Awareness in April

Awareness in April

Events planned to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The staff and volunteers of Women’s Resource Center want the community to know who they are and what they do.
During April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness month, WRC has planned events to promote its plight as well as educate the community on sexual violence against women and men. WRC crisis and advocate services director Anna Faramelli said that, while the organization has always commemorated Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this year it wanted to try to reach as many people as it can.
“We want everyone to feel comfortable approaching us and talking about it,” Faramelli said, adding the organization serves Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties.
During Scranton’s First Friday Art Walk on April 5, the art installation “What Were You Wearing?” will be on display from 5 to 8 p.m. at Elm Park United Methodist Church, 712 Linden St. The exhibit displays 18 outfits hanging next to 18 rape survivors’ stories about what they were wearing while they were attacked.
At Lackawanna County Courthouse Square, participants can paint rocks teal — the color associated with sexual assault awareness — along with words or messages of support.
Talking about these issues can be uncomfortable, executive director Peg Ruddy said, but the events make the subject accessible.
“They’re positive events, and they kind of take away that stigma,” she said. “These conversations can be difficult, and having this kind of outreach makes it easier.”

Lackawanna County program manager Lori Iannetta, left, and Intern Advocate Melissa DeFina prepare for rock painting for “Consent Rocks,” Sexual Assault by Women’s Resource Center’s events for April, aka Sexual Assault Awareness Month, kicking off with an exhibit and event during First Friday. Jake Danna Stevens / Staff Photogrpaher

Aside from the events on First Friday, WRC has a host of other activities planned throughout the month.
On Thursday, April 4, at 4 p.m., WRC will partner with the Marywood University Graduate School of Social Work Association and the Human Trafficking Awareness & Prevention Committee for a screening of “I Am Jane Doe” in Room B in the Swartz Conference Centre for Spiritual Life at Marywood. A question-and-answer panel will follow with representatives from WRC, Marywood and Penn
State University.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will host WRC Night on Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp. Of every ticket sold, $4 will be donated to WRC.
And on Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m., people can bring their dogs to Zummo’s Cafe, 916 Marion St., Scranton, for a Yappy Hour. They also are asked to donate an item for WRC hospital bags, which go to local hospitals for victims of sexual assault after their clothing has been collected as evidence. Items to donate include T-shirts, pants, socks, intimate appeal and personal hygiene items.
On Wednesday, April 24, the community is asked to wear denim in a campaign that began when women of the Italian parliament came to work wearing jeans to protest an overturned rape conviction where the survivor was wearing jeans. The justices felt that, since the survivor wore tight jeans when she was attacked, she must have helped her rapist remove them, implying consent.

WRC and its staff want women and men to know the services are out there if they need them. The month-long schedule of events serves as a way for community members to learn about the importance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and show support to survivors.
“It really does take the whole community to end sexual violence against women and men,” Ruddy said. “So the diversity of these events reaches so many people and maybe community members that we would not be able to interact with otherwise.”

Scranton Prep Players learn from Broadway vet Judy McLane

Scranton Prep Players learn from Broadway vet Judy McLane

The Scranton Prep Players got the chance to learn from a Broadway star.
Before the students sing and dance along to the music of Swedish pop quartet ABBA in jukebox musical “Mamma Mia,” the cast took a master class with Judy McLane. The Olyphant native and Great White Way veteran starred in the musical on Broadway for over a decade, first in the role of Tanya and then as the show’s lead, Donna.

The opportunity to work with young people in her home region and to get back in touch with “Mamma Mia” made for a special experience for her.
“It’s a chance for me to give back,” said McLane, who teaches master classes to students around the country and gives private voice lessons in New York City. “I got to a place where I said, ‘Wow, there’s so much I can pass on.’ … The students know I’m a performer, and it helps in a way. … You’re doing it and bring more back to the table when you come back.”
Prep’s show will take place Fridays, April 5 and 12, and Saturdays, April 6 and 13, at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, April 7 and 14, at 2 p.m. in the school’s St. Robert Bellarmine Theatre, 1000 Wyoming Ave. Tickets cost $10 for general admission and will be available at the door. For more information or group rates, call 570-941-7737.
The cast worked with McLane for a few hours — using songs from the show, other Broadway selections and some pop songs — on everything from vocal technique and breathing to understanding the context of the material.
“Judy was an amazing teacher,” said junior and ensemble member Caroline Lapinski. “It was easy to understand what she wanted from us. She also gave lots of advice for not only practicing on our own but also for taking our next steps into musical theater as a career.”
Each student got some one-on-one time with McLane, too, including Camille Pastore and Nadja Tomaszewski, who will play McLane’s former roles of Donna and Tanya, respectively. McLane remarked how talented the cast members were as well as how quickly they picked up on the tips she gave them. Show director Colin Holmes said McLane provided insight not only on her time in “Mamma Mia” but also on building and sustaining a career in performing.

“We are so grateful and lucky to have her here,” he added.
McLane has kept busy in the years following her exit from “Mamma Mia,” including some television acting roles, musical productions and concerts. She acted in a short film, “Hiding in Daylight,” which has been accepted at festivals such as American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival in France and Newport Beach Festival, among others. Regionally, she will appear in Pocono Center for the Arts’ concert event “Broadway Memories” along with other theater veterans on Sunday, April 7, at 4 p.m. at Stroudsmoor Country Inn, 257 Stroudsmoor Road, Stroudsburg.
Her favorite moments, though, include working with young performers — especially those from her home region.
“It’s rewarding,” McLane said. “And my roots are here. It’s always fun to come back home.”

