Leslie Odom Jr. follows his passion. The man is non-stop.
The Tony Award-winning performer has been on a whirlwind since he rose to fame as Aaron Burr in hip-hop Broadway musical juggernaut “Hamilton.” Odom earned critical acclaim and several accolades including a Tony Award, for his portrayal of the charismatic, vulnerable and complicated founding father.
When he left the show in 2016, Odom kept pushing further, pursuing a solo career and touring to spread his love of performing to fans around the country.
He brings his multifaceted solo show to the area on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m. when he performs at Wyoming Seminary’s Kirby Center for Creative Arts, 260 N. Sprague Ave., Kingston.
“I’m kind of lucky I get to bring as much of myself in able to into the work,” Odom said during a recent phone interview, enroute to travel from Los Angeles to Indianapolis. “It’s all deeply personal to me, touring and connecting with fans in a more open way. … I’m up there telling the stories about my life and singing songs I love.”
Since 2016, Odom put out two albums: a self-titled work of jazz standards, showtunes and originals he released just before his exit from Broadway and “Simply Christmas,” which is full the performer’s crisp, smooth take on seasonal classics.
These works can be expected during his stop in Kingston, but Odom promised fans that’s not all. He doesn’t believe in people leaving disappointed after a concert and will perform some songs from “Hamilton” plus selections from other work he’s known for, including NBC’s musical television show “Smash.”
Many of these songs take on different meanings for Odom during his concerts. When performing “Hamilton” songs, like “Dear Theodosia,” a ballad Burr and Hamilton sing about their children, or “Wait For It,” on Burr’s undying determination, he’s singing these as himself, which transports the music into a different realm.
“Songs from the show are really nice to perform out of context,” he explained. “Bringing it in to a concert, you get to color outside the lines. Some songs take on new meaning when it’s not Aaron Burr singing it.”
In between making music and touring, Odom’s kept busy acting, like appearing in last year’s “Murder on the Orient Express” alongside Daisy Ridley, and continues to pursue different avenues. His book, “Failing Up” is due out in March and is written in the style of a commencement speech. The narrative details how Odom’s greatest successes came from his greatest risks and how he allowed himself to be open to defeat.
“The better part of it is the story of how everything in my life turned around the first time I gave myself permission to fail,” he said.
Odom worked as an actor on stage and television before landing his big break but admits it was a challenge. He kept working toward his goal and what made him feel alive but success didn’t happen immediately.
“That can be the biggest eye roll, ‘Yeah, but you had ‘Hamilton,’ but I didn’t know that seven or eight years ago, struggling, trying to get jobs,” Odom said with a laugh. “I didn’t know that the role of a lifetime would come to me. I was just following my passion and my heart. … and eventually found my way to ‘Hamilton.’”
Odom’s advice to young people finding their path echoes his own life. He encourages anyone to surround themselves with what makes them happiest. Whether it be a career in performing arts, math or medicine, keep moving toward it and be open to where it takes you.
“Read about, talk about it, learn as much as you can about it. Follow your passion and those things will love you back,” he said. “Keep walking toward those things that light you up. … I didn’t know take this step, then take this step. I just loved it, you know? I loved it and found a way to dream myself into the world I loved so much.”
Odom took the holidays to unplug and clear his mind and is coming into the new year feeling refreshed, focused and balanced. He’s ready to continue to challenge himself and to reach as many people as he can through his passion.
“(It’s) the fact that I got to express myself in such a way that felt total and complete and now get to sort of be the architect of the rest of my journey and go where my inspiration leads,” he said. “It’s that I get to go around the country and meet fans and people who didn’t have a chance to see the show and some that may never get to go to New York (City) to see the show. We get to bring it to them.”
If you go
What: Sem Presents! featuring Leslie Odom Jr.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Wyoming Seminary’s Kirby Center for Creative Arts, 260 N. Sprague Ave., Kingston
Details: Tickets are $35-$70 and can be purchased online at wyomingseminary.org/arts/sempresents.
1. Jim Breuer
“Saturday Night Live” alumnus Jim Breuer will deliver the laughs Saturday, Jan. 13, at Mount Airy Casino Resort, 44 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono. The 21-or-older show begins at 8 p.m. in Gypsies Lounge & Night Club.
Breuer starred on the classic late-night sketch show from 1995 to 1998 and then in the films “Half Baked,” alongside Dave Chappelle, and “The English Teacher,” a 2013 Julianne Moore movie set in Kingston. Breuer also appeared in such TV shows as “Kevin Can Wait,” “Family Guy” and “Motorcity.”
Tickets for his Mount Airy show are $45 and $55. For more information, visit mountairycasino.com or call 877-682-4791.
2. Martin Luther King Jr. Day events
Celebrate the legacy of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with special programs.
King’s College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day program will take place Monday, Jan. 15., at 11 a.m. in the Snyder and Walsh rooms of Sheehy-Farmer Campus Center, 133 N. River St., Wilkes-Barre. The college will honor King’s service and contributions. For more information, call 570-208-5875 or visit kings.edu.
Then, on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m., Misericordia University, 301 Lake St., Dallas, will screen the critically acclaimed film “Selma,” shown in the photo below, which focuses on King’s voting rights campaign and historic 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. It is the first of four films about race the university will screen in honor of Black History Months in Lemmond Theater. Call 570-674-6400 or visit misericordia.edu for details.
3. ‘The Blues in Art & Music’
Kitson Arts Alliance will open its latest exhibit this weekend at the Dietrich Theater, 60 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock.
“The Blues in Art & Music” will remain on display in the theater’s Earnshaw and New galleries from Friday, Jan. 12, through the end of March. It features musician- and blues-themed paintings and other works from local artists Erika Gibson-Bertram, Catrina King, Joe Kluck, Scott Nichols, John Rockland and Joe Welden.
The alliance will hold a reception at the galleries Sunday, Jan. 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. Visitors can meet the artists and hear live blues music from the Matt Bennick Project and Phyllis Hopkins featuring the Electric Trio.
For details, visit the event’s Facebook page or kitsonartsalliance.org or call 570-836-1022.
4. Winter Carnival
An inaugural winter carnival will take over Mountain Sky, 63 Stillmeadow Lane, Greenfield Twp., on Saturday, Jan. 13.
