‘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.

‘Gypsy’ Kicks Off Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Season, June 15 – July 3‏

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre’s 2016 season will feature some familiar faces for fans of last summer’s “Hello, Dolly!” Mia Scarpa and Jarrod Yuskauskas return this summer for “Gypsy,” the beloved musical the New York Times calls “the greatest of all American musicals.” The show runs June 15 through July 3.

“Gypsy” kicks off a summer season that will also feature the 2008 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, “In the Heights,” by Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer of the current Broadway smash “Hamilton,” playing July 13-31. The season also features the world premiere family musical “Growl!” an irreverent adaptation of the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, created by the theatre company Doppelskope. “Growl!” plays June 29 through July 30.

Arguably one of Broadway’s most beloved musicals, “Gypsy” adapts burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee’s sensational autobiography into a sultry, campy tour-de-force about show business, ambition, and motherhood. The score, with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, features such classics as “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and “Together Wherever We Go.”

Mia Scarpa returns to the MSMT stage to play Mama Rose, the most notorious of all stage moms, after an acclaimed run in the title role of last summer’s “Hello, Dolly!” She plays opposite Jarrod Yuskauskas in the role of Herbie. Last summer, The Press Newspapers noted that “the repartee between Scarpa and Yuskauskas is priceless.”

In the starring role of Louise — based on Gypsy Rose Lee herself — recent Muhlenberg graduate Lillian Pritchard takes the stage following a turn as Roxie Hart in this season’s sold-out run of “Chicago” on the Muhlenberg stage.

The production also features MSMT mainstay Neil Hever, returning to the role of Pop that he first played in the 1993 MSMT production of the show.

Also featured in the cast are six young actors from the Lehigh Valley Community: Jenna Seasholtz as Baby June; Anna Edwards as Baby Louise: and ensemble members Elijah Albert-Stein, Aaron Finkle, Robert Pierno, and Robert Stinner.

“Gypsy” also reunites the production team from “Hello, Dolly!” — director Charles Richter, choreographer Karen Dearborn, and musical director Michael Schnack. Richter, the founding artistic director of the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre, is in his 36th season with the festival.

Audio Description and Open Captioning will be available at the Sunday, June 19 performance of “Gypsy.” Call 484-664-3087 for tickets in the accessible section of this performance. Open Captioning displays lyrics and dialogue via electronic text display visible to the side of the stage, for the benefit of patrons with hearing loss. Audio Description uses the natural pauses in the play to provide a narrative that translates the visual image into an audible form for patrons who are blind or low-vision. Patrons use headsets to hear the audio description.

“Gypsy” runs June 15 – July 3; “In the Heights” runs July 13-31. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Both productions are in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance.

Ticket prices for both “Gypsy” and “In the Heights” 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. Subscriptions to both shows are available.

“Growl!” runs June 29 through July 30 in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m, and Saturday at 10 a.m. only. All tickets to “Growl!” are $10 for June performances and $12 for July performances.

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

Act 1 DeSales Presents ‘ELEKTRA’ By Sophokles

 

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ELEKTRA

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Friday, March 4, 2016
8:00 p.m.
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Center Valley, PA 18034
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“Elektra powerfully illustrates the emotional price that those who merely bear witness pay.” –The New York Times

A classic tale of power and revenge. Grief-stricken and obsessed with revenge for her father Agamemnon’s death, Elektra is a woman possessed of superhuman passions. When her brother Orestes returns, Elektra’s anger and thirst for retribution explodes in a merciless fury. One of the great works of the Greek theatre, this play of a family at war explores themes of betrayal and vengeance on its path to a terrifying conclusion. Ages 13+

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For additional information, please visit Act 1, DeSales University’s Website or call: 610-282-1100.

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Auditions For Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre‏

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre will hold open auditions on Feb. 28 and 29. Performers will be cast for the season’s mainstage productions: “Gypsy,” performing June 15 – July 3, and a second show performing July 13-31.

