Chocolate and wine make for the perfect pair. Savor all the rich, sweet flavors during the Montrose Chocolate and Wine Festival, set for Saturday, May 18, along the borough’s Chestnut Street. Tickets to the rain-or-shine event cost $20 in advance and are available online at chocolatewinefestival.com until Thursday, May 16. The event started more than a decade ago and has only grown larger since then, festival president Tom Follert said. “It’s always been an event where we focus on locally made items, food, wine or beer and that goes for music, too,” he said, adding the entertainment is full of regional acts who play originals and cover songs. “It gives everyone there a place to showcase what they do.” The day begins with the Run for Life 5K run/walk and kids’ fun run, which Follert said goes “hand-in-hand” with the festival and also includes its own set of vendors, food and activities for kids at the Green, 126 Maple St., Montrose. Proceeds from the event benefit the Button-Weller Family Cancer Fund through the Endless Mountains Community Foundation, which helps those with cancer in Susquehanna County.
Participation costs $20 for the run/walk, and the kids’ fun run is free. Registration begins at 9 a.m., but runners can sign up in advance online at runsignup.com. The fun run starts at 9:30, and the run/walk follows at 10. At 2:30 p.m., the chocolate and wine festival begins and will go until 7:30. Guests can choose samplings from Pennsylvania wineries, grab microbrews on tap, and snack on food from gourmet vendors and, of course, chocolates. Crowds also can peruse wine-, chocolate- and art-related products from local artisans and watch the at-home wine-making demonstration. Tickets also are available for purchase at select businesses. Wine-tasting tickets will be available at the gate the day of the event for $30, cash sales only. Entry for non-drinkers, ages 16 and older, costs $10. Entry is free for ages 15 and younger. Non-drinker tickets are available for purchase at the gate only. Regardless of when guests buy tickets, identification is required for proof of age. In addition to featuring wine and chocolate, the event also started as a way to give back to the community, Follert said, and this year’s beneficiaries include Susquehanna County Library, United Fire Company, Susquehanna County Interfaith and Pink Arrow Arts.
“Every dollar goes back to the community,” Follert said, adding that the festival has raised over $280,000 over the past 11 years. “When we think back to when this first started, we can’t believe it’s, A., gone on this long; and B., raised over a quarter-million dollars. We’re just thrilled.” Guests can enter the festival at Maple and Chestnut streets or at Church and Chestnut streets. Street parking will be available throughout Montrose as well as in a few designated areas. Organizers hope the event continues to show Montrose residents and visitors everything the community has to offer, Follert said. “We want people to just have a good time, and we really hope people leave feeling good about what they did that day,” he added. “When you come in, you get a sampling of wine, a chance to hear some really fantastic live music (and) spend time with friends … For us, it’s really the kickoff to summer.”
Ballet Theatre senior company to stage ‘Cinderella’ for spring production
For Ballet Theatre of Scranton’s senior company, “Cinderella” proved to be a perfect fit. Dancers from the studio will present the fairytale classic as their spring production on Saturday, May 4, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at Theater at North, 1539 N. Main Ave., Scranton. Tickets cost $15-$25 and can be purchased at tututix.com. While audiences can’t expect the animated Disney version of the story, Ballet Theatre artistic director Joanne D. Arduino said they will see the close relationship between Cinderella and her father, as well as the conflict between the young girl and her stepmother. The third act features dances that highlight Andalusian, far Eastern and other cultures that represent the prince’s journey to find who fits the slipper. “And from there, the story holds true,” Arduino said. “He does find Cinderella and they live happily ever after.” Selena Knowlton, who danced with Ballet Theatre up until last year, stars as Cinderella, and Jose Hurtado portrays the Prince. Both are students at the Rock School for Dance Education, Philadelphia, and “talented young dancers,” Arduino said. They are among a cast of more than 50 regional dancers plus Ballet Theatre alum Elizabeth Conway, who will dance the role of Fairy Godmother. The show will be complete with dreamy fairy tale scenery and costumes, a life-size pumpkin coach and a technical team that includes Emmy Award-winning light designer Dennis M. Size, who frequently returns to Scranton to lend a hand with Arduino’s productions. The production is based on the Bolshoi Ballet production in Russia and was originally staged by international ballet master (and another frequent Ballet Theatre collaborator) Henry Danton in 1994. That same year, area native Karen Keeler, creative director for the Rockettes, starred as Cinderella. The production was restaged in 2011 and Ardruino chose it again this year. “We do a lot of the classics but it’s always nice to get back to a fairy tale,” Arduino said, adding that any little ones who come to the show are welcome to dress up in princess costumes. “It’s nice that it’s a new generation of dancers and a new generation of audiences that get to experience this ballet.”
