The advent of spring and the season of Easter have always been a special celebration for the Pennsylvania German.
At the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center in Maxatawny Township, Berks County, learn about Easter traditions with Easter on the Farm, a free festival that is one of the heritage center's most popular events.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, enjoy traditional spring treats like dandelion greens and bacon dressing and egg hunts.
The heritage center is an open-air folklife museum and research center dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Pennsylvania German folk culture that is located at the historic Sharadin Farmstead on the Kutztown University campus.
Exhibits will include hearth cooking, farm life demonstrations and folk artists.
For the kids, there are barrel rides and egg hunts for ages up to 11 at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
The Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center is at 22 Luckenbill Road, just outside Kutztown.
For information, call 610-683-1589 or go to www.kutztown.edu.
Cirque de la Symphonie in Reading
Watch the magic of cirque come to the symphony hall when the Reading Symphony Orchestra presents Cirque de la Symphonie at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading.
Cirque de la Symphony is an exciting combination of artistic modern circus performances set to the classical and contemporary music.
Artists include veterans of cirque programs throughout the world including aerial flyers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers, balancers, and strongmen.
Each artist's performance is professionally choreographed to classical masterpieces and popular contemporary music in collaboration with the 60-member Reading Symphony Orchestra, directed by Maestro Andrew Constantine.
Tickets are $20 to $80 for adults and $10 for students.
All the RSO are presented at Santander Performing Arts Center, 136 North Sixth St., Reading.
For information, call 610-373-7557 or go to readingsymphony.org
'Sakura' brings Japanese performance artist to Touchstone
Japanese performance artist Keiin Yoshimura will make her U.S. tour premiere when she presents "Sakura" Thursday through Sunday, April 11-14, at Touchstone Theatre in Bethlehem.
"Sakura" is presented as a requiem 70 years after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "Sakura" (cherry blossom) includes poetry, video projections, music, traditional Japanese artwork, and contemporary movement and dance. Yoshimura has performed around the world with the goal of healing the wounds from the past.
Yoshimura's goal is to convey the meaninglessness of war and call for peace. The performance includes poems from the "Collection on Genbaku (atomic bombs)" by Sankichi Toge, and integrates techniques from the Japanese stage arts Noh and Kyogen. Yoshimura is a master of Kamigata-mai, which is a 16th-century "chamber-performance" style of dance/movement similar to Noh, Kyogen and Kabuki, but more subdued.
Unlike the traditionally all-male Noh, Kyogen, and Kabuki, Kamigata-mai is performed by women. "Sakura" combines Kamigata-mai with elements of these other Japanese forms and is a mash-up of classical and modern approaches that addresses the meaninglessness of mass destruction.
At the close of "Sakura," the audience is asked to refrain from clapping and instead close their eyes and pray for universal peace.
Performances are at 8 p.m. April 11-13 and 2 p.m. April 14, at Touchstone Theatre, 321 East Fourth Street, Bethlehem. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Thursday is pay-what-you-will. For information, call 610-867-1689, or go to www.touchstone.org.
'Sweeney Todd' at Albright College
The Albright College Domino Players theatre troupe will present an exciting visual re-imagining of Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece musical during its alumni weekend Thursday through Sunday. Acclaimed as one of the greatest achievements of the American musical theater, "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" is a musical thriller that tells the disturbing tale of a Victorian-era barber who returns home to London after 15 years of exile to take revenge on the corrupt judge who ruined his life.
When revenge eludes him, Sweeney exacts vengeance on the entire human race by murdering as many people as he can. That's when business starts booming for Sweeney's cohort, the industrious Mrs. Lovett, who bakes the bodies into meat pies and sells them to the unsuspecting public. The show considered one of Stephen Sondheim's masterpieces features some of the most hauntingly beautiful music ever written for the stage.
The production is directed by Jeffrey Lentz.
A talkback and reception will follow the show on April 11, and Albright Improv Show follows on April 12 in Roop Hall. There will be an after-hours cabaret following the April 13 performance.
The show will be presented at 7 p.m. April 11-13 and 2 p.m. April 14 in Wachovia Theatre at Albright College, 13th and Bern streets, Reading.
Tickets are $10 and $15.
For information, call 610-921-7547 or go to www.albright.edu.
Players of the Stage to present 'The Outsiders'
A stage adaptation of S.E. Hinton's classic coming-of-age novel "The Outsiders" will be presented at Living Hope Presbyterian Church Thursday through Saturday by Players of the Stage.
"The Outsiders," adapted by Christopher Sergel, will raise money for Hope Kids, which is an organization that meets the needs of disadvantaged youth in Allentown. Players of the Stage productions are presented of charge and free will offerings are taken to benefit local charities. Since its inception, Players of the Stage has raised more than $208,000 for charities that serve the Lehigh Valley.