The following audition details can also be found online, at muhlenberg.edu/smt. A performance rights agreement prevents SMT from announcing the title of the second production at this time, but full details are available on the website.

For the second production of the season, actors of color are particularly encouraged to audition.

Children may audition for “Gypsy” on Sunday, Feb. 28, from 1 to 3 p.m. They should be ages 8 to 12, both boys and girls, under 5 feet 2 inches in height. They should prepare a vocal audition as described below, and will be taught a dance combination.

Preliminary dance and vocal auditions will be held for both productions on Sunday, Feb. 28, from 3 to 11 p.m., and Monday, Feb. 29, from 5 to 11 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 send an email to SMTcompany@muhlenberg.edu by Friday, Feb. 26, indicating available dates and times within the scheduled audition, and providing a mobile phone number where the auditioner can be reached with questions.

Those without access to email should call the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance office at 484-664-3087, during regular office hours before Thursday, Feb. 25. Voice messages should contain all of the above information.

For “Gypsy,” performers ages 16 and up are encouraged to audition. There are several roles for older actors. As indicated above, a separate audition will be held Sunday afternoon for children. All auditioners should prepare a 32-bar up-tempo song selection from a Broadway musical written before 1975. Please no rock or pop selections. Some roles do not require singing, but everyone interested in being in the production should prepare a vocal audition. Bring properly marked sheet music. An accompanist will be provided.

All females auditioning for the production will be required to do a short dance audition. All males auditioning for the production under the age of 30 will also be required to do a dance audition. No preparation is required. Males over the age of 30 need not do a dance audition.

For the second production the director will be casting actors ages 15 and up. Actors of color are especially encouraged to audition. Please prepare a 32-bar cut of a song from a contemporary musical. Bring properly marked sheet music; an accompanist will be provided. All actors will also be required to do a dance audition.

Auditioners may audition for both productions. People who are auditioning for both shows should prepare two different songs.

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 a comedic monologue not more than two minutes in length, one song (see guidelines above), and a 90-second dance solo. Please send a ling to a video hosted on the internet; e.g., YouTube or Vimeo. Do not send attached files via email. You may also submit a DVD following the same guidelines, which should be received prior to the audition dates.

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

Auditioners should bring two copies of their resumes and headshots.

“Gypsy” will be directed by Charles Richter, with choreography by Karen Dearborn and musical direction by Michael Schnack. Rehearsals are May 24 through June 14, Tuesday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m. Young actors will not be called during school hours and will generally be released by 9 p.m. Performances are June 14 through July 3, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

The second production will be directed by James Peck, with choreography by Samuel Antonio Reyes and musical direction by Ed Bara. Rehearsals are June 21 through July 12, Tuesday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m and 7 to 11 p.m. Performances are July 13-31, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. A performance rights agreement prevents SMT from announcing the title of the second production at this time, but full details are available on the website.

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.

High school stage management internships are available for those who will be at least 16 years old by the time they begin working for MSMT. Interns work alongside college students and professionals from the College, and guest artists from New York, learning valuable skills that they can take back to their high school programs. Interns receive a $400 stipend for the summer.

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.

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MCCC’s West End Student Theatre And NOW Chapter To Present ‘Vagina Monologues’ Feb. 25‏

Pottstown, PA — Montgomery County Community College’s West End Student Theatre (WEST) group, in collaboration with the students’ recently formed chapter of the National Organization for Women, will present Eve Ensler’s award-winning “The Vagina Monologues,” on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. in the South Hall Community Room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The students will be performing this as part of a national initiative known as V-Day to help raise awareness of violence against women and girls.

The show is open to the community, but anyone under 18 years must be accompanied by an adult due to the explicit content of the production. Tickets cost $2 at the door. Proceeds will benefit The Laurel House, a comprehensive domestic violence agency serving individuals, families and communities throughout Montgomery County.

Participants include Joanna Bak, Maliah Buxton, Tess Devlin, Rebecca McGovney-Ingram, Jamie Menio, Shelby Poston, Lavinia Soliman and Cat Urbanski, with Director Morgan Carrasquillo, Stage Manager Maliah Buxton and WEST Advisor Tim Gallagher.