While audiences can’t expect the animated Disney version of the story, Ballet Theatre artistic director Joanne D. Arduino said they will see the close relationship between Cinderella and her father, as well as the conflict between the young girl and her stepmother. The third act features dances that highlight Andalusian, far Eastern and other cultures that represent the prince’s journey to find who fits the slipper. “And from there, the story holds true,” Arduino said. “He does find Cinderella and they live happily ever after.” Selena Knowlton, who danced with Ballet Theatre up until last year, stars as Cinderella, and Jose Hurtado portrays the Prince. Both are students at the Rock School for Dance Education, Philadelphia, and “talented young dancers,” Arduino said. They are among a cast of more than 50 regional dancers plus Ballet Theatre alum Elizabeth Conway, who will dance the role of Fairy Godmother. The show will be complete with dreamy fairy tale scenery and costumes, a life-size pumpkin coach and a technical team that includes Emmy Award-winning light designer Dennis M. Size, who frequently returns to Scranton to lend a hand with Arduino’s productions. The production is based on the Bolshoi Ballet production in Russia and was originally staged by international ballet master (and another frequent Ballet Theatre collaborator) Henry Danton in 1994. That same year, area native Karen Keeler, creative director for the Rockettes, starred as Cinderella. The production was restaged in 2011 and Ardruino chose it again this year. “We do a lot of the classics but it’s always nice to get back to a fairy tale,” Arduino said, adding that any little ones who come to the show are welcome to dress up in princess costumes. “It’s nice that it’s a new generation of dancers and a new generation of audiences that get to experience this ballet.”
Fabulous Thunderbirds headlining Rock 107 Birthday Bash
Rock 107 will celebrate the last year of its thirties with a party filled with drinks, giveaways and prizes, and tons of live music. Ain’t that “tuff enuff?” The Times-Shamrock Communications radio station marks its 39th year with its annual Birthday Bash on Thursday, April 18, at the Woodlands Inn & Resort, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp. Doors to the 21-and-older event open at 7 p.m. This year’s party features headliners the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Texas-born blues-rock band best known for the 1986 song “Tuff Enuff.” Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson has been all over in his decades-long career, but Pennsylvania remains a standout through his travels. Plus, he’s always happy to connect with fans on the road. “There’s very few places I’ve never been before, but (Pennsylvania) is a cool state. It’s got beautiful scenery,” Wilson said during a recent phone interview from his home in San Juan Capistrano, California. “When I get out (on the road), I embrace it. I enjoy going to other places and seeing what each place is about.” Before the Thunderbirds hit the stage at 10 p.m., M-80, Flaxy Morgan and Rockstar Revolution will open the show. The night also will feature games, prizes and, of course, birthday cake. Tickets will be available at the door for $20, but the radio station also will give away hundreds of free tickets ahead of time.
Rock 107 personality Prospector will hand out free tickets to the show today from noon to 1 p.m. at Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships of Greater Hazelton, 508 Susquehanna Blvd., Hazle Twp. Radio station promotions director Mark Hoover, meanwhile, give out the tickets today from 7 to 8 p.m. at Angry Irishman, 1259 Bryn Mawr St., Scranton. Audiences are in for a unique experience, Wilson said, as the band always matches the crowd. They never use a set list but rather play off of the vibe of the room and each other. “That’s the only way to play — to play as a unit,” he said, adding the air of improvisation keeps the band loose and on its toes. “When we’re all together, just feeding off of each other and each other’s energy, it’s a pretty cool thing. Everybody is great in this band. I love working with these guys.” While he insisted every show is different, Wilson said the band brings a lot of energy and camaraderie into each performance. The frontman mentioned how important the band’s fans are to the group members and that “without them, we’re nothing.” He doesn’t do a lot of talking during performances but makes sure to thank the crowd “profusely” for its support. With their fans in tow, the Fabulous Thunderbirds are ready for the party in Northeast Pennsylvania. “It’s going to be great to be in Wilkes-Barre,” he said. “We’re gonna have a ball.”
With all the charms of musician life, the fans are the best part for Charlie Daniels. The legendary country musician has toured and performed with his namesake band — best known for its No. 1 hit, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” — for over 50 years. He’s a Grammy Award-winner, been inducted into Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame, and written books including “Never Look at the Empty Seats” and “Let’s All Make the Day Count.” Though it’s the times on stage connecting with fans that he holds in highest regard. “The best thing I can say is they’re going to have a good time when they come in,” Daniels said during a recent phone interview from Des Moines, Iowa, after a slew of sold-out shows. “From the time we walk out on stage, there’s a lot of things that go into it. The sequence of our songs, the pace of the show. … We really want to give the audience a great show.” The Charlie Daniels Band will appear with country and Southern rock band Alabama on Friday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp., during its 50th anniversary tour. Alabama, known for hits such as “Tennessee River” and “Dixieland Delight,” has sold a combined 75 million records worldwide. Though the band went its separate ways after a farewell tour in 2003, it reunited in 2010 and has recorded and toured ever since.
The Charlie Daniels Band, meanwhile, has toured for six decades, and fans can expect a show with lots of energy and familiar songs. With six musicians on stage, the vibe of the show is built upon the experience they’ve had together, and each person plays off of each other to create a one-of-a-kind experience. He and the band often see familiar faces in the crowd. The band holds a special section for fans who’ve seen more than 100 shows. The “Century Club” members get prime seating as well as a commemorative belt buckle. Daniels also noted the loyal fans who make Charlie Daniels Band shows a family affair. “You definitely see the generations coming year after year,” he said. Even after decades of performing for and entertaining thousands of people, Daniels treats every show like it’s something special. And he wants the crowd to feel the same. “We want them to leave talking about what a great show it was: ‘That was so good we’re going to come back next time,’” he said.
