Out and About: Visit a local museum for free on Museum Day


If you've been thinking about taking the family to one of the region's many local museums, there's no better day than this Saturday.

Admission to more than a dozen museums in Berks County, the Lehigh Valley, New Jersey and the Poconos will be free September 21 as part of Museum Day, hosted by Smithsonian magazine to encourage people to visit museums. Now in its 15th year, the event includes more than 1,500 science centers and museums in 50 states. Previous events attracted more than 400,000 visitors across the country.

At the Allentown Art Museum, see exhibits on Japanese textiles and modernist photography. The Sigal Museum in Easton features an interactive map on the history of Northampton County as well as exhibits on the Lenni Lenape and local candy maker Just Born, and the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem has a new interactive exhibit celebrating 100 years of radio.

Historic Bethlehem Partnership museums are participating, including Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, which has a play area for kids, an artist's gallery and an extensive dollhouse collection, and 1750 Smithy, where families can watch a blacksmith at work.

In Allentown, check out one of the first American cars ever made and try "driving" a Mack Truck at America on Wheels museum, or take in exhibits on the American presidency and native Americans at Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum.

Explore the 1743 Whitefield House at Moravian Historical Society in Nazareth, Northampton County, and learn about the region's historic mule-drawn canal boats at the National Canal Museum in Easton.

In Reading, visit the Reading Area Fire Museum, in a historic fire station that was a landmark in the city, and the Berks County Heritage Center, a complex commemorating eras of Berks cultural history. Nearby is the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, which celebrates Pennsylvania's transportation history with vehicles of all types, from gasoline to electric to horse-drawn.

Participating museums in New Jersey include Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton; The Sarnoff Collection in Ewing; Cooper Gristmill in Chester, and New Jersey State Museum and Old Barracks Museum in Trenton.

Other regional Pennsylvania participants include the Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie; and Fonthill Castle, Mercer Museum, Jame A. Michener Art Museum and Bucks County Civil War Library and Museum all in Doylestown. Pocono area museums include No. 9 Mine and Museum in Lansford; Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science & Art in Scranton and Eckley Miners' Village in Weatherly.

To get free admission for two people, go to Smithsonian.com/museumdaylive to download a ticket. You can download one ticket per email address.

Tennessee Williams' 'Glass Menagerie' at DeSales DeSales University's Act 1 Productions opens its 50th anniversary season with Tennessee Williams' classic memory play "The Glass Menagerie" on the main stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts in Center Valley Sept. 25 through Oct. 6.

Directed by Act 1 Artistic Director Dennis Razze, "The Glass Menagerie" is a semi-autobiographical account of Williams' time spent in 1930s St. Louis.

Amanda Wingfield is a single mother whose husband abandoned the family 16 years before. Her son, Tom, works in a shoe warehouse, setting aside his own ambition to travel and become a writer in order to support his mother and his sister. His sister, Laura, who is based on Williams' own sister, is painfully shy and fragile. Laura had polio as a young woman and now has withdrawn into her world of glass animals. Amanda's only hope is to find a suitor for Laura so that she can marry and have someone to take care of her.

There will be talkbacks with the director and actors after the performances September 29 and 30.

The October 5 performance will feature open captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing and audio descriptions for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. Tickets are half price for patrons using these special services on this date. Please call all Box Office Manager Nicole Moyer, at 610-282-3654, ext. 1 for more information.

"The Glass Menagerie," 8 p.m. September 25-28; October 2-5; 2 p.m. September 29 and October 6; 9:45 a.m. September 30, main stage, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, 2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley. Tickets: $10 to $27. 610-282-3192, www.desales.edu/act1.

Film of Touchstone's 'Steelbound' at NMIH See the play that inspired Touchstone Theatre's upcoming "Festival UnBound" when the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem hosts a free screening of the film of Touchstone and Cornerstone Theatre's original play "Steelbound" at 6:30 p.m. September 25.

Revisit the iconic production that premiered in 1999 as part of "The Steel Festival: The Art of an Industry," a multi-arts festival celebrating Bethlehem's heritage of steelmaking.

