on Louisa May Alcott’s enduring novel, this popular Broadway musical follows the lives of Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March as they come of age in Civil War America. An aspiring writer, Jo finds inspiration in the memories of the lives, loves, and tragedies that she and her sisters experience while their father is off at war. This holiday season, Little Women will remind us to stand for what we believe in and to care deeply for those we love. Ages 6+

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RUSH Tickets
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Rush Tickets available online only

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

#givingtuesday At SteelStacks!‏

Giving Tuesday

This December 2nd, ArtsQuest and Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks want YOU to join us in the global movement of #GIVINGTUESDAY ™ and give back to the community that giving to you!

Your 100% tax deductible donation will go to a wide range of programming that will support free programming at SteelStacks all year long. So please join us in GIVING a donation to support the programs you love to enjoy!

Click here to print out your own UNselfie and share it with us!

Visit their web page for complete information: https://member.artsquest.org/pages/givingtuesday-to-artsquest?srctid=1&erid=33679042&trid=772fc909-9208-4a91-be05-9dc447a83c86

Muhlenberg Production Of ‘Agamemnon’ Offers Innovative Take On Greek Tragedy

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA— The hardest part of directing a play that’s a couple thousand years old isn’t getting your audience to understand the play, says director Matthew Moore. The hard part is making sure they connect with it — and that means finding a way to cut its mythic characters down to human size.

Moore’s production of Aeschylus’ tragedy “Agamemnon” opens Nov. 19 at the Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance Department, where he is a faculty member. He says that his first job as director has been to help a modern audience relate to an ancient tragedy, with its ancient characters and their ancient motivations.

“Ted Hughes has given us a beautiful, poetic, modern translation, so the language isn’t a great challenge for the audience,” Moore says. “The challenge comes from creating these larger-than-life characters on the stage, in a way that makes them and their crazy decisions seem not only real but compelling.”

“Agamemnon” runs Nov. 19-23 on the college’s Studio Theatre stage. Tickets and information are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre and 484-664-3333.

Moore says his approach to creating an accessible “Agamemnon” has been highly collaborative — and highly improvisational, to an unusual degree for a theater production. The cast spent the entire first month of rehearsals doing improv and movement work, with guidance from movement consultant Susan Creitz, another Muhlenberg faculty member. Their objective was to find the physical reality of their characters before they started learning their lines.

“The first thing Matt ever said at rehearsal was, ‘This text is a spell, and we are going to learn how to cast it,'” says Kate McMoran, who plays Clytemnestra, Agamemnon’s vengeful spouse. “I don’t think I could have even started to the scenes if I hadn’t had the improv movement experience first.”

“Agamemnon” tells a tale of revenge and murder set in the aftermath of the Trojan War. Ten years before, the Greek King Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to gain the necessary winds to sail to Troy. Now he returns victorious — but his fleet and kingdom have been decimated by the war, and the memory of his sacrifice looms large, particularly for his wife, Clytemnestra.

Feigning thankfulness for his safe return, Clytemnestra lures her husband into the bath, where she murders him to avenge her daughter. But justice proves elusive in this primal tale of revenge.

“I am interested in the practice of theater as a continued collaboration,” Moore says. “It doesn’t mean you come and collaborate with me on my vision. It means let’s actually do the work of figuring out what this is together.”

Part of the collaborative process for “Agamemnon” includes the contributions of senior Sean Skahill, who has composed a dark, edgy original score for the production. Skahill also composed music for last fall’s “The Winter’s Tale,” but in a very different style. For “Agamemnon,” he uses a looping station, an electronic device that loops and layers different sounds and instruments to create an improvisational soundscape.

“Matt keeps saying that the play is about the past repeating itself,” Skahill says. “So the looping device really works nicely on a literary level. We keep hearing the past, layered over itself to create more and more complexity.”

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 15 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.

Performances of “Agamemnon” are Nov. 19-23: Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students and for LVAIC faculty and staff. The performance is intended for mature audiences.

MCCC’s West End Student Theatre And Theatre Arts Program To Present The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Drama, ‘Rabbit Hole’

Photo caption: Montgomery County Community College’s West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program will present “Rabbit Hole” on Nov. 13, 14 and 15 at 7 p.m. in the College’s South Hall Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The cast includes Myasia Bynum, Carly Watson, Ron Quay, Sarah Koch, and Andrew Miller and is directed by Tim Gallagher. Photos by Sandi Yanisko.

Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College’s West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program are proud to present “Rabbit Hole,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by David Lindsay-Abaire. Show dates are Thursday-Saturday, November 13, 14 and 15, at 7 p.m. All performances will be held in the College’s South Hall Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, call 215-641-6518 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. or visit http://www.mc3.edu/livelyarts.

“Rabbit Hole,” the 2007 winner for the Pulitzer Prize, is a bittersweet drama about finding hope in the lowest moments of life and the paths taken to return to the light of day. It tells the story of Becca and Howie, two young parents who could be anybody’s neighbors in a typical suburb, until the accidental death of their four-year-old son tests everything about that life… and their marriage.

“There is no manual for mourning. How or when do you restart/redefine your life in the face of loss?  Becca and Howie are grieving the death of their son in very different ways. A terrible accident has uprooted their lives and created a wedge between them. Ultimately, this play is a journey home…a defiant, funny yet delicate journey home,” says director Tim Gallagher. This production contains adult themes and language.

Directed by Gallagher, assisted by Rianna Isbell, and stage managed by Desiree Humes, the cast includes Myasia Bynum, Carly Watson, Ron Quay, Sarah Koch, and Andrew Miller. The production is designed, produced and presented by the students of the West End Student Theatre, which includes

Anthony Romano, Alex Hollowell, Nicole Corsey, Jeffrey Chernesky, Sarah Robbins, Freddy Ortiz, Joseph Donley, Lexi Lyon, Allie Johns, Sherry Smith, Edston Detrich, Sarah Robbins, under the guidance of Gallagher.

Muhlenberg Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of Sondheim’s ‘Anyone Can Whistle’

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA – Stephen Sondheim’s rarely produced musical comedy “Anyone Can Whistle” will get a Fiftieth Anniversary production at the Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance Department, Oct. 24 – Nov. 2. An absurdist satire about insanity, conformity, miracles, and local government, the 1964 musical is also a great love story, according to director Beth Schachter, and has become a cult classic among musical theater fans.

“The music is quite lovely,” says Schachter, a member of the theater faculty at Muhlenberg, and the chair of the Theatre & Dance Department. “The humor is also very enjoyable. The show is witty in a way that many musicals are not.

“Anyone Can Whistle” plays on the stage of the Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts. Tickets and information are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre and 484-664-3333.

The show tells the story of a bankrupt town with a corrupt mayoress, in which the only business still thriving is Dr. Detmold’s Sanitarium for the Socially Pressured — known locally as The Cookie Jar. The town needs a miracle — which is precisely what it gets when a local girl licks a rock and water gushes out. Bingo! A modern-day Lourdes, with the tourist trade to boot. (The miracle was staged by the mayor’s cronies, of course.)

Things get even more complicated when the Cookie Jar patients get mixed up with the pilgrims, and no one can tell who’s crazy and who isn’t — not that it was entirely clear to begin with.

The show satirizes issues and attitudes that are still very much germane 50 years later, Schachter says: issues of gender norms and gender equality, questions of individuality and conformity, social protest and civil disobedience.

“The show argues for standing up for change and not waiting for the people in charge to change things for you,” she says. “That’s something that appeals to me, as the people of Hong Kong flood the streets with their umbrellas in support of democracy.”

Schachter says the show offers a particularly sophisticated and compelling depiction of women, with two powerful female characters in Fay, a nurse who works at the Cookie Jar, and Cora, the town’s mayor.

“The show is interested in women, in their desires, ambitions, and wishes,” she says, “which is part of the reason I like it so much.”

Senior Samantha Simon, from Hawthorne, N.J., plays the central role of Cora — a villain of the piece, but a complicated character nevertheless. Simon appeared last fall as Rosa Bud in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”

“Samantha is having a terrific time playing this hilarious villainess,” Schachter says. “She is a powerful presence on stage. She really takes over.”

Sondheim wrote “Anyone Can Whistle” very early in his career as a composer. He had contributed lyrics to the hits “West Side Story” and “Gypsy,” but had only written the score for one Broadway show, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” The show closed after nine performances, but went on to become a cult favorite among musical theater fans, particularly Sondheim-philes. The show offers a preview of the complex melodies and innovative structures that characterize the composer’s later shows.

