Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: David Caserta returns to State Theatre with 'Haunted Illusions'

"Haunted Illusions" will be in town this weekend now that local master illusionist David Caserta is back from a television appearance on the CW Network's "Penn & Teller: Fool Us." Caserta will be performing his Halloween-themed show of illusions on Saturday at 7 p.m., at the State Theatre in Easton.

After working relentlessly on something original for his annual "Haunted Illusions" show, Caserta is excited to be recognized as the only magician in the country to perform his illusion live on stage – cutting HIMSELF in half!

The show will feature a special appearance by WFMZ's Alexandra Hogan.

Caserta's show is one for the family, with lots of original illusions and audience participation, and computerized lighting and special effects. And who knows? Maybe the theater's own "house ghost" may choose to sit in on this one!

Caserta was chosen from among thousands of magicians to perform one of his signature new illusions, "Cutting," for Penn & Teller's show. According to Caserta, it took two years of development to come up with an illusion that would test the knowledge of the Vegas headliners Penn & Teller. He spent the week rehearsing, filming interviews, and performing in the main showroom of the RIO Hotel.

Caserta grew up in Walnutport, Northampton County, and currently resides in Nazareth. He is a graduate of Northampton Area High School and Muhlenberg College for Theater Arts.

For further info:



Reading's Sam van Aken has transformed Lafayette College's Grossman Gallery in Easton into an orchard with his exhibition, "Sam van Aken: Streuobstwiese," exploring agricultural diversity, food security, and cultural preservation. The exhibition runs through December 9 at the Williams Visual Arts Building, 243 North Third Street, Easton.

Van Aken has filled the gallery with remnants of antique variety stone fruit trees, bare-rooted young trees, peach whips suspended from the ceiling, delicate botanical drawings, and herbarium specimens.

"Streuobstwiese" (16th century German for "community-owned, meadow orchard") is van Aken's project to establish orchards of heirloom fruit trees. It evolved out of his "Tree of 40 Fruit" projects in which he grafts multiple varieties of stone fruits onto a root stock, "collapsing" an orchard into a single tree.

According to van Aken, who grew up on a small dairy farm surrounded by cherry and peach orchards, this experiential setting "attempts to address threats to food security and loss of diversity, preserving not just agriculture but the culture that surrounds these increasingly forgotten fruits."

In November 2016, he and members of the city and college communities joined on the Karl Stirner Arts Trail to plant a Stanley Prune Plum (Prunus domestica), the first step in a "Tree of 40 Fruit." This tree will serve as the base. Over a three-year period, budstock from 40 different heirloom and antique stone fruit trees will be collected from local orchards and grafted onto the base to create a unique "Tree of 40 Fruit" for Easton.

Van Aken is graduate coordinator and associate professor of art at Syracuse University.

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The Amazing Kreskin (George Joseph Kresge) comes to the Sellersville Theatre in Sellersville, Bucks County, on Sunday at 1 p.m., with a performance recommended for ages 18 and older.

The mentalist, recognized as an entertainer who makes predictions, had his TV show, "The Amazing World of Kreskin," in the early 1970s. He has appeared on late-night TV shows and on CNN's New Year's Eve show, making predictions for the coming year. His signature act is finding his own check hidden by the audience for his current performance. Should he not find it, he is known not to receive payment for that day.

For further info:


SATORI's annual Daniel Pearl World Music Day concert will be held Sunday at 2 p.m., at Temple Beth El, 1305 Springhouse Road, South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County.

The program will include selections of J.J. Quantz, Shulamit Ran, J.C. Bach, and Beethoven. Musicians will be Nora Suggs, flute; Cheryl Bishkoff, oboe; Rebecca Brown and Mary Ogletree, violin; Agnes Maurer, viola, and Marie-Aline Cadieux, cello.

The Daniel Pearl Foundation was established in memory of journalist and musician Daniel Pearl, to promote communication and understanding through both music and journalism. Each October, concerts are performed worldwide in support of this mission.

Tickets will be available at the door; seating is limited. A reception will follow.