MCCC’s V-Day joins thousands of other community groups which perform “The Vagina Monologues” each February. “The Vagina Monologues” consists of a series of monologues performed by women covering a variety female experiences. Ensler considers the show a conversation about women’s sexuality that should be centered in the global discussion on stopping violence against women and girls.

This type of community activism is what inspired several female students to form a local chapter of the National Organization for Women, a grassroots organization dedicated to the advocating for women’s rights. At MCCC, the chapter is led by President Lavinia Soliman and advisor Rebecca McGovney-Ingram.  The MCCC Campus NOW chapter meets every Friday between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on both Central and West campuses to discuss modern feminism and campus outreach events.

According to its website, V-Day is “a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.” Through V-Day campaigns, activist groups present productions, such as “The Vagina Monologues” to raise awareness about violence and funding to support anti-violence community organizations. For more information, visit http://www.vday.org

‘Servant of Two Masters’ at Muhlenberg‏ College

Allentown, PA – In 18th century Venice, Commedia dell’Arte was king. The classic theatrical style, which features masks, stock characters, and comic improvisation, was beloved by the nobility and working class alike, and trips to see the side-splitting misadventures of the masked characters were a vital part of the Venetian social scene.

Now, for the first time, a Commedia dell’Arte play will appear on the Muhlenberg College mainstage: Carlo Goldoni’s comic masterpiece “Servant of Two Masters,” directed by Muhlenberg theater professor Francine Roussel.

Presented by Muhlenberg’s Department of Theatre & Dance, “Servant of Two Masters” runs Dec. 3–6 in the College’s Baker Theatre. Tickets and information are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre and at 484-664-3333.

A longtime teacher and practitioner of Commedia dell’Arte, Roussel says that modern audiences are consistently surprised by how relevant — and how funny — they find “Servant of Two Masters” to be.

 “‘Servant’ is a comedy of all times,” Roussel says. “It doesn’t age, and humans are humans. We can all recognize ourselves in the 18th century stock characters.”

The play follows the misadventures of the scheming servant Arlecchino, who comes up with a plan to sate his legendary appetites: he will serve two masters at the same time, and thus receive twice the money and twice the meals. But serving more than one master could land him in deep trouble, so Arlecchino must hide his double life. Comedy unfolds against a Venetian backdrop of romance and deception.

The Commedia dell’Arte tradition dates back to the 1500s and is a direct precursor of today’s slapstick and sketch comedy. In fact, the word “slapstick” derives from a prop that Commedia actors use to hit each other as loudly (and painlessly) as possible. The modern Harlequin figure, with his familiar patchwork costume, also traces his roots to Commedia; the English name “Harlequin” and Italian “Arlecchino” both derive from the French “Arlequin,” and the character had already been around for more than 150 years by the time he appeared in “Servant of Two Masters,” in 1746.

“The character of Arlecchino is so unique, so endearing, and so energetic,” Roussel says. “Everybody wants to follow him wherever he wants to go.”

The role of Arlecchino will be played by Muhlenberg senior Henry Evans, an actor, dancer, and acrobat who co-founded Muhlenberg’s Circus Workshop in the spring of 2014. Evans will put his acrobat and juggling skills to good use in the production. He says that working on “Servant” has been similar in many ways to his circus performances.

“It’s like a juggling routine,” he says. “It’s this balance of keeping the tradition of Commedia, but at the same time putting our own spin on it, making it contemporary.”

For an undergraduate theater program, Muhlenberg has an unusual degree of connection to the Commedia dell’Arte tradition. Roussel frequently teaches a Commedia class, and a three-month, Commedia-centered program in Arezzo, Italy, is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for Muhlenberg theatre students.

Roussel holds Master of Arts degrees in both modern European and classical French literature from the University of Paris, La Sorbonne. She also earned the Certificat of L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Paris, where she studied mime and mask. Roussel was part of the “Groupe des 50,” which established the Actors Studio in Paris. She has worked extensively in theatre and film in both Europe and the United States over the past several decades.