Events planned to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month
The staff and volunteers of Women’s Resource Center want the community to know who they are and what they do. During April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness month, WRC has planned events to promote its plight as well as educate the community on sexual violence against women and men. WRC crisis and advocate services director Anna Faramelli said that, while the organization has always commemorated Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this year it wanted to try to reach as many people as it can. “We want everyone to feel comfortable approaching us and talking about it,” Faramelli said, adding the organization serves Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties. During Scranton’s First Friday Art Walk on April 5, the art installation “What Were You Wearing?” will be on display from 5 to 8 p.m. at Elm Park United Methodist Church, 712 Linden St. The exhibit displays 18 outfits hanging next to 18 rape survivors’ stories about what they were wearing while they were attacked. At Lackawanna County Courthouse Square, participants can paint rocks teal — the color associated with sexual assault awareness — along with words or messages of support. Talking about these issues can be uncomfortable, executive director Peg Ruddy said, but the events make the subject accessible. “They’re positive events, and they kind of take away that stigma,” she said. “These conversations can be difficult, and having this kind of outreach makes it easier.”
Aside from the events on First Friday, WRC has a host of other activities planned throughout the month. On Thursday, April 4, at 4 p.m., WRC will partner with the Marywood University Graduate School of Social Work Association and the Human Trafficking Awareness & Prevention Committee for a screening of “I Am Jane Doe” in Room B in the Swartz Conference Centre for Spiritual Life at Marywood. A question-and-answer panel will follow with representatives from WRC, Marywood and Penn State University. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will host WRC Night on Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp. Of every ticket sold, $4 will be donated to WRC. And on Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m., people can bring their dogs to Zummo’s Cafe, 916 Marion St., Scranton, for a Yappy Hour. They also are asked to donate an item for WRC hospital bags, which go to local hospitals for victims of sexual assault after their clothing has been collected as evidence. Items to donate include T-shirts, pants, socks, intimate appeal and personal hygiene items. On Wednesday, April 24, the community is asked to wear denim in a campaign that began when women of the Italian parliament came to work wearing jeans to protest an overturned rape conviction where the survivor was wearing jeans. The justices felt that, since the survivor wore tight jeans when she was attacked, she must have helped her rapist remove them, implying consent.
WRC and its staff want women and men to know the services are out there if they need them. The month-long schedule of events serves as a way for community members to learn about the importance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and show support to survivors. “It really does take the whole community to end sexual violence against women and men,” Ruddy said. “So the diversity of these events reaches so many people and maybe community members that we would not be able to interact with otherwise.”
The Scranton Prep Players got the chance to learn from a Broadway star. Before the students sing and dance along to the music of Swedish pop quartet ABBA in jukebox musical “Mamma Mia,” the cast took a master class with Judy McLane. The Olyphant native and Great White Way veteran starred in the musical on Broadway for over a decade, first in the role of Tanya and then as the show’s lead, Donna.
The opportunity to work with young people in her home region and to get back in touch with “Mamma Mia” made for a special experience for her. “It’s a chance for me to give back,” said McLane, who teaches master classes to students around the country and gives private voice lessons in New York City. “I got to a place where I said, ‘Wow, there’s so much I can pass on.’ … The students know I’m a performer, and it helps in a way. … You’re doing it and bring more back to the table when you come back.” Prep’s show will take place Fridays, April 5 and 12, and Saturdays, April 6 and 13, at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, April 7 and 14, at 2 p.m. in the school’s St. Robert Bellarmine Theatre, 1000 Wyoming Ave. Tickets cost $10 for general admission and will be available at the door. For more information or group rates, call 570-941-7737. The cast worked with McLane for a few hours — using songs from the show, other Broadway selections and some pop songs — on everything from vocal technique and breathing to understanding the context of the material. “Judy was an amazing teacher,” said junior and ensemble member Caroline Lapinski. “It was easy to understand what she wanted from us. She also gave lots of advice for not only practicing on our own but also for taking our next steps into musical theater as a career.” Each student got some one-on-one time with McLane, too, including Camille Pastore and Nadja Tomaszewski, who will play McLane’s former roles of Donna and Tanya, respectively. McLane remarked how talented the cast members were as well as how quickly they picked up on the tips she gave them. Show director Colin Holmes said McLane provided insight not only on her time in “Mamma Mia” but also on building and sustaining a career in performing.
“We are so grateful and lucky to have her here,” he added. McLane has kept busy in the years following her exit from “Mamma Mia,” including some television acting roles, musical productions and concerts. She acted in a short film, “Hiding in Daylight,” which has been accepted at festivals such as American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival in France and Newport Beach Festival, among others. Regionally, she will appear in Pocono Center for the Arts’ concert event “Broadway Memories” along with other theater veterans on Sunday, April 7, at 4 p.m. at Stroudsmoor Country Inn, 257 Stroudsmoor Road, Stroudsburg. Her favorite moments, though, include working with young performers — especially those from her home region. “It’s rewarding,” McLane said. “And my roots are here. It’s always fun to come back home.”
Scranton wrestler bring fearless persona to Shamrock Shakedown
By day, Brianna Spindler uses scissors, a blowdryer or bleach to do her job. At night, she’s more likely to pick up a table, ladder, chair — or another person. The Scranton resident and lead stylist and color specialist at the city’s Salon a Go Go is making her mark in the professional wrestling world, competing in matches in Northeast Pennsylvania as well as across the state. Decked out in metallic black and silver gear, Spindler goes by the ring name Adena Steele, an out-of-this-world persona based on her own platinum hair and tattoos that adorn most of her body, plus her interest in astrology and the moon, stars and space. “I was playing around with a couple (ideas), and it kind of just clicked into place,” Spindler said. “I wanted it to have that kind of vibe — just a strong, badass, fearless chick.”