NEPA Phil presents nature-inspired concert with guest violinist

NEPA Phil presents nature-inspired concert with guest violinist

Just in time for the trees to bud and flowers to shoot up through the thawed ground, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic draws attention to nature.
The orchestra presents its final Masterworks concert of the season, dubbed “Inspired by Nature,” on Friday, April 5, at 8 p.m. in Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College, Scranton. Under the leadership of interim music director Mélisse Brunet, the program will include Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” with guest soloist Yevgeny Kutik on violin and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, “Pastorale.”
While Beethoven’s piece places listeners in the Viennese countryside, the “Four Seasons” consists of four works with narrative elements that take inspiration from spring, summer, autumn and winter and the nature of each. Vivaldi’s related his work, written around 1720, to sonnets about the seasons, and the music reflects certain sounds of the world, such as birds chirping.
“The fact that he was writing this almost (300) years ago and did that is remarkable,” Kutik said last month by phone from Boston, where he lives.
The violinist noted how even people who don’t listen to classical music tend to know the “Four Seasons.”
“It’s just very approachable, and I think part of it … has to do with these sonnets that Vivaldi wrote, because they’re very descriptive, and everybody can understand what he’s saying.
“It’s still very cool like to be able to take the four weather changes of the year that everybody knows and has a very specific song,” Kutik added. “To put that to music is like just such a great way to kind of connect with the average listener. … Sometimes in classical music we have a problem with the music not being approachable or being too daunting to too overwhelming for people who don’t list to classical music on a regular basis. But I feel like this piece breaks down that wall before you even play the first piece.”
Kutik previously performed in NEPA last year, when he played with pianist Spencer Myer in a philharmonic chamber concert. Kutik said that performance “went quite well” and that he enjoyed playing in the region.
“I loved meeting the people coming (to the concert),” he said. “It was a great environment in which to make music and (I) am very excited to come back and play with the orchestra and work with the conductor.”
Those who enjoy what Kutik has to offer with the philharmonic can also check him out Tuesday, April 23, in his debut at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. There he will perform two pieces from his album “Meditations on Family,” which came out last month. For the album, Kutik commissioned eight composers to write a short piece based on one of their family photos.
Kutik, who emigrated from the former Soviet Union in 1990, said his family of musicians brought with them “a bunch of old music that really helped me later on in life when I started my career to better understand my culture and my cultural background.” That music inspired his 2014 album, “Music from the Suitcase.”
“I kind of wanted to continue down that road. … (The composers) all have family. They all have histories. They all have stories,” Kutik said. “I’m trying to make that into a user-friendly way.”
Kutik called each piece “a giant surprise.”
“What I loved about the project was I had no idea what each composer would write, and I was just amazed,” he said. “Each one just goes down a completely different road, and the photographs that they chose are very fascinating.”
Business for the orchestra, meanwhile, remains on an upswing after it suspended operations for the 2017-18 season so it could develop a plan to stay financially viable. Nancy Sanderson, philharmonic executive director, said she expects to announce the next season’s lineup by the end of April.
“I think that what I’d like everyone to know is that we have made serious progress on paying our debts, and so we have a season plan for the 2019-20 season,” she said. “We’ll be back. And I think that’s the important piece — to let everybody know that we’re in good enough shape. The first year, it really was all about seeing if this area could support it, and we’re happy that the area has stepped up and purchased tickets — that’s a big part of it — and donated.”

Fab 5 – April 4, 2019

Fab 5 – April 4, 2019

1. ‘Seniors Got Talent’
Local residents 55 and older will share their talents with the community in a fund-raiser that benefits the programs at United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s four Active Older Adult Centers in Lackawanna County.
The annual “Seniors Got Talent” show will take place Sunday, April 7, at 2 p.m. at Peoples Security Bank Theatre at Lackawanna College, 501 Vine St., Scranton.
Former Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania executive director Tony Nicosia will direct the talent show, in which competitors will battle for cash prizes. Judges will be Stacey Lange of WNEP-TV, Justin Sochovka of QVC and Frankie Warren of Magic 93.
Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door.
To order tickets, call 570-346-0759.
For more information, visit

2. Lackawanna County Traveling Photo Exhibit
The Lackawanna County Traveling Photo Exhibit will open at the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton, on Thursday, April 4, at 6 p.m.
The photo exhibit will celebrate the life, courage, and dignity of women and families who have battled breast cancer and showcase at least one woman from each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. It aims to serve as a reminder of the toll breast cancer takes on women and their families.
The opening reception will feature talks from local breast cancer survivors, health care professionals and legislators plus light refreshments.
The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will be on the marketplace’s first floor and is hosted by Delta Medix Breast Care Center. It will remain on display through Sunday, April 14.
For more information, visit the Facebook event page or call 570-343-3400.

3. Nickelodeon’s ‘Double Dare Live’
Catch a live version of the classic Nickelodeon series “Double Dare” on Friday, April 5, at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre.
Original host Marc Summers and his sidekick Robin Russo will be on hand for “Double Dare Live,” which starts at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6.
Inspired by the TV show “Double Dare,” which began on Nickelodeon in 1986, the show features two teams made up of audience members competing for prizes by answering trivia questions, completing challenges and, lastly, facing the legendary obstacle course.
Tickets start at $35. For tickets, visit the box office or or call 570-826-1100.

4. ‘Mysterious Customs and Warm Charity’ opening
The Luzerne County Historical Society will open a new exhibit, “Mysterious Customs and Warm Charity: Fraternal Organizations in the Wyoming Valley,” on Saturday, April 6.
The exhibit, at the Luzerne County Museum, 69 Rear S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre, explores the history of fraternal organizations in the area, including the Freemasons and the Odd Fellows.
There will also be a free preview for the event on Friday, April 5, 6 to 8 p.m. Beginning Saturday, April 6, the exhibit will be open Wednesdays through Fridays, 2 to 6 p.m.
Admission is free for members, $5 for nonmembers and $3 for children.
For more information, visit the Facebook event page or call 570-823-6244.

5. Fashion Show Fundraiser
TV personality and Honesdale native Brian Balthazar returns home for a fashion show at the Cooperage Project, 1030 Main St.,
Honesdale, on Sunday, April 7.
The show is the third annual Main Wear Expo, and doors will open at 2 p.m. with the show following at 2:30.
Balthazar is a TV personality and executive producer frequently seen on “Today” with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb and “The Talk.” He also will host the upcoming digital series “Christina on the Coast” for HGTV and was a co-executive producer of “The View.”
Tickets for the fashion show cost $40 in advance and $50 at the door. There also will be food and a cash bar available.
For reservations, call 570-253-2020. Visit for more information.

Royal engagement BTL brings ‘King and I’ to Scranton stage

Royal engagement BTL brings ‘King and I’ to Scranton stage

Get ready to whistle a happy tune. “The King and I” is coming to town.
Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania will present four performances of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical from Friday, March 29, through Sunday, March 31, at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple.
Paulina Yeung, who plays Tuptim, a woman given as a gift to the king of Siam but falls in love with a Burmese scholar, said a lot of audience members tell them they find the music so beautiful. The show features such well-known tunes as “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance.”
“A lot of people, if they haven’t seen the show, they know the tune,” Yeung said recently by phone from a tour stop in Indianapolis.
Set in Siam (modern-day Thailand) in 1862, the show focuses on English widow Anna Leonowens, who comes to the southeast Asian country with her young son to tutor the king’s children and wives, and the understanding and respect she and the king develop for one another. The show debuted on Broadway in 1951 and was adapted for the screen in 1956, starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner. It returned to Broaway in 2015 and won four Tony awards, including best revival of a musical.
Yeung said Bartlett Sher, who directed that revival, “remade this in such a way that it was relevant to today’s times.”