The production also features scenic and lighting design by Curtis Dretsch, costume design by Liene Dobraja, and fight choreography by Michael G. Chin.

Performances of “Servant of Two Masters” are Dec. 3 – 6: Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 3-5, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students. Performances are in the Baker Theatre in the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance at Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

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

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

Steel River Playhouse 2015-2016 Season

Picture 577LIVE at Steel River Playhouse

Laugh. Cry. Sing. Dance. Think. And be prepared for the unexpected! From the holiday classic White Christmas, to our American Classics offering The Glass Menagerie, to the beloved musical Fiddler On The Roof, to the sharp satire of The Colored Museum, there’s something for every theatergoer to love in our 2015-2016 season!

For tickets, click “Online Tickets” or contact 610.970.1199 or http://www.steelriver.org/current-season/out-2015-2016-season/. For subscriptions or group sales of 10 or more, including personal or business events and receptions, contact http://www.steelriver.org/current-season/subscription-plans/.

Montgomery County Community College West End Student Theatre And Theatre Arts Program To Present ‘Fuddy Meers,’ A Comedy By David Lindsay-Abaire

West End Student Theatre students rehearse for the upcoming performance of David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Fuddy Meers” Nov. 12-14 in Montgomery County Community College’s South Hall Community room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Photos by Diane VanDyke

West End Student Theatre students rehearse for the upcoming performance of David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Fuddy Meers” Nov. 12-14 in Montgomery County Community College’s South Hall Community room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Photos by Diane VanDyke

Pottstown, PA — Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program are proud to present “Fuddy Meers,” a comedy by Pulitzer prize-winning dramatist, David Lindsay-Abaire.  Show dates are Thursday, Friday & Saturday, November 12, 13 and 14 at 7 p.m., with a special afternoon performance Friday, Nov. 13 at 12:30 p.m.

All performances will be held in MCCC’s South Hall Community Room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518. This production contains adult language and themes.

“Fuddy Meers” is an entertaining, funhouse mirrors-type comedy. In it, when Claire wakes up each morning, her loving husband patiently explains that she suffers from a form of psychogenic amnesia that erases her memory every night when she goes to sleep.  Life with a new blank slate every day seems to suit Claire just fine, but who is that limping man in the ski mask? Or his accomplice with the sock puppet? And why does he say her husband is trying to kill her?

“David Lindsay-Abaire’s play is wickedly fun, sometimes brutal, often quirky and ultimately sweet,” says director Tim Gallagher.

Directed by Gallagher, assisted by Carly Watson and stage managed by Morgan Carrasquillo, the cast includes Joe Donely, Michaela Santiago, Derek Peterson, Tess Devlin, Lexi Lyon, Erik Reyes, and Kayla Velasquez. The production is designed, produced and presented by the students of the West End Student Theatre (which includes Morgan Carrasquillo, Joe Donley, Shari MacNeill, Scott MacNeill, Tess Devlin, Zachary Clark, Christian Flint, Carly Watson, and Matt Giongo), under the guidance of Tim Gallagher and Christopher Kleckner.

Free parking is available. For directions, visit http://www.mc3.edu/about-us/directions-and-maps.

Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Stages A Razzle-Dazzle ‘Chicago’

Allentown, PA — The razzle-dazzle vaudeville-style musical “Chicago,” about two fame-obsessed murderesses in 1920s Chicago, will be presented for the first time on the Muhlenberg College stage, Oct. 30 – Nov. 8. Directed by Muhlenberg theater professor Charles Richter, the show shines a spotlight on America’s obsession with celebrity, as well as showcasing the depth of talent in Muhlenberg’s theater and dance department.

“I think the show says something prescient about the nature of American life and the nature of celebrity,” Richter says, “and it says it with a great deal of wit and some venom.”

The show’s score, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, features the Broadway standards “All That Jazz,” “Cell Block Tango,” “Mr. Cellophane,” and “Razzle Dazzle.” The original production in 1975 was directed and choreographed by renowned Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse, who co-wrote the book with Ebb.

