January 1, 2020

By Stuart Mitchner

Only connect…
— E.M. Forster (1879-1970)

In the “only connect” spirit of my approach to these weekly columns, this being the first day of an election year when the stakes are historically high, I’m launching my retrospective sampling of the 2010s with a September 21, 2011, piece on Ginger Rogers (“Pick Yourself Up for a White House Screening”) headed with a quote from then-President Obama’s Inaugural Address: “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

Given the liberties already taken (did I mention that the same column has Ginger Rogers quoting Dickens?), the stage is set for a 21st-century update of the familiar Depression era scenario wherein someone in distress walks into a movie theater looking for a respite from reality and walks out an hour and a half later ready to face the challenges and fight the good fight:

“In 1936, the year Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were dancing across the screens of the nation in Swing Time, the unemployment rate was 16.9 percent. In 2011, when the country is once again struggling economically, the rate’s 9.1, and if anyone is in need of a respite, it’s our beleaguered president. So let’s imagine that after exhausting himself trying to get us out of the hole we’re in, the commander in chief sets about lifting his own morale with a White House showing of Swing Time. At first, he’s yawning, having been awake half the night trying to devise a way to dance his jobs bill around a ‘loyal opposition’ as ruthless as the crippled banker Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life. He’s still yawning even as Fred Astaire does pratfalls pretending to be a hapless neophyte dancer goofing a lesson from the pretty dancing teacher played by Ginger. But as soon as she starts singing, the prez comes to attention. She’s telling him to pick himself up, dust himself off, and start all over again. It’s his Inauguration Day pep talk, same words, same idea. How cool is that! All this time he’d thought the line had come to him out of nowhere, and here’s plucky Ginger delivering the same message back when FDR was dealing with the same issues.” more

CRUCIAL VERDICT: Nicholas Pecht (Juror No. 7), Bill Kamps (Juror No. 8), and William Walters (Juror No. 9) in the upcoming production of “12 Angry Men,” January 17-26 at Kelsey Theatre.

The life of a young man hangs in the balance and rests in the hands of 12 jurors in a seemingly open-and-shut case. But, can they set aside personal prejudices and preconceptions in the name of justice? That is the question for 12 Angry Men, presented by Forté Dramatic Productions January 17-26 at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) Kelsey Theatre.

Dates and show times are Friday, January 17 and 24 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, January 18 and 25 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, January 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on MCCC’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. The community is invited to an opening night reception with the cast and crew following the January 17 performance. more

“MAGICAL COPSE”: This polymer clay work by Emily Squires Levine is featured in “Embracing Color/Polymer Clay,” her solo exhibit on view at the Hunterdon Art Museum January 12 through March 1. An opening reception with an artist talk is January 12, 2 to 4 p.m. (Photo by John Carlano)

Artist Emily Squires Levine says that small colorful boxes and bowls have attracted her for as long as she can remember.

One of her first memories is of a colorfully embroidered fabric oval box, a gift from an aunt who traveled to the shores of the Algarve in Portugal. She has kept this memento her entire life. Other recollections include a mother-of-pearl box and a small bowl from Turkey which held tiny seashells.

This lifelong love for colorful vessels has deeply influenced her art. Levine works with polymer clay, creating bowls, vases, and other items that entice the eye with their vibrant colors and diverse patterns. more

“ENDLESS JUNKMAIL SCROLL”: This piece by Vernita Nemec is part of “Doom and Bloom,” on view at the West Windsor Arts Center January 6 through February 28. The exhibition features the work of 25 artists using recycled and reused materials. An opening reception with the artists is Sunday, January 12 from 4 to 6 p.m.

The West Windsor Arts Council presents “Doom and Bloom” — an art show calling attention to the crisis of trash on earth and how artists can have a positive impact on the environment. This exhibition, featuring the work of 25 artists using recycled and reused materials, will be on view January 6 through February 28 at the West Windsor Arts Center.

The juror was Vernita Nemec, artist and director of the Viridian Artists art gallery in Chelsea, New York City. An opening reception with the juror and artists will be held Sunday, January 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. Artists will be at the opening to discuss their work.

