Members of Trans-Siberian Orchestra — the international best-selling rock-opera band — look for certain things in the audience from their vantage point on stage.
Amid the thunderous, firey blasts and blazing lights that accompany the symphony of electrified classical music that fills arenas around the globe, the small gestures and body language cues catch the musicians’ eyes and let them know the crowd loves the spectacle.
So how do they spot the audience having a good time?
“A lot of smiles … and a lot of granddaughters hugging their grandpas. And a lot of fists in the air, and a lot of people singing along with the songs,” said Al Pitrelli, music director and lead guitarist. “You know, there’s a lot of tells in the audience, but I spend most of the show kind of like watching what’s going on with the band, and if it sounds really good in my ears and the production’s firing, then I know that the audience is going to be OK.”
TSO is set to return to Wilkes-Barre Twp. with a pair of shows in the band’s 20th anniversary tour on Sunday, Nov. 18. “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” — which features fan-favorites “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24,” “O’ Come All Ye Faithful,” “Good King Joy,” “Christmas Canon,” “Music Box Blues,” “Promises To Keep” and “This Christmas Day” — takes over Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza at 3 and 7:30 p.m. that day.
This marks the third year TSO has toured with this presentation, though 2018’s edition promises all-new set designs and production values, plus a fresh second set of songs that will include other TSO hits.
The tour celebrates the continuation of a much-loved holiday tradition for many, though the TSO family has suffered big losses in the last couple of years. Bassist David Zablidowsky was killed in a Florida car crash in July 2017 (which eventually claimed the life of local musician Janet Rains, too), and TSO founder Paul O’Neill died in April 2017 after accidentally ingesting a lethal cocktail of medicines prescribed to him for numerous chronic illnesses.
Yet the longtime collaborators of both carry on the stage show in their honor, and also for the sake of the fans who continue to make each tour a sell-out success.
But even for the most devoted TSO fans, the concert still holds surprises guaranteed to make “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” feel new.
“We’ve been through this for all these years, and it’s pretty obvious now who has seen the show before and who hasn’t, just by kind of the, at times, the dumbfounded, surprised look on certain people’s face,” said Jeff Plate, the band’s drummer.
“They have no idea, really, what’s coming next,” he added. “A lot of the audience that’s been coming to see us over the years, they may have an idea of what’s around the corner or whatever, but, you know, I think the real test or the real answer to that is, is there any empty seats at the end of the show? And we’ve been fortunate that we fill these arenas up and people stay to the very last note.
“And that’s the biggest rush of all, is just to know that everybody has been connected with us for over two hours, and they don’t want to leave. If you’re getting a standing ovation at the end of the show, and you know these people are going to come back and see you the following year, that’s what it’s all about.”
If you go
What: Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s 20th Anniversary Tour: “Ghosts of Christmas Eve”
When: Sunday, Nov. 18, 3 and 7:30 p.m.
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp.
Details: Tickets start at $38.50 and are available through the box office, Ticketmaster outlets and
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.
What: Christmas Parade and Tree-Lighting
When: Saturday, Nov. 17, 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; parade, 3 p.m.
Where: Wilkes-Barre Public Square
Details: Admission to the all-ages event is free. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
1. NEPA Philharmonic Chamber Series
Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic presents the first concert in its Chamber Series on Thursday, Nov. 15. In “The Viennese Schools,” violinist Gabriel Schaff will perform music of the First and Second Viennese Schools — works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and more. Pianist Steven Masi will join him. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m., and the performance will begin at 7 at WVIA Sordoni Theater, 100 WVIA Way, Pittston. Tickets cost $35 and can be purchased at nepaphil.org. For details, call 570-270-4444.
2. Annual Artisans’ Marketplace
Get a head start on your holiday shopping at the 35th annual Artisans’ Marketplace at Waverly Community House, 1115 North Abington Road.
Taking place Saturday, Nov. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the marketplace will showcase the original wares of local artisans and craftspeople. Products will include photography, ceramics, paintings, jewelry, textiles and more. Constantino’s Catering & Events Inc. will provide the food for the weekend from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Homemade desserts from the Comm Bake Shop also will be available. Tickets cost $5 and grant guests admission for both days. All proceeds raised will benefit the Comm. For details, call 570-586-8191.
3. University of Scranton shows
Two plays will take place at University of Scranton this weekend.
The University of Scranton Players will present “The Beyoncé,” by the first Humanities Initiative Artist in Residence, Eliza Bent, from Thursday, Nov. 15 through Saturday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. The comedy debuted in New York in July and is based on Anton Chekhov’s short story, “The Fiancé.” The story focuses on a young, engaged woman named Nadia who searches for her place in the world. Tickets cost $10 for general admission and $7 for students, seniors, faculty and staff. Call 570-941-4318 for more information. Liva Arts Company, meanwhile, will present “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” from Thursday, Nov. 15, and Friday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 17, at 2 and 8 p.m. The musical comedy looks to tackle truths and fictions about relationships.
Tickets cost $5 and can be reserved online at livaartscompany.ludus.com. Liva strongly recommends that guests reserve seats in advance.
