Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Organ donation hits home with Global ImpACTORS production

A family that has experienced one of its own receiving an organ transplant knows what a precious gift has been received -- the gift of life. Such testimonies by local recipients will be presented Saturday at a "Talk Back" following Global ImpACTORS Group (GIG) production of Sean Grennan's comedy/drama, "The Tin Woman," at the Macungie Institute. The play, which follows the journey of a recent heart transplant recipient exploring her second chance with a new heart and the donor's family, opens Friday and runs through May 20.

"This new dynamic enthralls us as we become absorbed in each character's predicament," explained Tesia Nicoli, artistic director of GIG. "We laugh through our tears as the characters fight to find the new normal under extraordinary circumstances."

Nicoli said Saturday's "Talk Back" following the 7 p.m. performance will have her cast and crew on a panel with heart transplant recipient Todd Stickel of Macungie, Lehigh County, and Sue Seidel, chair of Gift of Life's Lehigh Valley Coalition and also a donor family. Seidel's son, Brian, was a donor 15 years ago following a motorcycle accident in Florida. Questions and feedback from audience members is encouraged, Nicoli said.

"The Tin Woman" is directed by Eric D. Hersh. Cast members are Marian Barshinger, Trish Cipoletti, Bill Joachim, Ryan MacNamara, Brian Wendt, and Rachel Williams.

"The people at Gift of Life have been so incredibly kind and helpful. It's a fantastic organization," Nicoli said. "It's really nice that the storyline from our play fits in so perfectly with the charity we are supporting this time around."

Nicoli said the cast and crew have really embraced organ donation because of this show.

"We've learned a lot and we hope our show brings more attention to this incredibly important issue," she said. "...We are proud to support Gift of Life Family House with this production. It serves as a 'home away from home' for transplant patients and their families by providing temporary, affordable lodging and supportive services to those who travel to Philadelphia for transplant-related care."

Gift of Life Family House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization.

Nicoli said the run of a show allows GIG to help in supporting a charity or someone in need through the art of theater. If someone is suffering from unfortunate conditions or a severe health problem, she encourages him or her to contact GIG for consideration of help through a future production.

The Macungie Institute is located at 510 East Main Street, (Route 100), Macungie, Lehigh County.

For further info: 484-891-1314           


The 110th Bethlehem Bach Festival kicks off the first of two weekends, on Friday and May 19 at 8 p.m., at Lehigh University's Packer Memorial Church in Bethlehem (and at various Bethlehem venues) with both The Bach Choir and Orchestra with a French overture, the opening moments of Cantata No. 97, In allen meinen Taten. A Telemann concerto will feature artist-in-residence and recorder virtuoso Tricia van Oers, joined by viola da gambist Mollie Glazer. The concert will conclude with Bach’s Cantata No. 110, Unser Mund sei voll Lachens.

Saturday mornings (May 13 and 20) at 10:30 a.m. at the Zoellner Arts Center will feature the Bach Festival Orchestra and Bel Canto Children’s Chorus, plus Mock Turtle Marionette Theatre in an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Nightingale," with music by Mozart, Couperin, Bach, and Bolcolm. Trish van Oers will perform on recorder as the voice of the nightingale.

Following Saturday's performances will be Zimmermann's Coffee House from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in Peter Hall of Moravian College, where patrons can listen to Baroque chamber music performed by young musicians and purchase German-themed food and drink. There also will be surprise appearances by Conductor Greg Funfgeld and friends. The coffee house is modeled after Zimmermann's Coffee House of Bach’s time in Leipzig.

For further info:


The Forks Area Art Society is hosting an exhibit this month at the Cottage in the Woods, 700 Zucksville Road, Forks Township, Northampton County, featuring artists Felicia Peeks, Colleen Schutzer, Bill Mutschler, and Jeffrey Green.

The show runs every Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m., except May 20, when the society's fourth annual "Amp Up the Art, Art in the Park" will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Forks Township Community Center Amphitheater, 500 Zucksville Road, Forks Township. Entertainment will be provided by The Blues Professors, singer Heidi Ott, and guitarist Wayne Scott Farley.

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"Rock On!" Classic Rock & Pop from the 1970s and 1980s is the Allentown Symphony pops concert on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown. Conducting is Ronald Demkee.

Guest artists Morgan James, Rob Evan, and LaKisha Jones will journey back to the rock and pop hits of the 70s and 80s, including hits by such rock and pop legends as Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Queen, and many more.

Epic recording artist Morgan James' Broadway credits include four original casts: "Motown: the Musical," the Broadway revival of "Godspell," Frank Wildhorn's "Wonderland," and "The Addams Family" starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth.

