Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Jackie Evancho returns to State Theatre in Easton

A little girl's fascination for the film soundtrack of "The Phantom of the Opera" launched a music career for Jackie Evancho, who, at the age of 10, stunned American television audiences on NBC's "America's Got Talent." She has since released a string of platinum and gold albums and made history as the youngest solo platinum artist and the youngest person to give a solo concert at New York's Lincoln Center. Jackie Evancho will return to the Lehigh Valley on November 29 for a 7:30 p.m. concert at the State Theatre in Easton.

She performed the national anthem at the presidential inauguration in January. She also sang for Pope Francis I during his U.S. visit. In past years, Jackie performed at the lighting of the national Christmas tree in Washington, D.C. and at the National Prayer Breakfast.

All six of her albums have hit No. 1 on the Billboard classical chart. Her newest release, "Two Hearts," from Portrait/Sony Masterworks, features popular hits both old and new, and classical crossover Italian songs. She also shines as a collaborative songwriter with a new, expressive pop sound.

Jackie resides in Pittsburgh with her family and is continuing her education in the midst of touring and recording. She also is a proud supporter of her transgender sister, Juliet, and the struggle for transgender equality.

For further info:



"Cinderella's Christmas" comes to Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown on Saturday at 2 p.m., presented by Kaleidoscope Theatre.

This award-winning show, one of many in the venue's family series programming, is a holiday twist on the classic family favorite, "Cinderella." The musical adaptation of the famous fairytale includes original Christmas songs and lots of audience participation.

Pre-show activities for children will be held in the venue's Rodale Community Room at 12:30 p.m.


Also at Miller Symphony Hall: Two legendary bands – the Beatles and the Rolling Stones – engage in an onstage, throw-down musical "showdown" on November 30 at 8 p.m., with tribute bands Abbey Road and Satisfaction - The International Rolling Stones Show.

With musicianship, costumes and gear, Abby Road will play beloved songs spanning the Beatles' career in a face-off with Stones tribute band, Satisfaction – The International Rolling Stones Show in a rendition of the music and style of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and the bad boys of the British Invasion.

For further info:


Civic Theatre of Allentown's classic holiday tradition of "A Christmas Carol," now in its 28th year, opens December 1 and continues through December 16 at the Nineteenth Street Theatre. Adapted from Charles Dickens by William Sanders and Sharon Lee Glassman, this timeless tale tells of Ebenezer Scrooge and his path to redemption on the road to humanity.

According to Civic Theatre, Holly and Ivy casts delineate the groups of actors portraying urchins and party kids for each performance.

For further info:


The Eric Mintel Quartet will play a benefit "Charlie Brown Christmas" concert on Sunday at 7 p.m., at Trinity Wesleyan Church, 6735 Cetronia Road, Upper Macungie Township, Lehigh County. The fundraiser will benefit the Keystone Warriors organization.

"Charlie Brown captures the innocence in all of us and a much simpler time,"Mintel said. "For me, it means that we can bring people together for these timeless concerts and put smiles on people’s faces in a very cruel world. It's an escape."

This holiday season will find the jazz quartet on tour from New England to Hilton Head, South Carolina, and beyond, according to Mintel. In January 2018, he will be hosting a television show in Princeton, New Jersey, titled "Talking Jazz with Eric Mintel."

He said he also started his own Paranormal Productions company, showcasing haunted historic venues in Pennsylvania and beyond and helping those venues in their marketing to a new audience. He said people can follow the fun spooky videos on Facebook at Bucks County Paranormal Investigations.

For further info: 610-398-1711            


Fecho Productions will present its fourth annual "A Christmas Carol on the Coach" (formerly "A Christmas Carol on the Trolley") beginning December 2 and continuing through December 23, in West Reading.

The interactive family-fun event, sponsored by the L.O.V.E. Team of West Reading, is adapted from the Charles Dickens classic by L J Fecho, owner and founder of Fecho Productions and artistic director of Genesius Theatre in Reading. It unfolds with a Pennsylvania Dutch twist within the holiday glow of charming West Reading.