The centerpiece of "Festival UnBound," Touchstone's 10-day festival of original theater, dance, music, art, and conversation to celebrate Bethlehem's future, October 4-13, is "Prometheus/Redux," an original play by Gerard Stropnicky commissioned for the festival. Marking the 20th anniversary of Bethlehem Steel's closing, and the seminal work "Steelbound," "Prometheus/Redux" asks what has become of the proud steel-worker Prometheus, and the community, 20 years later no that they are no longer "bound" to the steel industry. Touchstone co-founder and ensemble member Bill George who portrayed Promethius in "Steelbound" returns in "Promethius/Redux."

The 90-minute film will be followed by a talk back with artists, cast members and community leaders who were involved with the original production in 1999.

National Museum of Industrial History is at 602 East Second Street, Bethlehem. For information, go to festivalunbound.com.

Lehigh Valley premier of 'Disenchanted' Star of the Day presents the Lehigh Valley premiere of "Disenchanted! The Musical" is a spoof in which original storybook heroines tell the subversive "true stories" behind the tales as old as time that are definitely not for kids, September 19-28 at The Macungie Institute of Performing Arts and Conference Center.

In this hilarious vaudeville-style show written by Dennis T. Giacino, the princesses are not happy with the way that they're been portrayed in movies and pop culture as helpless and empty-headed, waiting around for their princes to come. In order to set the record straight, these empowered princesses toss off their tiaras, replacing sugary duets and animated teapots by belting out songs that expose the juicy details of each royal's life post-happily ever after.

Will Windsor Erwin directs an all-female cast that features Madeleine Huggins as Snow White, Jessie Dau as Cinderella, Kirsten Almeida as Sleeping Beauty; Juanita-Renay Shockley as The Princess Who Kissed A Frog, Julisa Trinidad as Belle, The Little Mermaid, and Rapunzel, and Christina Concilio as Mulan, Pocahontas and Princess Badroulbadour.

The show is recommended for ages 14 and older for language. Tickets are $20.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. September 19-21 and 26-28; 2 p.m. September 22. The Macungie Institute Performing Arts and Conference Center, 510 E. Main St., Macungie.

For information, call 484-809-9228, or go to StaroftheDay.org.

Improvised Shakespeare Smart, sophisticated and profoundly funny, The Improvised Shakespeare Company, which crafts an original Elizabethan masterpiece on the spot, based on a single audience suggestion will dazzle Williams Center of the Arts audiences with their verbal dexterity, spontaneous soliloquies, and jocular jests on September 25.

The thespians conjure characters from thin air to deliver an entirely unique plot and inventive dialogue for the first time. Replete with ridiculously rhymed couplets and riotous repartee, each show is performed once and only once, by five madcap Chicago actors possessing a mastery of antiquated language.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company, has been performing its critically-acclaimed show to sold-out audiences in Chicago since 2005 and the national touring company entertains audiences across the counry. They have been featured off-Broadway, at the Piccolo Spoleto Fringe Festival, Bonnaroo, the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival, Outside Lands, San Francisco Sketchfest, UCB's Del Close Marathon, and the prestigious Just For Laughs festival in Montreal and Chicago. The company has been named Chicago's best improv group by both the Chicago Reader and the Chicago Examiner and has received numerous awards in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

Tickets are $27 for adults and $6 for students.

The performance is 8 p.m. September 25, at Williams Center for the Arts. For information, call 610-330-5009 or go to williamscenter.lafayette.edu.

RSO presents Rosenkavalier to Rachmaninoff The Reading Symphony Orchestra presents an evening of Rachmaninoff and Strauss, the epitome of Romanticism and some of the most beautiful music ever written for orchestra, Saturday at Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading.

On the program is Johann Strauss' "Don Juan" and "Der Rosenkavalier, op. 59 Suite," and Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 2."

The 60-member Reading Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Andrew Constantine.

The concert is 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $20 to $80 for adults and $10 for students.

All the RSO concerts are presented at Santander Performing Arts Center, 136 North Sixth Street, Reading. For information, call 610-373-7557 or go to readingsymphony.org.

