Out and About

Out and About: Local, regional art up for bid at Baum auction

See some of the finest of local and regional art at The Baum School of Art's 34th annual art auction.

Saturday's auction at the school in Allentown is a free, fun, and exciting night that supports the school's arts education and local artists.

The popular event has become known as the place to buy quality artwork in the Lehigh Valley – both from the era of Walter Emerson Baum, as well as contemporary works.

The auction has artwork for everyone, from the bargain hunter to the serious collector. It also features many styles or art, including traditional, contemporary, and abstract.

This year's auction is featuring a large landscape by the school's founder, Walter Emerson Baum, several earlier works by Renzo Faggioli, and a mosaic by Raymond Gallucci. There also are paintings by Wilmer Behler, John Berninger, Margaret Balzer Cantieni, Mildred Gehman, Albert B. Serwazi, Joseph Meierhans, Hans Moller, William Persa, William Weldon Swallow, Ann Whitesell, and other artists from Baum's era. Contemporary works include those by Nancy Bossert, Adriano Farinella, Renzo Faggioli, Michael Kessler, Dana Van Horn, Mark May, and Lauren Kindle.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with the silent auction, featuring more than 200 pieces of art in the David E. Rodale and Rodale Family Galleries. During the silent auction, attendees can enjoy a buffet dinner in the Fowler Community Room. Tickets are available for $50 in advance or $60 at the door. Auctioneer Boris Wainio will begin the live auction of more than 100 pieces of art at 8 p.m.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday is preview night, when all artwork is on display. Preview night will also include a tasting by Kilimanjaro Distillery, producer of Xplorer Spirits. The local distillery uses a grain-to-glass process that relies on locally grown potatoes and high quality grains. Wainio and Baum School staff will be available to answer questions on any of the pieces.

All auction items are posted online at www.baumschool.org.

Double cast 'Spelling Bee'

Two different casts take the stage for Fleetwood Community Theatre's production of the Tony Award-winning musical comedy "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" Thursday through Saturday at Willow Creek Elementary School in Richmond Township, just outside Fleetwood.

One cast is younger, made up of students in 4th through 11th grades playing the spellers, and a G-rated script; the other cast is older and will present the PG version of the musical, as seen on Broadway.

Four audience volunteers are needed for each performance. To be part of the show, stop by the table in the lobby before the performance.

The story follows six students whom have made it to the county spelling bee from their school districts. Chip Tolentino is last year's champ and is back to defend his title. His opportunity just might be derailed by adolescent misfortunes.

Leaf Coneybear was the third-place finisher in his school district and finds himself at the bee despite his less-than-stellar GPA.

Logianne Schwartzandgrubienere is the youngest competitor. She is there to win the hearts of America and make her two dads proud.

Marcy Park is the parochial school attendee and a prodigy in multiple activities, including sports, music, and languages.

William Barfeé is also back at the bee after having to forfeit last year due to allergic reaction to peanuts. He and his "magic foot" hope to take home the trophy this year.

The final contestant is Olive Ostrovsky, a lonely little girl who has befriended the dictionary because her mother is in Ashram and her father works too much.

The whole event is organized by the third annual bee winner, Rona Lisa Peretti, and officiated by Vice Principal Doug Panch.

This production is directed by Tara Sands, assisted by Micah Wentzel, music direction by LeAnne Zettlemoyer, and choreographed by Ashley Frankhouser and her junior choreographer Hallie Barrell.

Music and lyrics are by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, and conceived by Rebecca Feldman, with additional material by Jay Reiss. In 2005, the show was nominated for six Tony Awards and won two.

The younger cast will perform at 7 p.m. May 16 and 2 p.m. May 18. The older cast will perform at 7 p.m. May 17 and 18.

Willow Creek Elementary School is at 605 Crisscross Road in Richmond Township. Tickets are $18. To purchase tickets, call 484-793-0918 or go to www.onthestage.com.

Young Playwrights Festival at Zoellner

One of the most magical evenings of theater takes place Saturday on the stage of Baker Hall at Zoellner Arts Center when Touchstone Theatre of Bethlehem presents the 14th Young Playwrights' Festival.

The festival features new plays written by local elementary, middle, and high school students through Touchstone's Young Playwrights' Lab; and staged by professionals and local actors.

The performance is followed by a gala reception in the Lehigh University 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 to improve student attitudes toward writing and to provide a platform for creative self-expression. Through theater improvisation, writing exercises, and collaborative critique, each student writes an original one-act play to be considered for performance in the annual Young Playwrights' Festival. The plays that emerge often include light-hearted elements like talking animals, princesses, and cartoon characters, as they explore universal themes of love, loyalty, importance of family, and bravery in the face of adversity.

More than 100 plays were submitted from this year's programs, with five scripts chosen for full production in the festival.

The produced plays are "Lost Dogs" by Samuel Williams of Calypso Elementary School; "The Man and the Hawk," by Gabrielle Andujar of Fountain Hill Elementary School; "The Cloud Princess," by Alysha Matias of Marvine Elementary School; "Kitty Lachance," by Abriana Ferrari of Nitschmann Elementary School; and "Clean Up in Aisle 3," by Hunter Fenstermaker of Liberty High School. The plays are directed by Touchstone ensemble members and performed Touchstone actors, community performers, and students from area schools.

Select scenes from seven semi-finalist plays also will be performed by Touchstone ensemble members and Young Playwrights' Lab teaching artists.