Soraya Patoonsittichai as Eliza in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

“One of the themes that he explored or he tackled in this stage production is the role of women in the show,” she added. “And I think if you look at this stage production, what makes it different is you really see the strength of women. You see the strength of Anna when she comes into Siam and meets the king. And you see her strength as a mother.”
That toughness is apparent, too, in the character of the king’s head wife, whom Yeung called “a pillar of strength in the court of Siam,” and in Tuptim. Yeung’s favorite scene is the ballet, she said, when “for me character-wise, that’s when Tuptim really … finds her strength and what she believes in, and for me that’s such a powerful and defining moment.”
“I also thing Bartlett also tried to tackle the theme of modernization versus tradition,” Yeung added. “There’s this conflict of whether to embrace the changing time or to stay in a traditional viewpoint. And throughout this production of ‘The King and I,’ we see that journey between Anna and the king, because they look past their cultural differences, and in the end, they embrace change and they bring out the best in each other.”
Some audiences members have noted their surprise that a show written in the 1950s still has relevancy today, Yeung said.
“There’s a line in the show where the king (is) about talking about building a fence in Siam and whether to build a wall around Siam or to let people from the outside world in,” Yeung said. “And that draws out a lot of laughter from the audience. I think they can relate to that.”
Audiences also particularly enjoy the “Shall We Dance?” sequence in which Anna hits the stage in a lavender ballgown that weighs about 40 pounds, Yeung said.

Angela Baumgardner as Anna Leonowens and the Royal Children in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

“The costumers are gorgeous,” she said. “They’re designed by Catherine Zuber, who’s a Tony-winning designer.”
Yeung said she would encourage people to come out for the show not just because it’s a classic musical but also because it sends out a “touching message” to the audience. She called it a family-friendly show with lots of kids in its cast who bring energy to the show and make it fun.
“I always say it’s such an honor to be able to be a part of this production and to bring the show across the United States and Canada and perform for different people, perform in different cities and to be able to tell this story every night,” Yeung said. “I mean it’s different for us on the stage because every night is different, but it’s really special. It holds a special place in my heart.”

Paulina Yeung as Tuptim and Dongwoo Kang as Lun Tha in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I. Photo by Matthew Murphy. (1)

If you go
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I,” presented by Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania
When: Friday, March 29, 8 p.m.; Saturday, March 30, 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, March 31, 1 p.m.
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Details: The show is recommended for all ages. Tickets cost $42 to $82 and available at and by calling

Angela Baumgardner as Anna Leonowens and Pedro Ka’awaloa as the King of Siam in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania will present two workshops Saturday, March 30, in conjunction with its presentation of “The King and I.” Lunch follows at 1 to 1:45 p.m. with a talk-back with cast members from 5:10 to 5:30 p.m., both at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple.
The programs include:
“The Small House of Uncle Thomas” dance master class: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Center for Health and Wellness, Marywood University, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton; for dance teachers and intermediate and advanced high school and college dancers
“The King and I and Me” talk with actress Annie Sherman: noon to 1 p.m. at Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave. This program is geared toward performing arts teachers as well as students from elementary school through college.
Admission to the workshops, lunch and talk-back is free. Participants can buy tickets to the “The King and I’s” 2 p.m. show that day at a discounted rate of $24.
For reservations, call 570-342-7784 or visit 345 N. Washington Ave., Scranton, on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photos by Matthew Murphy

Dress for Success Lackawanna to mark 20 years of service  with anniversary event

Dress for Success Lackawanna to mark 20 years of service with anniversary event

Over the last 20 years, whenever women have needed a helping hand to gain economic independence, Dress for Success Lackawanna has been there.
Whether by providing job seekers with professional attire, a network of support or developmental tools that help women thrive in work — and in life — Dress for Success has served more than 6,000 people across six counties in Northeast Pennsylvania.
To mark this milestone, the organization will host its 20th Anniversary Event on Thursday, April 4, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
The event will reunite clients and supporters and celebrate the agency’s significance within the communities of Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna Wayne and Wyoming counties.

Clothing and a handbag available at Dress for Success, 413 North 7th Ave. in Scranton. Michael J. Mullen / Staff Photographer

“We all take for granted the necessities, such as clothing,” said Mary Ann Iezzi, executive director. “Many of the women have never owned their own clothing that they would wear for a job interview. So many come through, and they all have a common story. Just seeing the look on their face when they see themselves in something to boost their confidence … knowing they are confident going into their interview is very important to us.
“We are a different service,” Iezzi added. “It is not like walking into a bunch of offices; we are more like a boutique.”
It all started in 1999, when Dress for Success was established as a project of Leadership Lackawanna, the nonprofit dedicated to local leadership and community development. The Lackawanna chapter was the first affiliate of Dress for Success in the state and originally operated out of a donated room in Elm Park United Methodist Church in downtown Scranton.
In the beginning, Dress for Success was run by dedicated volunteers who supported women re-entering the workforce by providing wardrobes. Today, thanks to a small but hardworking staff plus many volunteers, it now also offers a job preparedness program, career center, and coaching and mentorship through its Professional Women’s Group Program made possible with grants, support from longtime donors donors such as NBT Bank, and fundraisers like this year’s 20th anniversary event.
“The impact that we have had on women and their children is very rewarding,” Iezzi said. “It is not easy for them to come in and talk to us about it all the time.
“We provide women with a hand-up, not a handout, program.”

If you go
Dress for Success 20th Anniversary Event
When: Thursday, April 4, 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Details: Tickets cost $75. For more information, visit or call 570-941-0339.