Spindler will soar into the ring during United Wrestling Revolution Presents: Shamrock Shakedown on Saturday, March 16, inside the Casey Ballroom at Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, 100 Adams Ave. The show also features Chris Masters, known for his work with World Wrestling Entertainment and Total Nonstop Action. Doors open at 6 p.m. with bell time at 7. Tickets to the family-friendly show cost $15 for general admission and $5 for children 10 and younger. Ringside tickets cost $20. Spindler’s decision to chase her wrestling dream sprung from her interest in fitness and her childhood pastime. She watched wrestling as a kid and always held the idea in the back of her mind but never realized she could make it a reality. After a friend saw an open tryout for Back Breakers Training Center, Archbald, she convinced Spindler to go. Spindler earned a spot to train as the only woman in the class. “I was comfortable with it, but I think it took a little to get everyone else to get comfortable,” she said, laughing. “Fighting a girl goes against everything you’re ever taught. It’s awkward, but once we all got used to it, that strangeness wore off.”
After she graduated, Spindler had to adapt and get used to wrestling with women but found support in those she’s met in the industry. It’s nice to find someone to relate to in certain aspects of wrestling, she said, and it’s also cool to see women getting into the ring. They not only display their hard work and talent but also inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Management at Salon a Go Go supports Spindler’s career. While she’s still works as a stylist during the week, she has Saturdays off for wrestling shows. Crowds have been receptive to her, incorporating her name into chants, such “Steele the show,” and Spindler is working on developing her signature moves. This includes her finisher, the “Steele force,” a nod to Knoebels’ rollercoaster and her NEPA roots.
Right now, she’s working her way up in an industry built on paying one’s dues. Spindler tries to get out in front of as many people as possible and show off her skills. The physicality and mental aspects of the sport can be brutal, but it’s all a part of the ride. “I’m always going to go where I need to go and put in the effort,” she said. “This is just life. Why not try to do something you want to do? What do you have to lose? I’d rather try it now than look back and regret it.”
It’s an exciting time to be Mandy Rose. And according to the World Wrestling Entertainment Superstar, it’s an exciting time to be a woman in sports entertainment in general. “Every place women are just taking over. It’s only up from here,” Rose said during a recent phone interview. “Women keep achieving new milestones and breaking down barriers.” Fans can see Rose and other Superstars on “SmackDown Live!” on Tuesday, March 5, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp. Tickets start at $20 and are available at ticketmaster.com and the arena box office and by calling 800-745-3000. There is a $10 fee to park in the arena’s lot. Rose, aka Amanda Saccomanno outside the ring, entered WWE universe in 2015 through the reality TV show “Tough Enough.” She placed second and was signed to the company’s developmental property that same year. In 2017, Rose debuted on the main roster alongside Superstar Paige with fellow “Tough Enough” alum Sonya Deville.
While Rose didn’t dream of being a pro wrestler since childhood like some, she decided to take a leap of faith into the industry. After earning a degree in speech-language pathology, Rose started to participate in fitness competitions, which “opened up so many opportunities” and helped her find herself. It wasn’t long after that she auditioned for “Tough Enough” and decided to pursue a new path. “It was something I was doing for myself,” she said. “Seeing the progress in myself and working hard to attain that goal was something I really loved.” Rose’s advice to young women looking to make it in the sports entertainment world or in any capacity reflects her own journey. “Always chase your dreams and don’t doubt them,” she said. “Follow your heart. You never know where it might take you.” The chance she took years ago put her on biggest stage of her life. Her time on the main roster has included several firsts — for her and the other women of WWE. Rose participated in the first women’s Royal Rumble match last January and the first all-women’s pay-per-view, “Evolution,” in October. “The crowd was just electric,” she said. “Being there in that moment was an unforgettable experience.”
Last week, Rose and Deville competed in an Elimination Chamber match to claim the Women’s Tag Team Championships, where they made it to the final two. Days later, Rose defeated SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka. While she’s on the road to the largest event of the year, “WrestleMania,” which takes place in April, Rose still stops to take it all in along the way. “We are having so much fun,” Rose said. “It’s amazing. It’s an exciting time.”
When R.J. Woessner takes the stage in Wilkes-Barre, it won’t be the first time his career brought him to Northeast Pennsylvania.
The singer, actor and voice-over actor originally from Indianapolis first traveled to Plains Twp. to appear in a commercial for Mohegan Sun Pocono several years ago. Now as a member of Walt Disney Records’ seven-person a cappella group, DCappella, Woessner was happy to see a familiar stop on the group’s North American tour.
“I got to spend a couple days (in NEPA). It’s a beautiful area,” Woessner said during a recent phone interview. “It will be great to be back there doing something a little different.”
Woessner, Sojourner Brown, Orlando Dixon, Antonio Fernandez, Morgan Keene, Shelley Regner and Joe Santoni make up DCappella, a super-group of a cappella performers who sing reimagined classics from the Disney songbook and more. DCapella will perform Wednesday, Feb. 13, at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7.
