Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: St. Nicholas sought for 25th Christkindlmarkt

Calling all St. Nicholas wannabees – there's a very important mission that lies ahead and one to be taken quite seriously. ArtsQuest has decided to go in "a different direction" for this year's 25th Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, said Ryan Hill, ArtsQuest programming director, and is holding an open call for auditions for the role of St. Nicholas.

Closed auditions lasting approximately 15 minutes will be held Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Crayola Gallery of the Banana Factory, 25 West Third Street, Bethlehem, and will involve a basic interview with some improvised situational work. Hill said a group of children also will be present at the auditions as they put potential St. Nick's "to the test."

"We essentially want someone who understands the difference between St. Nick and Santa and is excellent around children," Hill said in a recent phone interview.

"Honoring the tradition of Christkindlmarkt's authentic German St. Nicholas, the selected actor will display the warmth, charm and cheerfulness that has made the Victorian character so popular with the more than 10,000 children who have visited him at the event over the past quarter century," ArtsQuest said in a news release.

The criteria is that actors should be men age 35 or older, 5-foot-9 or taller, and have experience working with children. The selected person must be available during festival hours (Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and will be compensated for his role.

Dates for Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem are November 17-19 and 24-26, November 30-December 3 and December 7-10, 14-17 and 21-23.

To request an audition time, email Cory Stelzman, ArtsQuest performing arts coordinator, at and include an attached resume and headshot. No phone calls will be accepted.

Footnote: Aside from the search for St. Nick, ArtsQuest's Hill said his busiest time in programming is between Christmas and New Year's Day, calling it "an amazing week for comedy (at the venue) featuring local and New York comics who will be home for the holidays." The Christmas season also will offer classics for its December cinema programming, he said.

For further info:



The Lehigh Valley's own, singer/songwriter Ian Holmes II, will perform in concert with special guests on October 20 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hackman's Bible Book Store, 1341 Mickley Road, Whitehall Township, Lehigh County. The free event will mark Holmes' new CD release, "Promise."

Special guests will be Holmes' sister, worship leader Kimberly Holmes, and Uni Lopez and Zuriel Reyes from Trenton, New Jersey. Each will share musical projects that Holmes recently produced for them.

Holmes' "Promise" CD will be available for purchase at the store, and also after the weekend on iTunes and Holmes’ website,

Hackman's Bible Book Store also is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

For further info: 610-264-8600


A jazz band specializing in music from cartoons brings The Queen's Cartoonists to Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Their music runs the gamut from lightning-fast swing arrangements to sync'd video projections, vocal numbers, and comedy. There will be music from classic Warner Brothers cartoons, early Disney films, cult cartoon classics, and modern animation. Featured composers include Raymond Scott, Carl Stalling, Danny Elfman, Alf Clausen, and John Williams.

The Queen's Cartoonists consists of pianist, leader and founder of the group, Joel Pierson, with Rossen Nedelchev on drums, Ian Hutchinson on bass, Drew Pitcher on saxophone, Mark Phillips on woodwinds, and Greg Hammontree on trumpet.

For further info:


Agatha Christie's mystery, "Murder on the Nile," has opened the Main Stage Theatre's 48th season for Act 1 DeSales University in Center Valley. The play, which runs through October 8, is being performed at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts.

"Murder on the Nile" presents a mysterious series of events starting with the 1930s-paddleboat honeymoon on the Nile of newlyweds, wealthy Kay Ridgeway and her penniless husband, Simon Mostyn. They're confronted with discarded friend and Simon's past fiancée, Jacqueline de Severac, who has been stalking the couple through Europe. The plot thickens as murderous hijinks are discovered on board and cruise passengers must try to discover who is innocent and who is guilty.

Director is Steven Dennis; scene designer is Will Neuert; guest costume designer is Deborah Burrill; guest lighting designer is Eric Haugen.

A talk-back with the director and cast will be held Sunday following the 2 p.m. performance. A morning matinee on Tuesday at 9:45 also will be followed by a talk-back.