Rob Evan appeared in the original Broadway cast of "Jekyll & Hyde," and as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables," Kerchak in "Disney's Tarzan," The Dentist in "Little Shop of Horrors," and Count von Krolock in Jim Steinman's "Dance of the Vampires." He also is a member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra rock band.

LaKisha Jones was a top four finalist during the 2007 season of "American Idol," where she sang the "Dreamgirls" showstopper, "And I Am Telling You." She appeared on Broadway in the Oprah Winfrey-produced, Tony Award-winning musical, "The Color Purple." She also provided vocal coaching on MTV's reality competition, "Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods."

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Up to 50 advanced high school musicians from the Lehigh Valley area (Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Pike counties) will be participating with The Allentown Band in a "Side-by-Side Concert" on Sunday at 7:30 p.m., at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown. Guest conductor and cornet/trumpet soloist will be Capt. Lewis J. Buckley, USCG, Ret., conductor of the U.S. Coast Guard Band and music director and conductor of the Metropolitan Wind Symphony (Boston Area). Conductor of The Allentown Band is Ronald Demkee.

A performance also is scheduled for May 21 at 7:30 p.m., at Schaeffer Auditorium at Kutztown University.
Capt. Buckley, born in Columbus, Ohio and raised in Florida, studied at the Eastman School of Music and Connecticut College. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard Band in 1969, and served as principal trumpet and trumpet soloist for six years. In 1975, he became the Coast Guard Band’s fifth director at age 27, a post he held for nearly 30 years, becoming the longest-tenured conductor of a senior military band in American history. Upon his retirement in 2004, he was named conductor laureate of the U.S. Coast Guard Band.

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New plays written by local elementary, middle and high schools students will be performed at Touchstone Theatre's 12th "Young Playwrights' Festival" on Saturday at 7 p.m., at Baker Hall at Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, Bethlehem. A pre-show "meet the playwrights" party and post-show gala reception will be held in the Black Box Theatre.

Young Playwrights' Lab is an eight-week arts and literacy residency developed by Touchstone and the Bethlehem Area School District using theater as a "Trojan Horse" to improve student attitudes toward writing and creative self-expression. The program culminates with each student writing an original, one-act play for consideration in the festival.

Selected for full production this year are: "An Ancient Trap" by Modesty Castro of Freemansburg Elementary; "Holding On" by Alycia LaLuz of Liberty High; "Declared War" by Isaiah Santana of Lincoln Leadership Academy; "The Haunted Football Field" by students of Easton Area Academy, and "Crazy Farm Family" by Dianaliz Vargas of Central Elementary.

Select scenes from the four semi-finalist plays will be performed by Touchstone Ensemble and teaching artists: "The Puppy Eating Zombie" by Niasia Sanchez of Marvine Elementary; "Willy the Whale" by Jomari Sotomayor of Lincoln Elementary; "Jade, Theodore, & the Library" by Seraphina Papagni of Farmersville Elementary, and "The Princes, Superman, and the Apple Pie" by Alyssa Lynn Nonnemacher of Donegan Elementary.

For further info:


The 52nd annual Bethlehem Fine Art and Craft Show will be held Mother's Day weekend along the sidewalks of Main Street in historic Bethlehem. Presented by the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission, more than 80 juried artists and craft artisans will be participating. Artist-in-residence is painter Tim Shanley, who also will have a tent.

This year's judge is artist Kailey Goodnuff, director of K-12 school programs at the Allentown Art Museum. Prizes will be awarded on Saturday at a reception sponsored by the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission.

Children's art activities will be held on the grounds of the Historic Smithy, located across from the Moravian Book Shop.

Show hours are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For further info:


Third Thursday (May 18) in downtown Allentown – Destination: Arts at the Allentown Art Museum will feature selected readings by actors from Civic Theatre on the theme of mothers from "Mommalogues," a play by Sharon Glassman, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Glassman and Gretchen Klinedinst Furst are the authors of "Made from Scratch: Tales of Women Who Take the Cake," which was inspired by "Mommalogues."

Also at the museum from 6:30 to 9 p.m., Allentown Public Theatre will present the play, "Euridice" by Sarah Ruhl, a modern adaptation of the Greek myth that explores the relationship between those alive and dead.

The launch of SOTA's (Society of the Arts) "Luncheon with the Authors" will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Moravian Book Shop, 645 West Hamilton Street, Allentown, with Bethlehem-based author Karen Katchur signing copies of her book, "The Sisters of Blue Mountain." Katchur is one of three authors participating in this year's luncheon event on October 6.

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