Woessner described the show as a theatrical concert experience, with skits, dancing, LED screens and a full light show that creates a special night for the audience. While the songs include Disney classics, DCappella performs the music in new arrangements across various genres, including R&B, jazz, rock, pop and electronic.
“The people will get to know all of us individually and our personalties throughout the show,” Woessner said. “You’re not going to a karaoke night. You’re going to a night of nostalgia. … It’s a very interactive experience, and there’s so much versatility. It’s really special to be in a show like that.”
On his road to DCappella, Woessner encountered a few signs that the group was in his future. They included time performing with Berklee College of Music’s a cappella group, Pitch Slapped, which appeared on the TV competition show “The Sing-Off,” and work as a vocalist with Disney orchestral tours. When he got word of auditions for DCapella, he knew it was for him.
Woessner and his fellow singers all come from different parts of show business. Regner appeared in the “Pitch Perfect” films, Keene played Katherine in the “Newsies” national tour, and Dixon was a finalist on NBC’s singing competition show, “The Voice.”
“You have to have versatility, and you have to be an amazing showman, but you also have to have such an understanding of music,” Woessner said. “The show is difficult, and each one of us brings something different to it. You can expect a Broadway-calibur show.”
Fans also should hear some of their favorite Disney songs, such as “I Wanna Be Like You” from “The Jungle Book” and one of Woessner’s favorites, “You’ll Be in My Heart,” the Phil Collins-penned song from “Tarzan.” Younger fans won’t be disappointed, either, as DCappella performs newer Disney hits, including “Remember Me” from “Coco” and songs from “Frozen.”
Woessner stressed the show is for all ages, and making connections with people in the crowd through beloved Disney music is what means the most to the members of DCappella.
“When you see a little girl’s face light up during ‘Frozen’ … or when you see a dad and he’s just like, ‘Wow,’ and totally blown away, that’s indescribable,” he said. “I hope they (leave) feeling inspired and feeling joy and feeling like we allowed them to escape for two hours.”
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Let it Snow Show. A staple in the alternative music scene during the dead of winter, ALT 92.1’s Snow Show takes place Sunday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. The concert is packed with acts from across different alterative genres, including rock headliner Young the Giant, rock/hip-hop musician Grandson, ska-punk group the Interrupters and the Nude Party, a six-piece psych rock band. Tickets to the Times-Shamrock Communications radio station’s concert are $29.50 to $49.50 for general admission and $92.10 for VIPs with a meet-and-greet. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, by calling 570-826-1100 and online at kirbycenter.org.
With differing acts on the bill, Nude Party lead singer Patton Magee said some of the highlights of playing the same show include discovering new music and getting hit with inspiration. “Sometimes you see a band and you’re really just like, ‘Damn, that’s awesome,’ and (you) want to adapt a little bit to what they’re doing,” Magee said during a recent phone interview. Originally from Boone, North Carolina, and now living in Livingston Manor, New York, the Nude Party began when the six members met at Appalachian State University. After releasing its self-titled debut album last July, the band’s been writing and recording in its Catskill Mountains house in between touring and plans to continue making music and performing all over the country this year. ALT 92.1’s Snow Show isn’t the group’s first time in Northeast Pennsylvania, Magee said. The Nude Party performed inside Wilkes-Barre’s Karl Hall last September. “It was a lot of fun,” Magee said. “It just seemed like a group of people who wanted to see live music. That’s really cool.” Magee said a Nude Party live show is where the band thrives. The crowd can expect the band to play some new music not on the record, he said, which the band enjoys since it can flesh out the songs a little more. “We do it better (live) than any other way,” Magee said, adding that “Astral Man” and some of the band’s longer songs are his favorites to play for a crowd. “You can create cool transitions between songs, and songs could turn out different live than (they) do on the record. Sometimes we’ll do something and it will sound different and we think, ‘Oh, we need to remember and do it next time.’ It’s the time that really shows the best of us and who we are.”
Stay cool. Just because it’s the dead of winter doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up inside your house. Weekend Times rounded up wintertime programs, festivals and events across the region. Whether indoors or outdoors, there’s something for everyone this season. The fun never stops in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Scranton Tomorrow’s Winter in the City cocktail parties Admission costs $20 and proceeds benefit Scranton Tomorrow. When: Fridays, Jan. 18 and Feb. 8, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Where: POSH at the Scranton Club, 404 N. Washington Ave. Details: 570-963-1575 or the event’s Facebook page.
Let’s Talk Wellness: A Speaker Series Jump-start your wellness journey with a free lecture, discussion and question-and-answer session with Jess Doncses about digestive health. When: Saturday, Jan. 19, 3 to 5 p.m. Where: Jaya Yoga, 320 S. State St., Clarks Summit Details: 570-319-1726 or info@JayaYogaStudio.com
Lunar eclipse viewing When: Sunday, Jan. 20; observatory opens at 9:30 p.m.; eclipse ends at 1:50 a.m. Where: Thomas G. Cupillari Observatory at Keystone College, Hack Road, Fleetville Details: 570-945-8402 or email@example.com
Irish Whiskey Pairing Guests can enjoy five whiskey and appetizer pairings along with flatbreads, various cheeses, carved Italian meats and grilled vegetables as Dustin Douglas provides live music. Tickets cost $39. When: Thursday, Jan. 24, 7 to 9 p.m. Where: Molly O’Shea’s at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp. Details: 570-831-2100
Pocono Winter Beerfest 2019 Tickets cost $35 for general admission and $50 for VIP. When: Saturday, Jan. 26, 1 p.m. Where: Sherman Theater, 524 Main St., Stroudsburg Details: 570-420-2808 or shermantheater.com
Wizardfest — ‘Harry Potter’ party Enter the wizarding world of the Boy Who Lived with this “Harry Potter” party including themed drinks, a costume contest, quidditch pong, dance party and prizes. Tickets cost $15 for advanced general admission and $25 for advanced general admission plus a wand. When: Saturday, Jan. 26, 3 to 8 p.m. Where: Stage West, 301 N. Main Ave., Scranton Details: Visit the event’s Facebook page.