Allentown Symphony welcomes pianist Olga Kern The Allentown Symphony Orchestra's 2019-2020 season opens with two "Rach and Blue" concerts featuring Russian-American pianist Olga Kern, who is now recognized as one of her generation's great pianists, Saturday and Sunday at Miller Symphony Hall. Kerns will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 2." Kern, who won Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition at 17, jumpstarted her career in the United States with an historic Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition - the first woman to do so in more than 30 years.

The ASO, conducted by Diane Wittry, complements the "Blue" opener with two contemporary compositions - Michael Torke's "Bright Blue Music" and Jennifer Higdon's "Blue Cathedral." The concert completes with the greatest waltz of all times - Johann Strauss' "The Blue Danube Waltz."

Tickets are $25 to $72 and free for students. Performances are 7:30 p.m. September 21 and 2 p.m. September 22.

The concert is at Miller Symphony Hall, 23 North Sixth Street, Allentown. For information, call 610-432-6715 or go to millersymphonyhall.org.

'Year of the Dog' exhibit at Baum

Emmaus painter Kacper Abolik kicks off his exhibit "Year of the Dog" at The Baum School of Art with an opening reception 6 to 8 p.m. today during Allentown's Third Thursday. Meet the artist, watch him paint and learn the tango. Light fare, wine and other beverages will be served. All ages are welcome

Abolik has been living and working in New York City, Warsaw, Paris, and the Lehigh Valley and draws inspiration from the flow of Chinese characters, eastern ideology and spirituality, and iconic art and artists throughout history, which he intertwines with modern figures.

Kacper's exhibition will include a wide range of subject matter, including but not limited to flowers, portraits and cityscapes fact -- he will be debuting a cityscape that he has created of Allentown.

Kacper will also be scheduling portrait sittings at The Baum School of Art on Mondays in September and October. Sitting dates are 10:20 a.m. to 2 p.m. September 23; 5 to 8 p.m. September 30; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. October 7 and 5 to 8 p.m. October 14. To schedule a sitting call 610-433-0032. Portrait sittings are free and purchase is optional.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday through October 18.

Historian announces speaking engagements in Boyertown Local historian, former public school English teacher, writer, presenter, potter, and painter, Bob Wood kicks off his fall schedule of informal discussions of local history at Studio B Art Gallery on Sunday with a talk about cannons.

Wood has published four books of local history and is a popular presenter among groups dedicated to preserving local history.

His upcoming hour-long talks at 2 p.m. are "Cannons: New Findings about Casting Cannons for the Revolutionary War at Warwick, Reading, and Hopewell Furnaces," September 22; "Shorts: There are many topics of local 18th & 19th century life that are interesting, yet too short for an hour-long discussion," September 29; "Small Presentation Fraktur - Filled with a combination of color, whimsy, piety, and design, small presentation frakturs provide a window into the soul of early settlers," Oct. 13; "The Owl's Mirror--an evolution of certain folk stories, October 27; "Daniel Royer's Diaries-- An interesting and complete record of 19th century local village life," Nov. 3 and "Keeping Warm in the Old Days--A talk centered on stoves, fireplaces, and firewood" Nov. 10.

Studio B is at 39A East Philadelphia Avenue, Boyertown.

For information go to www.studiobbb.org.

Free concert with Josh Ritter in Easton The State Theatre in Easton is adding a free concert to its September lineup with Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band on Sunday, thanks to WXPN radio.

Ritter is touring in support of his new album, "Fever Breaks," and has added a stop in Easton.

"Fever Breaks" is the 10th album from Ritter, who is known for his distinctive Americana style and narrative lyrics. In 2006, he was named one of the "100 Greatest Living Songwriters" by Paste magazine.

WXPN is the non-commercial, member-supported radio service of the University of Pennsylvania and can now be heard on 104.9 in the Lehigh Valley.

The event is free, but RSVP is required. The link to RSVP is www.eventbrite.com/e/josh-ritter-the-royal-city-band-tickets-69344251523. Seating is general admission.

The concert is 7 p.m. on Sunday.