Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: 'Hamilton' star Leslie Odom Jr. in concert at Zoellner

Tony Award and Grammy Award winner Leslie Odom Jr., who starred as Aaron Burr in the original Broadway cast of the blockbuster musical, "Hamilton," will perform in concert on Saturday at 8 p.m., at the Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem.

The multi-faceted entertainer earned a Tony Award in 2016 as lead actor in a musical for his portrayal of Aaron Burr. He also won a Grammy Award as a principal soloist on "Hamilton's Original Broadway Cast Recording," which won best musical theater album.

For his concert at Zoellner, Odom will perform songs from his critically-acclaimed self-titled jazz album released in June 2016 on S-Curve Records, with reinterpretations of "Look for the Silver Lining," "The Guilty Ones" from "Spring Awakening," and Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Love Look Away."

He will be joined by Michael Mitchell (piano), Steven Walker (guitar), Orlando Le Fleming (bass), and Senfu Stoney (percussion).

Odom can be seen in Kenneth Branagh's reimaging of Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express," featuring an all-star cast including Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, and Dame Judi Dench.

Raised in Philadelphia, Odom made his Broadway debut at the age of 17 in "Rent," before heading to Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama, where he graduated with honors. He is the recipient of a 2002 Princess Grace Award for Acting, which is dedicated to identifying emerging talent in theater, dance and film.

He also appeared in Broadway's "Leap of Faith," for which he won the 2012 Astaire Award for outstanding male dancer on Broadway. It was the Encores! Off-Center production of "Tick, Tick... Boom!" which was his first time working with "Hamilton" creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Among his credits in television, Odom portrayed Sam Strickland in the NBC musical series, "Smash," and Reverend Curtis Scott in "Law & Order: SVU." He starred in the 2012 film, "Red Tails," opposite Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., and David Oyelowo.

In conjunction with Saturday’s concert, a free pre-show performance by jazz pianist Tom Parker will be held in the Zoellner lobbies.

For further info:



With the observance of Veterans Day on Saturday, I want to say "thank you" to our veterans for their service to our country. My dad served in World War II during the Battle of the Bulge in Normandy; my husband served in Vietnam during the first Tet Offensive, and my son-in-law is serving with the Army Reserves, having done three tours to date.

Many events honoring our veterans will be taking place in the Lehigh Valley on Saturday, including:

"The Greatest Generation: Untold Stories of World War II," 1 p.m., ArtsQuest Center, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem. This free event will feature first-hand accounts of veterans's experiences while protecting and serving our nation.

Special guests: Frank Lordan of Philadelphia, U.S. Army ammunition corporal who operated a piece of artillery equipment called a proximity fuse that Patton credited with helping to win the Battle of the Bulge;

Sgt. Paul Kunkel of Kutztown, a member of the Army's 22nd Special Services Company, who was among those tasked with converting Shinto shrines in occupied Japan into movie houses for U.S. troops;

Bert Winzer of Macungie, Lehigh County, part of the U.S. Army 1st Special Service Force, the grandfather of the special forces; 

and Hank Kudzik of Allen Township, Northampton County, part of numerous submarine missions in the Pacific Ocean, including the sinking of the Japanese carrier Soryu at the Battle of Midway. Moderator: Frank Gunter, retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel and head of Lehigh University's Veterans Association.

For further info:

"Remembering WWI and Armistice Day," 11:30 a.m., Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, 432 West Walnut Street, Allentown. World War I, said to be one of the deadliest, brutal wars in modern history, ended 99 years ago on November 11, 1918. This slide/lecture program (free to museum members) will explore how the war re-drew the map of Europe and set the stage for a second world conflict just two decades later. Personal wartime experiences of individual soldiers will be highlighted.

For further info:

"Hello Vietnam: A Photographer's Perspective," 11 a.m., National Museum of Industrial History, 602 East Second Street, Bethlehem. Talk and photo display by Air Force photographer Ron Luckock, detailing his time in the Vietnam War and including the embassy in Saigon, General Westmoreland, napalm strikes, and helicopter landings. Luckock's service was from 1963 to 1967. Free admission for all veterans.

For further info:

On Sunday:

"Salute the Troops Concert" with the Allentown Band, conducted by Ronald Demkee, 3 p.m., Northeast Middle School, 1170 Fernwood Street, Bethlehem, sponsored by Bethlehem Morning Star Rotary Club. Proceeds benefit Victory House of the Lehigh Valley Veterans Program and other of the Rotary's charitable activities. Participants include Men's Choral of the Lehigh Valley and students from the school band and special chorus. Tickets at the door.

For further info:


The 90th Bach at Noon will be held Tuesday at Central Moravian Church, Church and Main streets in Bethlehem, with J.S. Bach's "Second Brandenburg Concerto in F Major, BWV 1047." Doors open at 11:30 a.m.

The free hour concert will feature Terry Everson, trumpet; Robin Kani, flute; Mary Watt, oboe, and Elizabeth Field, violin.