Artwork featured in the show transforms common discarded materials into inspiring works of art. It was a requirement of the prospectus that at least 80 percent of the materials in each work would otherwise be trash, if not saved from the landfill in this manner. more

“IF THESE QUILTS COULD TALK”: The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion in Cadwalader Park will host a juried exhibition of quilts by the Friendly Quilters of Bucks County and the Sankofa Stitchers January 19 through April 19. An opening reception is Sunday, January 19 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion has announced a juried exhibition of quilts by the Friendly Quilters of Bucks County and the Sankofa Stitchers. Featuring nearly 30 quilts across a range of sizes, styles, and color schemes, the exhibition’s display of artistry, creativity, and story-telling will fill Ellarslie’s first floor galleries from January 19 to April 19.

There will be an opening reception on Sunday, January 19, from 2 to 4 p.m., as well as a closing reception and Quilters Walk and Talk on Sunday, April 19, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Friendly Quilters and Sankofa Stitchers work to keep the traditions of quilt making alive by creating works of art that tell stories and strengthen historical and community bonds. The members of both groups are experienced quilters and have quilted individually and together for many years, bringing a wide range of styles to this exhibition. more

December 25, 2019

By Stuart Mitchner

“I can’t stop thinking of all the things that I should’ve said that
I never said ….”

I could quote that line from Kate Bush’s song, “This Woman’s Work,” at the top of every column, with a small but necessary change in the title. Until I checked online just now I didn’t know Kate had written it expressly for the climactic moment of the 1988 film She’s Having a Baby, where the woman in question is played by Elizabeth McGovern, known now to millions of Downton Abbey fans as Lady Crawley.

It’s typical of the pleasures and challenges of what I do every week that a Kate Bush song from the late 1980s leads to Downton Abbey. Given the freedom of a weekly writing assignment chosen by no one but yourself, you’re going to be tempted, intrigued, and distracted by more options than you have time or space for; thus the notion of having more to say than you have room for, given the realities of a more or less 1800-word limit and a Tuesday afternoon deadline. Last week at the hour of decision, there was nothing to do but to take a short cut and rethink the format as an open letter to the reader, saying, in effect, “time to go now, see you next week.” more

BRITISH COMEDY: The cast members of “Calendar Girls,” which runs from January 3-12 at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre, are ready to take the stage.

The Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) and the Pennington Players kick off the New Year with the risqué British comedy Calendar Girls, a true story based on the lives of 11 Women’s Institute ladies who pose nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukemia Research Fund.

Calendar Girls first opened at England’s Chichester Festival Theatre and later embarked on a national tour. Since that time, it has become the fastest-selling play in British theatre history. more

“EMILY’S NIGHTMARE”: This work by Kimberly Pulli is featured in “Explorations in Felt,” on view at the Hunterdon Art Museum January 12 through April 19. The exhibit features diverse pieces created by 25 artists from around the world. A reception is January 12 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Discover some of the most innovative and beautiful works created with felt in a new exhibition at the Hunterdon Art Museum (HAM).

“Explorations in Felt” features 29 diverse works created by 25 artists from around the world. HAM will celebrate the opening with a reception on January 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. featuring gallery talks by several artists and refreshments. The exhibition runs until April 19. more

“PLUMMED MUMMER”: This photograph by Dan Aubrey is part of “Mummers X 2” on view at the Trenton Free Library January 11 through February 28. A reception with Aubrey and Bryan Grigsby, whose photos are also featured in the exhibit, is January 18, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

The Trenton Artists Workshop Association (TAWA) will present the photography exhibition “Mummers X 2” at the Trenton Free Public Library January 11 through February 28.

A reception with the photographers is Saturday, January 18, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

“Mummers X 2” features 29 photographs of one of the oldest folk art events in the United States, the annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia.

Held on New Year’s Day, the Mummers Parade is rooted in ancient European customs and traditions that included exaggerated mime presentations.