4. Harry Potter: 20 Years of Magic Celebration
Indulge in all of the wizardry and magical lore of the Harry Potter series this weekend at Barnes & Noble, 250 East End Center, Wilkes-Barre Twp.
On Saturday, Nov. 17, from 2 to 5 p.m., guests can celebrate the release of the new film “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” at the Harry Potter: 20 Years of Magic Celebration. Activities include coloring, activity sheets and a DIY pop-op art build that guests will be allowed to take home. Trivia will take place at 3 p.m., and there also will be a standee and props to take photos with.
Raffles and giveaways will take place, and everyone who attends will receive a raffle ticket. The raffle will begin at 4:30 p.m. In addition to all of the activities, guests can check out exclusive merchandise and enjoy rewards and discounts on their purchases. Guests can register for the free event online at barnesandnoble.com. For more information, call 570-829-4210.
5. All Wrapped Up Holiday Shopping Extravaganza
Carbondale UNICO will present the All Wrapped Up Holiday Shopping Extravaganza on Sunday, Nov. 18. The marketplace will be open from noon to 3:30 p.m. at Hotel Anthracite, 25 S. Main St., Carbondale. Admission costs $5, and proceeds benefit local charities and community projects.
More than a dozen vendors will participate and sell such wares as candy, jewelry, crafts, wreaths, coffee and more. For details, visit the Facebook event page.
The national tour of a Broadway musical looks to spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear.
Based on the hit Will Ferrell film of the same name, “Elf: The Musical” sweeps into Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., for a weekend of four shows just in time for the holidays. Presented by Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania, shows will take place Friday, Nov. 9, through Sunday, Nov. 11.
“It’s kind of hard to watch the show and not smile a little bit,” said Mackenzie Lesser-Roy, who plays Jovie, a department store employee whose life turns around when an elf from the North Pole arrives.
That elf, Buddy, actually is a grown human man who ended up as part of Santa’s crew when he unknowingly wandered into the toy sack as a toddler on Christmas Eve. Raised by Santa’s elves, Buddy comes to New York City to find his real father and ends up transforming the lives of those he meets.
Lesser-Roy, who grew up in Westchester County, New York, said the musical does differ from the film but has the same sense of joy and many details that will make audiences laugh.
“The whole show is really fun,” she said. “I think some of these musical numbers … kind of hit you in the face. There’s so much going on, but it’s so entertaining. It’s non-stop, too.”
The character Lesser-Roy plays differs from others in the cast in that she’s more ordinary, and even more negative, than the over-the-top, exaggerated people around her, she noted. Jovie is not a holiday person and has always been alone during Christmas, something audience members might relate to, Lesser-Roy said.
“She does find the Christmas spirit,” Lesser-Roy said. “That’s why it’s so fantastic when (Buddy) does instill some happiness and Christmas in her.”
The actress praised her fellow castmates who play elves by dancing on their knees and said a song they sing is “just adorable.” Lesser-Roy has had many of the songs from the show stuck in her head and said audiences can expect a lot in particular from the tune “The Story of Buddy the Elf,” which comes toward the end of the show.
“It’s this big number where he’s telling the story and the whole ensemble comes in, and it’s this big, catchy, jazzy dance number. … The ensemble is incredible,” she said.
Lesser-Roy recently saw the sets for the first time, too, and said they blew her away.
“It is so colorful,” she said. “It’s also like 3-D in a way, so it almost feels like it’s coming out into the audience. It’s pretty brilliant. There are so many layers of set, and the set changes happen so quickly.”
And with the tour coming to Scranton as the holiday season kicks into high gear, Lesser-Roy expects “Elf” to put people in the right mood.
“I’m sure that there have been some holidays … where you were expecting it to be something different, maybe something better, and Buddy manages to instill Christmas spirit in different people that he meets,” Lesser-Roy said. “I mean, he meets people in a store, and two minutes later, he has them dancing and singing. So I think that it will absolutely get people into the Christmas spirit, and it will remind them of the purest reason for Christmas, which is to spend time with your loved ones and just to give back and to experience joy in the purest form with lots of people you love.”
1. Community Day
Come out to the Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science and Art to enjoy the free, family-friendly Community Day on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m.
This biannual event gives guests the chance to tour the collections and participate in interactive activities at the museum, 1901 Mulberry St., Scranton.
The theme for the event is “Transformation,” as the museum introduces the public to changes the 110-year-old building recently underwent. The museum will celebrate the official opening of its renovated second-floor galleries, new classroom spaces and a zine library. The museum also is launching a new logo.
The first 500 guests to enter will receive a free tote bag full of coupons and treats from the event’s sponsors and other community partners.
For more information, visit everhart-museum.org or call 570-346-7186.
2. John Fogerty
Rock and roll singer and songwriter John Fogerty will take the stage at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre Twp., on Friday, Nov. 9 ,at 8 p.m.