Fab 5 – March 28, 2019

Fab 5 – March 28, 2019

1. Shawn Klush
Elvis tribute artist Shawn Klush brings his act back to Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, 700 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton, on Saturday, March 30.
Doors open at 6 p.m., and dinner will follow at 7 with music by Nicole Rasmus. Klush’s performance then starts at 8:30.
A Pittston native, Klush has earned numerous accolades for his portrayal of the rock legend. Klush won the “World Elvis Tribute Artist Competition,” viewers of a BBC television show voted him the “World’s Greatest Elvis,” and Elvis Presley Enterprises in Memphis, Tennessee, named him the first “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist.” He also played Elvis on HBO’s “Vinyl.”
Tickets for the event start at $69 and include a choice of dinner entree.
For more information, call 570-342-8300 or visit

2. Jog for Jude Happy Hour
St. Joseph’s Young Professionals will hold a happy hour at Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., Scranton, to raise money for the Jog for Jude.
The gathering will take place Friday, March 29, from 6 to 10 p.m. A $10 donation grants admission, and guests are encouraged to bring baby clothing and toiletries for the St. Joseph’s Baby and Children’s Pantry which has been dedicated in Jude’s name.
Jog for Jude was founded in memory of Jude Zayac, who died July 23, 2014, from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The fifth annual 5K and 1-mile Fun walk/run will take place Sunday, April 28, at Dunmore Community Center, 1414 Monroe Ave., and raises awareness and money for SIDS research. Visit for more.
For more information about the happy hour, visit the Facebook event page.

3. Meet the RailRiders
Get up close and personal with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at a meet-and greet-celebrating the minor league baseball team’s 30th season.
The event will take place Tuesday, April 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Hilton Scranton & Conference Center, 100 Adams Ave.
Tickets cost $55 for general admission, $45 for season ticket-holders and $30 for children 12 and younger. Tickets include access to the autograph session and dinner. A cash bar also will be available.
For tickets, visit Call 570-969-2255 or visit for more information.

4. Reality Check
“Dancing with the Stars” champions and newly engaged professional dancers Jenna Johnson and Val Chmerkovskiy will strut their stuff and sign autographs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Friday, March 29.
The free event will happen in the Keystone Grand Ballroom at the casino, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp. Wristbands are required to attend and will be distributed at 6 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis.
Johnson and Chmerkovskiy then will perform and hold a question-and-answer session at 8. At 9, the dancers will hold a meet-and-greet and autograph session at which they will sign copies of head shots given out that night or one piece of personal memorabilia per person. No personalization or personal photos will be allowed. An in-house photographer will take pictures instead.
Johnson and Chmerkovskiy have competed on numerous seasons of “Dancing with the Stars.” Johnson was paired with Abingtons native and Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon when he participated in season 26.
For more information, call 570-831-2100 or visit

5. Pet Expo
SPCA of Luzerne County will hold a two-day pet expo this weekend at Kingston Armory, 280 Market St.
Set for Saturday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, March 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the family-friendly event will include food vendors, animal products and services, adoptable animals, basket raffles and more. A rabies/microchip clinic will occur Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Admission costs $5 and is free for children under 12.
For more information, visit the Facebook event page or call the SPCA at 570-825-4111.

Big-screen bash NEPA Film Festival bringing movies, filmmakers to region

Big-screen bash NEPA Film Festival bringing movies, filmmakers to region

This weekend’s Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival looks to honor some of the region’s own movie makers while also sharing their insight and their work.
The festival, founded in 2016, kicks off with an opening night gala Friday, March 22, at 7 p.m. at Waverly Community House. Waverly Twp. native Lisa Marie Stetler, who produced the animated film “Ferdinand,” will receive the Vision Award at the gala, while Dallas native Robert May will take home the F. Lammot Belin Award for Excellence in Cinema.
“Any time anyone you know acknowledges you for the work that you do, it’s obviously a good feeling, and it doesn’t happen in a lot of jobs, so it’s kind of nice,” May said. “I was really happy.”
May produced the feature “The Station Agent” and the documentary “Kids for Cash,” which he also directed. Gala guests will be treated to a screening of “The Station Agent,” which follows a young man who moves to New Jersey after inheriting a train station there, plus a question-and-answer session with May.
May recalled how, when that film was in development, everyone he shared it with advised him against making it, calling the film “a big risk.” But for May, the film — directed by Tom McCarthy and starring Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale — “was just such a great opportunity … to be able to dive into folks’ lives that we don’t necessarily think about.”

“I can tell you that when I read the script, I loved it,” May said. “I thought that it was a character-driven story, which was what I was interested in. I felt it showed how important friendship is.”
More local filmmakers will get in on the action the next morning, when POSH at the Scranton Club hosts the “Pitch, Fund, Cast” brunch on Saturday, March 23. Casting director and Old Forge native Mia Cusumano and Mountain Top filmmaker Chris Fetchko will lead the panel discussion. At 9 that night, Fetchko will introduce his film “All in Time,” which earned him best director honors at the Milan International Film Festival, when it screens at Scranton’s Ritz Theater. A question-and-answer session with Fetchko will follow the movie.
Also on Saturday at the Ritz, guests can catch the NEPA premiere of “The Pretender,” which follows Scranton native Mike Kunda’s journey as a Rocky Balboa impersonator. Kunda and the filmmakers will introduce the film at 7 p.m. and hold a question-and-answer session, too.
Local filmmaker Lindsay Barrasse has contributed the short film “Road Less Traveled” to the horror/thriller/science fiction block screening at the Ritz on Saturday at 5 p.m.
An encore screening of “Road Less Traveled” will follow Sunday, March 24, at 5 p.m. in the NEPA filmmaker block screening in Loyola Science Center’s PNC Auditorium at University of Scranton. That block also will include “Don’t Quit: The Ross Cordaro Story,” a documentary about former Dunmore wrestler Ross Cordaro, who became a quadriplegic as a result of a wresting accident; “Gun,” a short film directed by Ed Wasser and filmed in NEPA; and “Nick and Ophelia,” a film noir directed by Luz Cabrales of Scranton Films.