“Chicago” will be presented in Muhlenberg’s Empie Theatre, in the Baker Center for the Performing Arts, Oct. 30 through Nov. 8. Muhlenberg dance professor Jeffrey Peterson choreographs the production, and music faculty member Michael Schnack serves as musical director.

In the city of Chicago in the Roaring Twenties, chorus girl Roxie Hart murders her unfaithful lover and convinces her hapless husband to take the rap — until he finds out he’s been duped and turns on Roxie. While behind bars, Roxie connects with fast-talking lawyer Billy Flynn, who’s got a plan to get her acquitted and make her a star. But Roxie soon finds herself vying for the spotlight with another “merry murderess,” Velma Kelly, a vaudeville performer in jail for killing her husband and sister, whom she found in bed together. Ultimately, the two join forces in pursuit of their own version of American Dream: fame, fortune, and acquittal.

“This is a show that demands a stage full of triple-threats,” adept at dancing, singing, and acting, Richter says. “I’m very excited about this cast. It’s one of the best I’ve directed in 38 years at Muhlenberg.”

“Chicago” was revived on Broadway in 1996 — a production that won the Tony Award for Best Revival, and that is still playing today, holding records as the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

“It’s a very different show from the current revival,” Richter says. “The show is fully staged and has elaborate scenery, courtesy of designer Tim Averill. It’s also very much involved with the period of the 1920s in Chicago.”

Performances of “Chicago” are Oct. 30 – Nov. 8. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with an additional 2 p.m. show on Saturday, Oct. 31. Regular admission tickets are $22. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8. Group and season subscription rates are available.

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

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

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

Lehigh Valley UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF BETHLEHEM presents:

October 30, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Baker Center for the Performing Arts
Escher String Quartet


PENNSYLVANIA SINFONIA ORCHESTRA presents:

October 23, 2015 | 7:00 pm @ Brookside Country Club
Not-Just-Art Auction


MORAVIAN COLLEGE MUSIC INSTITUTE presents:

October 16, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Foy Concert Hall
Moving Mountains, CD release performance

October 25, 2015 | 7:00 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
Moravian College Early Music Ensembles

October 30, 2015 | 7:30 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
Moravian College Celtic Ensemble & Guitar Ensemble

November 1, 2015 | 4:00 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
Moravian College Clarinet Choir, Flute Troupe, & Woodwind Trio

November 1, 2015 | 7:00 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
Delta Omicron Musicale

November 8, 2015 | 4:00 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
Moravian College Women’s Chorus

November 8, 2015 | 7:00 pm @ Foy Concert Hall
Moravian College Community Orchestra

November 11, 2015 | 9:00 pm @ Peter Concert Hall
M.I.M.E. (Moravian Improvised Music Ensemble)


MORAVIAN COLLEGE THEATRE COMPANY presents:

November 5, 6, 7, 2015 | all evening performances 8:00 pm @ Arena Theatre
November 8, 2015 | matinee performance 1:00pm @ Arena Theatre
Exhibit A
Click to purchase tickets for individual performances:
Nov. 5 at 8pm
Nov. 6 at 8pm
Nov. 7 at 8pm
Nov. 8 at 1 pm

PURCHASE TICKETS AT OUR BOX OFFICE TODAY!

Steel River Playhouse – Annual Gala – September 12, 2015

Picture 577Steel River Playhouse cordially invites you to our 2015 Annual Gala! Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Steel River Playhouse invites you to join us for our first ever formal Gala to kick-off our 2015-2016 season with “An Evening In Paris.” Come with us and enjoy a night of amazing food, great people and a sneak peek at some of the entertainment this upcoming season. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre’s 35th Season Features World Premiere Children’s Musical “Grimm!”

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.

Overhaul Possible For West Mifflin’s Century III Mall

The Century III Mall could be in for a dramatic makeover as the owner considers demolishing part of the complex to provide more retailers with outside entrances and bring in medical offices and a hotel.