Fogerty’s career has spanned more than 50 years, from when he co-founded the band Creedence Clearwater Revival to his work as a solo artist. He’s known for classic hits including “Born on the Bayou,” “Green River” and “Proud Mary.” Rolling Stone has considered Fogerty one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists,” “100 Greatest Songwriters” and “100 Greatest Singers.” He’s also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was a New York Times best-selling author after publishing his memoir, “Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music.”
Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, at the box office and by calling 800-745-3000.
3. Sixth annual Taste of the Town
Indulge in the food and drinks from almost two dozen restaurants and wineries at the Greater Carbondale Chamber of Commerce’s sixth annual Taste of the Town. This event will showcase local fare Sunday, Nov. 11, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Hotel Anthracite and Kol Steakhouse, 25 S. Main St., Carbondale. Chris Mullineaux will perform music throughout the afternoon, and there also will be raffles.
Tickets cost $25, and proceeds will benefit the chamber’s efforts in developing workforce and educational programs. For tickets, visit eventbrite.com, contact a chamber board member or call 570-282-1690.
4. ‘It’s Only a Play’
Head over to King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, to watch the stage comedy “It’s Only a Play.”
The story from four-time Tony winner Terrence McNally follows characters involved with the production of a new play on Broadway. The playwright, a lead actor and others party at the producer’s penthouse while they wait for critics’ reviews to pour in after the play’s opening night. Catch this show Thursday, Nov. 8, through Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m.; and Thursday, Nov. 15, through Friday, Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the college’s George P. Maffei II Theatre. Tickets cost $12 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors.
For more information, call 570-208-5825 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Run Against Hunger
Choose from a two-mile walk or a 5K or 10K run at the seventh annual Run Against Hunger.
The races will begin Saturday, Nov. 10, at 9 a.m. at the Olive Street Trailhead of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail in Scranton. Awards, raffle prizes and soup will follow the race.
The 5K run and two-mile walk cost $25, and the 10K run costs $30. Proceeds will benefit St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen, Scranton. The first 400 registered participants will get a free Run Against Hunger race shirt.
Participants can pick up their race packets Friday, Nov. 9, from noon to 7 p.m. at Scranton Running Co., 3 W. Olive St., or before the race on Saturday from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m.
To register, visit runsignup.com/runagainsthunger.
F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
The National Reserve and MiZ, Thursday, Nov. 8
Tommy James and the Shondells, Saturday, Nov. 10
Jo Koy, Sunday, Sunday, Nov. 11
Petula Clark, Wednesday, Nov. 14
Todd Snider, Friday, Nov. 16
The Fast Lane — Eagles tribute, Saturday, Nov. 17
Ray LaMontagne, Sunday, Nov. 18
Kansas, Friday, Nov. 23
Johnny Rivers, Sunday, Dec. 2
Chris Tomlin Christmas, Friday, Dec. 7
Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
The Clairvoyants Christmas, Friday, Nov. 23 (Gypsies Lounge)
Mike Epps, Saturday, Nov. 24
Best of the Eagles, Saturday, Dec. 8
The Amish Outlaws, Friday, Dec. 28
Carlos Mencia, Saturday, Dec. 29 (Gypsies Lounge)
Sinbad, Sunday, Dec. 30 (Gypsies Lounge)
River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
The Grass Is Dead, Friday, Nov. 9
7800 Fahrenheit — Bon Jovi tribute, Saturday, Nov. 10
Boote Family Benefit, Sunday, Nov. 11
The Lizard, Friday, Nov. 16
Dean Ford & the Beautiful Ones, Saturday, Nov. 17
MiZ and Mazer with Professor Louie and the Crowmatix and the Woodstock Horns, Wednesday, Nov. 21
Jordan Ramirez and the Tribe, Thursday, Nov. 22
Subnotics, Friday, Nov. 23
Mark Rose of Spitalfield, Friday, Nov. 30
Bumpin Uglies with Kluster Phunk, Saturday, Dec. 1
Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Thursday, Nov. 8
Charlie Daniels Band with the Outlaws, Nov. 9
The Official Blues Brothers Revue, Saturday, Nov. 10
An Evening with Air Supply, Sunday, Nov. 11
Blue Oyster Cult, Friday, Nov. 16
Slightly Stoopif, Saturday, Nov. 17
Dark Star Orchestra, Wednesday, Nov. 21
An Olde English Christmas with Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Thursday, Nov. 29
Back to the Eighties Show with Jessie’s Girl, Friday, Nov. 30
Sara Evans at Christmas, Saturday, Dec. 1
Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Jay Critch, Friday, Nov. 9
Humble Pie, Saturday, Nov. 10
Tech N9ne’s Independent Grind Tour 2018, Wednesday, Nov. 21
Kitchen Dwellers, Saturday, Nov. 24
The Definitive Tribute to the Original Allman Brothers Band, Saturday, Dec. 1
Ghost, Wednesday, Dec. 5
Alive! ’75: A Tribute to KISS, Saturday, Dec. 8
Kamikazu, Friday, Dec. 14
Echoes, Saturday, Dec. 15
Patent Pending, Friday, Dec. 28
The Everly Brothers Experience featuring the Zmed Brothers, Friday, Nov. 9