Old Forge native Mia Cusumano, who now lives and works in NYC as a successful casting director for numerous TV shows and movies that attract big-name talents. Jake Danna Stevens / Staff Photographer

Single-event tickets for “When Scorsese Calls,” a discussion with author Charles Brandt, have sold out, but some weekend passes are still available and include access to the program in the private event space at Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender, Scranton. The program takes place Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and includes a book signing. Brandt’s nonfiction book, “I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters & the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa,” has local ties and is the basis for an upcoming Martin Scorsese movie, “The Irishman.”
The process of bringing the book to the screen began in 2007, when star Robert De Niro’s office reached out to Brandt’s publisher.
“To say it was worth the wait is an understatement,” Brandt told The Times-Tribune in January. “And, to be waiting for Martin Scorsese to direct a book that you wrote — holy cow.”
The festival wraps up Sunday with a full day of film screenings at PNC Auditorium, including the results of the Mystery Box Challenge at 4 p.m. Teams participating in the challenge had three months to create a short film based on items they received in a cardboard box in September.
And at 2:30 p.m., VIA Global Studios, VIA Public Media’s production arm, will discuss the future of filmmaking in a free panel discussion called “The Digital Age of Filmmaking 2.0,” geared toward filmmakers and independent producers.

Fab 5 – March 21, 2019

Fab 5 – March 21, 2019

1. Epic Reads Meetup
Head to Barnes & Noble, 421 Arena Hub Plaza, Wilkes-Barre Twp., for the Epic Reads Meetup on Sunday, March 24.
Epic Reads, a digital community created by publisher HarperCollins, will present authors Brittany Cavallaro, Mindy McGinnis, Justin A. Reynolds, and Tehlor Kay Mejia at the bookstore from 4 to 6 p.m. The authors will celebrate and speak about the releases of their new books. Participants must buy one of the authors’ new books in order to participate in the event, and guests can bring books from home. The store will offer a 20 percent discount on each author’s books. For more information, visit the Facebook event page or call 570-829-4210.

2. Samantha Ruddy: A Night of Comedy
Comedian and Mayfield native Samantha Ruddy will take stage at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., on Saturday, March 23.
“Samanta Ruddy and Friends: A Night of Comedy” will begin at 8 p.m. and also feature David Spector and Chanel Ali.
Now living in New York City, Ruddy has appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and videos for Comedy Central. Spector is a New York-based comedian, while Ali also performs in New York City and recently appeared on an episode of “Night Train.”
Doors open for the show at 7 p.m.. Tickets cost $12.50 in advance and $22.50 at the door. For more information or tickets, visit or call 570-344-1111.

3. Goat Yoga & Brews
Squeeze in a workout with a little help from some goats.
Yoga with Lauren will present Goat Yoga & Brews on Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Irving Cliff Brewery, 2 Chapel St., Honesdale. Lauren Rutledge will be the instructor.
Baby goats will be in the room during the workout, and guests can expect the animals to play and even jump on and around them.
Admission costs $20 and does not food and drinks, but they will be available for purchase. Participants should bring their own yoga mats.
For more information, visit the Facebook event page or email

4. All ‘Fore’ Books Mini Golf Classic
Play some putt-putt and help a good cause on Sunday, March 24.
The Rotary Club of Wilkes-Barre is hosting its second All “Fore” Mini Golf Classic from noon to 4 p.m. at Osterhout Free library, 71 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre. Guests will be able to play 18 holes within the library. Putters and balls will be provided.
Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger per round. Proceeds benefit the library’s children’s programs.
Visit the Facebook event page or call 570-823-0156 for more information.

5. TobyMac
Popular Christian hip-hop artist TobyMac brings his “Hits Deep Tour” to Wilkes-Barre Twp., on Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m.
The concert at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., also will feature performances by Jeremy Camp, Jordan Feliz, Ryan Stevenson, We Are Messengers and Aaron Cole.
The 2018 “Hits Deep Tour” was the highest-grossing Christian tour of the year. TobyMac fans can expect to hear songs from his latest album, “The Elements.” Previously, his album “This Is Not a Test” was certified gold by the RIAA and earned him a Grammy award and a Billboard Music Award nomination.
Tickets start at $21.50 and are available at the box office, and 800-745-3000.

‘Office’ party Mark sitcom’s TV anniversary with celebrations in Scranton

‘Office’ party Mark sitcom’s TV anniversary with celebrations in Scranton

‘The Office” pulled Scranton into the national spotlight when it debuted 14 years ago this weekend, and two city hot spots plan to mark that anniversary with events taking inspiration from the hit show.
Center City Wine Cellar in the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton, will hold “That’s What She Said!” on Saturday, March 23, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The free event will offer “Office”-themed food, drinks and games. Kalie Black, wine cellar manager, said local vendors at the marketplace will tailor their products toward “The Office.”
“I get a lot of people that come through who are always asking me like where the sign (from ‘The Office’s’ opening credits) is in the mall, and I get a lot of people who love ‘The Office’ … especially with being in the (former) Steamtown Mall,” which the show featured on occasion, Black said. “People love that show so much.”
At 4 p.m., an “Office” trivia contest will begin. Teams of up to five people can compete to win prizes that include a Dundie trophy, a $25 Uber gift card, a bottle of wine, wine glasses, tickets to Cosmic Cinemas — Iron Horse Movie Bistro, and a Dunder Mifflin T-shirt and mug for first place. Second place will win a wine flight date night at the wine cellar, and third place will get coupons, wine glasses and a wine cellar gift certificate.
Individual registration costs $3 in advance and $5 at the door; advance registration ends at 3:30 p.m. that day.
“Depending on how many people sign up, we’re probably going to do the trivia in heats,” Black said.
Then, at 8 p.m., Stage West, 301 N. Main Ave., Scranton, will open its “Office” Pop-Up Party. Organizer Josh Balz has planned a night with “Office”-themed props, food and drinks, and guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite characters from the show. The 21-and-older party also will have a trivia contest that Balz expects to include a mix of easy and hard questions for a chance to win prizes.
“A lot of little things … are going to connect with the show,” Balz said of the activities.
Balz estimated he has watched the show in its entirety “probably 30-plus times,” including a year where he watched it every night before he went to bed.
“It’s just super simple,” he said. “It’s awesome. There’s so many shows that try so hard anymore. … It’s an easy connection show, which I really like.”
“The Office” debuted on NBC on March 24, 2005, and ran for nine seasons, signing off in 2013. Many of the show’s jokes will find their way to Stage West in some form or another, such as “Scott’s Tots” Tater Tots, Kevin’s Chili, a paper airplane competition, and a mannequin Balz plans to put on the roof with a bouncy house in the parking lot, echoing one memorable scene. Guests also will spot Pam’s reception desk, the Finer Things Club and boss Michael’s desk.
“Whenever I have anything to do with anything, I always go a little overboard,” Balz said with a laugh.
Balz hopes to one day open an “Office”-themed venue, but for now, he said, he’s just trying to fill Stage West “with a good time so people enjoy themselves.”