Hosted by the venue and Brookvalley Farm, the family-friendly carnival runs from noon to 4 p.m. and features activities such as sleigh rides drawn by Belgian draft horses, a bonfire pit with storybook readers, a petting zoo, vendors and more.
Visit the event’s Facebook page for details.
Phoenix Performing Arts Centre opens its 2018 season with the Musical Comedy “Disenchanted.”
The show runs Friday, Jan. 12, to Sunday, Jan. 21, with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at 409 Main St., Duryea. It focuses on 10 princesses — including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas, Snow White and Mulan — who share what happened after they found their happily ever after, from narcolepsy to weight issues and more. The show includes adult humor and some language and is not suitable for children, so parental discretion is advise.
Tickets are $12. To reserve seats, call 570-457-3589.
Whether for food or fun, a number of festivals take place around the region each year. Enjoy the wonders of the Lackawanna River during Shiverfest on Saturday, Jan. 13, then head to Dietrich Theater, 60 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock, for two film festivals featuring foreign, independent and art films. Winter Fest runs Friday, Feb. 16, through Thursday, March 8, and the Spring Film Festival then takes place Friday, April 13, through Thursday, May 3, with special activities on each opening night. There will be special previews on Thursday, Feb. 1, and Thursday, March 29, and free post-festival discussions Friday, March 9, and Friday, May 4.
Join one of the biggest events in downtown Wilkes-Barre, the annual Fine Arts Fiesta on Public Square, in May. Celebrate a Midvalley tradition, St. Ubaldo Day and Race of the Saints, in Jessup over Memorial Day weekend.
The region celebrates its love of food with the annual Edwardsville Pierogi Festival, June 8 and 9, Plymouth’s annual Kielbasa Festival, held the second weekend of August, while the Pittston Tomato Festival takes place the third weekend in August.
Labor Day weekend offers the chance to commemorate the area’s rich locomotive history during Railfest at Steamtown National Historic Site and its Italian heritage at La Festa Italiana on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square.
Kids and family
Children can learn through a series of free stage shows geared toward grades three to eight at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, Public Square, Wilkes-Barre: “Four Score and Seven Years Ago” on Wednesday, Feb. 21; “Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad” on Friday, March 16; and “Huck & Tom and the Mighty Mississippi” on Tuesday, April 24. The Kirby Center also will host family-friendly fare such as “Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour” on Friday, April 27; animal expert Jack Hanna on Saturday, April 28; “Peppa Pig Live: Peppa Pig’s Surprise” on Tuesday, May 15; and the free “The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told” on Saturday, May 19.
At Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp., families can catch “Disney On Ice presents Dream Big” from Thursday, Jan. 11, through Monday, Jan. 15; AMSOIL Arenacross Series on Saturday, Jan. 20, and Sunday, Jan. 21; “WWE Live” on Friday, Jan. 26; Monster Jam Triple Threat Series from Friday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 11; the Harlem Globetrotters on Saturday, Feb. 24; and “Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes” from Thursday, May 3, through Sunday, May 6.
In Scranton, families can get into the Irish spirit with the city’s 57th annual St. Patrick’s Parade, set for Saturday, March 10, while Wilkes-Barre sees green with its parade on Sunday, March 11.
Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania has five more shows coming to Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., in the new year: “A Chorus Line,” Friday, Feb. 23, through Sunday, Feb. 25; “The Illusionists Present Adam Trent,” Friday, March 2; “Kinky Boots,” Friday, March 16, through Sunday, March 18; “Chicago,” Friday, April 13, through Sunday, April 15; and “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical,” Tuesday, May 8, through Sunday, May 13. Ticket costs vary.
Five Broadway vocalists — Jeanna De Waal, Jennifer DiNoia, Kara Lindsay, Kevin Massey and Jon Peterson — will perform hits from throughout the Great White Way’s history on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Theater at North, 1539 N. Main Ave., Scranton. “Broadway Spotlight,” also includes behind-the-scenes stories and a question-and-answer session.
At F.M. Kirby Center, theater fans will find “Dirty Dancing — The Classic Story on Stage” on Wednesday, Jan. 31 and Thursday, Feb. 1; “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” on Wednesday, Feb. 7; “The Wizard of Oz” on Friday, April 13; and “Cabaret” on Thursday, May 17.
The region’s numerous amateur and student theatrical troupes will present shows throughout the year as well.
Laugh throughout the year with comedy events all over the region.
Residents have the chance to see Jim Breuer at Gypsies Lounge inside Mount Airy Casino, 312 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono, Saturday, Jan. 13. Gypsies also hosts Bob Saget on Saturday, Feb. 3; Tracy Morgan Saturday, March 3; and Vic Dibitetto, Friday, April 6.
Breuer makes another stop in the area Wednesday, Feb. 28, at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, which then hosts “Blue Collar Comedy” star Ron White on Thursday, March 8. Jerry Seinfeld will deliver two performances there Friday, April 6.
Kevin Hart brings his Irresponsible Tour to the region Friday, March 16, at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre Twp. Crowds also can catch live comedy shows weekends at Wisecrackers Comedy Club inside Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Highway 315, Plains Twp.
Music fills Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton, through the summer, with Camp Bisco gliding into the venue Thursday, July 12, through Saturday, July 14, and Peach Music Festival hitting the mountain, Thursday, July 19, through Sunday, July 22. Vans Warped Tour plays Scranton for the final time on Thursday, July 26, according to its website, although a venue was not announced.
Mohegan Sun Arena also will host a couple big-name concerts, with country act Little Big Town, joined by Kacey Musgraves and Midland, coming Thursday, Feb. 22, and Judas Priest playing Tuesday, March 13.
Wyoming Seminary will host “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. for a concert Wednesday, Jan. 17, in its Kirby Center for the Creative Arts, 260 N. Sprague Ave., Kingston.
At F.M. Kirby Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre, concert highlights include the inaugural Snow Show featuring Dashboard Confessional, presented by Alt 92.1 on Sunday, Jan. 28; Tedeschi Trucks Band, Thursday, Feb. 8; “American Idol” star Scotty McCreery, Saturday, Feb. 10; America, Thursday, Feb. 15; Blues Traveler, Wednesday, Feb. 28; Alice Cooper, Saturday, March 10; the Beach Boys, Saturday, March 24; Christopher Cross, Wednesday, April 4; the Drifters, Saturday, April 14; and Yanni, July 31.