Richard Thompson Electric Trio, Friday, Nov. 9
Tony Lucca, Thursday, Nov. 15
Billy Bauer Band Tribute to Dave Matthews Band, Friday, Nov. 16
The Aardvarks and the Sofa Kings, Saturday, Nov. 17
Philadelphia Funk Authority, Wednesday, Nov. 21
TUSK, Friday, Nov. 23
The Large Flowerheads, Friday, Nov. 30
Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, Thursday, Dec. 6
Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes, Wednesday, Dec. 12
Franklin Music Hall, Philadelphia
Kamasi Washington, Friday, Nov. 9
REZZ, Saturday, Nov. 9
H.E.R., Friday, Nov. 16
The Story So Far, Saturday, Nov. 17
San Holo, Wednesday, Nov. 21
Thom Yorke, Friday, Nov. 23
Streetlight Manifesto, Friday, Nov. 30
Adam Conover, Saturday, Dec. 1
Joe Perry featuring Brad Whitford and Gary Cherone, Wednesday, Dec. 5
Get the Led Out, Friday, Dec. 7
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Josh Groban, Monday, Nov. 12
Kevin Hart, Saturday, Nov. 24
Travis Scott, Saturday, Dec. 1
Jingle Ball, Wednesday, Dec. 5
Mumford and Sons, Friday, Dec. 7
Lil Uzi Vert and Friends, Saturday, Dec. 8
Dave Matthews Band, Tuesday, Dec. 11
Justin Timberlake, Monday, Dec. 17
Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Friday, Dec. 21
Madison Square Garden, New York City
Elton John, Thursday, Nov. 8 and Friday, Nov. 9.
Josh Groban, Sunday, Nov. 16
Bob Weir and Wolf Bros, Monday, Nov. 19
Travis Scott, Tuesday, Nov. 27, and Wednesday, Nov. 28
Dave Matthews Band, Thursday, Nov. 29, and Friday, Nov. 30
John Legend, Monday, Dec. 3
Jimmy V Classic, Tuesday, Dec. 4
Mega Bash 2018, Wednesday, Dec. 5
Grief can be the mother of all emotions.
Ever since her mom died suddenly in 2006, Mary Lou Quinlan’s journey to acceptance pinballed between humor and pain before finally landing at release.
Quinlan shared this emotional odyssey in her best-selling book, “The God Box,” so named for the collection of prayers, notes of goodwill and faith-filled wishes for every person her mom came into contact with over several years, which were discovered after her passing.
Quinlan turned her book into a heartfelt one-woman play — in which she plays herself along with her mom, dad and brother — called “The God Box, A Daughter’s Story,” which comes to Scranton on Thursday, Nov. 8. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Theater at North, 1539 N. Main Ave. Tickets cost $25, and proceeds benefit Hospice of the Sacred Heart.
From the first performance five years ago, Quinlan’s show has hit stages hundreds of times, including at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, off Broadway and in 10 cities in Ireland. She has donated nearly half a million dollars from these performances to local women’s health-related charities in memory of her mom.
The Nov. 8 show marks Quinlan’s return to the Electric City after a well-received keynote speech at the Society of Irish Women’s St. Patrick’s Day dinner in March. Before the program began, Quinlan gravitated to Laurie Cadden and Diane Baldi, R.N., who respectively are the development director and CEO of Hospice of the Sacred Heart.
The trio struck up a friendly chat about Quinlan’s passion for supporting hospice care via her show and the need for a celebratory event in November, which is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.
“When we made that connection, I realized they were the exact women to talk to,” Quinlan said during a recent phone interview from New York. “The play opens in Pennsylvania, in Bucks County, so it felt like it belongs here.”
Quinlan donated proceeds from book sales at the society dinner to Hospice of the Sacred Heart — which has offices in Wilkes-Barre, Dunmore and Moosic — and after sharing portions of her story in her speech, she promised to bring her play to Scranton in the future.
“We were just so honored and pleased and grateful for her to donate the proceeds back in March and come back and do the same,” Baldi said. “What I saw at that dinner was remarkable, and I thought she was so engaging. When she spoke, you could hear a spoon drop. She’s kind, she’s witty, she’s smart, and she speaks from her heart.”
“The God Box” book reads as a memoir and tribute to a mother-daughter relationship, while the play takes the perspective of a daughter who has lost her mother and digs into the soul of someone who loves, goes through the losing process, and tries to keep control and hold on, Quinlan explained.
“It’s the experience I had from growing up — truly growing up — and learning to let go,” she said. “It has music, video and visuals throughout. It’s a recreation of a life story and a very human experience.”
Handing over the proceeds is Quinlan’s way of giving back in gratitude for the care her parents each received at the ends of their lives, she added.
“‘The God Box’ is an expression of (my mother’s) compassion,” Quinlan said. “It only seems right the play itself have a heart to it.”
The show’s tagline, “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to call your mother,” came naturally from the conversations Quinlan had with the audience after performances. Those who lost moms told her how they wished they could talk to them once more, and those with mothers still living expressed a need to reach out after seeing the play.