Winter Fest 2019 See 21 curated films in 21 days. Tickets cost $8.50 for each film, excluding opening night, which costs $25 and includes popcorn, snacks, wine and beer. Reservations are required for opening night. Pre- and post-festival events are free. When: Preview day, Wednesday, Jan. 30, noon to 6 p.m.; opening night, Friday, Feb. 15, 6 p.m.; festival, Saturday, Feb. 16, through, Thursday, March 7; post-festival discussion, Friday, March 8, 1 p.m. Where: Dietrich Theater, 60 E. Tioga Street, Tunkhannock Details: dietrichtheater.com
Emo Night Scranton with Craig Owens Sing along to early- to mid-2000s emo and screamo hits with former vocalist of band Chiodos, as well as involvement in projects such as badXchannels. When: Saturday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m. Where: Stage West, 301 N. Main Ave., Scranton Details: Visit the Facebook event page.
Wyoming County Reads — ‘The Color Purple’ by Alice Walker Discussions are facilitated by Bill Chapla, Dr. Marnie Heister and Dr. Richard Hancuff. Screenings are free. When: Book discussions, Wednesdays, Feb. 6 to 27, 7 p.m.; film screenings, Wednesday, March 6,1 and 7 p.m. Where: Book discussions, Tunkhannock Public Library, 220 W. Tioga St.; screenings, Dietrich Theater, 60 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock Details: 570-836-1677 or 570-996-1500
Galentine’s Day Celebrate girl power with a take-home craft, mimosa bar and chocolate treats. Seneca Ryan Co. will snap photos of groups in front of fun backdrops. Each time slot costs $40 and can fit up to 25 people. When: Saturday, Feb. 9; 40-minute time slots from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Where: Chippy White Table, 5 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock Details: chippywhitetable.bigcartel.com
Indoor Winter Farmer’s Market Items for purchase include fresh juice, free-range meats, honey, canned goods, bread, produce, cupcakes, cheeses and more. When: Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., through May 18 Where: UNC South Side Winter Farmer’s Market, 509 Cedar Ave., Scranton Details: 570-346-0759 or South Side Farmers Market on Facebook
Shiver by the River 10K/5K run/2-mile walk Registration costs $15 in advance and $20 the day of the race. Packets can be picked up Friday, Jan. 11, from noon to 7 p.m. at Scranton Running Co., 3 W. Olive St. Race shirts are available for the first 150 participants. When: Saturday, Jan. 12; registration, 8:30 to 9:45 a.m.; race begins, 10 Where: Race starts and ends at Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, 3 W. Olive St., Scranton. Details: runsignup.com/Race/PA/Scranton/ShiverbytheRiver1
Ski for Colin Tickets cost $25 for half-day or evening lift tickets. Proceeds benefit suicide prevention and family support. When: Sunday, Jan. 13, 12:30 p.m. Where: Elk Mountain Ski Resort, 344 Elk Mountain Road, Union Dale Details: 570-679-1414 or the event’s Facebook page
Snowshoe and Yoga on the Trail Reservations are required for yoga and snowshoe loans. There is no charge for snowshoe rental, but there is a $5 donation for yoga. When: Saturday, Jan. 19, 10 a.m. to noon Where: Meet at Rail-Trail Council office, 948 N. Main St., Union Dale Details: 570-679-9300 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ShiverFest 2019 Race entry costs $30 and includes a ticket to the post-race Thaw Party, which runs from 2 to 5 p.m. at Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., Scranton. Watching the race is free. Racers must be 18 or older, wear a personal flotation device and provide their own kayak or canoe. Wetsuits are strongly recommended. Proceeds benefit Lackawanna River Conservation Association. Tickets for the Thaw Party only cost $20 and include food, drinks and entertainment. When: Saturday, Jan. 19, noon to 5 p.m. Where: Parker Street Landing, Lackawanna River, 12 E. Parker, Scranton Details: Visit the event’s Facebook page.
Splashin’ with Compassion and Polar Plunge 2019 The event is free to attend and includes basket raffles, music and more. There is a $35 donation for participants to take the polar plunge, which benefits Friends of Shannon McDonough. Costumes are encouraged but not required. When: Saturday, Jan. 26; registration, 10 to 11 a.m.; plunge, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: Montage Mountain Resorts, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton Details: Visit the event’s Facebook page.