The show features a cast of high school students and community actors that includes Alejandro Rodriguez, Jake Diem, Aidan McKee, Gerard Behe, Reed Wiren, John Marmaras, John McClure, Ben McClure. Emma Thomas, Bianca Giannantonio, Emma Fliszar, Isabelle Yengst, Ashlee Davies, Josh Wilbers, Julia Witwer, Karen Marmaras, Brody Barnhart and Karen Marmaras.
"The Outsiders" deals with the brokenness that comes from gangs, social judgement, parental abuse, loss and more, said director Marian Barshinger.
In the play, the Greasers and the Socs are two groups of young people who hate each other and fight because of differences of wealth, class and style.
"The Outsiders," 7 p.m., April 11-12; 2 and 7 p.m., April 13, Living Hope Presbyterian Church, 330 Schantz Road, Upper Macungie Township, Lehigh County. Tickets: free, but reservations suggested. email@example.com, playersofthestage.org.
Chazz returns to Easton’s State Theatre
Academy Award-nominated actor Chazz Palminteri returns to the State Theatre in Easton for the first time in five years with an unforgettable performance of "A Bronx Tale" on Friday, April 12.
In 1989, Palminteri wrote a show about a killing he saw in the Bronx when he was nine years old. His one-man show became a hit and the most sought after property since Rocky.
In the production, Palminteri brings 18 characters to vivid life, depicting a rough childhood on Bronx streets populated by a cast of friends and enemies. "A Bronx Tale" is directed by four-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks.
After turning down million dollar offers for the movie rights, Palminteri held out until he got a deal he was searching for. Wanting to star in the movie as well as write the screenplay, Palminteri found what he wanted with Robert De Niro as director. De Niro told Palminteri he would act in the film and meet his conditions if De Niro could direct it. The 1993 movie was met with critical acclaim.
The play was then made in a "A Bronx Tale - The Musical" with music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Glenn Slater, and opened on Broadway in 2016.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. April 12 at State Theatre, 453 Northampton Street, Easton. Tickets are $45 and $35 and can be purchased by calling 610-252-3132 or going online at www.statetheatre.org.
NCC Theatre Department stages 'Hand to God'
Students from Northampton Community College's Theatre program will present Robert Askins' dark comedy "Hand to God" Thursday through Sunday.
Bill Mutimer, NCC's theatre department chair, directs a cast of five students in the irreverent puppet comedy, that won the "Best New Play" award of 2014 from the Off Broadway Alliance and was nominated for five Tony Awards after its Broadway debut in 2015.
In the devoutly religious small town of Cypress, Texas, Margery is a widow has been asked to run the church's puppet club. Pastor Greg wants the puppet club to put on a performance at the church the following Sunday.
The teenage members of the club are Margery's son Jason; Jessica, the girl next door that Jason has a crush on; and Timmy, the neighborhood troublemaker, whose mother is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at the church. The characters become attracted to each other and Jason's hand puppet, Tyrone, takes on a life of his own, exposing secrets that the characters would rather have left unacknowledged.
The show stars Ryan Patrick Allen as Jason; Mary Bolan as Margery; Michell Bozik as Pastor Greg; Connor Knoulan as Timmy and Briauna Furgiuele as Jessica.
The show is recommended for mature audience for sexual and violent content.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. April 11-13 and 2 p.m. April 14, at Lipkin Theatre, Kopechek Hall, Northampton Community College, 3585 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem. Tickets are $5 and available at ncctix.org.
CAST to perform 'The Addam Family'
The creepy and kooky Addams family takes the stage Friday though April 28 at Catasauqua High School.
Catasauqua Area Showcase Community Theatre (CAST) presents "The Addams Family," the Broadway musical inspired by the 1960s television series based on Charles Addams's cartoon characters.
In the show 18-year-old Wednesday Addams, now 18, finds herself falling in love with a "normal" boy. When Wednesday invites her boyfriend, Lucas, over to the family's gothic mansion in Central Park, along with his family, to get better acquainted with the Addams household, comic chaos ensues.
All the familiar characters are there, including darkly elegant Morticia, devoted husband Gomez, crazy Grandma, wacky Uncle Fester, the monosyllabic Lurch, violence-prone Pugsley, Cousin It and many more.
The cast features Richard Warmkessel III as Gomez, Kelcie Kosberg as Morticia, Helen Smith as Wednesday, Angelina Dries as Pugsley, Bob Falkenstein as Fester, Ron Dries as Lurch and Laura Hafner as Grandma.
The company also collects donations for it "Families Helping Families" project for local families in need. CAST matches all money donated by audience members. Over the years, the organization has helped families that have lost their homes in fires, funded life-saving cancer treatments, and much more. This year the money will benefit a family in need in the Catasauqua Area School District and the district's weekend lunch program, which provides meals for children in need so they don't go hungry over the weekend.
Performances are 7 p.m. April 12-13, 26 and 2 p.m. April 14, 27-28 at Catasauqua High School, 2500 W. Bullshead Road, Northampton. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. For information go to www.cattytheatre.org, or call 610-841-3747.
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