If you go
“That’s What She Said!”
When: Saturday, March 23, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; trivia, 4 p.m.
Where: Center City Wine Cellar, the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton
Details: Admission is free. Trivia costs $3 in advance by 3:30 p.m. and $5 at the door (five people per team maximum); to register, call 570-507-9243 or email

What: “Office” Pop-Up Party
When: Saturday, March 23, 8 p.m.
Where: Stage West, 301 N. Main Ave., Scranton
Details: Admission costs $10. Open to ages 21 and older. Call 570-343-7100 or visit

Just your luck

Just your luck

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with events and activities across region

The region’s St. Patrick’s parades have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean Northeast Pennsylvania has packed away its green just yet. With St. Patrick’s Day this Sunday, March 17, the area has plenty more ways to celebrate all things Irish this month.

Catch the Celtic Rebels Band on Friday, March 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. for a St. Patrick’s Celebration at Kildare’s, 119 Jefferson Ave., Scranton. ( or 570-344-4030)
Members of a Harrisburg pipe-and-drum band formed a band known for its high-energy Celtic sound, the Kilmaine Saints. It’ll play March 15 at 8 p.m. at Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe. Tickets cost $18. ( or 570-325-0249)
Kluster Phunk and Static in the Attic will perform at the Cooperage’s St. Patrick’s Day Party on Saturday, March 16. Doors open at 6 p.m. at 1030 Main St., Honesdale, with music following at 7. The show is open to all ages, and Wallenpaupack Brewing Co. will have beer for guests 21 or older to buy. Tickets cost $7 and are available at Players Row Music Supply, 221 Main Ave., Hawley; through members of the bands; and online at
klusterphunk. They also can be purchased at the door. (, 570-253-2020 or klusterphunk

Eats and drinks
Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar, 7011 Shoppes Blvd., Moosic, presents its Irish Whiskey Dinner on Thursday, March 14, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The meal costs $69, plus tax and gratuity, and includes multiple courses and whiskey pairings. Seating is limited, and reservations are required. ( or 570-342-3330)
Italian restaurant Armetta’s Pizzeria & Pub, 2092 Route 848, New Milford, turns Irish for the weekend when it serves Corned Beef and Cabbage, Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza, and Mint Grasshopper Martinis on March 15 and 16 from 4 to 10:30 p.m. (570-465-5492)
Kol Steakhouse at Hotel Anthracite, 25 S. Main St., Carbondale, offers Irish-style drinks and specials from March 15 through 17. The menu includes Colcannon Soup, Irish Lamb Stew, Corned Beef and Cabbage, and more. Tickets cost $39. ( or 570-536-6020)
Dine on an Irish-style dinner including Ruben Stew, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Shepherd’s Pie, Lamb Chops and Soda Bread plus drink specials at Boulder View Tavern, 123 Lake Harmony Road, Lake Harmony, from March 15 through 17. (boulderview or 570-722-9696)
Glass — Wine Bar Kitchen at Ledges Hotel, 119 Falls Ave., Hawley, serves Irish-style specials March 15 from 5 to 11 p.m. Kevin Campion will provide live music. Reservations are suggested. ( or 570-226-1337)
At Gravity Restaurant & Bar, 40 Gravity Planes Road, Waymart, $14.95 gets you all-you-can-eat Corned Beef, ham, Shepherd’s Pie, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, salad, bread and cake on March 16 from 4 to 9 p.m. ( or 570-488-6918)

Molly O’Shea’s at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp. will offer drink specials, Irish-themed mixed drinks and build-your-own whiskey flights at its St. Patrick’s Day Celebration running from March 15 through 17. Entertainment includes Mama’s Black Sheep on March 15 from 9 p.m. to midnight; Chasing Ashlee Duo, March 16, 9 p.m. to midnight; and a DJ and karaoke, March 17, 8 to 11 p.m. (mohegansun or 570-831-2100)
All three Cove Haven resorts — Cove Haven Resort, 194 Lakeview Drive, Jefferson Twp.; Pocono Palace Resort, 206 Fantasy Road, Middle Smithfield Twp.; and Paradise Stream, 6213 Carlton Road, Paradise Twp. — will offer drink specials and entertainment at the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration from March 15 through 17. And at Pocono Palace Resort, guests can enjoy Guinness and Irish whiskey tastings and a cooking class featuring traditional Irish dishes. ( or 877-500-2080)
At Wallenpaupack Brewing Co., 73 Welwood Ave., Hawley, the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on March 16 starting at noon features a “leprechaun” pouring the brewery’s St. Patrick’s Day Green Cream Ale, Black & Tan, and Nitro Red IPA. There also will be draft and food specials, and festively attired guests 21 and older can compete in the Lucky Charm Challenge at 4 p.m. for a chance to win a prize pack. Then, on March 17, the brewery will offer a St. Patrick’s Day brunch along with food and drink specials.
( or 570-390-7933)
The annual Society of Irish Women St. Patrick’s Day Dinner this year features Scranton author Barbara Taylor as the guest speaker March 16 at Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, 700 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton. For reservations, call Mamie Eckenrode at 570-498-8363. Tickets will not be available at the door.
Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub, 259 E. State St., Larksville, hosts its annual Pie-Eyed All Paddy’s Eve on Saturday, March 16, at 9 p.m. There is no cover for the event that includes music by the Pie-Eyed Preachers plus food and drinks.
greenirish or 570-714-3220)
Guests at the Jive, 113 Van Brunt St., Moscow, will find Celtic dishes such as Corned Beef along with music, drinks and prizes for the best costumes on March 16 and 17. (570-843-6673)
Wear green and find all-day specials plus dishes such as homemade Ham and Cabbage at Carey’s Pub, 147 Division St., Kingston, on March 17 starting at noon. Special events include music by the Malloy Brothers Bagpipes at 3 p.m., happy hour from 9 to 11 and karaoke at 9:30. The kitchen will stay open until 12:30 a.m. (570-718-1818)
Failte Irish Pub & Steak House, 1492 Route 739, Delaware Twp., marks the holiday with Irish food, drinks and music by the Tara Minstrels on March 17 from 5 to 9 p.m. ( or 570-828-6505)
Enjoy live music by the Blarney Boys while you dine on Irish-style specials at the Settlers Inn, 4 Main Ave., Hawley, on March 17 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. (the or 570-226-2993)