By Gia Mazur and Caitlin Haney West
Northeast Pennsylvania will be alive with “The Sound of Music” next week.
A new touring production of the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical comes to F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, Wilkes-Barre, for shows Wednesday, Dec. 20, and Thursday, Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m.
The story follows Maria as she takes a job as a governess to a large Austrian family while contemplating whether she wants to become a nun. She falls in love with the seven children and, eventually, their widowed father, Captain von Trapp, as the family struggles with Nazi Germany’s impending hold over Austria.
“What’s different with ‘Sound of Music’ on stage is that you kind of get more of the story,” said actress Keslie Ward, who plays the eldest von Trapp child, Liesl. “I feel like there is something about seeing live theater than watching the movies. Everyone loves Julie Andrews, but you get to know these characters more, and it’s relatable to all ages. Seeing it live is such a different experience.”
Many of Oscar Hammerstein II’s songs from the 1965 film version appear in the stage show, such as “My Favorite Things,” “The Lonely Goatherd,” “Do-Re-Mi” and, of course, “The Sound of Music.”
“I love my scenes with the actor who plays Rolf, Chad P. Campbell, and I also adore the numbers with all of the kids,” Ward said. “Particularly, ‘So Long, Farewell.’ It’s always so fun being on stage with all of the kids.”
Although many people have seen the film starring Andrews or a different iteration of the stage show, Ward encouraged people to attend this production because of the cast and company, calling it “an experience within itself.” She explained that she, and many of the other actors, found their own ways to interpret their roles in new and unique ways, while staying true to the characters at the same time.
“When you’re doing a piece so iconic, sometimes there can be a bit of pressure to exceed those expectations,” Ward said. “I think for me, as long as I read the script and stay true to the lines, the words and the lyrics, it works out. I try to incorporate myself into Liesl, to make it my own, and I feel like I can say that for Maria and Captain. They are not cookie cutter versions of the movies.”
Although Ward is a few years older than her character, the rest of the children in the show range in age from 6 to 12. For many of the kids, this production also is their first national tour. But the strong themes of family and music within the show reflect onto the cast during their travels, allowing them to feel comfortable with one another, much like a family would, Ward said.
“I think (the show) touches all generations,” she added. “It’s a fun thing to bond over. All generations, in a way, have grown up with the ‘Sound of Music.’ … I think the biggest theme is obviously music. Music definitely brings the von Trapps together. It helps the captain; it essentially helps the family escape from the concert (near the end of the show). … There are also themes of family and doing what’s right and then the political overtones, which are very relatable to what is happening nowadays. I think this musical has come at a good time. It’s a good escape from what is happening around us lately.”
The musical experienced waves of popularity over the years, beginning with the original Broadway production in 1959 and followed by the 1965 film, which won five Academy Awards. It surged in popularity again when NBC aired a liv eversion in 2013, the first live television production of a musical in more 50 years. More than 44 million people watched that telecast.
“I think the best part for me is traveling to all of these different cities,” Ward said. “We go to larger cities that are used to these grand productions and Broadway tours. But sometimes we go to theaters and this is the only (musical) they’ll get in the year, and they enjoy it so much. … Watching ‘The Sound of Music’ is kind of like a rite of passage.”
If you go
What: “The Sound of Music”
Where: F.M. Kirby Center for Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
When: Wednesday, Dec. 20, and Thursday, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Details: Tickets range from $45 to $65, plus fees, and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 570-826-1100 or online at kirbycenter.org.
A nascent theatrical troupe brings Ebenezer Scrooge, his ghostly companions and a timeless Christmas message back to the Scranton stage this weekend.
Clocktower Theater Company presents Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story, “A Christmas Carol,” from Friday, Dec. 8, through Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Theater at North, 1539 N. Main Ave., Scranton. Tickets range from $15 to $25.
Founded in 2016, the professional theatrical troupe first presented the play, its inaugural production, in Scranton last December. Executive director Brad Morgan spent many years presenting “A Christmas Carol” with the professional Cider Mill Playhouse in Endicott, New York, each holiday season. When that group decided not to produce the show last year, Morgan brought it to Scranton, where he grew up and lives.
For him, “it just wouldn’t have seemed like Christmas without doing that show,” he said, and last year’s show was “very well receive by everyone who saw it.”
“It’s a holiday tradition up there (in Endicott), where that’s what I’m trying to establish down (in Scranton),” Morgan said. “But that’s going to take some time for people to become aware of our facility … (and) to build up a subscription base and some dedicated theatergoers.”
“A Christmas Carol” stars a mix of actors from the Scranton and Endicott areas, with Actors’ Equity Association actor Bernard Burak Sheredy reprising his role of Scrooge from last year. A Binghamton, New York, native, Sheredy is the son of Joe Sheredy and Mary Burak, who owned a neighborhood butcher shop and grocery in Throop. He graduated from Yale School of Drama and has appeared in the movies “Meet the Parents” and “Quiz Show” as well as TV shows “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”
Nearly 800 local students will attend a matinee performance of “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 8, Morgan said, noting how “every school reading list” includes Dickens’ story. He called the account of Scrooge’s transformation from miser to generous man “a classic tale.”
“Just the story, the Dickens story itself, even if you’re going to read it, it’s just so inspiring and just encapsulates (to) me the joy of the holiday season,” Morgan said.
In addition to performing the show at the Theater at North, Clocktower will present “A Christmas Carol” at Cider Mill Stage, Endicott, the former home of the Cider Mill Playhouse on the following two weekends, Dec. 15 to 17 and 21 to 23.
Morgan and his group look to expand on last year’s success by offering a full season of shows in 2018. While Scranton has several community theater companies, he said, it lacks much professional theater beyond Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He aims to change that with Clocktower, which pays its actors and staff.
“You’re going to notice a difference in quality,” Morgan said. “People would not see any difference in going to see our show and going to see an off-Broadway production in New York.”
The season will include “Taking Steps” in February, “Girls Night: The Musical” in March, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in June, “Rose’s Dilemma” in September, “Lucky Stiff” in November and “A Christmas Carol” again next December.
IF YOU GO
What: “A Christmas Carol,” presented by Clocktower Theater Company
When: Friday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 9, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 10, 3 p.m.
Where: The Theater at North, 1539 N. Main Ave., Scranton
Details: Tickets are $15 to $25 and are available at the box office, 570-703-0846 and clocktowertheater.thundertix.com.