For further info:


"Now and Zen," with solo shakuhachi music from the ancient Zen tradition to the 20th century, will be performed by Allentown's Nora Nohraku Suggs, shakuhachi, on Friday at 7 p.m., at the Soji Zen Center, 2325 West Marshall Road, Lansdowne, Delaware County.

For further info: 212-242-1750


The genre-defying physical theater masterwork, "Leaps of Faith & Other Mistakes," with the Philadelphia-based Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, will open Touchstone Theatre's 37th season tonight at 8 in Bethlehem.

The production, which runs through Sunday, is described as "a blend of jaw-dropping ensemble acrobatics, dance, theater, and live, original music as it weaves an absurd and intimate tapestry of sublime human idiocy."

Four strangers find each other in a world of weirdos; together, with their trusty sofa as a portal for exploration, they set out on the high seas and leave the world of normalcy behind. But all is not as they imagined it would be, and the audience is left contemplating what we do when we find ourselves lost at sea.

A brief post-performance talk-back will follow with the performers.

"Leap of Faith" premiered in 2015; Almanac recently revisited and revised the show for performance this September in Philadelphia's Fringe Arts Festival. Almanac co-founder is Ben Grinberg.

Footnote: On display in the Touchstone Gallery is an exhibit of glass artwork and photography, "exiSt – exit," by Draga Šušanj, a Catskill, New York-based studio artist who has exhibited throughout the country and in her hometown of Belgrade, Serbia.

For further info:


The National Theatre Live Downtown series continues Sunday at 7 p.m. with Peter Shaffer's iconic play, "Amadeus," broadcast from London's National Theatre to the big screen at Lafayette College's Landis Cinema in Buck Hall, 219 North Third Street, Easton. It stars Lucian Msamati ("Game of Thrones") as Salieri, and with live orchestral accompaniment by the Southbank Sinfonia.

"Amadeus" follows the infamous, rowdy young prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Adam Gillen), as he arrives in Vienna determined to make his mark. Awestruck by his genius, yet seized by obsessive jealousy, court composer Antonio Salieri has the power to advance Mozart’s career or destroy his name.

On Tuesday, globally-renowned choreographer Alonzo King makes his Williams Center debut at the college with his "LINES Ballet" performing at 8 p.m. The program will include King's newest work, "Biophony," created in collaboration with ecologist and soundscape artist Bernie Krause and composer Richard Blackford. The program includes "The Propelled Heart," King's collaboration with Grammy Award-winning singer Lisa Fischer.

For further info:


The 36th annual Heritage Festival will be held Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Berks County Heritage Center, 1102 Red Bridge Road, Bern Township, featuring arts and crafts, antique farm equipment, "Mildred" the Houseboat, tours of C. Howard Hiester Canal Center, Gruber Wagon Works, Melcher's Grist Mill, and Wertz's covered bridge, storytelling by Karen Terri Ludwig, history of the Lenni Lenape Indians with Darius Puff, and guitar workshop with Butch Imhoff.

On stage entertainment beginning at 10:15 a.m. includes Stephanie Grace, Wahoo Medicine Show with George Esparza, Dr. Witzelsucht & Conlin Kershner, Uncle Jake & the 18-Wheel Gang, and an awards presentation and red bridge birthday celebration at 3 p.m.

For further info:


The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley is holding its fall festival on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., featuring an International Children’s Film Festival from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., with the best short films from the New York International Children's Film Festival. Children may be inspired to make their own thaumatrope, a popular 19th-century toy considered to be a precursor to animation.

It's also opening weekend for the museum's fall exhibition, "The Poetry of Nature: Hudson River School Landscapes from the New-York Historical Society." A free guided tour of the exhibition will be held at 2 p.m. Children will be able to create idealized landscapes inspired by works in the exhibition in the upstairs Crayola Classroom.

Sunday also will mark opening day for the Bethlehem Palette Club's 70th anniversary juried art exhibition, which will run through October 29, in the community gallery.

For further info:


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