Wally Ice Fest Event features Pocono Pond Hockey Tournament, a curling demonstration and more. When: Saturday, Jan. 26, and Sunday, Jan. 27 (backup dates: Saturday, Feb. 9, and Sunday, Feb. 10) Where: On and around Lake Wallenpaupack, Pike and Wayne counties Details: wallyicefest.com
Clarks Summit Festival of Ice presents Ice Wars Annual event takes it back to a galaxy far, far away in its 15th year with a “Star Wars” theme, including ice sculptures, carving demonstrations, family-friendly fun and more. When: Friday, Feb. 15, through Sunday, Feb. 17 Where: Various venues throughout downtown Clarks Summit Details: theabingtons.org
Torchlight Parade & Fireworks Annual event features 75 to 100 employees and friends of Montage Mountain skiing down Mainline Trail outside the lodge, each carrying flaming torches. A pyrotechnics and musical fireworks display immediately follows. Live music from Neil NiCastro Duo will be inside Slocum Hollow Bar & Restaurant from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but a lift ticket is required to partake in any snow sports that day. When: Saturday. Feb. 16, 5 to 10 p.m. Where: Montage Mountain Resorts, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton Details: montagemountainresorts.com
Rock 107 Cardboard Box Derby Teams of sledders 10 and older will build their own cardboard box sleds to win more than $2,000 in prizes. A snow-tubing party takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the tubing plaza. Food and drink also will be on hand. When: Sunday, Feb. 24; check-in, 7:30 a.m.; derby, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: Montage Mountain Resorts, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton Details: montagemountainresorts.com
Montage MountainFest The event features pond-skimming, entertainment, giveaways and more. When: Saturday, March 2, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Where: Montage Mountain Resorts, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton Details: montagemountainresorts.com
Nature Discovery Hike with Naturalist Nancy Wottrich The program includes a two-hour hike on and off the trail. Reservations are required for snowshoes. When: Saturday, March 2, 10 a.m. Where: Meet at Rail-Trail Council office, 948 N. Main St., Union Dale Details: email@example.com
Scranton-born musicians are coming home for the holidays, and they’re bringing their friends with them. The annual NEPA Holiday Show, featuring native Scranton band the Menzingers, will take the stage Saturday, Dec. 22, from 5 to 10:30 p.m. at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave. New this year, the band switched up the acts on the show to feature new bands, said Tom May, Menzingers guitarist and singer. Some hold Scranton roots, such as Dark Thoughts, whose bass player hails Scranton, and Abingtons native singer-songwriter James Barrett. Pacific-Northwest band Ramona just wanted to see what the NEPA Holiday Show was all about. Changing up the bill adds something fresh to the much-loved event which, May said, is an anticipated part of the holiday season for the performers and fans.
“Every year, people reach out to us asking about it earlier and earlier,” he said. “It’s really become almost an institution on its own.” Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show, available at nepaholidayshow.com. The event also will include a Toys for Tots drive and raffle. Each person who donates a new, unwrapped toy will be entered to win a bundle including shirts, sweatshirts and autographed LPs and EPs. Philanthropy is at the heart of the show. Proceeds benefit art and music programs for kids in the Scranton area, which remains close to the musicians’ hearts. “When we got our start, it was in the music and art scene in Scranton, and that’s what’s allowed us to travel the world and follow our dreams and have those experiences,” May said. “Those programs inspire and help so many people, and we want (the programs) to keep feeding those younger generations.”
May noted there’s a great amount of nationally and internationally recognized artists who hail from the region, and the band almost can guarantee to run into a few fellow natives in their travels. No matter where they go in the world, it’s a feeling like no other for the Menzingers and other bands from NEPA to play in their hometown. “It’s always fun to come back home and play this event and just see everyone,” May said. “This is such a tight-knit community. It’s such a great area to be from.”
It’s electrifying. The annual Festival of Trees exhibit kicks off this weekend with an Electric City holiday theme, which can mean an homage to Scranton’s electric roots — home to the first electric trolley — or a celebration of the city, said Maureen McGuigan, Lackawanna County deputy director of arts and culture. People and groups from across the region decorated or created from-scratch Christmas trees for the event, and she expects participants’ imaginations to run wild.
“We try to keep the theme specific but broad enough that there’s room for interpretation. That’s one of my favorite parts of this event is seeing everyone’s creativity and how they interpret the theme,” she said. “You can really see the organization or business or group’s personality cone through (in their tree).” This year’s exhibit runs from Friday, Dec. 14, through Sunday, Jan. 13, in the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton. Headed by Lackawanna County’s Office of Arts and Culture — which partnered with the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce — and the office’s event-planning committee, lots of local organizations, volunteers and more all get together to brainstorm ideas and pull off this annual event, McGuigan said.
For the second year in a row, the trees will be on display inside the Marketplace at Steamtown. Guests can find them on the second floor near Luzerne County Community College’s entrance. While McGuigan said she loves the festival’s past home, Electric City Trolley Museum, being inside the Marketplace allows for more eyes on participants’ hard work. “It’s more visible since so many people are coming through the (marketplace) during any day of the week,” she said. “It also just makes it look so nice for holidays and gets you into the spirit.” Exhibit admission is free except during the Dec. 14 opening reception, which runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and costs $20. Scranton DJ duo Saturbae will provide pop music and more hits, mainly from the late ’90s and early 2000s. “We like the entertainment to fit the theme, and (Saturbae) is fun and really brings the energy,” McGuigan said. “It’s definitely electric.” Local businesses Peculiar Culinary Co. and Electric City Bakehouse will serve food at the preview. Proceeds from the show and reception benefit the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program, which has been its longtime beneficiary. McGuigan said the Festival of Trees continues to be a favorite downtown holiday event, joined by other seasonal attractions such as Lackawanna Winter Market. It’s a tradition that celebrates residents’ creativity and, especially thanks to this year’s theme, highlights the pride they have in their home. “We have a great, rich history and a great present, too,” McGuigan said. “There’s so much going on in downtown and all over the region. This is a good time of the year to reflect on that.”