“It does bring back beautiful memories that they have about their mothers. In the end, it’s about them and their families,” Quinlan said. “People also say they want to go home and start their own God box, and my mother would be so thrilled about that.”
Theatergoers often question her about how she handles telling such a sad and personal story on stage, but Quinlan called it the best way to remain positive about the woman she misses.
“I feel like she’s with me when I do this play,” Quinlan said. “I get to have her and keep her in this world.”
1. ‘Dancing Stars of Wilkes-Barre’
Local celebrities paired with professional dancers will face off on the dance floor Saturday, Nov. 3, at 8 p.m. during ‘Dancing Stars of Wilkes-Barre.’
Presented by KISS Theatre in Joe Amato East End Centre, Wilkes-Barre, the show mimics the popular TV show, “Dancing with the Stars,” but with a local twist. Seven local celebrities will be featured in this year’s dance-off. TUX, the official mascot of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, will take to the stage along with Fast Freddie Fabbri, Kyle Reed, Anne E. Rodella, Bruce Lefkowitz, Kimberly McLendon and Ed Ciarimboli.
WNEP-TV anchor and reporter Julie Sidoni and Dave Reynolds, an associate professor of theater at King’s College and artistic director of Gaslight Theatre Company, will host the event.
A People’s Choice trophy will go to the dancing team that receives the most votes from the public, and a Judge’s Choice trophy will go to the team that receives the highest score.
Tickets cost $25 and $35 for adults and $15 for students and are available at dancingstarsofwilkesbarre.com.
2. Founders Art Exhibit
View the artwork of three former faculty members who helped found Keystone College’s Linder Gallery in the Founders Art Exhibit, now showing at the La Plume college.
On display until Saturday, Dec. 1, the exhibit is a part of a series commemorating Keystone’s 150th anniversary and features pieces from Karl Neuroth, Cliff Prokop and Bill Tersteeg. The three professors worked together to develop the art department and, combined, have touched the lives of more than 10,000 students.
The gallery is on the first floor of the Miller Library, and entry is free. For gallery hours or more information, call 570-945-8335.
3. ‘A Bad Year for Tomatoes’
Join Actors Circle as it presents the story of a television actress who, over her career, moves to a town to write her memoirs in “A Bad Year for Tomatoes.”
The show will take place at Providence Playhouse, 1256 Providence Road, Scranton, on Thursday, Nov. 1 through Saturday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. Directed by Art Walsh, the show stars Kelly Ann Walsh, Chris Eibach, K.K. Gordon, Carol Davis, Lorrie Loughney, Warren Cox and Justin O’Hearn.
In the play, the actress settles in Beaver Haven with the expectation that it will be a quiet place to write, but it always seems that someone is around to interrupt her.
Tickets cost $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors and $8 for students. For reservations, call 570-342-9707 or email email@example.com. Visit actorscircle.com for more information.
4. A Taste of Greater Pittston
Spend the afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 4, sampling food and drinks from local restaurants, breweries and wineries at A Taste of Greater Pittston.
Pittston Memorial Library, 47 Broad St., will host the event from 2 to 5 p.m. in its John P. Cosgrove Center.
Only 200 tickets will be sold and cost $30 in advance, available at the library.
In addition to the food and drink samplings, guests can enjoy such activities as basket raffles and entertainment by Mike Dougherty. They will be able to vote for the best red wine, best white wine and best brew.
All proceeds raised from the event will benefit the library. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
5. ‘Nick and Ophelia’
Join Scranton Films for the premiere of its first feature film, “Nick and Ophelia,” on Friday, Nov. 2, on the second floor of the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackwanna Ave., Scranton.
The event will run from 6 to 9 p.m., with the film starting at 7. A question-and-answer session will follow the screening, and audience members can meet the filmmakers and Scranton Films team.
The movie falls into the genres of romance, drama and horror. Parental discretion is advised, as the film is not suitable for small children.
Vendors at the food court will be open to provide food and refreshments.
For more information about the event or Scranton Films, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WILKES-BARRE — Comedian Wanda Sykes postponed her Nov. 1 show at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
Citing a scheduling conflict, Sykes rescheduled the show for 8 p.m., Sat., April 6,. Tickets will be honored for the new date, or refunds will be offered at the point of purchase.
Wanda Sykes has never shied away from confronting the controversial or sharing her informed — and often hilarious — opinion on a matter.
When the celebrated comedian brings her “Oh Well” tour to Wilkes-Barre in April, audience members can expect plenty of observational humor, some of which may even touch on current news and events. Sykes will perform at 8 p.m. on April 6 at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
“I have my set show that I’m gonna do, but if there’s like a big news story or something crazy happens, I do tend to throw that in — if I have a funny point on it,” Sykes shared recently during a phone call from Los Angeles. “There’s a lot of stuff on the fly.”
Sykes made a name for herself through her stand-up, though she segued this success into a notable film and television career as well. Her movie credits include “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “Monster-in-Law” with Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez and “Evan Almighty” with Steve Carell, while on TV audiences have seen her in such shows as “Black-ish,” “Broad City,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”
As a writer, she’s lent her talents to “The Chris Rock Show,” which won her an Emmy, plus “Last Comic Standing” and her various namesake programs.
