Out and About

Out and About: Go back in time at Kutztown Folk Festival

It's time for shoofly pie, square dancing and the most quilts you will see in one place when the Kutztown Folk Festival opens Saturday at the Kutztown Fairgrounds.

It's a summer rite of passage, spending the day among the working craftsmen, petting the farm animals, and watching sheep shearing at the oldest continuously operated folklife festival in America.

The Kutztown Folk Festival celebrates its 70th year with all the great traditional foods and displays visitors have come to expect, plus some exciting new features.

The nine-day festival, which runs through Sunday, July 7, focuses on the traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture.

New this year, the festival will offer an interactive country kitchen experience, concerts by a band touring from Palatine, Germany, and a screening of a documentary on Pennsylvania Dutch culture shot by a German filmmaker.

The festival also features traditional Pennsylvania Dutch food, six stages of entertainment, children's activities, 200 folk artists and craftsmen and more than 2,500 locally handmade quilts on display and for sale.

The festival will welcome Steel Creek Country Band on its opening weekend and Daisy Jug Band the second weekend. Other new bands include 1950s-era swing band Crash Gordon and Debra Dynamite; contemporary folk jazz artists Stella Ruze and the Philadelphia German Brass Band with its 11-1/2 foot Alpine horn.

New Paltz, a folk band from Germany, will make its American debut at the festival, performing daily from June 29 to July 4 as part of a United States-Germany cultural exchange.

In coordination with the exchange, German filmmaker Christian Schega will bring his documentary "The Roots of Pa. Dutch" to the festival. The documentary explores Pennsylvania Dutch culture and language in the Palatine and the United States.

The film will be screened in a special ticketed event at 6:30 p.m. July 2 in the quilt barn. Tickets are $5 and include complimentary beverages.

For decades, the Country Kitchen has been a staple at the festival, offering visitors a glimpse into the tradition of how Pennsylvania Dutch meals were prepared in cast iron stoves in the late 1800s in a 45-minute historical cooking presentation. Now, visitors can buy a "seat at the table" in the Country Kitchen and enjoy traditional foods, such as pig stomach, schnitz and knepp, chicken pot pie, cottage cheese and apple butter, red beat eggs and chow-chow. Ticket are $12, and the meal is at 1 p.m. daily.

Also new this year, visitors can operate a hand-operated pump car on 50 feet of railroad track set up on the festival grounds by the Kutztown-based Allentown & Auburn Railroad, which will also will have its model railroad on display.

In addition to music and dancing, there will be daily presentations on hex signs, spirituality, and dialect humor on the seminar stage, a reenactment of an actual 19th-century hanging, an Amish wedding and demonstration of early farming techniques

The Lester Miller Family Dancers return with four generations of hoedown dancers, as does the annual Independence Day parade, dubbed "The Hokiest Parade in America."

Children can enjoy the Hanna family puppet shows, along with Marty's Miraculous Flea Circus; as well as the nation's only remaining active 19th-century horse-drawn carousel.

Ticket prices are $14 for adults; $13 for seniors age 55 and up; $5 for ages 13-17 and free for age 12 and under. Parking is free.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 29-30 and July 5-6; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 1-4 and 7.

The Kutztown Fairgrounds is at 225 North Whiteoak Street, Kutztown.

For a full schedule of events, go to www.kutztownfestival.com.

Cirque du Soleil presents 'Crystal' in Allentown

Watch as world-class ice skaters and acrobats explore a frozen playground with speed and fluidity as they challenge the laws of gravity with never-before-seen acrobatics in "Crystal," Cirque du Soleil's 42nd creation that explores the artistic possibilities of ice for the first time. This unique production pushes boundaries of performance by combining stunning skating and acrobatic feats that defy the imagination in the production at the PPL Center in Allentown through June 30.

Follow Crystal, the lead character, on an exhilarating tale of self-discovery as she dives into a world of her own imagination.

Crystal invites you to suspend reality and glide into a world that springs to a colorful life with astounding visual projections and an original score that seamlessly blends popular music with the signature sound of Cirque du Soleil.

Crystal features an international cast composed of figure, extreme and freestyle ice skaters, acrobats, musicians and a comic character. Eleven different nationalities are represented in the cast.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. June 27-28; 4 and 7:30 p.m. June 29 and 1:30 and 5 p.m. June 30.

PPL Center is at 701 Hamilton Street, Allentown. Tickets are $47.50 to $143.50.

For information, go to pplcenter.com.

'Bohemia' brings all-ages circus show to Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre

"Bohemia" at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre through July 27 brings amazing feats of aerial acrobatics, juggling, clowning and dance to the college's Studio Theatre.