ScrantonMade heads back to its outdoor roots with its fifth annual Holiday Market.
While most of the action — including pictures with Santa, shopping with about 200 vendors, live music and dining — remains inside the city’s former Globe Store, 123 Wyoming Ave., Scranton, the group will set up a skating rink for the first time outside the building. The 100 block of Wyoming Avenue will shut down to accommodate the 100-foot-by-40-foot synthetic ice surface during the market, which runs Friday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 2, 11 to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 3, 11 to 4 p.m.
“Last year, people were so excited about (having the market in) the Globe, and it was such a big thing,” said Chrissy Manuel, ScrantonMade partner, editor and creative director. “And we were like, ‘How do we top that?’”
Organizers are still determining a ticket price for skating. Participants can borrow skates there, and a parent or guardian will need to sign a waiver for children and teens to participate.
“It gives a big-city feel as if you’re in New York City,” said Cristin Powers, ScrantonMade founder and events and marketing director. “It’s festive as well.”
ScrantonMade started its holiday market in 2013 in a tent on Courthouse Square. After second year there, it moved to the Marketplace at Steamtown for a year and then to the old Globe Store space in 2016 thanks to support from the Lackawanna County government, which owns the property and will move some of its offices there after renovations.
Returning to the site of the beloved department store, which closed in 1994, brought back a lot of memories for visitors and led to a lot of story sharing, organizers said.
“People loved it,” Powers said.
Guests can enter the free market from both the Wyoming and Penn avenue entrances to check out vendors selling items ranging from fiber products and fine art to jewelry and artisanal food. This year, some vendors — such as Tig & Cooneys, which will sell whiskey glasses with maps of Scranton and Clarks Summit etched on the sides (visit mapabouttown.com to order) — will allow customers to order items in advance and then pick them up at the market. Decorated lightbulbs from the Electric City sign already sold out during the pre-order period, organizers said.
Items like those that have a local focus, which also include ornaments and pen-and-ink drawings, have become more popular of late. People might move out of the area, but they still have a familial or emotional connection to it, Powers pointed out.
“Scranton pride is at an all-time high, where artists are making Scranton-themed art,” she said.
Organizers also have seen more crafts geared toward men in recent years than there was when the market started, Manuel said, and people are using the market to do their holiday shopping.
“I feel like we reach a wider audience. … We’re getting the people who would be at Macy’s on the weekend shopping,” she said.
But the event has grown to encompass much more than local artisans and crafters. Visitors can bring their own cameras to take photos with Santa, check out an art exhibit from Employment Opportunity Training Center and a miniature train layout, and hear live music. They can grab food from five eateries that will set up in the former Charl-Mont restaurant space — Terra Preta, Backyard Ale House, Zuppa Del Giorno, Mendicino’s Italian Specialties and the Garden Mediterranean Cafe — while Electric City Roasting Co. will host a pop-up cafe in the Wyoming Avenue foyer.
On Saturday morning, the first 200 people in line will receive a tote bag filled with treats from vendors and other local spots. Items include sweets from local chocolatiers, airboarding tickets, free yoga passes and other samples, as participating vendors must contribute a product rather than filler, Manuel noted.
Last year, the line for the bags wrapped around the block as people came several hours before doors opened for a chance to take one home. Waiting for the bags has turned into a tradition akin to shopping on Black Friday, organizers said. Seeing hundreds of people lined up to get into the market makes all the work involved in putting it together — which includes partnerships with the county, city and more in the community — worth it, Powers said.
“It’s a surprise,” she said. “You’re getting a bag of goodies for yourself.”
IF YOU GO
What: Fifth annual ScrantonMade Holiday Market
When: Friday, Dec. 1, 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Former Globe Store, 123 Wyoming Ave., Scranton
Details: Admission is free. The first 200 people on Saturday receive a free goodie bag. For more information, visit scrantonmade.com or the event’s Facebook page.
The community can bid on 32 pieces from regional artists in a variety of mediums at the annual Holiday Art Auction at AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave.
Set for Saturday, Nov. 18, with cocktails at 6 p.m. and the auction at 7, it serves as the gallery’s largest fundraiser.
Tickets are $25 and include refreshments, light fare from local restaurants and acoustic music by Rich Jenkins.
Artists donate each piece up for grabs. Committee chair Nikki Moser said this year features two surprise pieces that will be wrapped in brown paper and not revealed until after someone wins each. There also will be pieces from young artists and lower price points so new bidders can be brave and take a shot at winning.
Moser insisted that one of the most fun parts of the night is the bidding.
“It’s always fun when people come with a full table,” she said. “To see that dynamic and people encouraging each other to bid, it’s a great time.”
Chances for this year’s featured raffle item, “Flower Child #8,” a hand-cut paper collage created by Paul Plumadore, are $2 each or three for $5 and are available at the gallery. Guests do not need to be at the event to win the raffle piece.
Moser said all of Plumadore’s pieces are more than meets the eye.
“He has such a delicate sort of touch in terms of putting images together,” Moser said. “They seem like one thing on the surface, and once you really investigate, you understand the intricacies of how they’re almost stitched together in this way.”
Guests also can bid on experiences, such as a print-making workshop with Mark Ciocca, a letterpress outing with the Workshop owner Chris Medley or special services from local nonprofits, the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society and American Wine Society. Moser said the experiences were popular among bidders last year, and the committee expanded on options this time around.
“It’s a way to bring people into the arts in a different way than choosing an object,” she said. “With these experiences, you can get out and see and do what lots of area arts have to offer.”
Each element of the holiday auction combines to offer something for all interests and tastes, which serves the true mission of the event: engagement between artists and guests.
“It’s great fun. This fundraiser keeps doors open for the year,” Moser said. “And we really do everything we can to ensure everyone — artists and guests — have a lovely evening.”
If you go
What: Annual Holiday Art Auction
When: Saturday, Nov. 18; cocktails, 6 p.m.; auction, 7
Where: AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton
Details: Event tickets are $25 and include refreshments, light fare and entertainment. Reservations are strongly suggested; call 570-969-1040. Raffle tickets are $2 each or three for $5 and may be purchased up to the time the winner is announced. Proceeds benefit the gallery.
Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania found an apropos tale to open its season on Friday the 13th.