Sykes also released a book, “Yeah, I Said It,” in 2004, in which she shared her takes on family, race and other hot topics. It’s familiar ground for the noted activist, who often speaks out for causes she believes in, whether it’s on stage or in awareness campaigns.
“I do like to talk about social issues to give a voice to people who are in the margin,” Sykes said. “For me, I like to say something with my comedy. … It feels like it’s my responsibility. It’s just my taste.
“That’s just how I guess my mind works. But I also can tell a funny story about my family, too. I like to mix it up. If I think there’s injustice going on, I’m going to say something about it.”
Sykes still relishes the rush of performing on stage, where she said she gets to share part of her life with the crowd. Live shows present the opportunity for give and take, she explained.
“The feeling you get of the euphoria, when you’re saying something … and you can make this whole audience crack up laughing, it’s powerful, and I love making people laugh,” Sykes said. “I get just as much out of it as people get from me. It feels like a loving environment.
“They get a better sense of me — who I am — and also the jokes are memorable. I like for them to walk away with something they will remember. I love my audience. They’re just cool people. Just good people.”
When the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular finally makes its way to town following a summertime rain-out, you’ll wish you were here.
The laser and music show presented by Rock 107 (a Times-Shamrock Communications property) has been rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Ritz Theater in downtown Scranton. Initially set for August at the Scranton Iron Furnaces, the show was moved after excessive downpours caused damage and forced a delay. Original tickets will be honored for the new show, and those who missed out the first time can still buy tickets online at eventbrite.com.
Producer and creative director Steve Monistere started with the show in 1986 and has watched it grow, change and improve in the years since then as technology ramped up.
“It started off very simple because technology was simple back then,” he said. “As computers progressed, so did the show. It’s like something you haven’t seen before in the sense that with the lasers and video and lighting, we really create a psychedelic experience right in front of you.
“And, of course, set to the music of Pink Floyd, it worked very well,” Monistere added. “It’s a concert experience without the band.”
The show will be conducted via multiple high-definition screens that set the scene against the familiar strains of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits.
“If you can imagine going to a large-scale concert with a lot of lighting and production value to support what the band is doing live … we take a different approach,” Monistere explained. “The lighting and the lasers are the stars of the show. We give visuals to what you hear. More cerebral, creative types that lean to quality music, they’ll love it.”
If you go
What: Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular
When: Saturday, Oct. 27; doors open at 7 p.m.
Where: Ritz Theater, 222 Wyoming Ave., Scranton
Details: Original tickets will be honored for this rescheduled show, and new tickets may be bought through eventbrite.com. For more information, call 570-241-1135.
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.
1. Jay Leno
Former “Tonight Show” host and comedian Jay Leno will take the stage at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, Wilkes-Barre, on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m.
Since leaving his late-night talk show, Leno has produced and starred in the show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” which earned an Emmy Award and two nominations for outstanding special class — short-format nonfiction program. Leno also is known for his children’s books, “If Roast Beef Could Fly” and “How to Be the Funniest Kid in Your Class,” and for voice-acting as characters in “Cars,” “Igor” and “The Fairly Oddparents.”
Doors open for his show at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $72.50, $85.50, $102.50 and $128 and are available at the box office and kirbycenter.org and by calling 570-826-1100.
2. ‘Death Is a Cabaret, Old Chum’
REV Theatre Company will present “Death Is a Cabaret, Ol’ Chum,” a show that has had six years of sold-out performances at the Philadelphia Fringe Arts Festival.
The cabaret will take place at Forest Hill Cemetery, 1830 Jefferson Ave., Dunmore, on Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m. The rain date is Sunday, Oct. 28.
Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and beach chairs. The performance will last approximately one hour.
REV’s co-artistic director, Rudy Caporaso, created the show, which Rosey Hay directed. Scranton actor Sandy D’Oria will be featured in the show alongside Caporaso and Susanna Herrick.
Tickets cost $20 for general admission and $15 for seniors and students, and only cash will be accepted at the gate. For more information, call 917-405-2173.
3. ‘Love Songs’
The Arcadia Chorale will perform in Clarks Summit and Wilkes-Barre this weekend as it presents its fall concert, “Love Songs.” Concerts will take place Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. in St. Nicholas Church, 226 S. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre, and on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. in First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, 300 School St. Tickets for the Wilkes-Barre show cost $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and are free for students with ID. The concert in Clarks Summit is part of the Arts at First Presbyterian Concert Series and will be free, but donations will be accepted. The chorale’s music director is Dr. Steven Thomas, who also is an associate professor of music and the director of choral activities at Wilkes University.
To buy tickets, visit arcadiachorale.org or call 570-871-0350.
4. ‘Hocus Pocus’
Take in a free screening of a spooky holiday favorite Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m. at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
The film “Hocus Pocus,” presented as part of the The Times-Tribune Children’s Series, follows the story of two teenagers, a young girl and a cat as they face off against three witch sisters on Halloween night in Salem, Massachusetts. This movie came out in 1993 and is rated PG.