The final chapter in Muhlenberg grad Noah Dach's successful trilogy of circus shows follows previous circus shows "Wild" and "Tal: Beyond Imagination," which both had sold-out runs at Muhlenberg.

The story follows a young man and his close-knit group of friends who are dreaming about what they will be when they grow up. The costumes and set pieces reflect the 1970s time period.

The circus acts include aerial hoop, aerial silks, aerial strap, partnering, acrobatics, juggling and a lot of dance.

All the performers are Muhlenberg students and alumni, many of whom have been in involved in the previous shows.

Also returning is the free 45-minute circus workshop after each performance. The workshop after daytime shows will be geared toward children, with a focus on imagination and movement as well as juggling and tumbling. After evening performances, workshop participants are in for a treat, because they will get to go into the performance space and try out the aerial equipment.

The all-age circus show is 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 26 to July 27.

The Studio Theatre is in Trexler Pavillion for Theater and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 West Chew Street, Allentown.

Tickets are $11 for June performances, and $13 for July performances. For information call 484-664-3333, or go to muhlenberg.edu/SMT.

'Buddy' to premiere in Bethlehem Township

Now in its third season, Northampton Community College Summer Theatre is bringing actor/musician Matt McClure to star in the Lehigh Valley premiere of "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" July 3-14.

McClure has played the iconic 1950s rock and roller five times across the country since 2015. He also has played Carl Perkins in "Million Dollar Quartet."

Making up the rest of Holly's band ,The Crickets, are Jason William Steffen on bass; Alex Crossland on drums and Stephen Peters on rhythm guitar.

Fellow rocker Ritchie Valenz will be played by Matias De La Flor, and Sam Kashefska will appear as the Big Bopper. Angelica Ramirez will be featured as Maria Elena Holly; James Morogiello has the role of Hi Pockets Duncan, Dedrik Ramos will play Norman Petty and Larissa Klinger is Vi Petty.

Starting out as a country and western singer in Lubbock, Texas, Buddy and his two friends, Joe and Jerry, form The Crickets, and with the support of a local radio DJ, 'Hi Pockets' Duncan, they begin to carve out a career in music.

After an inauspicious start at Decca Records in Nashville, Buddy and the Crickets sign a contract with up-and-coming innovative record producer, Norman Petty. Within hours of meeting they start to record Buddy's biggest hit, "That'll Be The Day," which will rocket up the charts to number one in a matter of weeks. Buddy Holly & The Crickets suddenly become the hottest act in the country, and the production features them performing many of their iconic hits.

Buddy's final performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, with Ritchie Valens ("La Bamba") and the 'Big Bopper' J.P. Richardson ("Chantilly Lace") is recreated. After the concert, Buddy breaks his promise to his pregnant wife not to fly as he and the other two headliners board a small plane and fly off into the night for Moorhead, Minnesota, only to crash into a field shortly after take-off.

Directing is Bill Mutimer, Nick Conti serves as musical director, and Cristina Sohn Williams handles the choreography duties. Brett Oliviera, the technical director, takes on scenic and lighting design.

On July 4, there will be a special BBQ picnic and show package. From 3-5 p.m. there will be an outdoor picnic with burgers and dogs (including veggie burgers), sides and all the fixings plus a make-your-own-sundae bar. The show will begin at 5:30 p.m., so patrons can make it to their local fireworks. Tickets for this package are $30 for adults and $20 for students.

The rest of the schedule is 7:30 p.m. July 3, 5-6, 10-13; 2 p.m. July 7 and 14.

The show is in Lipkin Theatre, Kopechek Hall, Northampton Community College, 3585 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem Township.

Tickets are $15 for adult and $10 for students. For information, call 484-484-3412, or go to ncctix.org.

Nurture Nature Center offers multiple programs

Visual artist Vannessa Circe and scientist Daniel Henryk Rasolt will present "The Tribes and Ecosystems of Colombia: a Microcosm of Our World" with an exhibit opening reception and presentation Friday at the Nurture Nature Center in Easton.

Circe, who is from Bogota, Colombia, tells the stories, beliefs, struggles and hopes of the indigenous communities along with depictions of their natural territories and other pristine and at-risk ecosystems through her oil paintings.

Rasolt, who holds a degree in Astrophysics from Cornell University and has traveled to more than 85 countries, discusses environmental and social issues through his personal experience and research. He will be giving a special presentation on the Science on a Sphere at 6 p.m. The sphere is a six-foot suspended animated globe which displays high-resolution video about the earth and planetary science that reveal how different things affect atmosphere, climate, weather and even the balance of life on earth.

From 7 to 9 p.m. there will be an opening reception for the accompanying exhibit: "The Tribes and Ecosystems of Colombia: A Microcosm of Our World" paintings by Vanessa Circe. This event is free and open to the public.