The two in the exhibit title are two Central New Jersey journalists united by their interest in observing and photographing the Mummers: Bryan Grigsby and Dan Aubrey. more

“BROOKLYN”: This painting by Jennifer Levine is part of “Inside Out…When Worlds Collide,” on view January 4 through February 22 at the Arts Council of Princeton. The exhibit also features works by Jon Sarkin and Kennith Lewis Sr. A live painting event with the artists is Saturday, January 4, from 2-3 p.m., followed by an opening reception from 3 to 5 p.m.

The Arts Council of Princeton presents “Inside Out…When Worlds Collide,” an exhibition of works by three individuals who became artists by chance. The exhibit will be on display in the Arts Council’s Taplin Gallery January 4 through February 22.

Live painting with the artists is Saturday, January 4, from 2-3 p.m., followed by an opening reception from 3 to 5 p.m. more

December 18, 2019

By Stuart Mitchner

Stopped in at the Gallery of the Adelphi Theatre, Strand — horribly hot & crowded — good piece though — in bed by ten o’clock.” That’s from the journal Herman Melville kept in November 1849, the year before he embarked on Moby Dick (1851).

“At the end of the first act we went out with all the other jerks for a cigarette. What a deal that was. You never saw so many phonies in your life.” In case you really want to know, that’s from J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher on the Rye (1951), the chapter where Holden Caulfield takes Sally to the theatre.

I’m quoting from Melville and Salinger because this may be my last chance in 2019 to observe their respective bicentennial and  centennial years, but mainly because I’ve been thinking about why I chose to watch Martin Scorsese’s three-and-a-half-hour-long epic The Irishman at home on Netflix rather than seeing it with my wife at Princeton’s Garden Theatre, where Ethan Hawke has been known to show up onscreen to remind patrons to turn off their phones and refrain from talking. The fact that movie houses everywhere need to screen these reminders indicates why some people prefer to watch at home rather than deal with various potential distractions and irritants of sharing the experience with less than thoughtful fellow moviegoers. You never know when someone behind you has a cough that won’t stop or a laugh that breaks the sound barrier.

Then there’s always the possibility that some proud parents will bring their four-year-old along rather than trust the precious creature to a babysitter. I speak from experience, not as the parent but as the creature who allegedly yelled “Don’t go up there again, you silly man!” when Joe E. Brown kept climbing a ladder to court a fair maiden (possibly Martha Raye) who kept dropping flower pots on his head. Joe E. Brown is best known today as Osgood Fielding III, the smitten suitor in Some Like It Hot who unhesitatingly says “Nobody’s perfect!” to Jack Lemmon’s Daphne when Jack rips off his wig and shouts “I’m a man!” The communal roar of laughter greeting that iconic closing line is a reminder of the pleasure of sharing sheer unmitigated amusement with a theatre full of people who at that moment are on the same wavelength whatever their political party or social status. The sound of uninhibited response to a public performance echoes through the ages from Shakespeare’s Globe to New York movie audiences delighting in the Beatles A Hard Day’s Night in the summer of 1964 when I was in the habit of taking Beatle-resistant friends to the show for the fun of watching their euphoric responses. more

By Nancy Plum

Often in classical music, convention has determined how works are performed, and artists have been reluctant to change a time-honored way in which a piece is presented. Handel’s Messiah must end with a loud “Amen,” Brahms’ Requiem should be sung by a large chorus, and endless discussions continue on how to perform Bach.  Such is the case with Franz Schubert’s 1827 song cycle Winterreise, historically performed by a male voice. 

The winds of change on this piece began blowing almost thirty years ago, and a New York Times editorial asked, “Can a Woman Do a Man’s Job in Schubert’s Winterreise?”  In recent years, more female singers have been tackling this emotional and challenging cycle. Musical custom has dictated that a male singer present this work, but the song cycle’s themes of lost love and the imminent approach of death are universal and speak to everyone, regardless of gender. Asking the question “what happens to the winter’s journey, when we feel it through the heart of the one who was the impetus of such agony and despair,” world-renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato brought her unique interpretation of Schubert’s 24-song cycle to Princeton last Wednesday night in a performance presented by Princeton University Concerts “Icons of Song” series in Richardson Auditorium.  more

“A CHRISTMAS CAROL”: Performances are underway for “A Christmas Carol.” Directed by Adam Immerwahr, the play runs through December 29 at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. Tiny Tim (Aria Song, left) receives a special gift from Scrooge (Greg Wood). (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

To fully experience McCarter’s annual production of A Christmas Carol, audiences should arrive at least 15 minutes before curtain time. Dressed in Linda Cho’s opulent costumes, which evoke Dickensian London, members of the community ensemble circulate the lobbies, ready to serenade anyone who will join them in a rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” The caroling provides a seamless segue into the start of the show, as the performers exuberantly lead the audience in singing “In Dulci Jubilo.”