The event has open-floor seating, and guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets for the floor. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.
Tickets are required and are available at the box office, over the phone at 570-344-1111 and online at ticketmaster.com. There is a limit of six per household.
5. Halloween party and costume contest
Your Halloween costume could win you part of $5,000 in cash prizes being given away at the Montage Mountain Halloween Party on Friday, Oct. 26. The 21-and-older event runs from 6 to 11:30 p.m. at Montage Mountain Resorts, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton. The night will include live music, games, giveaways and drink specials. The contest focuses on best overall costume and will have three cash winners: $3,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $500 for third place. Tickets cost $10 for admission and $20 for entry into the costume contest. For tickets or more information, visit montagemountainresorts.com or call 570-969-7669.
A fire will once again alight in downtown Scranton for the annual Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces.
On Saturday, Oct. 20, the eighth annual festival will continue its mission of celebrating different autumnal cultural festivals and will feature several activities, food and live music. Money raised from the event will benefit Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum in McDade Park, Scranton.
The festival will take place from 6 to 10 p.m., and the bonfire will be lit at 8. In addition to offering entertainment, the festival also serves as an educational and cultural event, honing in on a different culture each year. This year’s theme is the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or the “Day of the Dead.”
“It celebrates our heritage, our families, our ancestors,” said Alysia Scazafabo, one of the event founders who has stayed involved with it since its creation in 2011. “It’s very important to a lot of us.”
Like previous years, the event will be packed with things to do, but she said organizers have set it up differently so it has more space to accommodate the expected crowd. From face painting and music to food and tarot card readings, there will be activities for the entire family to enjoy.
Entertainment will take place on two stages as well as on the grounds. Symmetry Dance Company, Grupo Zona and Indigo Moon Brass Band will take the main stage. The Double “R” Twirlettes will return to the festival, too, accompanied by Scranton Black Diamonds Pipe Band.
The Crufeli Sideshow will perform a show featuring stilt walkers, fire breathers, acrobats and more on the Firebowl Stage, and Mariachi Tequila will provide entertainment on the festival grounds.
Guests can visit the festival’s cultural tent to enjoy hands-on educational activities and arts and crafts. The activities are sponsored by several organizations, including the Everhart Museum, Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, the Greenhouse Project at Nay Aug Park, United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Bonfire Committee. The cultural center will have a selfie station where guests can take pictures with La Catrina to commemorate the event.
Tarot card reader Stacy Grega Cazares of Scranton, during the annual Bonfire At The Iron Furnaces event on Saturday evening in downtown Scranton. Butch Comegys / Staff Photographer
Some of the food guests can look forward to include barbecue from B3Q Smokehouse, Mexican cuisine from Tortilleria El Buen Amigo, desserts from the Sweet Lush Cupcakery and other dishes from Backyard Ale House.
A community altar known as an ofrenda for Dia de los Muertos will be created at the festival. Everyone is welcome to bring photos and favorite food and drink items of departed loved ones to put on the altar. The festival has had an ofrenda before but did not include it last year, entertainment coordinator Pamela McNichols said, and people missed it. The Greenhouse Project will provide marigolds, which are symbolic to the holiday, for the ofrenda.
Scazafabo said one of her favorite things about working with the festival has been seeing its growth. Attendance has risen from 400 in its first year to approximately 1,300 attendees in 2017, she estimated.
“It’s fantastic to see it grow the past eight years,” Scazafabo said. “It’s overwhelming.”
This year, students from West Scranton High School will help. Brian Murray, chairman of the planning committee for the 2018 festival, stressed how important community engagement is for the bonfire.
“Last year, we had some high school students that came down to volunteer,” he said, adding that the event “had a pretty profound effect on one of the students,” who left feeling like he had some ownership of the event after helping out.
Admission costs $20 at the gate and includes $5 in “Bonfire Bucks” for guests to spend on activities, food and drinks. Children 12 and younger accompanied by an adult can enter for free.
A of people say the bonfire is their favorite event, McNichols said.
“The bonfire is huge,” she said. “It’s the biggest bonfire you’ve ever seen.”
If you go
What: Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces
Where: Scranton Iron Furnaces, 159 Cedar Ave., Scranton
When: Saturday, Oct. 20, 6 to 10 p.m.
Details: Tickets cost $20 and include $5 in Bonfire Bucks, which guests can spend on food, drinks and activities. Admission is free for children 12 and younger.
This killer fundraiser is sure to be a scream.
Leadership Lackawanna hosts an interactive Murder Mystery Dinner Theater on Thursday, Oct. 25.
With an Old Hollywood theme, guests are encouraged to wear glamorous gowns, Veronica Lake-esque hairstyles, sleek suits, dapper top hats and more to the event inside the Grand Ballroom at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Tickets cost $60 and include a buffet dinner, one drink and the show. A cash bar also will be available. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 570-342-7711 or visiting
Kristen Shemanski, vice chairwoman of the nonprofit’s board of directors, said Leadership Lackawanna held a similar event a few years ago and decided to replicate it since it was such a hit. This time, the group hired an outside acting company to spice things up.