“‘Whistle’ marks the beginning of Sondheim’s distinctive voice and style,” Schachter says. “He develops that style much further in his mature work, but it’s fascinating to see this early expression of his talents as a composer.”

Tim Averill designs the scenery, which has “a zany, cartoony, fairy-tale feel to it,” Schachter says. “We were inspired by the set of ‘Laugh-In,’ with its bright colors and crazy angles.” The choreography, by Lynn Wiener, is similarly outlandish, highlighted by a comic ballet in which the ballerinas play deputies in an epic chase scene — on pointe.

“It’s a total hoot,” Schachter says. “But it’s a hoot with something to say, and what it has to say is still interesting and relevant 50 years later. It has been a revelation for me.”

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for seven 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.

Performances of “Anyone Can Whistle” are Oct. 24 – Nov. 2. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with an additional 2 p.m. show on Saturday, Oct. 25. Regular admission tickets are $22. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8. Group and season subscription rates are available.

Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

A Festival Of Innovative One-Act Plays, Muhlenberg’s ‘New Visions’ Spotlights Inspired Work Of Talented Student Directors

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA – Emerging theatrical talents will be on display in Muhlenberg College’s “New Visions” Directors’ Festival, featuring plays directed by four senior directing students in the College’s Department of Theatre & Dance. “New Visions” plays Sept. 27-30 on Muhlenberg’s Studio Theatre stage.

The festival will be presented in two evenings. Evening A features Federico Garcia Lorca’s “The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa in the Garden,” directed by Allison Lloyd, and Romulus Linney’s “Hrosvitha,” directed by Julia Schneiderman. Evening B features “Out Loud: Three Short Plays,” directed by Michael Witkes, and Caryl Churchill’s “This is a Chair,” directed by Hayley Cooke.

“The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa in the Garden” tells the story of Don Perlimplin, a hopeless bachelor, who is convinced to marry the beautiful but promiscuous Belisa. Four potent scenes illustrate the tale of a man overcome by the spirits of passion and the desire to win the love of the woman to whom he is married.

The title character in “Hrosvitha” was a canoness at Gandersheim Abbey in 10th century Saxony, and is regarded as the first Christian playwright. By imagining the visit of a hostile monk and the conflict that unfolds, Romulus Linney examines the tensions that exist within and around Hrosvitha — a forward-thinking woman with an understanding of the world that didn’t always harmonize with her religious beliefs and deep faith.

“The play contends that we are the authors of our own stories,” Schneiderman says, “and that women, most of all, must struggle to rewrite the world around them.”

“Out Loud” comprises three short plays: “Black Eye” by Carolyn Gage, “Game On” by Gary Garrison and “Baby Steps” by Geoffrey Nauffts. The show explores the importance of overcoming the stigmatization of homosexuality and fighting for one’s sexual identity. One actor plays the lead in all three plays, following a journey from hiding his sexuality, to coming out with hesitation, to finally embracing his sexuality and standing up for himself as a proud gay man.

“This is a Chair” explores the relationship between language and meaning. Eight vignettes, juxtaposed with large title signs, look at the complexities of human relationships and the struggle to connect.

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review has ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for seven 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.

Performances of “New Visions” are Sept. 27-30. Evening A will be performed Saturday, Sept. 27, at 2 and 8 p.m and Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m. Evening B will be performed Sunday, Sept. 28, at 2 and 8 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for one evening and $20 for a combination ticket including both nights. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatreanddance or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. For mature audiences.

Announcing Our 2014-2015 Season LIVE At Steel River Playhouse

Picture 577Laugh. Cry. Sing. Dance. Think. And be prepared for the unexpected! From the family classic The Sound of Music, to the gritty drama Court Martial at Fort Devens, to the joyous Shout!, to the whimsy of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, there’s something for every theatergoer to love in our 2014-2015 season!

For tickets, click “Online Tickets” or contact 610.970.1199 or boxoffice@steelriver.org. For subscriptions or group sales of 10 or more, including personal or business events and receptions, contact subscriber@steelriver.org.