For further info: 610-435-3521


The Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown is offering some Halloween-themed activities, including a stroll along "Jack-O-Lantern Lane," featuring more than 50 creations by sculptor Ian Fetterman of Easton. Viewing can be done through November 5.

The center also is featuring interactive activities that explore various forms of energy. There's the not-so-spooky forest with colors that pop from the wall through special chromadepth glasses; sound travel and various heat signatures using thermal cameras, and Newton's pumpkins, to name some. Weekends feature the new Eerie Energy Live Science Show and Inquiry Island activity.

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The Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra opens its 35th anniversary season with music "From Sunny to Soulful" on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, 1245 West Hamilton Street, Allentown. Music conductor is Allan Birney.

According to a news release, Birney has programmed works that showcase the special capabilities and warm ensemble of the chamber orchestra, which is deliberately small in size to play classical chamber music and with a sound that is agile and intimate – in this case, pieces that express musical emotions, from sunny to soulful, effusive to introspective.

Featured soloist will be Sinfonia principal oboist Cheryl Bishkoff, who will perform the lively "Oboe Concerto in C, K. 314" by Wolfgang Mozart. The program also will include the music of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, and Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn.

For further info:


An evening of conversation and Q&A with Tony Award- and Emmy Award-winner Nathan Lane will be held at the State Theatre in Easton on Sunday at 3 p.m., following a screening of "The Birdcage," in which he stars as Albert Goldman.

Lane's credits are extensive and include "The Producers," both on Broadway and in the feature film. He made his national theater debut as Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner's "Angels in America." On Broadway, he starred in "The Front Page," "The Addams Family," and "Guys and Dolls," to name some. In television, he appeared on "American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson," "Modern Family," and "The Good Wife."

For further info:


Studio B Fine Art Gallery in Boyertown will host the exhibition, "Larger than Life," led by artist Lynn Millar and gallery director Susan Biebuyck, opening Friday and continuing through November 26. A reception will be held Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Artists who were invited to showcase their work offer a closer look via a magnified image or an artistic response to a person, place, thing, or idea that exacts mammoth influence.

The purpose, according to Millar, is to "ever so slightly alter the viewers's perspective as their world seems just a little smaller compared to the artists's interpretation."

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Pink Martini, founded by band leader/pianist Thomas Lauderdale in 1994, will perform at Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem on Saturday at 8 p.m. The band's original mission, according to Lauderdale in a news release, was "to provide more beautiful and inclusive musical soundtracks for political fundraisers for causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education and parks."

The band has performed its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras worldwide, even collaborating with such artists as Carol Channing, Rufus Wainwright, Michael Feinstein, and the original cast of "Sesame Street," to name some. 

"We're very much an American Band," Lauderdale said, "but we spend a lot of time abroad and therefore have the incredible diplomatic opportunity to represent a broader, more inclusive America... the America which remains the most heterogeneously populated country in the world... composed of people of every country, every language, every religion."

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Acclaimed professional storyteller, actress, teacher, coach, writer and entrepreneur, Michaela Murphy, recently was appointed director of education at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope. In her new position, she will be part of the playhouse's first storytelling series beginning Friday at 7 p.m., with "Out on a Limb," in its education center, Lambertville Hall, 57 Bridge Street, Lambertville, New Jersey. Other performances will be held November 17 ("Home: There’s No Place like It") and December 15 ("The Liar Show").

Murphy worked as both an educator and an actress at Edith Wharton's "The Mount" in the Berkshires and at the famed Shakespeare and Company, to the high-tech corridors of Microsoft, and has distinguished herself as one of the country’s top communications specialists.

She has told her stories at Second Stage Theatre, The Atlantic Theater, The Whitney Museum, Lincoln Center, and on NPR's "All Things Considered." Her one-woman show, "Something Blue," has been performed at The Aspen Comedy Festival and Williamstown Theatre Festival. She performs with The Moth in their main stage shows as well as on their national storytelling tours.

Appearing with Murphy on Friday will be James Braly, Ed Gavagan, and Josh Lehrer.

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