“A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder,” the 2014 Tony Award winner for best musical, comes to Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., for four shows from Friday, Oct. 13, through Sunday, Oct. 15.
And while this story of a man seeking to kill off the relatives who stand in his way of inheriting a fortune might sound dark, star Colleen McLaughlin assured that the musical has a lighter side with lots of laughs. Robert Freedman and Steven Lutvak wrote a complex, brilliant show stocked with jokes, she explained recently by phone from the tour’s stop in Madison, Wisconsin.
“The writing is just so incredible, but you can’t help but laugh about everything,” said McLaughlin, an Oklahoma native. “The whole entire cast is just laughing. I come out to the wings just to see some of my favorite scenes.”
Set in London in 1909, the show centers around working-class man Monty Navarro (Blake Price), who, after learning he is ninth in line to become an earl, decides to eliminate the relatives between him and the aristocratic title. All the while he hopes to marry McLaughlin’s character, Sibella Hallward.
“I’m kind of this narcissistic girl and kind of a gold digger, so I don’t want to marry him, and he thinks the only way he can win my hand in marriage is to become the Earl of Highhurst,” she said of the role.
Actor James Taylor Odom, meanwhile, portrays all eight members of the D’Ysquith family who become Navarro’s targets.
“Every scene that James Taylor Odom is in is pretty incredible. … He’s amazing,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin praised the sets for the show, which she described as beautiful, intricate and specific to the characters, but she also noted that Peggy Hickey’s choreography “is pretty incredible.” One song she expects to blow away audiences is “I’ve Decided To Marry You,” whose choreography involves actors entering and exiting through double doors as one character tries to keep two others apart.
“The choreography is so specific. … The rehearsal process was actually really quick, but I think … each of us had to go home and practice with the doors in our apartment just to get it down perfectly,” McLaughlin said. “It was a process but enjoyable.”
The actors worked with a dialect coach to perfect their British accents, but McLaughlin noted learning the songs also posed a challenge.
“The music is beautiful,” McLaughlin said. “(It is a) beautiful score but really intricate, and your diction kind of has to be on point.”
“A Gentleman’s Guide” opened on Broadway in November 2013 and racked up more than 900 performances before closing in January 2016. In addition to best musical, it picked up Tony Awards for best director of a musical (Darko Tresnjak), best book (Freedman) and best costume design (Linda Cho).
McLaughlin described the show as “very thrilling” with “lots of shenanigans.”
“It’s just a night full of laughter,” she said.
For a weekend, experience life on the fringe.
Scranton Fringe Festival takes to stages across the downtown now through Sunday, Oct. 1. The performing arts festival co-founded by Elizabeth Bohan and Conor O’Brien takes after the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which began in 1947 and whose model spread across the world.
In its third year, the Scranton festival contains more than 35 performances featuring artists from near and far across a variety of artforms, from dramas and comedies to experimental revivals to dance- and movement-based art. With so many things to do, see and experience, Weekend Times put together a guide to help navigate the sights and sounds of Scranton Fringe Festival.
Fringe co-founder Elizabeth Bohan suggested the shows you shouldn’t miss this weekend.
“White Rabbit Red Rabbit” is an unrehearsed piece written by Nassim Soleimanpour that requires no set and no direction. As a conscientious objector who refused to take part in mandatory military service, Soleimanpour was forbidden to leave his home country of Iran and used this isolation in writing the piece. The actors will receive the show’s script as they walk on stage, giving audiences a once-in-a-lifetime performance. Shows: Thursday and Saturday, Sept. 28 and 30, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 1, 6 p.m., AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave.
“What You Want,” a dance and movement piece presented by Alyssa Noble and Allie Pfeffer, follows two young people learning to work through their lives in spite of the other’s expectations and advice. Each choreographer created overlapping solos for the other but left enough room for the dancer to make her own decisions on stage. Shows: Saturday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 1, 1 p.m., Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College, 501 Vine St.
“Chris and Gavin’s Campaign for Broadway Spectacular” is a musical comedy about two out-of-work musical theater actors who campaign to get themselves “elected” to Broadway. Through musical numbers and sketches, the actors explore (and poke fun at) what it takes to be an actor. Shows: Friday, Sept. 29, 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 3 p.m., Shopland Hall at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Scranton Fringe Festival takes place across 10 venues downtown through Sunday, Oct. 1, closing with a free, all-ages wrap party from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave. Performances start at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, and Friday, Sept. 29, and at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1. Tickets are $10 for each show at the door. With a Fringe Button, that price drops to $7.
Fringe Buttons are $5, cash only, and can be purchased at Scranton Fringe headquarters at AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave., and participating partners. Proceeds from button sales benefit the festival, and button-holders also receive discounts and deals at participating local businesses through the end of 2017.
Button partnersAdezzo, 515 Center St.
Analog Culture, 349 N. Washington Ave.
Bar Pazzo, 131 N. Washington Ave.
Cafe Sevda, 323 N. Washington Ave.
Comics on the Green, 307 N. Washington Ave.
Coney Island Lunch, 515 Lackawanna Ave.
Daisy Collective, 328 Penn Ave.
DaVinci Pizza, 515 Linden St.
Duffy Accessories, 218 Linden St.
Embassy Vinyl, 352 Adams Ave.
The Keys, 244 Penn Ave.
Northern Light Espresso Bar, 536 Spruce St.
Note Fragrances, 401 Spruce St.
On&On, 1138 Capouse Ave.
RD Blow Dry Bar and Salon, 324 Penn Ave.
Steamtown Hot Yoga, 121 N. Washington Ave.
Terra Preta, 222 Wyoming Ave.
Whiskey Dick’s, 308 N. Washington Ave.
Dr. Susan Summerton is an expert at reading the language of the human body.
It had much more to say than she realized.
As a radiologist, Summerton diagnoses and treats diseases and injuries through medical-imaging techniques such as ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI, X-rays and more. But along with fractures, sprains and masses, Summerton saw other shapes in the images outside of a medical context — like the letter “Y,” a sheepdog, the word “odd” and even the head of Homer Simpson.
“Certain things would just jump out at me,” Summerton said during a recent afternoon in her office at Delta Medix Breast Care Center in downtown Scranton. “Some people don’t see that stuff, but I would catch letters and shapes. It’s like seeing pictures in the clouds in the sky.”