Audio-Description Training To Be Held In Allentown

Audio DescriptionThe Lehigh Valley Arts Council is offering affordable audio description training to the theatre community in order to help them increase attendance to their productions by becoming more disability-friendly.

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

Fee: $25. Typically, this workshop costs $590. Thanks to the underwriting support of LVCIL and an anonymous donor, the Arts Council is able to offer it at a very reasonable price. Audio description assists patrons who are blind/low-vision to access the visual elements of stage productions through live narration provided by trained describers. Patrons use headsets to hear the audio description.

This two-day audio-description training for the Performing Arts will be held:

  • October 3 & 4, 2014 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Lehigh Valley Arts Council
    840 Hamilton Street
    2nd Floor Conference Room (Suite 200)
    Allentown, PA 18101

Includes Audio Described performance of “Harvey” at DeSales University (2755 Station Ave., Center Valley, Pa. 18034) on October 2, 2014 at 8:00 PM

REGISTER NOW FOR THE TRAINING!

ArtsQuest Announces Next President & CEO‏

Kassie-HilgertOver the past 30 years, ArtsQuest has been honored to share some huge news with the community, most recently through the development of the SteelStacks arts and cultural campus. Today, we’re excited to share one of the biggest announcements in our history.

This afternoon, we announced that ArtsQuest Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advancement Kassie Hilgert will be named the next President & CEO of ArtsQuest.

Since joining ArtsQuest in 2008, Kassie has demonstrated amazing leadership abilities, an incredible passion for our arts and cultural mission and a thorough understanding of the Lehigh Valley and the many elements that make it so special. Kassie has developed numerous partnerships with local, regional and national corporate partners, community organizations and foundations, helping ArtsQuest greatly expand its arts and cultural programming in recent years. As Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advancement, she is responsible for overseeing the sponsorship, marketing, development, ticketing, public relations and volunteer departments, which include 27 full- and part-time employees dedicated to supporting our mission.

Over the next several months, Kassie will work closely with ArtsQuest Founder and current President Jeff Parks while meeting with ArtsQuest staff, board members, volunteers, sponsors, partners and members of our community. She will officially assume the President & CEO’s responsibilities when Jeff retires in January 2015.

As for Jeff, while he may be retiring after three decades dedicated to arts, culture and our community, he won’t be riding off into the sunset just yet. Starting in May 2015, Jeff will assume the part-time role as the new Executive Director of the ArtsQuest Foundation, the nonprofit foundation established to help ensure the long-term sustainability of our organization as we continue to grow and expand our programming for the region.

I invite you to congratulate Kassie on this great accomplishment when you see her. Under her leadership, along with the support of our dedicated and creative staff, board and volunteers, ArtsQuest will continue be a national leader in providing access to exceptional arts and cultural programs and events.

Joe Pietrantonio
President, ArtsQuest Board of Trustees

Behind The Scenes Of Spamalot – July 12, 2014! Arts Alive 2014‏

Go Behind the Scenes of Spamalot

Saturday ◊ July 12, 2014 ◊ 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m

Dorothy H. Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavillion

Muhlenberg College

2400 W. Chew Street

Allentown, PA 18104

Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!Meet Curtis Dretsch, set designer for Monty Python’s Spamalot, on Saturday, July 12, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Join us for the second installment of the Arts Alive! 2014 series, “Behind the Scenes,” as the Lehigh Valley Arts Council once again arranges for arts patrons to take a cultural tour of the arts process.

Spamalot parodies the legend of King Arthur and his band of lunatic knights as they sing and dance their way through a ridiculous divine quest. The show, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical and was seen on Broadway by more than two million people, is providing Dretsch the opportunity to tackle its wacky story and outrageous landscape for the 34th Season of the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre.

Dretsch, Director of Design and Technical Theatre for Muhlenberg College, has designed the stage sets, costumes, and lighting for more than 100 theatre and dance productions in his career. He is known for creating lavish colors, spectacular designs, and architectural magic that amazes audiences, and he continues to build precise models of each project. In addition to more than three decades designing for Muhlenberg, he has worked in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C, Baltimore, Dallas, Edinburg and London.

Guests will enjoy a tour backstage and get a glimpse into his design process—from concept to scale model to the completed stage set.