This year's trolley has been replaced by a more comfortable 36-passenger coach/bus, which creates a "futuristic" way to transport audiences "back to the future" on this Christmas Carol journey through the streets of Olde West Reading Towne circa 1935, according to Fecho Productions. Also, the entire event will evolve only in West Reading with a wine-tasting provided by Starving Artist Winery at Curious Consignments, 605 Penn Avenue, where the coach will start and finish. Doors open approximately 30 minutes before each show time. Stops at participating businesses will offer complimentary snacks or non-alcoholic drinks.

The show has a cast of six characters and features Vicki Nunis and Christine Cieplinski, who alternate in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, Dara Himes, Julia Elberfeld, Apollo Loose, Taylor Clark, Nicolas Freer, Sani Periera, Kelly Schmehl, Ellie Loose, and Joey Lovella.

For further info:


The San Francisco-based Grammy Award-winning ensemble, Chanticleer, will perform "A Chanticleer Christmas" on November 30 at 7:30 p.m., in Schaeffer Auditorium at Kutztown University. This will be the group's first return engagement since December 1992.

Chanticleer is marking its 40th anniversary in 2018. Known as "an orchestra of voices," the 12-member ensemble ranges from soprano to bass with its original interpretations of vocal literature -- from Gregorian chant and Renaissance music to jazz and contemporary compositions.

For further info:


America on Wheels Museum, a museum of over-the-road transportation, will open its holiday train exhibit on Friday through December 30, featuring the cars from Transformer, Bumblebee, Megatron, Sonic, and more. The museum is located at 5 North Front Street, Allentown.

Lehigh Valley's Robin and Jim Seip will perform holiday tunes and songs of the 50s on Saturday at 11 a.m., at the museum. The duo has been entertaining locally and nationally for more than 30 years, singing Motown, Oldies, Standards, Disco, Blues, Country, and Top 40.

On Sunday at 1 p.m., "Christmas Marionettes and Elves Meet the Mock Turtle Marionettes." The Mock Turtle Marionettes, based in Bethlehem, are entering their 34th season as a puppet theater company. They have appeared in schools, theaters, museums, libraries and festivals, including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the New York International Fringe Festival.

The museum is a site for Toys for Tots, where new, unwrapped toys may be brought for delivery to children in need.

For further info:


Centenary Stage Company, 715 Grand Avenue, Hackettstown, New Jersey, is presenting the Tony Award-winning Disney's "Newsies the Musical," opening Friday through Dec. 10 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center. Music is by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and book by Harvey Fierstein.

The musical, set in New York City 1899, is based on the Disney film written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White.

For further info:


The Thomas the Tank Engine Fun Room with Thomas the Tank Engine and his friend, Percy, will open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, 432 West Walnut Street, Allentown.

The holiday exhibit runs through December 30, Saturdays only, with magical railroad layouts, the sound of steam locomotives, and the power of modern diesels. Puppet shows and crafts also will be featured.

For further info:


Pilgrims wash ashore in Massachusetts in 1620, turning North American life on its ear, in the world-premiere production of the new musical comedy, "The New World," currently running through December 2 at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope.

The work received its first reading at the Playhouse's Oscar Hammerstein Festival in 2014. Book is by Regina DeCicco and L.F. Turner, music by Gary Adler ("Altar Boyz"), and lyrics by Phoebe Kreutz. Stafford Arima (Broadway's "Allegiance") is director, with choreography by Bucks County Playhouse Artistic Associate, Lorin Latarro ("Waitress").

"The New World" re-imagines the myth of the first meeting of the Pilgrims and Native Americans, with the latter enjoying a gluten-free, low-carb, artisanally happy life when they are invaded by the nation's first immigrants – Pilgrims! There goes the neighborhood, but in the tradition of all musical comedies, love wins!

The cast includes a mix of Broadway veterans and newcomers: Ann Harada ("Avenue Q" and "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella") as Chief Hyannis; Jillian Gottlieb (Theater under the Stars "Into the Woods" and "The Golden Bride" off-Broadway) as Susanna Standish, and Jennifer Perry (Broadway's "Kinky Boots" and "Mamma Mia!") as Joan.

Theater and recording star, Justin Guarini, has been temporarily stepping in for Julius Thomas III as Santuit while Thomas recovers from a minor injury, according to a news release.

For further info:


"Happy Thanksgiving to all!"


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