Science becomes art
Summerton’s unique perspective culminated in the business Xray Artistry, through which she creates pieces of art using letters and shapes she saw in medical images. A life-long Philadelphia resident who moved to Scranton to work at Delta Medix in March, she will show her works during her debut First Friday show, “Body Language,” on Friday, Sept. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
“I’ve always been very visual, but I’ve never considered myself an artist,” she said. “Now, I’ll get invited to art events and I’m doing First Friday. It’s been neat.”
As an educator at teaching hospital Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia and an associate professor at Jefferson Medical College (now Sidney Kimmel Medical College), Summerton kept the images of the letters and shapes in her teaching files. When she began saving them more than 20 years ago, she never set out to become an artist or businesswoman but rather to fulfill a personal goal. A print in her living room depicted the alphabet spelled out in the shapes and colors of butterfly wings, and she wanted to hang something similar in her office using letters she saw in medical images.
It wasn’t until she planned to attend the Radiological Society of North America’s 100th anniversary and conference in Chicago that she realized she had the whole alphabet. The society encouraged those attending to share the most interesting or unusual cases they had seen or examples of radiological art.
This sparked an idea for Summerton to spell out “RSNA 100: A Century of Transforming Medicine” in medical images, which earned her an honorable mention. The society also displayed the piece.
“I called it ‘Letters to the RSNA,’” she said, adding that today she has at least five examples of each letter. “It was pretty amazing just to see it up there.”
Soon after, word traveled that Summerton created these works, and requests flooded in from coworkers, friends, family, students and more for birthday and holiday gifts, signs to hang in physicians’ and surgeons’ offices, and graduation and retirement keepsakes.
“People started to just ask me, ‘Can you make my name?’ (and) ‘Can you make this for my kid’s teacher?’ They were really excited about it,” she said. “That’s what motivates me to do what I do. It brings joy to people.”
With urging from friends and family, Summerton then began to think about her hobby as a business. She enrolled in a six-week course at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, where she learned the ins and outs of creating a business plan. She hired a graphic artist who also is a radiologist to recreate the original images since patients’ consent forms only allowed her to use the images for educational and research purposes — not for art or for profit. The recreated images are sharper and have a higher resolution than the originals, and Summerton assured that the letters and shapes always are based on her own findings.
Anatomy as inspiration
“They’re inspired by these images,” she said. “They’re just graphic representations of things that I’ve seen. And I’ve seen some interesting stuff.”
Summerton’s prints can be found around the world, and not just in medical offices. Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum — known for medical oddities, specimens and models — carries two of her works in its gift shop: a print of the Liberty Bell (actually an ultrasound of a bladder where an enlarged prostate gland looms in the background) with letters that spell “Philadelphia,” and a print that spells “Love” similar to the iconic statue and photo spot in the city’s Love Park (aka John F. Kennedy Plaza). She has sent her pieces as far away as Australia, and anyone can peruse her work or request a commission on her website, xrayartistry.com.
Summerton, who “can’t stop being a teacher,” plans to teach anatomy and radiology to third-year medical school students at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine this fall. She hopes to use her art pieces to educate by compiling a children’s book or taking them to children’s hospitals one day. While having scans and X-rays done can be nerve wracking, she wants to show people the lightheartedness of the images and the universal truth of it all.
“It appeals to all people because we all have the same bodies,” Summerton said. “When you look at us on the inside, we all look the same. We are all the same.”
Meet Dr. Susan Summerton
At home: Splits her time between Scranton and Philadelphia and has three children, Lauren, Jon and David
At work: Radiologist at Delta Medix Breast Care Center and will teach anatomy and radiology to third-year students at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine this fall
Claim to fame: Founder of Xray Artistry, which creates artwork using letters and shapes seen in medical images such as MRIs, ultrasounds, CT scans and X-rays
Online: Visit xrayartistry.com to see more of Summerton’s work.
If you go
What: “Body Language: Xray Artistry by Dr. Susan Summerton”
When: Friday, Sept. 1, 6 to 9 p.m.
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Details: For more information or a complete list of events, visit first fridayscranton.com.
Whether you like to dance, stretch or appreciate art, the inaugural Satellite Ranch Music and Arts Festival set for this weekend at Mountain Sky has something for you.
The two-day event kicks off Friday, Sept. 1, and continues on Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Scott Twp. venue with a full schedule of activities that includes plenty of live music, yoga and art workshops, and live demonstrations. Camping is encouraged for guests who wish to get the most out of their admission, especially with certain aspects of the performances stretching into the early morning hours.
Bryan Dewey, one of the festival’s co-promoters, is part of the entity Funkstronaut Productions, which brings together a collection of DJs and electronic artists for Satellite Ranch’s lineup. Organizers have long wanted to present an outdoor festival at Mountain Sky, he said, with plans finally starting to come together this past January.
“We’ve been in talks for a few years now (with Mountain Sky), and they were hesitant on electronic music and DJs,” Dewey said. “It gets a bad rep, so we like the term ‘intelligent dance music.’ The main difference is the music we have has a lot of soul in it. It’s not loud and crazy, but there’s plenty of weirdness. But there’s a lot of heart and a general loving vibe. We have everything from funky jam bands that incorporate electronic elements to hip-hop with electro to a silent disco from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.”
Music will be spread across two stages, and VIP passes give guests access to an indoor area. But Satellite Ranch will offer much more, such as various styles of yoga practice, including kundalini and mellow-flow; a graffiti art workshop; painters doing live demonstrations and selling their works; light and art installations; body painting; a live production workshop; and plenty of vendors, from vegan and vegetarian foods to bonsai tree experts.
Dewey cited years of expertise by his team of organizers in pulling together varied elements for a multi-faceted event and said he has high hopes for drawing a diverse crowd locally and from neighboring states for Satellite Ranch’s first year.
“We want to show the region what a great festival could be up at Mountain Sky. We feel like we put something together that is pretty awesome,” Dewey said. “(It) promises to be an intimate festival showcasing a variety of music not typically seen together outside of larger gatherings … (in) an atmosphere that will surely be out of this world.
“We aim to breathe fresh life and energy into an already amazing local music scene as well as expand musical tastes and horizons of attendees, all while providing a safe and peaceful environment with friendly and loving vibrations for all.”
If you go
What: Satellite Ranch Music and Arts Festival
When: Friday, Sept. 1, music begins at 3 p.m.; and Saturday, Sept. 2, music begins at noon
Where: Mountain Sky, 63 Still Meadow Lane, Scott Twp.