A preliminary plan posted — and later removed on Thursday — from the website of the mall’s owner, Las Vegas-based Moonbeam Capital Investments, called for opening the center part of the 1.3 million-square-foot complex so that it would resemble more of a outdoor shopping plaza.

It also called for a movie theater and 14,800-square-foot hotel, as well as transforming a vacant Sears store into medical offices or an assisted living facility.

Calls and email messages left for Moonbeam officials were not returned. However, West Mifflin officials said they had been talking with Moonbeam about the overhaul.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/8458529-74/mall-moonbeam-century#ixzz3bXtyh8Hk
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

10 Reasons To Visit Downtown York This Summer

If you love bacon, beer and the beach, then a trip to York City might be worth your while this summer.

Downtown York might not be the island vacation you’ve been dreaming about, but you will be able to feel the sand between your toes during at least one York event this summer.

We spoke with Downtown Inc. marketing director Meagan Feeser and some downtown businesses about some of the events, attractions and activities coming to the city in the next few months.

See all ten reasons by clicking here:

http://www.flipsidepa.com/region-yorkhanover/ci_28145589/10-reasons-visit-downtown-york-this-summer?source=most_viewed

Act 1 DeSales University Performing Arts Presents: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

Saturday ◊ May 2, 2015 ◊ 2:00 p.m. Matinee
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
RUSH Tickets
for ONLY
$9.99!

(price of regular ticket at the door $27.00)
Rush Tickets available online only
through Lehigh Valley Arts Council Box Office


Please Note:
** Rush Tickets are available for Balcony 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: 610-282-1100.

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

‘Dance Emerge’ At Muhlenberg College

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.

Upcoming Lehigh Valley Arts Box Office Performances

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

April 26th: 30th Anniversary Concert Gala

Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem

April 11th: Daedalus Quartet

April 25th: Gryphon Trio

May 16th: Walden Chamber Players

Moravian College Music Institute

April 4th: Moravian College Wind Ensemble

April 6th: Moravian College Community Orchestra

April 12th: Jazz @ Moravian

Moravian College Theatre Company

April 25th & 26th: Jesus Christ Superstar

PA Sinfonia Orchestra

April 12: Chamber Orchestra – All Nature Sings

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

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Muhlenberg College’s Acclaimed Theatre & Dance Department Anounces 2013-2014 Season

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ALLENTOWN, PA — Muhlenberg Muhlenberg College‘s nationally-ranked Theatre & Dance Department announces its 2013-2014 mainstage season. Highlights include works ranging from Shakespeare to Caryl Churchill, a biannual festival of student-written plays, and a murder mystery musical comedy.

The season features six fully mounted theatrical productions and three mainstage dance concerts, running from October 2013 to April 2014.

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

The season begins with “New Voices,” Oct. 2-6, a new-play festival featuring the work of students and alumni. The festival features four world premiere plays, with Muhlenberg faculty member Matthew Moore as artistic director.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” Oct. 25 through Nov. 3, directed by Charles Richter, is the musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ final, unfinished novel, filled with mistaken identity, humor, and audience participation. And since the story is unfinished, the audience gets to vote at each performance on how the play will end.

“Moving Stories,” Nov. 14-16, features original choreography by the department’s upperclass dance majors, in a variety of genres and styles. The concert showcases dance as storytelling, narration in human form, addressing themes as broad ranging as the students’ own diverse backgrounds. Karen Dearborn serves as artistic director.

Shakespeare’s rarely produced “The Winter’s Tale,” Nov. 20-24, shows the Bard at his most brilliantly experimental. Director Troy Dwyer’s lean, quick-paced re-envisioning will feature original music and dance by Muhlenberg student artists.

“Master Choreographers,” Feb. 6-8, with artistic direction by Karen Dearborn, features seven works by faculty and guest artists, including a restaging of “D-Man in the Waters” by acclaimed choreographer Bill T. Jones. The “D-Man” performance will be the culmination of a residency by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, sponsored by the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation.