Limited attendance. Tickets: $10 for members; $15 for nonmembers.

RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY! 

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The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Presents: ‘The Great Divorce’

Monday, June 23, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
DeSales University
Labuda Center for the Performing Arts
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, Pa. 18034

“Unmissable! From the quiet, seemingly casual beginning to the unforgettable final moments, Lawton has us in the palm of his hand.” –  Philadelphia City Paper

 “Brilliantly conceived and performed…as intelligent and provoking an evening as I’ve spent at the theater in a long time.”  – Broad Street Review 

“Passionate acting combined with riveting storytelling.”  – Philadelphia Inquirer

ONE NIGHT ONLY!
The Great Divorce
Based on the novel by C.S. Lewis The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival presents
The Great Divorce – back by popular demand for one night only! Lauded by The Philadelphia Inquirer in this “masterful solo show,” actor Anthony Lawton “delivers a wondrous ride filled with dazzling insight and language.”

An allegorical journey, The Great Divorce weaves philosophical imaginings with theatrical magic!

COMING UP! Two-Day Audio-Description Training For The Performing Arts On July 18 & 19, 2014!

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. Trainees will also attend an audio-described performance of Monty Python’s Spamalot. Click HERE for more information on this training.

July 18, 2014 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
July 19, 2014 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Lehigh Valley Arts Council
840 Hamilton Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room (Suite 200)
Allentown

July 18, 2014 | 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM:
Monty Python’s Spamalot (Audio Described Performance)
Baker Theatre/Trexler Pravilon, Muhlenberg College
2400 Chew St. Allentown

FEE: $25 RESERVE YOUR SEAT!

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The Mock Turtle Marionette Theater Presents: The Morningtime Of Now

The Morningtime of Now

Thursday ◊ May 22, 2014 ◊ 8:00 p.m.

Charles Brown Ice House

56 River St. (Sand Island)

Bethlehem, Pa. 18018

 

ImageProxy (8)In 1920, America was enthralled by the nature writings of a precocious six-year-old girl. Her name was Opal Whiteley. Nearly 100 years later, with her stories captured in puppetry and her poetry in song, Opal takes us to a transformative place—The Blue Hills.

Opal Whiteley’s quaint diary inspired folksinger Anne Hills to use her text in song. With 30 puppets created by the Mock Turtle Marionette Theater, the show celebrates a child’s wonder at the beauty of nature! The Morningtime of Now is for adults and children alike! Bring the whole family to this original music and puppet play based on the diary of a young girl in the early 1900s.

Click here to purchase last minute discounted RUSH TICKETS are available for this performance on May 22nd for only $9.99!

 

For More Information:

www.facebook.com/themorningtimeofnow

or visit The Mock Turtle Marionette Theater’s website

http://mockturtle.org/

 

The Morningtime of Now is an original puppet play based on the diary of Opal Whiteley with original music by Michael Smith.

With Anne Hills, Kayla Prestel, Jay Ansill and the 2013-14 Touchstone Theatre Apprentices.

Puppetry and direction by Doug Roysdon of Mock Turtle Marionette Theatre.

RUSH TICKET IS FOR MAY 22nd PERFORMANCE!

Additional dates and times are May 22 – 25 @ 8pm and May 25 – 26 @ 2pm.

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

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Pittsburgh Fringe Festival Offers Three Days Of Performances

Locator map with the Shadyside neighborhood in...

Locator map with the Shadyside neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After beginning with a pair of warm-up acts last weekend, what’s billed as the first Pittsburgh Fringe Festival gets under way May 9 with a three-day flood of two dozen productions — many with multiple performances — taking place in eight locations in and near Shadyside.

The festival is the brainchild of Dan Stiker, who had enjoyed attending and performing at the New York International Fringe Festival and missed its excitement when he moved back to Pittsburgh.

“It’s the kind of theater I want to be a part of,” he says.

Like Striker, some may have developed a taste for fringe festivals by attending the best known ones in New York City or Edinburgh, Scotland, or those in smaller U.S. cities such as Minneapolis, San Diego, Cincinnati and Asheville, N.C., or those in farther flung locales including Singapore, Budapest and Melbourne.

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/theaterarts/6036617-74/fringe-festival-stiker#ixzz31F5pB7wF
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

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