Details: Tickets include camping and are $130 for two-day VIP passes, $65 for two-day general admission and $40 for Saturday only. Parking is $5 or free with three or more people in the car. For more information, visit the Facebook page or satelliteranchfestival.com
A Susquehanna County artist wants to show residents the natural treasures of the region.
Thompson resident Gregory J. Pelly will display landscape paintings during his exhibit “Through the Half Box — Current Landscapes,” at Artworks Gallery, 503 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton, Wednesday, Aug. 2, through Friday, Aug. 25.
An opening reception is set for Friday, Aug. 4, from 6 to 9 p.m., as part of downtown’s monthly First Friday Art Walk. Aidan Jordan will perform during the event.
Pelly’s work will depict the beauty and natural wonders he sees each day as he ventures into different sites between the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers. The en plein air paintings feature fields, streams, farms, marshes, wetlands and everything in between, he said.
“I go out on location and I just make paintings,” Pelly said. “I’m trying to represent the beauty around us and trying to speak to what we have here, without preaching.”
Always a self-proclaimed “nature guy,” Pelly worked outside for his career and really tuned into the sights he experienced. As an artist, it was second nature to start painting what he saw and embrace the spontaneity.
“It’s about the magic of what’s going on out there and when I go out to paint, I don’t know what I will find,” he said. “Bears, deer, sometimes sunshine, sometime clouds, I never know what I’m going to find and never know what I’m going to come home with. It’s the thrill of the hunt.”
While Pelly has shown his work at First Friday before as well as nature-oriented events like Lackwanna River Conservation Association’s Riverfest and Waystock Festival in Waymart. But he said Artworks Gallery is by far the largest room he has ever shown in, and noted that this will allow him to show some of his larger paintings, many of which have never been seen before. Wherever he shares his work, however, it’s about meeting people and other artists and gaining exposure.
“You put the work out there, and it’s fun to see how people respond to the work,” he said. “Folks have been really sweet on response, and that’s a real sweet compliment when they take the time to really take it in.”
Pelly does not originally hail from Thompson, but he has lived in Susquehanna county for 25 years. Though he has traveled all over, Northeast Pennsylvania has become his home and his favorite artistic subject.
“I love it here,” he said. “I’ve traveled quite a bit, but I know what we’ve got here, and you’re not going to find it anywhere else.”
— gia mazur
If you go
What: “Through the Half Box — Current Landscapes,” works by Gregory J. Pelly
When: Wednesday, Aug. 2, through Friday, Aug. 25; Opening reception, Friday, Aug. 4, 6 to 9 p.m.
Where: Artworks Gallery, 503 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton
Details: For a complete First Friday listing, visit firstfridayscranton.com.
First Friday – August
“Evolution,” works by Mitch Lewis, Jackie Thomas and Jules Perlmutter, AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave.
Works by Mark Boyer Dryfoos & Rhonda Morrison, second floor, AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave.
Photography by Bill Lester, music by LAF, Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender, 126 Franklin Ave.
“Pics and Tunes,” works by Zak Zavada and music by DJ Sol E, Analog Culture, 349 N. Washington Ave.
“Dog Days of Summer,” AOS Metals, 527 Bogart Court
Group show with works by Chris Tufano, Michael Lloyd, Alex Seeley, AV Restaurant and Lounge, 320 Penn Ave.
“Lions Den,” works by Sam Kuchwara and Allison LaRussa, Bar Pazzo, 131 N. Washington Ave.
“Go West,” works by Lori Ryan, The Bog, 341 Adams Ave.
“Face to Face,” works by Allison Stroyan, Eden-a vegan cafe, 344 Adams Ave.
“Magic, Music & More with Jack Graham,” music by DJ Elusionz, Hilton Scranton & Conference Center, 100 Adams Ave.
CAT-astrophic Art Show, works by Mary Crespo and Richard Schenk, The Keys Beer & Spirits, 244 Penn Ave.
Nibbles & Bits @ LAVISH, Lavish Body & Home, 600 Linden St.
“Break the Silence: Sexual Violence Awareness Photography Exhibit,” by Ashley Matthews and Stephanie Santore with sexual violence survivors and awareness advocates, The Leonard Theater, 335 Adams Ave.
“Girlfriends: The Art of Dominique Capone,” Loyalty Barbershop and Shave Parlor of Scranton, 342 Adams Ave.
“New Paintings,” works by Brooke Wandall, Marquis Art and Frame, 515 Center St.
Photography by Caitlyn Sebolka, New Laundry, 127 N. Washington Ave.
“Synesthesia,” works by Melissa S. Short, Northern Light Espresso Bar, 536 Spruce St.
“Prismacolors: Portraits & Prints,” works by Amber Lovell, NOTE Fragrances, 401 Spruce St.
Swan Song on Lackawanna: Second
birthday and moving party, On&On, 518 Lackawanna Ave.
The Flamingo Art Walk, works by various female artists and writers, POSH at The Scranton Club, Albright Memorial Library and Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, all on North Washington Avenue
Various art exhibits and activities, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 232 Wyoming Ave.
Charcoal Portraiture by Pete Mohanco, music by DJ Honeyman Lightnin’, Terra Preta Restaurant, 222 Wyoming Ave.
Group show featuring jazz-inspired works, Trinity Studio & Gallery, 511 Bogart Court
Pop-up shop at The Workshop, group show with music by John Meza, The Workshop, 334 Adams Ave.
For a day, many of Scranton’s finest artists can be found on just four blocks.
Back for its fifth year, ScrantonMade’s Arts on the Square festival brings together more than a hundred local vendors and artists on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square in Scranton on Saturday, July 29, from noon until 8 p.m.
ScrantonMade partner, editor and creative director Chrissy Manuel is pleased the event’s draw has spread to all of downtown for the whole day.
“We were really excited when people were coming down with blankets and hanging out with their kids,” Manuel said. “We didn’t necessarily anticipate … people hanging out for the day.”
This year’s artist lineup includes more fine artists than usual who, like the organizers, celebrate the area in their work by drawing inspiration from familiar sites like the Electric City sign or the Everhart Museum.
“The artists are offering things that more people will want to put in their homes too,” said Cristin Powers, founder and marketing and event director for the festival. “It’s making art very approachable.”
