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Arts Around Town: Broadway’s Donna McKechnie in one-woman cabaret show at Centenary

By Susan Kalan, WFMZ.com Arts Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 14 2013 10:43:43 AM CDT
Donna McKechnie #1

Some may remember Donna McKechnie as one of the original "Hullabaloo" dancers on TV’s 60s musical variety show of the same name. Others may recall the Tony Award-winning dancer as Cassie in Broadway's original cast of "A Chorus Line" in the mid-70s. Many had the opportunity to greet McKechnie last October when she attended the opening night of Civic Theatre of Allentown’s "Gypsy," in support of her publicist, Wayne Gmitter of Bethlehem, who was Herbie Sommers in the show.

Donna McKechnie #2 McKechnie comes close to the Lehigh Valley on Saturday when she performs her one-woman cabaret show, "My Musical Comedy Life," at 8 p.m., at the Sitnik Theater of the Lackland Center at Centenary College in Hackettstown, N.J. The Centenary Stage Company is presenting her show, an autobiographical musical celebration of song, dance, and storytelling. McKechnie’s life story wouldn’t be complete without having music by some of Broadway’s most celebrated composers, including Stephen Sondheim, Marvin Hamlisch, Cy Coleman, and Rodgers and Hammerstein, as well as the more contemporary composers such as Ann Hampton Callaway.

One of Broadway's foremost dancing and singing leading ladies, McKechnie will talk and sing about her life and career which began when choreographer Bob Fosse put her in the chorus of the 1960 production of "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying." In between were several legendary collaborations with director/choreographer Michael Bennett, which included "A Chorus Line," where she played Cassie ("The Music and the Mirror"), an aging dancer desperate for a comeback.

For further info: centenarystageco.org

 

ARTS ROUNDUP

There'll be plenty of Irish pride in the Lehigh Valley this weekend with some grand parades. The 3rd annual "Celtic Classic Parade of Shamrocks" kicks off Saturday at 1 p.m., in historic downtown Bethlehem, with bagpipes, Irish dancers, U.S. military, community groups, and local middle and high school bands. The march begins at 13th Avenue and Broad Street.

Wake up Sunday for more green fun with a 56-year tradition -- the 2013 Allentown St. Patrick’s Day parade kicking off at 1:30 p.m., beginning at the Allentown Fairgrounds at 17th and Chew streets. King and queen are Patrick and Maureen "O'Grady" White.

For further info: celticfest.org              allentownstpatricksdayparade.com

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Local Celtic and folk band, Burning Bridget Cleary, is preparing to embark on an Ireland and Northern Ireland musical tour in June, but not before celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with an appearance on Sunday at 8 p.m., at Upstairs Live@World Café Live in Philadelphia. The group includes father-and-daughter Lou Baldino (guitar) and Rose Baldino (fiddle and vocals), Deidre Lockman (fiddle and vocals), and Peter Trezzi (djembe drum).

For further info: burningbridgetcleary.com

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Celtic rockers, the Glengarry Bhoys, perform tonight at 7:30, at Civic Theatre of Allentown. From Ontario, Canada, these Celtic stompers are Graham Wright (guitar), Ziggy Leroux (percussion), D'Arcy Furniss (fiddle), Stephen McIntosh (pipes, whistle, mandolin), and Adam Lalonde (drums). All band members lend vocals. The performance is in conjunction with West End Alliance’s observance of St. Patrick's Day. The Alliance St. Patrick's Day parade will be held Sunday at 1:30 p.m., and will pass along 19th Street, where the theater is located.

For further info: civictheatre.com

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Violinist Ji Won Song, 2012 winner of the Schadt String Competition, will perform Tchaikovsky’s "Violin Concerto" with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in a concert titled "New World" on Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m., at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown. The program will celebrate the old world, new world, and St. Patrick’s Day with Herbert’s "Irish Rhapsody," honoring the songs and dances of the composer’s homeland, and Dvorak’s "New World" Symphony, inspired by his travels in America.

For further info: allentownsymphony.org

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It’s a weekend of dance on the main stage at DeSales University, beginning with a Dance Ensemble Concert on Friday at 8 p.m. The program, which runs through Sunday, features the work of renowned guest choreographers and DeSales dance faculty. From ballet and tap to modern dance, the concert offers work that blends the old and new through the creation of new dances presented alongside re-stagings of historically significant masterworks. An alumni dance concert will be held Saturday at 3 p.m.

For further info: desales.edu/act1

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Portraits by painter Samuel Moon (1805-1860) of members of Easton’s prominent families will be exhibited beginning Saturday at the Sigal Museum in Easton. The largest-known collection of Moon’s portraits are now part of Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society collections.

The exhibit at Sigal will feature Moon’s portraits of adults and children, with information about the subject and sometimes telling of the short and tragic ending to his or her life. According to the museum, Moon moved to Easton in 1830, married and had eight children with his wife, Matilda. In addition to painting the wealthy of Easton, Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester counties, Moon also painted religious scenes, landscapes, and copies of Old Masters.

For further info: sigalmuseum.org

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It's billed as "the 7 fingers of the hand." It’s Montreal's "Les 7 Doigts De La Main – PSY," coming to the Zoellner Arts Center in Bethlehem on Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. "PSY" is described as a mind-blowing circus that delves into the surreal underworld of the human psyche with a humorous odyssey through a shifting landscape of comical visions, fading dreams and fractured memories. It’s enough to get you PSYCHED!

For further info: zoellnerartscenter.org

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Nature's art in the sky comes to the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum in Allentown with the 3rd annual "Eaglefest" on Saturday at 11 a.m., in celebration of the American bald eagle and the importance of nature in our lives. The public is encouraged to share their photographs and personal stories of close encounters with bald eagles, which will be used for an exhibit. At noon, Bill Streeter, master falconer and director of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center of Milford, Pa. will introduce live birds of prey, including the American bald eagle. Streeter has 30 years of experience as a raptor rehabilitator, falconer and educator.

Staff members of Hawk Mountain in Kempton, Berks Co., will be on hand to provide information and statistics on eagles and other birds of prey in the Lehigh Valley.

For further info: lehighvalleyheritgemuseum.org

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