Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Insight into art, artists with 'Sunday in the Park with George'

Two artists, a century apart, strive to realize their artistic vision and create something new – without losing hold of the people they love. Such is the case with Stephen Sondheim's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, "Sunday in the Park with George," which opens Friday and runs through November 5 at Muhlenberg College's Empie Theatre in the Baker Center for the Performing Arts in Allentown.

The show, with music and lyrics by Sondheim and book by James Lapine, is based on Georges Seurat's famous pointillist landscape painting.

James Peck, director of the Muhlenberg production, calls the musical "perhaps the most intimate and personal work of Sondheim's career. This musical, I think, is one of Sondheim's masterworks, truly one of the great musicals of the last 30 to 40 years. It looks at the lives of great artists, and artists who are trying to be great, and asks whether they can maintain the rigor and intensity that great art demands without destroying everything else in their lives."

The first is Georges Seurat (1859-1891), a French post-Impressionist painter who pioneered the painting techniques known as chromoluminarism and pointillism, using the science of color to evoke qualities of light and harmony. The second is Seurat's fictional great-grandson, a 20th century artist who builds innovative sculptures – he calls them Chromolumes – that project images and light.

The Muhlenberg cast includes Evan Brooks, who plays both Georges: Seurat and his 20th-century great-grandson. Kelly Shannon is Dot, who plays Seurat’s model and mistress, and also Marie, Dot and Seurat's daughter, who is the modern-day Georges' grandmother. Aside from the two lead roles, the show will feature alternating casts of performers.

Musical director/conductor is Ed Bara; scenic designer, Curtis Dretsch; costume designer, Matt Riley, and lighting designer, Susan Hamburger.

For further info: muhlenberg.edu/theatre

 

ARTS ROUNDUP

It's just not Halloween until you include a late-night screening of the cult classic film, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," on Friday and Saturday at 11:30 p.m. at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem.

The screenings will include performances from the Sweet Translucent Dreams shadow cast. Costumes and props are encouraged, but no squirt guns.

The new SteelStacks Zombie Ball, presented by Lehigh Valley Scream Park, will be held Saturday at 8 p.m. in the center's Musikfest Café, with live music from Flowers for Taco and DJ Jamal Knight, and an eerie aerial performance by Aerial Minds.

Guests are encouraged to wear their favorite formal wear with creepy zombie makeup. Prizes will be awarded for best-dressed zombie man, woman and couple; however, Halloween costumes are welcome.

For further info: steelstacks.org

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Back by popular demand will be Richard O'Brien's "The Rocky Horror Show," live on stage at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, with weekend performances at 11 p.m. The production will feature Randy Harrison from Showtime's "Queer as Folk."

The musical, with book, music and lyrics by O'Brien, inspired the 1975 classic cult film, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Director is Hunter Foster; choreographer is Lorin Latarro.

The production is recommended for audiences no younger than 17.

For further info: bcptheater.org

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"Evil Dead The Musical" combines all the elements of the cult classic films, "The Evil Dead," "Evil Dead 2," and "Army of Darkness," for a theatrical experience live on stage on Halloween night (Tuesday) at 7:30 p.m., at the State Theatre in Easton.

Five college students go to an abandoned cabin in the woods, where they accidentally unleash an evil force that turns them into demons. It’s all up to Ash and his trusty chainsaw to save the day. The show is described as pure comedy from start to finish, having fun with the horror genre. It does have a "splatter zone," where a section of the audience gets covered in fake blood. The show has played off-Broadway, in Toronto, and around the world.

Other offerings at the State: "The Original Stars of American Bandstand," Saturday at 8 p.m., with voices and music that defined a generation. Video of Dick Clark, creator of "American Bandstand," will take the audience right back to those glory days.

Changing the pace, the New York City-based Well-Strung Quartet will play classical pieces with a modern pop twist on November 2 at 7:30 p.m. The group performed with the New York City Gay Men's Chorus at Town Hall in 2016. They have played at the Vatican and for President Obama. A special performance was requested by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton after the release of the group's viral music video, "Chelsea’s Mom."

For further info: statetheatre.org

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Lehigh University's Choral Arts, led by director Steven Sametz and associate director Sun Min Lee, will present a sampling of British vocal music through history in a concert, "Crown Jewels," on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., at the Zoellner Arts Center in Bethlehem.

The concert will feature Lehigh ensembles: University Choir; the women's group Dolce; the men's Glee Club, and the Choral Union, a mix of student and members of the community.

"Crown Jewels" will feature music from the British Isles, from the Renaissance through the 20th century, ranging from sacred music to excerpts from Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance." Lehigh University organist Ian Tomesch will perform a solo and also accompany the choral anthems.

For further info: zoellnerartscenter.org

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Actor and musician Dennis Quaid and his band, The Sharks, will perform at the Musikfest Café at SteelStacks in Bethlehem on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Best known as an actor, Quaid's career spans a wide variety of dramatic and comedic roles, including "The Day After Tomorrow" and "Footloose." In his spare time, he said he enjoys writing songs and performing with The Sharks.

For further info: steelstacks.org

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Artist Heather Sincavage uses the human body as a unit of measurement in examining the potency of our emotions in "A Measure Of," beginning Monday and continuing through December 15 at the Ronald K. DeLong Gallery at Penn State Lehigh Valley in Center Valley.

An artist reception will be held November 8 from 5 to 7 p.m., with a gallery talk December 4 from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.

Sincavage said she uses numerous studio methods in this body of work, 'a measure of' -- drawing, sculpture, installation, photography, and recorded performance – "as an attempt to prove our ontological existence."

For further info: 610-285-5261

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The Betty Aierstock Moore Memorial Concert will feature composer, arranger and jazz pianist Frank Giasullo on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., at Foy Concert Hall, Hurd Campus, Moravian College in Bethlehem. Joining him will be Neil Wetzel on saxophone, Paul Rostock on bass, and Ron Glick on drums.

The concert is being offered in memory of Betty Aierstock Moore, honoring her substantial contribution to the college’s All-Steinway initiative.

For further info: moravian.edu/music

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