“You won’t know who the actors are and who the guests are. Everyone will be intermingled,” Shemanski said. “It will be very interactive and, if you want to play a part, you’ll have the chance to do that.”
The night starts with cocktails at 5:30, and Shemanski said the actors will find specific guests to give them stories and roles to play. At 6:30, guests will sit down for a buffet dinner from Stirna’s Restaurant, and the show will begin. The cultural center’s history and aesthetic will make for an ideal setting for the event, Shemanski said.
The event raises money for Leadership Lackawanna, a self-sufficient nonprofit. Events fund tuition and training for community leaders while also engaging the people in the county they serve. Information on how to get involved with Leadership Lackawanna will be available at the dinner, but overall, the night looks to be a fun way to celebrate the spooky season.
“(We) hope they have a really great time. It’s going to be fun,” Shemanski said. “It’s the perfect time to do it, right around Halloween.”
If you go
What: Leadership Lackawanna’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theater
When: Thursday, Oct. 25; cocktail hour, 5:30 p.m.; buffet dinner and show, 6:30
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Details: Tickets cost $60 and include buffet dinner, one drink and show. A cash bar will be available, and costumes are encouraged. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 570-342-7711 or visiting leadershiplackawanna.com. Proceeds benefit Leadership Lackawanna.
Murder at the Ritz Chicago, an interactive murder-mystery experience, takes place Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Ritz Theater building, 222 Wyoming Ave., Scranton, at 5 and 9 p.m. Hosted by Creative and Performing Arts Academy of NEPA, the event also features basket raffles, a musical performance and after parties at POSH at the Scranton Club and Backyard Ale House. Tickets cost $75 for food, the show, and wine and cocktail tastings and $70 for food and the show only. A cash bar also will be available, and costumes are encouraged. Proceeds benefit CaPAA’s scholarship program. Reservations are required and can be made by visiting murderattheritz.com. For more information, call 570-252-4156.
1. Mostly Opera
Join Mostly Opera for its annual dinner theater, this time featuring music of composers Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The show will take place Saturday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. at Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, 100 Adams Ave.
All of the singers performing in the show are professional vocalists from Northeast Pennsylvania. The Catholic Choral Society will join the show’s choral pieces, and dancers from Scranton Civic Ballet Company will take the stage as well. The audience will recognize songs from shows such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Follies,” “Into the Woods” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Tickets cost $65. For tickets or more information, call 570-702-4356.
2. ‘Menopause: The Musical’
A musical parody celebrating women and embracing “the change” comes to Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., this week.
Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania will present “Menopause: The Musical” on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m. The show features many classic hits from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s as the story follows four women who seem to have nothing in common.
The production coincides with World Menopause Day. Prior to the show, Dr. Barbara Plucknett of Advanced Gynecology Associates, Scranton, will be in the lobby to provide information about menopause.
Tickets start at $38 and can be bought at ticketmaster.com and the box office. For more information, call 570-342-7784.
3. Ventriloquist John Pizzi
John Pizzi, who has appeared on “America’s Got Talent,” is bringing his family-friendly show to the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton.
The all-ages show will take place Saturday, Oct. 20, from 8:15 to 9:15 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and younger in advance and $20 for adults and $12 for kids at the door.
For tickets, visit johnpizzi.eventbrite.com. For more information, call 570-961-2300.
4. Spooky walks
Come out after dark to explore local cities and hear the ghost stories surrounding some of your favorite spots.
These guided tours take place Friday, Oct. 19, in both Scranton and Wilkes-Barre as well as Saturday, Oct. 20, in Wilkes-Barre.
In Scranton, the walk costs $15 and begins at 6:30 p.m. at Lackawanna Historical Society’s headquarters, the Catlin House, 232 Monroe Ave. The tour will last approximately an hour and a half, and reservations are required. For more information, call 570-344-3841.
In Wilkes-Barre, the tour begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Hughes Memorial Garden behind Luzerne County Historical Society’s Bishop Library, 49 S. Franklin St. Guests are asked to arrive 15 minutes before the walk is set to start.
This walk lasts about two hours and is limited to the first 50 people, so reservations are encouraged. Tickets cost $7 for historical society members and $10 for nonmembers. For more information, call 570-823-6244, ext. 3.
5. Peggy’s Pathway fundraiser
Peggy’s Pathway for Women’s Cancer Care will hold a night of dinner and dancing Friday, Oct. 19, from 7 to 11.
Taking place at the Country Club of Scranton, 1001 Morgan Highway, Clarks Summit, the event will raise money for research into the early detection and treatment of uterine and endometrial cancers.
Daddy-O and the Sax Maniax and Elvis tribute artist Jeff Krick Jr. will provide music. Dinner and dessert will be served, and guests can pick up coffee, beer, wine and soft drinks plus mixed drinks at the cash bar.
Tickets cost $125. For more information, call 570-343-1159.