Like in past years, the event features various art on display and for sale as well as live music throughout the day from four local acts plus Bethlehem-based headliner Start Making Sense, a Talking Heads tribute band.
Powers wanted the focus for this year to be on quality. The application process for vendors was tougher than in years past, and the festival consolidated two music stages to one.
“We hope this attracts a whole new group of people to the event that may not have come in the past,” she said.
In addition to the event’s activities across the square, local restaurants along the perimeter of the square and beyond become effectively part of the event.
Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., will bring its backyard to the front yard by offering food and drink during Arts on the Square, and DaVinci Pizza, 505 Linden St., usually closed on Saturdays, will open its doors, among other restaurants welcoming the downtown influx.
“I think (the festival) is a great way to come down and experience downtown Scranton as a whole,” Powers said. “You get to see how many local artists, crafters and business people are around here that normally you don’t get to see.”
In bringing the area together through events like Arts on the Square or its Holiday Marketplace, ScrantonMade practices its motto to celebrate artists, creative entrepreneurs and all things local.
“People really do want to shop local, and if you give them something exciting to do, they really do come out and support it,” Manuel said.
Both Manuel and Powers hope in doing their part to revitalize the area, they continue to help the already budding arts scene.
“We’re helping connect artists to a larger audience … and we hope to highlight them to the rest of the community,” Powers said.
“(The arts scene) was strong before we started,” Manuel added. “And our event helped connect the dots a little bit.”
— paul capoccia
- Conor Oberst
coming to the F.M. Kirby Center
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Conor Oberst will bring a full-band performance featuring members of the Felice Brothers to the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, on Thursday, July 27 at 8 p.m.
Oberst gained fame with as the frontman for indie group Bright Eyes and continued his career of the past two decades as a member of Desaparecidos, the Mystic Valley Band and the Monsters of Folk super-group.
Philadelphia-based band Hop Along serves as opening act.
All seats are $30 plus fees, available through the box office, by calling 570-826-1100 or online at www.kirbycenter.org.
- Scranton Police Department’s National Night Out
Scranton High School will play host to Scranton Police Department’s National Night Outin partnership with “Be Part of the Solution” on Tuesday, Aug. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m.
The event will feature free food, including hot dogs, hamburgers and cupcakes, plus a National Guard rock-climbing wall, raffles, kids’ activities, police and fire demonstrations and music by EJ the DJ.
For more information, contact Leonard Namiotka at 570-348-4150 or visit the event Facebook page.
- Stoke the Fire: A Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces Benefit
Enjoy fun on the veranda on Thursday, July 27, at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, 700 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton, during Stoke the Fire, an evening of music, hors d’oeuvres, beer and sangria for the benefit of the Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces.
Admission is $20 and includes food and select beverages from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 570-963-4804 or visit www.scrantonbonfire.com.
- Inaugural NEPA Heavy-Psych-Doom Fest
Sherman Showcase, 522 Main St., Stroudsburg, will house the inaugural NEPA Heavy-Psych-Doom Fest on Saturday, July 29, which highlights all music heavy and weird in Northeast Pennsylvania and beyond.
The concert stretches from 3 p.m. to midnight and brings in artistic people and groups from around the state. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door the day of the event.
The festival lineup continues to grow, but so far includes Solace, Chelsea Smarr, Mind Choir, King Dead, the Stargazer Lilies, Earthmouth, Dead Men, Highburnator, Family Animals (pictured), Doghouse Charlie, The Hill You Die On and more.
For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
- Playroom: Back Porch
Gaslight Theatre Company, 200 East End Centre, Heinz Road, Wilkes-Barre, will host a weekend of short-form theater that recognizes the talent of local playwrights, including Dane Bower, Emily Halbing, Matthew S. Hinton, Lori M. Myers, Michael Pavese, B. Garret Rogan and Rachel Luann Strayer.
Created by Hinton, a former artistic director and board member, Playroom uses the same set design to inspire writers to create individual one-acts around the same space. This year, the stories are set to the back porch. From Thursday, July 27, through Saturday, July 29, the shows begin at 8 p.m., with a Sunday matinee on July 30 at 2 p.m.
Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Tickets are available on ticketfly.com or at the door.
The reason Vanessa White Fernandes picked up the BeKind Scranton project stems from her appreciation of the city.
The Scranton resident sees the downtown flourishing with events like First Friday and an increase in foot traffic from block to block.
“I feel really proud to be living here, and I want people to feel that, too,” she said.
White Fernandes already does work in the region and beyond with the Hugging Army, which offers free hugs to people who need them. She will continue spreading positivity and hugs through the second year of BeKind Scranton, a day dedicated to promoting acts of kindness throughout the city. The event takes place Saturday, July 22, starting at 10 a.m.
Organizers and participants will meet on Courthouse Square to branch out across the city. White Fernandes hopes to convene at approximately 4 p.m. back at the square for a community drum circle.
BeKind Scranton was launched last summer by West Scranton native Monica Simon, who overcame her own obstacles with anxiety and depression and wanted to pay it forward to the whole city. As she has moved out of town for her career, White Fernandes felt it was important to continue the event.
“It was a beautiful event last year, it was a lot of fun and there was an incredible response from the city,” White Fernandes said. “People saw everything as they walked through, as they drove through and it was a feel-good event.”
During the day, people are encouraged to write positive sayings with sidewalk chalk, on signs to hang on poles and storefronts, on Post-it notes for car windows and library books and to give hugs.
As everyone scatters across the city, White Fernandes hopes people jump right in.
“Even if people don’t connect with the formal organizers, they can take it in their own hands,” White Fernandes said. “I want various kinds of people to branch out across the city as far as they want.”
Since today’s political and financial climate can make people feel scared or uncertain, she said, offering hugs and random acts of kindness may seem extra timely. However, White Fernandes would be doing the work regardless, following an important mantra.
“I know when I give hugs to people, they will often say things like, ‘We need to be doing things like this, especially right now,’ but I feel now is as good a time as any. We just need to do this more often,” White Fernandes said. “We need to care more about each other. Period.”
— paul capoccia
If you go
What: BeKind Scranton Summer Version 2017
When: Saturday, July 22; organizers and participants will meet at 10 a.m. on Courthouse Square and reconvene at approximately 4 p.m. for drum circle.
Where: Throughout Scranton
Details: For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.