Celebrate the start of the holiday season with Christmas cheer, Santa Claus and some furry friends.
During the annual Santa Parade in downtown Scranton on Saturday, Nov. 17, Dave Ragnacci School of Dance will perform to pop singer/songwriter Sia’s “Puppies Are Forever.” The dancers will march along with two animal rescues, One Life To Live Pet Rescue & Adoption Inc. and NEPA Pet Fund and Rescue. The dancers and their families also will walk their own dogs along the parade route while singing along to the chorus of the song.
The heartwarming fun doesn’t stop there. The all-ages, family-friendly parade steps off at 9:15 a.m. with entertainment, twirlers, marching bands, community groups, Christmas carols and more, concluding around noon. Guests also can peruse Santa’s Gift Shop on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square and meet Santa. This year, the grand marshals will be the 2018 Tunkhannock Girls Little League softball team that finished second in the Little League Softball World Series.
Kids can write a message to Santa, which Times-Tribune elves will collect during the parade. Make sure to include your full name and address to ensure a return letter. If you can’t attend the parade, you can submit letters through Friday, Dec. 7.
Meanwhile, in Wilkes-Barre, the annual Christmas Parade and Tree-Lighting Ceremony will take place Saturday, Nov. 17, with free holiday activities throughout the day including ornament crafting, story time, a chance to meet the Grinch at Barnes & Noble Wilkes-King’s and a performance by Broken Road Duo, presented by Making a Difference Ministries. Young violinists of YOUniversal Suzuki Strings will perform in the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts lobby, and there will be a Christmas carol sing-a-long with Mary Baker in the center of Public Square. The parade steps off at 3 p.m. at South and South Main streets and continues north along Main Street, looping around Public Square and concluding on North Main Street. Immediately following the parade, the tree-lighting ceremony will take place on Public Square with a performance by Wilkes-Barre Mohegan Sun Choir. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
What: Santa Parade When: Saturday, Nov. 17, 9:15 a.m. Where: Throughout downtown Scranton; begins at Spruce Street and Franklin Avenue and ends at Adams Avenue and Spruce Street Details: Lackawanna Avenue from Cliff Street to Penn Avenue, Mifflin and Franklin avenues from Lackawanna Avenue to Linden Street, and Spruce Street between Mifflin and Franklin avenues will close to traffic for parade line-up that morning. Admission to the all-ages event is free. For more information, visit santaparade.net.
From snakes to clowns, face your fears this weekend.
West Scranton High School Players present Haunted Hallways of West Scranton High School, a theatrical horror guided tour, on Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28, at the school, 1201 Luzerne St.
The event runs from 6 to 10 p.m. with each guided tour lasting about 40 minutes, said Angela Franek, high school speech and drama teacher and theater arts adviser. Haunted Hallways is different from a typical walkthrough haunted house, as guests are lead from room to room with a scene happening in each, she said. This year’s theme centers on fears, phobias and manias, and, like in the past, the students wrote the scripts and designed the costumes, makeup and more to bring their ideas to life.
“They have a lot of fun with it. They’re doing the research, working on character development, there are storytelling elements — beginning, middle and end — doing the props, the costumes,” Franek said. “They do a really nice job. They really love it.”
Action starts with the tour guide, a “psychiatrist,” leading the group throughout the school hallways. Each scene depicts a different fear or phobia, from coulrophobia (fear of clowns) and claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces) to pediophobia (fear of dolls) and iatrophobia (fear of doctors), and the tour guide will give a little background on the fear. Then, the guests will find themselves immersed inside the fear.
Senior and drama club president Enzo Cicco said he’s playing someone with intense arachnophobia, or fear of spiders. After a short scene between Cicco’s character and his “doctor,” the group will find itself inside his mind and biggest fear. And the more realistic for the audience, the better, Cicco said.
“It’s a really good feeling when people have to leave the room or when they turn back since it’s not for them,” said Cicco, who’s been involved with the event throughout all of high school. “It’s always fun to know something you did was that scary.”
Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the door, and proceeds benefit the drama club. A limited number of pre-sale passes for specific times cost $20 and are available through the West Scranton High School Players Facebook page.
Another fun part for the 100-plus students involved is the time they spend together over the weekend. After school Friday, they transform the hallways and rooms into horror scenes, perform all weekend and then tear down the sets on Sunday night before school resumes Monday. It’s a long weekend, but it’s worth it.
“It’s you and all your friends all weekend, so you get close with each other,” Cicco said. “It’s hard work and grueling hours, but it’s cool to see everything come together, working with each other and watching all the ideas come to life.”
If you go What: Haunted Hallways of West Scranton High School When: Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28, 6 to 10 p.m. Where: West Scranton High School, 1201 Luzerne St. Details: Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the door, and proceeds benefit the drama club. A limited number of pre-sale passes for specific times cost $20 and are available through the West Scranton High School Players Facebook page.