For all ages
Indoor cycling studio Back Mountain Revolution, 106 S. Lehigh St., Shavertown, hosts the “St. Patrick’s Day Ryde” on March 15 at 5:45 p.m. The ride will include Irish music, and the studio recommends wearing green and reserving a bike in advance. Beginners are welcome. (backmountain or 570-760-4554)
On March 16, Leprechaun Lore features storyteller Hal Pratt sharing such details as how to catch a leprechaun. The free, all-ages program starts at 11 a.m. at the Dietrich Theater, 60 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock. (dietrich or 570-996-1500)
For the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, the hockey team will wear special shamrock-themed jerseys at its March 16 game against the Providence Bruins, which it then will auction off that night. Live Irish entertainment will be on hand, too. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre Twp. ( or 800-745-3000)
The free St. Patrick’s Day Family Party on March 16 runs from 10 a.m. to noon at Waverly Community House, 1115 North Abington Road, and includes crafts, games and raffles. ( or 570-586-8191)
On March 17 starting at 9 a.m., bowlers at Chacko’s Family Bowling Center, 195 N. Wilkes Barre Blvd., Wilkes-Barre, can pick a prize from a “pot of gold” when they’re done. ( or 570-208-2695)
Contact the writer:; 570-348-9100 x5107;
@cheaneywest on Twitter

Fab 5 – March 14, 2019

Fab 5 – March 14, 2019

1. Steamtown String Fling
Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., will hold its second String Fling on Friday, March 15, at 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom.
This year’s lineup features bluegrass and folk Americana players Dave Brown and the Dishonest Fiddlers along with Serene Green, Sara Hulse, Peck and Penn, Nick & Braids and Alan K. Stout.
Tickets cost $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show. For tickets or more information, visit the box office or or call 570-344-1111

2. Women’s History Month program
Head to Steamtown National Historic Site, 350 Cliff St., Scranton, for a Women’s History Month program on Friday, March 15, and Saturday, March 16.
The free, family-friendly indoor event starts at noon and 2 p.m. and features “Rosie the Railroader” and friends as they highlight women’s roles on the railroads during World War II and today.
Guests should meet for the program at Steamtown’s theater desk a few minutes prior to its start.
For more information, call 570-340-5200 or visit or the Facebook event page.

In this film image released by Universal Pictures, animated characters Lorax, voiced by Danny Devito, left, and Once-ler, voiced by Ed Helms, are shown in a scene from “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.” (AP Photo/Universal Pictures)

3. Dr. Seuss’s Birthday Bash
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday at Lackawanna County Children’s Library, 520 Vine St., Scranton.
Children of all ages can check out crafts along with musical performances by the Creative and Performing Arts Academy of NEPA during the Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash on Saturday, March 16, at 2 p.m.
Registration is required. To register, call 570-348-3000, ext. 3015. For more information, visit

4. Army Jazz Ambassadors
The 19-member Army Jazz Ambassadors will swing into Northeast Pennsylvania for a performance Friday, March 15, at 7 p.m.
The free concert will take place at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre.
The Ambassadors, aka “America’s Big Band,” formed in 1969 and perform a range of musical styles, including big band standards, patriotic favorites and contemporary jazz. The group has played in all 50 states and a number of different countries.
For more information, visit or call the box office number at 570-826-1100.

JASON FARMER / TIMES-SHAMROCK More than 120 players from across the region participated in the NEPA Cornhole Tournament at PNC Field in Moosic on Saturday.

5. March Bagness Cornhole Tournament
Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp., hosts the March Bagness Cornhole Tournament in its Keystone Grand Ballroom on Saturday, March 16.
Registration starts at 11 a.m., and the tournament follows at 1 p.m. Registration for teams costs $60 in advance and $80 for walk-ins. Participants must be 21 or older.
Teams will compete in the double-elimination tournament for $5,000 in guaranteed payouts. The tournament will have three divisions — advanced, competitive and social — and is open to all skill levels.
For more information and tickets to enter, visit

Fab 5 – March 7, 2019

Fab 5 – March 7, 2019

1. ‘Mona Lisa and the Cross’
Catch the latest drama from local playwright K.K. Gordon on the Diva Theater stage this weekend.
“Mona Lisa and the Cross” will take place Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 10, at 2 p.m. at the theater, 126 W. Market St., Scranton. Guests can enter the second-floor theater from the rear parking lot.
The love story features adult material and strong language and is directed by Joe Rettura.
For reservations, call 570-209-7766. Visit the Facebook event page for more information.

the Band, Saving Abel

2. Saving Abel and Tantric
Rockers Saving Abel and Tantric come to the Electric City for a night of music alongside several local acts.
The bands will perform Thursday, March 7, at Stage West, 301 N. Main Ave., Scranton. The 21-and-older show begins at 8 p.m.
Southern rock group Saving Abel is known for such hits as “Addicted,” “Stupid Girl” and “Drowning” and has toured with such groups as Buckcherry, Avenged Sevenfold and Nickelback. Tantric, meanwhile, saw its self-titled album achieve gold status in 2001 and released its seventh studio album, “Mercury Retrograde,” in October.
Also performing at Stage West that night will be Northeast Pennsylvania bands Behind the Grey, Graces Downfall and the Holtzmann Effect.
Tickets cost $22 in advance and $25 the day of the show. For more information or tickets, call 570-343-7100 or visit the Facebook event page.

3. Joe Bonamassa
Guitarist and blues-rock musician Joe Bonamassa will perform Monday, March 11, at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8.
The show comes just five months after the release of Bonamassa’s latest studio album, “Redemption.” The two-time Grammy nominee has had 20 albums reach No. 1 on Billboard’s blues chart, on the back of such songs as “Mountain Time,” “The Ballad of John Henry” and “Sloe Gin.” His backing band includes well-known musicians such as drummer Anton Fig, bassist Michael Rhodes and pianist/organist Reese Wynans plus background singers and horns.
Tickets cost $89, $99, $129, $149 and $199, plus fees. For tickets, visit the box office or or call 570-826-1100.

4. Justin Willman: Magic in Real Life
Catch Justin Willman at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp., this weekend.
The St. Louis-born magician/comedian will perform Friday, March 8, at 8 p.m. in the Keystone Grand Ballroom. Tickets start at $25.
Audiences might recognize him from the Netflix series “Magic for Humans with Justin Willman,” which featured his street magic and social experiments, or from his appearances on shows including “The Tonight Show” and “Ellen.” Additionally, he has worked as a television writer and performed for the Obamas at the White House and in the 2015 Comedy Central special “Sleight of Mouth.”
Willman recently announced his residency, dubbed “The Magic Show,” at Los Angeles’ historic Roosevelt Hotel.
For tickets, visit the box office or or call 800-745-3000.