After the performance, Zoellner's Black Box Theatre hosts a ticketed gala dessert reception and auction. Gala attendees mingle with the Touchstone Ensemble and enjoy desserts, an open bar, and live music while further supporting Touchstone and its arts-in-education programming through a live and silent auction. All money raised support the Young Playwrights' Lab in the following school year.

"The 14th Annual Young Playwrights' Festival & Gala," is at 7 p.m. May 18 at Zoellner Arts Center, 420 East Packer Avenue, Bethlehem.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 students for the performance only. Tickets are $75 for the performance and gala.

For information call 610-867-1689 or go to www.touchstone.org.

'Hill Street Blues' star in 'Over the River and Through the Woods'

Emmy Award-winning actor Bruce Weitz, best known for his seven-year run playing undercover cop Sgt. Mick Bleker on the groundbreaking television classic, "Hill Street Blues," will be starring in "Over the River and Through the Woods" at Hunterdon Hills Playhouse in Hampton, Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

On stage through June 14, the story follows Nick, a young, carefree, single Italian-American guy from New Jersey, who sees both sets of his grandparents every Sunday for dinner. This routine continues like clockwork until he's offered a dream job on the West Coast that will take him away from his beloved, but annoying, grandparents. The news of his new job doesn't go over well with his elders, and the stage is set for a series of schemes on their part to keep Nick from moving across the country. Plans are hatched while games are played, resulting in a hilarious family friendly comedy of epic proportions.

Weitz has also appeared in the films "Half Past Dead" and "Deep Impact," as well as such popular TV shows as "NYPD Blue," "Anything But Love," "The West Wing," "ER," "Judging Amy," "C.S.I.," and "Grey's Anatomy." His long-running role as mob boss Anthony Zacchara on "General Hospital" made Weitz a familiar face on daytime television. He made his Broadway debut in a revival of "Death of a Salesman," starring George C. Scott in 1976, and shared the stage with Al Pacino in "Norman, Is That You?" Weitz also performed in 13 New York Shakespeare Festival productions.

Tickets include show, meal, dessert buffet and beverages.

For 11:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday, tickets are $66. Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. are $76.

For information, call, 800-447-7313 or go to www.hhplayhouse.com.

Brentano Quartet caps Friends of Chamber Music Reading season

The world-renowned Brentano String Quartet will present the final concert of the season for Friends of Chamber Music Reading.

The concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday is free and will be at Woman's Club of Reading's WCR Center for the Arts in Reading.

The quartet is made up of Misha Amory on viola, Serena Canin on violin, Nina Lee on cello, and Mark Steinberg on violin.

The program includes Mendelssohn's "Quartet in E-flat Major Op. 44, No. 3;" and Beethoven's "Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132."

Also featured is a selection of poems by Reading poet Wallace Stevens.

A catered dessered reception follows the concert. Free parking is available in the Trinity Lutheran Church lot.

WCR Center for the Arts is at 140 North Fifth Street, Reading. For information call 610-698-8465 or go to www.chambermusicreading.org.

Symphony Hall's Jazz Upstairs welcomes Lithuanian vocalist

Lithuanian native and Lafayette College grad Viktorija Gečytė joins the Gene Perla Trio at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Rodale Community Room of Miller Symphony Hall as part of the ASO's Jazz Upstairs series.

The show is part of the group's "In the Moment" tour. The trio features Gene Perla on double bass; Edsel Gomez on piano and Adam Nussbaum on drums.

Vocalist Gečytė premiered in public at age 5 in her native Lithuania and was regularly featured on TV for many years. During high school, she schooled herself in global jazz by hitchhiking to music festivals around Lithuania. Later, thanks to a scholarship from Lafayette College, she explored the New York area jazz clubs and much more of America during her 3,800-mile cross-country bicycle trip. In 2008, she settled down in Paris where she performs regularly at jazz clubs and festivals.

She has great phrasing, impeccable timing, a low velvet voice with smoky hues, and hits every note on the button. Her fondness for jazz comes from her father, and her love of singing from her mother, an award-winning chef who comes from a long line of passionate traditional vocalists.

Jazz Upstairs programs include light fare and a cash bar.

Miller Symphony Hall is at 23 North Sixth Street, Allentown. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.

For information, call 610-432-6715 or go to www.millersymphonyhall.org.

Award-winning saxophone quartet in ASO's Chamber on Stage

The Donald Sinta Saxophone Quartet, the first prize winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, will play on stage at Miller Symphony Hall on Sunday as part of the Chamber on Stage music series.

Based in Michigan, the quartet has earned praise from audiences and critics alike for its virtuosic performances, compelling recordings and distinctive repertoire. The quartet performs entirely from memory, which strengthens an already palpable connection with its audiences. Named for its mentor, legendary University of Michigan saxophone professor Donald Sinta, the quartet's competition successes include first prize at the 2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, the Alice Coleman Grand Prize at the 2013 Coleman Chamber Music Competition and First Prize in the 2012 North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition.

The quartet has also made radio appearances on New York's WQXR and Interlochen Public Radio, and is featured frequently on American Public Media's Performance Today.

The group's repertoire spans centuries, ranging from commissions by today's emerging composers to standards from the saxophone quartet literature to transcriptions by master composers such as Dvořák, Schubert and Shostakovich. As advocates of new music, the quartet runs the National Saxophone Quartet Composition Competition, which selects two new quartet works from up-and-coming composers each year. The group has just recorded its debut CD, Collider,on CAG Records.

The quartet will play at the edge of the stage, but with their back to to the orchestra seats in which the audience usually sits. Audience members will be seated at the back of the stage facing the performers creating the feeling of an intimate space, while still taking full advantage of the acoustics and grandeur of the large Symphony Hall.

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

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