Also on Friday, "Forces of Nature: Animal Helmets" by Dana Van Horn opens with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m.. There also is a silent auction to benefit arts programming at Nurture Nature Center. Both exhibits run through August 28.

Inspired by 16th- and 17th-century Japanese Samurai helmets, Van Horn created his own collection of animal adornments. Van Horn's animal helmets, too, go well beyond protective headgear. This fabulous collection of mixed media helmets representing a diverse range of species, harken back to a time when such a form offered protection.

Thursday, the center will present "Finding Coral" on the Science on a Sphere.

Learn about the world's remarkable corals and the reef habitats they create. Discover where corals are found around the world and the impact they make. Find out why coral health is threatened and what you can do to help.

The program is at 7 p.m.

Nurture Nature Center is at 518 Northampton Street, Easton. For information, call 610-253-4432 or go to nurturenaturecenter.org.

SFA brings 'Joseph' to Cedar Crest

Sing For America brings Andrew Lloyd Webber's family-friendly musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" to Cedar Crest College's Alumnae Hall in Allentown June 27 through July 7.

The show, which raises funds for families of area servicemen through Blue Star Mothers, is a musical reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his father Jacob, eleven brothers and the coat of many colors,

Told entirely through song with the help of a narrator, the musical tells the story of Joseph, who is Jacob's favorite son, much to the jealousy of his brothers. After being betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery, he ends up in the service of Egyptian noble Potiphar, but finds himself in jail after Potiphar's wife tries to seduce him. However, in jail, his ability to interpret dreams attracts the notice of the Elvis-inspired Pharaoh. Joseph's solution to Egypt's famine elevates him to Pharaoh's right-hand man and ultimately reunites him with his family.

Founded by the Gilbert family of Easton, Sing For America has raised more than $50,000 for families of active military since 2005 through musical performances and productions.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. June 27-28 and July 5, 2 and 7 p.m. June 29; and 2 p.m. June 30 and July 7 in Alumnae Hall, Cedar Crest College, 100 College Drive, Allentown.

Tickets are $18 for adults; $15 for seniors and students and $12 for children under age 6.

For information, call 610-417-2189 or go to www.SingforAmerica.com,

Valley Vivaldi kicks off its summer chamber series

Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra is proud to present the first of four concerts at 7 p.m. Sunday in the Valley Vivaldi summer series of intimate chamber music

The concert at Christ Lutheran Church in Allentown includes Vivaldi's Concerto in G major "alla Rustica," RV 151 and Bach's Sonata for violin and harpsichord in b minor featuring Simon Maurer on violin and Allan Birney on harpsichord; Boccherini's Flute Quintet in E flat, Op. 17 No. 6 with Robin Kani on flute; Telemann's Trio Sonata for flute and oboe in e minor, TWV 42:e2 with Kani and Cheryl Bishkoff on oboe and Bach's Trio Sonata in c minor (Musical Offering), BWV 1079.

Tickets are $25 to $35 for adults, $20 to $30 for seniors and free for students.

Christ Lutheran Church is at 1245 West Hamilton Street in Allentown

For information, call 610-434-7811 or go to pasinfonia.org.

'Mamma Mia' opens at Bucks County Playhouse

Bucks County Playhouse's 80th anniversary season continues with the high-energy, international musical sensation "Mamma Mia!" June 28 to August 3.

"Avenue Q's" Tony Award-nominated actor John Tartaglia directs and Broadway's Shannon Lewis choreographs an all-new production of at the playhouse.

Set on a Greek island on the eve of her wedding, Sophie invites three men from her mother's past to try to discover the identity of her father. Told through the music of ABBA, it features 22 of their greatest hits, such hits including "Voulez-Vous," "Take a Chance on Me" and "Dancing Queen."

Starring are Michelle Dawson (Broadway's "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark," "Mamma Mia!," "Ragtime") as Sophie's mother Donna and Sara Masterson as Sophie.

The cast also features Terra C. MacLeod (Broadway's "Chicago") as Tanya, Danielle Lee Greaves (Broadway's "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Rent," "Hairspray") as Rosie, Michael Hunsaker (national tour, "Ragtime") as Sam, Peter Saide as Bill, Michael Dean Morgan as Harry and Devin Lewis as Sky.

There will be a special 7 p.m. performance July 5 and Aug. 2 with the New Hope fireworks following the show.

"Mamma Mia!" is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 2 p.m. Wednesdays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, June 28 to August 3.

Bucks County Playhouse is at 70 South Main Street, New Hope.

Tickets are $60 to $85. For information, call 215-862-2121, or go to buckscountyplayhouse.org.

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