McCarter’s diverse and talented cast combines professional actors with nonprofessional performers who comprise a community ensemble (for ages 14 and older), and a young ensemble.

Old Marley’s ghost warns Scrooge, “It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk … among his fellow men.” Director Adam Immerwahr’s staging lets the cast do this literally, as audience members periodically find characters standing next to them.

A banner bearing the inscription “London, 1843” is placed in front of the curtain. Scrooge climbs on stage and irritably tells the onstage carolers — and us — to stop singing. Then he disdainfully removes the banner. more

WORLD PREMIERE: Clarinetist Kinan Azmeh is soloist in a new work by Saad Haddad, on the Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s programs January 18 and 19. (Photo by Martina Novak)

On Saturday, January 18 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 19 at 4 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) performs Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s popular work Scheherazade, Op. 35 on a program with the world premiere of composer Saad Haddad’s Clarinet Concerto.

A commission of the PSO and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University, the concerto features Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh. Jacques Ibert’s Escales (Ports of Call) completes the program to be conducted by Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov.

Rimsky-Korsakov was influenced by explorer Richard Francis Burton’s 1885 translation of One Thousand and One Nights (the Arabian Nights) enough to craft a symphonic suite centered on its heroine. Ibert’s Escales recounts the sights and sounds of a Mediterranean coastal excursion, and composer Saad Haddad draws upon his Middle Eastern ancestry to create a work conveying a universal spirit of cooperation among fellow human beings. His new concerto is dedicated to the memory of his grandfather, who led Haddad’s mother and her extended family away from war-torn Lebanon to the United States. more

Angela Zator Nelson, associate principal timpanist for the Philadelphia Orchestra, will perform with the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey (YOCJ) on Sunday, January 19, 7 p.m., at Kendall Hall on the campus of The College of New Jersey in Ewing.

Nelson joins YOCJ’s Symphonic Orchestra to perform a work by 2010 Pulitzer Prize and Grammy winner, Jennifer Higdon. The performance of Higdon’s Percussion Concerto is the featured event of the annual YOCJ winter concerts. It will also include classical and modern music performed by YOCJ’s most advanced groups, the Saxophone Choir and the Symphonic Orchestra. An earlier concert at 3 p.m. will include the String Preparatory Orchestra, Pro Arte Orchestra, and Wind Symphony.

Nelson rehearsed extensively with the Symphonic Orchestra, working with students individually and helping many grow as musicians. According to YOCJ’s percussion director, Chris Colaneri, “It was a pleasure to have Angela Zator-Nelson work with the YOCJ Orchestra. She was an inspiration to the percussion section and energized us to reach our full potential.” more

“GREEN BEE EATER”: This acrylic painting by Siri Ranaweera is featured in an exhibition of his works on view at the Plainsboro Library Gallery January 7-29. A reception is Sunday, January 12 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Plainsboro Library Gallery will present acrylic paintings by Siri Ranaweera this January. The exhibit runs January 7–29, with an art reception on Sunday, January 12, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Ranging from realistic to abstract, the exhibit’s themes revolve around landscape and animals in motion. Ranaweera works with both brush and palette knife, paying particular attention to color and the subtle variations in light on his subject. more

“MINUETTO”: This painting by Linda Gilbert is part of the 11th annual “Open Call” exhibit, on view at the Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury January 5 through February 28. The theme of the exhibit, which features the works of many artists, is “People and Flowers.” An opening reception is January 5, 1 to 3 p.m.

“People and Flowers” is the theme of the 11th annual “Open Call” exhibit at Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury. The exhibit will be on view January 5 through February 28, and feature works in several different mediums — including paintings, drawings, and photography — in a variety of styles and sizes, created by many different artists.