R&B singer Brian McKnight, shown in this June 26, 2007 file photo, joins the Broadway cast of “Chicago” Oct. 8. (AP File Photo/Matt Sayles)

5. Brian McKnight
Singer Brian McKnight brings his chart-topping music to Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts, 194 Lakeview Drive, Lakeville, on Sunday, March 10.
McKnight has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide and earned 16 Grammy Award nominations during his more than 25-year career. He has had numerous songs chart on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Back at One,” which peaked at No. 2 in 1999. His most recent album, “Genesis,” bowed in 2017 and included the single “Forever,” which landed in the top 25 on Billboard’s adult R&B chart.
Sunday’s show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $65; admission is included for resort guests. For tickets, visit

Barrier breaker WWE Superstar Mandy Rose brings ‘SmackDown Live’ to arena

Barrier breaker WWE Superstar Mandy Rose brings ‘SmackDown Live’ to arena

It’s an exciting time to be Mandy Rose.
And according to the World Wrestling Entertainment Superstar, it’s an exciting time to be a woman in sports entertainment in general.
“Every place women are just taking over. It’s only up from here,” Rose said during a recent phone interview. “Women keep achieving new milestones and breaking down barriers.”
Fans can see Rose and other Superstars on “SmackDown Live!” on Tuesday, March 5, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp. Tickets start at $20 and are available at and the arena box office and by calling 800-745-3000. There is a $10 fee to park in the arena’s lot.
Rose, aka Amanda Saccomanno outside the ring, entered WWE universe in 2015 through the reality TV show “Tough Enough.” She placed second and was signed to the company’s developmental property that same year. In 2017, Rose debuted on the main roster alongside Superstar Paige with fellow “Tough Enough” alum Sonya Deville.

While Rose didn’t dream of being a pro wrestler since childhood like some, she decided to take a leap of faith into the industry. After earning a degree in speech-language pathology, Rose started to participate in fitness competitions, which “opened up so many opportunities” and helped her find herself. It wasn’t long after that she auditioned for “Tough Enough” and decided to pursue a new path.
“It was something I was doing for myself,” she said. “Seeing the progress in myself and working hard to attain that goal was something I really loved.”
Rose’s advice to young women looking to make it in the sports entertainment world or in any capacity reflects her own journey.
“Always chase your dreams and don’t doubt them,” she said. “Follow your heart. You never know where it might take you.”
The chance she took years ago put her on biggest stage of her life. Her time on the main roster has included several firsts — for her and the other women of WWE. Rose participated in the first women’s Royal Rumble match last January and the first all-women’s pay-per-view, “Evolution,” in October.
“The crowd was just electric,” she said. “Being there in that moment was an unforgettable experience.”

Last week, Rose and Deville competed in an Elimination Chamber match to claim the Women’s Tag Team Championships, where they made it to the final two. Days later, Rose defeated SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka.
While she’s on the road to the largest event of the year, “WrestleMania,” which takes place in April, Rose still stops to take it all in along the way.
“We are having so much fun,” Rose said. “It’s amazing. It’s an exciting time.”

Hazleton native heads to ‘Edge of Extinction’

Hazleton native heads to ‘Edge of Extinction’


Julia Carter had just one month to prepare to be a contestant on CBS’s “Survivor,” which filmed last year in the Mamanuca Islands of Fiji.
“With only a month, I knew I wouldn’t get into stellar shape so I thought about the best ways to use my time,” said Carter, a 2011 graduate of Hazleton Area High School.
Carter wasn’t allowed to discuss the show’s outcome, but she recalled how she went into the season not knowing anything about it or who she would be playing with. She found out right away that she would be playing a very different game.
“As soon as we got there, (host) Jeff Probst lets us know that it was Survivor Season 38 ‘Edge of Extinction,’” Carter recalled. “‘Edge of Extinction?’ I thought, ‘What the heck does that mean? Who’s becoming extinct? What does that mean?’ He didn’t explain it.”
The daughter of Catherine Carter and stepdaughter of Douglas Keen, Wilkes-Barre, Carter now works as a medical assistant in Bethesda, Maryland. To prepare for the show, which debuted last Wednesday on CBS, she studied episodes from the previous 37 seasons. She took notes and tried to determine which strategies worked best, and which contestant’s personality was most like her own.
Like in previous seasons of “Survivor,” 18 contestants are taken to a remote location where they must provide food, water, fire and shelter for themselves. They also compete in challenges for rewards and for immunity from elimination. Contestants then are voted out by their fellow castmates until only one remains.

ROBERT VOETS / CBS Julia Carter competes on “Survivor: Edge of Extinction” when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 38th season at 8 p.m. Wednesday on CBS.

But in this installment of the show, a person isn’t eliminated for good. The ousted player receives two options: he or she can quit or get on a boat and continue the game.
The show features newbies such as Carter along with four contestants from past seasons. A longtime fan of the show, Carter recognized the repeat players.
Carter initially applied to the show about three years ago, recording a two-minute video to talk about her life and why she wanted to play.
“And then I submitted it off into the universe,” she said.
She didn’t hear anything, so a year later, she attended a “Survivor” casting call in Wilkes-Barre.
“I thought I might as well go to double my chances,” she said.
In April 2018, she received a call from CBS. At first, she “thought it was a joke” and fired off questions to the caller.
“I had to make sure it was legit,” Carter said with a laugh.
Sure enough, she shipped out to the South Pacific in May.
“Fiji is beautiful. It’s very tropical,” Carter said. “Overall, it had a moderate climate and a typical kind of island vibe. It was very hot, but it wasn’t the rainy season there, so it wasn’t too bad as far as any storms.”
The experience, however, came with a transition.

“Although you’re on a beautiful island, you have to realize that you’re actually in the game,” she said. “You have limited resources, limited food, and you’re really exposed to the elements.”
And, Carter said, you’re surrounded by strangers.
“You’re not sure if you can trust them,” she said.
Carter joked that she plans to watch the show “more times than you can imagine.” It airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
“I am going from being a fan to a player to a fan again,” she said.

Contact the writer:; 570-501-3592