“The Learned Ladies,” Feb 20-23, directed by James Peck, is one of the most popular comedies of 17th century playwright Molière. A satire of academic pretention, the play will feature a faculty spotlight performance by Francine Roussel in the role of Belise.

The “New Visions” Directors’ Festival, March 19-23, will feature the work of three student theater artists. The festival includes: Tom Stoppard’s “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” directed by Ben Wald ’14; “butyou’reaman” a one-person show by Matt Dicken about his experience as a gay man visiting India; and “Still Life with Iris,” directed by Alex McKhann, Muhlenberg’s first mainstage student-directed children’s show.

“Dance Emerge,” April 10-13, showcases the ideas and talents of our brightest young choreographers. The intimate Dance Studio Theatre is the backdrop for innovative, explorative dance pieces. Artistic direction is by Corrie Franz Cowart.

Caryl Churchill’s “Mad Forest,” April 24-26, directed by Beth Schachter, is a play of romance and politics, bookended by weddings. Set during and after the 1989 Romanian Revolution, the play uses the tale of two families to evoke the internal psychological landscapes of people suffering under oppression. The production features a faculty spotlight performance by Holly Cate.

The mainstage performance series is produced by Muhlenberg College’s acclaimed Theatre & Dance Department, Muhlenberg 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 consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and 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

Job/Volunteer Fair – Steel River Playhouse In Pottstown

Picture 577Steel River Playhouse, is holding a Job and Volunteer Fair on Sunday, July 28th from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and Monday, July 29th from 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM.  Interested candidates will have the opportunity to learn about open positions, meet with Steel River’s leadership, and tour the facility.

Paid and stipend positions include Education Coordinator, Music Coordinator, Tech Director, Concessions/Retail Manager, Stage and Music Directors, Production Designers (e.g., sets, costumes, lighting, sound, props, hair and makeup), and Stage Managers. Instructors of music, voice, and acting are also encouraged to apply for future positions that are expected to become available.  Adults and students from middle school age on up can explore a host of volunteer learning and social opportunities in virtually every area of the performing arts center.  High school and college students are also eligible to sign up for internship opportunities to satisfy their volunteer or external learning requirements. Some examples of volunteer opportunities include:

Technical theater (set construction and painting, costuming, lighting and sound operation, props, hair and make-up)

Stage management and backstage run crew

Production Assistants

House management and ushers

Music support, especially piano accompaniment

Riser moves, maintenance and repairs

Administrative support (such as receptionist, phone support, filing, photocopying)

Software and data entry/utilization

Concession and retail sales

Box office

Education support/teacher aides

Event planning and hosting

Fundraising

Marketing and public relations (including social media)

Graphic design

Literary analysis and dramaturgy

Candidates for paid and stipend positions may sign up for initial interview slots ahead of time by contacting marta@steelriver.org or are welcome to request an interview slot on the day of their visit. Additional interviews may be scheduled at other times for those who are not available during the Job and Volunteer Fair.  Department representatives will also be on hand to meet with volunteer candidates to provide information and answer questions.

Steel River also welcomes area performers to visit during the Job and Volunteer Fair to learn more about Steel River’s mission and facilities.  A variety of audition opportunities and instrumental openings are available for the upcoming season.  Come learn about sharing your talent with the community.

JOB DESCRIPTIONS:

Concessions & Retail Manager

Education Coordinator

Music Coordinator

technical director

Penn Cinema Partner Plans York Theater

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

Cinema entrepreneur Penn Ketchum is heeding the advice of 19th century American newspaper editor Horace Greeley.

“Go west, young man.”

Ketchum, managing partner of Penn Cinema, intends to develop a small, luxury two-screen movie theater in York city.

But he said Friday that he has no intention of going south into Lancaster city and doing the same kind of project there.

Ketchum’s $750,000 venture in York was disclosed Thursday by York Mayor Kim Bracey in her State of the City address.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/848107_Penn-Cinema-partner-plans-York-theater.html#ixzz2T2FcRToY