An opening reception with many of the artists will be held on Sunday January 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. more

“AUTUMN WOODS”: Mixed media works by Connie Cruser will be on view at the Hamilton Free Public Library January 2 through March 31. Cruser is known for her paper quilled mosaics, but the exhibit will also feature pieces in other media.

The Hamilton Free Public Library will feature the artwork of Connie Cruser. on exhibit January 2 through March 31.

Cruser is a self-taught artist who began her artistic journey in 2015. Since then, she has gained recognition with several awards. Additionally, earlier this year, her work was included in the Mercer County Artists 2019 show. She is known for her signature paper quilled mosaics, but the exhibit also features work that shows her creativity in other media.

The Hamilton Free Public Library is located at 1 Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. Way, Hamilton.  Library hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, https://hamiltonnjpl.org.

December 11, 2019

By Stuart Mitchner

Making room for Monday’s New York Times in the chaos of my work space are Berlioz the Bear, a slender storybook for children written and illustrated by Jan Brett, alongside a copy of The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz, who was born on December 11, in 1803 and died on March 8, 1869, making this his sesquicentenary year.

Late the night before, I’d left the Memoirs open to a paragraph in which the famously tempestuous French composer is expounding on a caricature of himself as “a colossal nightingale, a lark the size of an eagle.” Thus the presence of the Times on my desk, folded open to a photograph of Sesame Street’s Big Bird reading a storybook resembling Berlioz the Bear to a couple of kids. While it’s unfortunate that the cheery image accompanies an obituary for the “whole-body puppeteer” Caroll Spinney, it’s not often lately that page one of the Times has roused something sunnier than a grimace or a groan.

Besides the fun of imagining Berlioz embodied in a double-bass-playing bear who would be at home on Sesame Street, the coincidence encourages a closer look at the passage where even as he seems to be taking issue with Heinrich Heine’s hyperbolic portrayal of his music, Berlioz obviously enjoys repeating the poet’s vision of its “fabulous empires of preternatural depravity, and many a cloud-capped impossible wonder,” and the way “its magical strains conjure up Babylon, the hanging gardens of Semiramis,” and “the marvels of Nineveh.”

But what actually bothers Berlioz is Heine’s claim that his music has “little melody” and “no real simplicity whatever.” After receiving a profoundy apologetic letter from the poet praising his oratorio L’Enfance du Christ as “a masterpiece of simplicity” with “the most exquisite blooms of melody,” Berlioz scolds Heine for behaving “like a critic” and making “a categorical statement about an artist when you only know part of his work.”  more

By Nancy Plum

In a concert taking place as University students are preparing for Christmas vacation, the Princeton University Orchestra presented a program which certainly entitled its members to enjoy their holiday break. Led by conductor Michael Pratt, the Orchestra performed two large-scale Romantic symphonic works which showed the strength and power of the ensemble, even before the school year is half over. Friday night’s performance at Richardson Auditorium (the concert was also presented Thursday night) featured Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major. Both in the prime of their compositional lives when these works were composed, Rachmaninoff and Bruckner were archetypes of the lush orchestration and emotional drama which marked 19th-century music.

Rachmaninoff based his 1934 Rhapsody for solo piano and orchestra on a melodic theme from the last of Niccolò Paganini’s 24 violin “Caprices,” likely composed in 1807. Beyond a virtuoso violinist as well as composer, Paganini was alleged to have cut a deal with the devil in return for his extraordinary talent. In particular, “Caprice” No. 24 was considered one of the most technically difficult pieces ever composed for violin, and Rachmaninoff brought the same demonic virtuosic requirements to the piano soloist. Pratt and the Orchestra began the Rhapsody decisively, with the theme’s fiendish quirkiness evident from the outset. Precise in rhythmic punctuation, the Orchestra continually demonstrated graceful lyricism and delicate ends of phrases. more

“MEASURE FOR MEASURE”: Theatre Intime and the Princeton Shakespeare Company has presented “Measure for Measure.” Directed by Naomi Park ‘21, the play ran December 6-8 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. Angelo (Colin Vega, right) is briefly, and unwittingly, reunited with his former fiancée, Mariana (Eliana Abraham), in a pivotal scene that contains one of the play’s multiple uses of dual identity. (Photo by Nora Aguilar ’21)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Theatre Intime, whose cast and production team consist of Princeton University students, has continued its season with Measure for Measure. Presented with the Princeton Shakespeare Company, the production has offered a resolutely contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare’s play (1603 or 1604), which explores themes that include piety, lust, and hypocrisy.