For further info:


Muhlenberg College dancers tell their stories through movement when the Theatre & Dance Department presents "Moving Stories," a showcase of dance works created by emerging choreographers, beginning tonight at 8 through Saturday in the college's Baker Theatre.

Artistic director is Randall Anthony Smith, who said the program will generate "deep conversations about the complexities of being human. These choreographers are not only taking risks with their unique creative perspectives as artists, but also are challenging audiences to look beyond the moving body."

Guest choreographers are Lisa Bottitta-Busfield and Caitlin Fell. Bottitta-Busfield is an alumna of Muhlenberg's dance program and currently teaches in the program as a part-time lecturer. Fell is a 2016 graduate of Muhlenberg and continues to pursue her interest in dance. She is the assistant director of admissions and financial aid in the college's admissions office.

For further info:


It's "An Evening of Fantasy" on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., when violinist Eric Wyrick and cellist Andre Gaskins play with the Reading Symphony Orchestra at the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading. Music director is Andrew Constantine.

The program will feature the soloists in Miklos Rozsa's "Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Cello & Orchestra, Op. 29," described as a fiery work that builds on Hungarian folk themes. Also on the program is Strauss' whimsical tone-poem, Till Eulenspiegel's "Merry Pranks,"Reznicek's "Donna Diana Overture," and Ravel's "Mother Goose Suite."

For further info:


The PAJAZZ Series VI presents "The Jazz Guitar," featuring guest artist Vic Juris, on Friday at 7:30 p.m., at Foy Hall at Moravian College's Hurd Campus in Bethlehem.

Juris, a New Jersey native, broke into the jazz scene around the 1970s. He has worked with Gary Peacock, Steve LaSpina, David Liebman, Lee Koniz, and Peggy Stern, and recorded with master Phil Woods. Juris has taught at The New School of Contemporary Arts, Rutgers University and Lehigh University, and has written several instruction books for guitar.

Also featured will be the Moravian College BIG Band and the Pennsylvania Jazz Collective directed by Dr. Neil Wetzel.

Members of the Pennsylvania Jazz Collective at this concert will include: John Swana (trumpet), Adam Niewood (saxophone), Tom Kozic (guitar), Bill Washer (guitar), Alan Gaumer (trumpet), Neil Wetzel (saxophone), Paul Rostock (bass), and Bill Goodwin (drums).

For further info:


The Moravian College Community Orchestra, with special guests, violinist Pamela Frank and cellist Peter Wiley, will perform on Sunday at 7 p.m., at Foy Hall at Moravian College in Bethlehem. Conductor is Donald Spieth.

The program will feature Brahms' "Concerto for Violin, Cello & Orchestra, Op. 102, in A minor." Frank and Wiley are on the faculty of Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music.

Additional repertoire on the program will be Salerni's "Upstream/About Two Miles," Walton's "Crown Imperial," and Ravel's "Bolero."

For further info:


GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading is holding its 13th annual juried studio artists's exhibition through January 7, 2018, in the Irvin & Louis E. Cohen Gallery.

The studio artists range from emerging to established professionals with national reputations. They work in a variety of mediums including watercolor, oil, acrylic, photography, ceramics, sculpture, and multi-media.

For further info:


One album I absolutely loved back in 1969 was "In the Court of The Crimson King," with its wonderful cover art that opened into a spread. Those progressive rock icons, King Crimson, are still around, stronger than ever and bringing their 2017 North American "Radical Action" tour to Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown on Saturday at 8 p.m.

King Crimson was conceived in 1968, and officially formed in 1969, in the Fulham Palace Café in London (Fripp/Ian McDonald/Greg Lake/Michael Giles/Pete Sinfield), coming to prominence after supporting The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park. Their ground-breaking debut was "In the Court of The Crimson King."

The current eight-piece lineup – its ninth since 1969 – includes founder Robert Fripp (guitar), Tony Levin (bass), Jakko Jakszyk (guitar/vocals), Mel Collins (flute, saxophone), Gavin Harrison, Pat Mastelotto, Jeremy Stacey and Bill Rieflin (drummers, multi-instrumentalists).

For further info:


Cirque du Soleil brings "Varekai" to the PPL Center in Allentown tonight at 7:30 through Sunday. The event showcases an acrobatic extravaganza with the theme of Icarus for a display of high-level acrobatics and performers ready to accomplish gravity-defying feats.

The story takes place in a forest at the summit of a volcano, where a young man parachutes into a magical forest filled with fantastical creatures.

For further info:


SATORI holds its "EventFull Living" series, Chamber Music with Guitar, on Sunday at 7:30 p.m., at Moravian Square Hall, 175 West North Street, Nazareth, Northampton County.

The free program will feature selections of Telemann and Haydn, plus American music from the Moravian tradition and the songbooks of Stephen Foster... plus tangos.

Reservations encouraged; limited space.

For further info: 610-746-1000


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