Although it is classified as a comedy in the 1623 First Folio, Measure for Measure is a “strange mix of comedy and serious topics,” director Naomi Park acknowledges in a program note. “I’ve tried to work through these issues, cutting and mixing up the text. I brought the show into the light of the Me Too Movement, highlighting women’s issues and homophobia.”

“However, it is still far from a perfect play,” Park continues. “I chose, therefore, to use the framing device of a staged reading — reminding you that this is a play, not a thing to take at face value, and not an art piece whose message I fully endorse.” more

THE TALLIS SCHOLARS: The beauty of the human voice is the focus of this ensemble, who perform at Richardson Auditorium on Friday, December 13 at 8 p.m.

McCarter Theatre Center will present three special concert events on December 13-15, showcasing musical range and styles to celebrate the holiday season. On December 13, McCarter hosts The Tallis Scholars at Richardson Auditorium with Reflections, a special holiday program of a capella Renaissance sacred music, co-presented with The Princeton Singers. On December 13 and 14, McCarter’s Berlind Theatre hosts a holiday program from Catherine Russell and John Pizzarelli. more

“IF I WERE A RICH MAN”: Israeli theater, film, and television star Yehezkel Lazarov stars as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” coming to State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick December 20-22. For tickets, call (732) 246-SHOW (7469), or visit STNJ.org. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

State Theatre New Jersey presents the musical Fiddler on the Roof for four performances on Friday, December 20, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, December 21, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, December 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $40-$98.

A theatrical classic from Tony Award-winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize-winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, this Tony Award-nominated production is directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher (To Kill a Mockingbird, South Pacific, The King and I) and choreographed by acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter.

Fiddler on the Roof is the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters; husbands and wives; and life, love and laughter. This musical is rich with Broadway hits, including “To Life (L’Chaim!),” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “Tradition.” more

DYNAMIC DUO: The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo will perform a “Christmas Pastorale” on Sunday, December 15 at 3 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 50 York Street, Lambertville. The concert will feature music from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras with works by Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, Pachelbel, Brahms, Corelli, and Luther, among others.

The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo will perform a Christmas Pastorale on Sunday, December 15 at 3 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 50 York Street, Lambertville. This special concert celebrates the rich musical tradition of the Christmas season.

The program includes music from their critically-acclaimed CD, A Christmas Pastorale – 600 Years of Carols, Chorales, Preludes & Pastorales for Two Guitars, featuring music from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras with works by Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, Pachelbel, Brahms, Corelli, and Luther, among others.

Hailed as a “revelation to hear” by The Washington Post, the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo’s musicianship places them solidly at the top of their field. Their concert tours have taken them to world cultural capitals and premiere venues across five continents, the Caribbean, and South Pacific. In addition to their international engagements, they have performed at Carnegie Hall, aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, Caramoor, and the Grand Canyon. more

“MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, THE PLAY”: Presented by Acting Naturally Theatre in Langhorne, Pa., performances begin on Thursday, December 12 at 8 p.m. and run through December 21. Call (267) 798-9165 or visit www.ActingNaturally.com to purchase tickets. ( Photo courtesy of Acting Naturally Theatre)

Miracle on 34th Street, The Play, adapted by Mountain Community Theatre from the novel by Valentine Davies and based upon the Twentieth Century Fox motion picture Miracle on 34th Street, will be performed at Acting Naturally Theatre in Langhorne, Pa., from December 12-21.

The play tells the tale of a retired man named Kris Kringle, played by Paul Cottone of Yardley, Pa., who begins a job working as Santa for Macy’s. Kris unleashes waves of good will with Macy’s customers by referring parents to other stores to find the exact toy their child has asked for. more