Oliver Blatt says it’s adamantine to accept Pines Banquet Theatre, the alone banquet amphitheater in the Lehigh Valley, is accessible to activate its 10th division in Allentown.
Pines Banquet Theatre has had its ups and down, with one bottomward in 2015, back a car hit and damaged its 17th Street building.
But back then, things accept taken a about-face for the better, and Blatt, who co-produces the theater, says the accomplished two years accept apparent advance in admirers and artistically. He says it has enabled Pines to accomplish improvements to floors and seating, as able-bodied as to alpha an action to accomplish the amphitheater “green.”
He addendum 95 percent of the lights in the amphitheater are now LED or activity efficient.
For the additional year in a row, Pines was awarded a affidavit of arete by Tripadvisor, the online armpit that compiles chump reviews.
“We’re growing and it’s exciting,” Blatt says.
You could say banquet amphitheater is in Blatt’s blood. His parents operated Blatt’s Banquet Theatre in Kutztown for abounding years, area Blatt was aesthetic director. Back his parents retired in 2005, Blatt opened a banquet amphitheater in Slatington. In 2009, he confused it to Allentown.
He says active a banquet amphitheater is a activity of love.
Dinner theaters had their heyday in the 1970s and 1980s back 800-seat theaters such as Three Little Bakers in Wilmington and Carousel Banquet Theatre of Akron, Ohio, were go-to destinations. Both accept closed, in 2007 and 2009, respectively.
Blatt adds that there alike was a banquet amphitheater alternation — The Barn — that had 27 locations at one point. There are aloof two larboard — in Greensboro, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn.
At that time, the Lehigh Valley additionally boasted several banquet theaters, including Shepherd Hills and Percy Brown, but now Pines is the alone one. But Blatt doesn’t anticipate that agency a banquet amphitheater can’t be successful.
“I anticipate there is a abode for banquet theaters,” Blatt says. “The industry is changing. We charge to accompany in the aing bearing of theater-goers.”
He says Pines, which seats 120 people, is “small abundant to acclimate bound and accomplish changes.”
He additionally says Pines is one of the few banquet theaters that action argent meals. Most, like Dutch Angel Banquet Theatre in Lancaster, accept buffets.
He says the aliment is all fabricated to order, which makes it accessible to lath barter with comestible requests such as gluten-free or vegan.
And Pines’ absorption to detail shows. The amphitheater afresh was called one of “America’s Top 10 Unmissable Banquet Theatres” by theculturetrip.com and additionally one of the top 16 amphitheater choices by Group Leisure Travel Magazine.
“We’re actual accustomed to be recognized,” Blatt says.
Pines has congenital a bounded afterward and has abounding echo customers, Blatt says.
Next Blatt directs “The Marvelous Wonderettes” which opens Sept. 7.
The agreeable ball played Off-Broadway in 2008 and Pines aboriginal presented the appearance in 2012 back Blatt says it was a hit.
“We had a lot of fun with it and we like the music,” Blatt says.
It’s one of several “jukebox” musicals the amphitheater is presenting. Jukebox musicals affection accepted hits that are alloyed into a story.
“We fell into this alcove accidentally,” Blatt says. “People absolutely acknowledge to jukebox musicals and we accept done absolutely able-bodied with them.”
“The Marvelous Wonderettes” includes added than 30 archetypal hits from the 1950s and 1960s such as “Lollipop,” “Dream Lover,” “Stupid Cupid,” “Lipstick on your Collar,” “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” “It’s My Party” and “It’s In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song).”
The adventure follows four aerial academy seniors — Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy — who are broke to absorb at the 1958 Springfield Aerial Academy prom. In the additional act, the girls accumulate to booty the date and accomplish at their 10-year reunion.
The agreeable comedy, with a book by Roger Bean and orrations by Michael Borth, pays admiration to the aerial academy songleader squads of the ’50s.
The appearance stars Amber Blatt as Cindy Lou, Hannah Michael as Missy, Katelyn Lauria as Suzy and Emily Brennan as Betty Jean.
Dinner includes a best of pulled pork barbecue, balsamic anesthetized broiled craven or striped pangasius, with vegetables and rosemary broiled potatoes. Additionally accessible are vegetarian options of fettuccine Alfredo with broccoli and ernut annihilate ravioli in amber adulate sauce. Entrees accommodate salad, aliment and angel brittle for dessert.
Pines additionally is bearing the alternate “Great Kempton Alternation Robbery” ride Friday and Saturday in affiliation with WK&S Railroad of Kempton. Riders advice accompany railroad robbers to amends on the rides which leave Kempton base at 6:30 p.m. both days.
During the ball appearance and alternation trip, the belled Soggy Bottom Britches Gang robs the train, and audiences advice affluent railroad baron Winston Keegan Smithwick III antithesis their plans. Tickets are $18. Info: www.kemptontrain.com.
The Pines’ 2019 division appearance added jukebox musicals, as able-bodied as the acknowledgment of “I Do! I Do!” the Broadway agreeable that opened Pines’ aboriginal division in the Lehigh Valley a decade ago.
“We are alert of programming shows that adolescent bodies will adore afterwards alienating our earlier customers,” Blatt says.
“Who Done It? An Alternate Murder Mystery” is appointed for Jan. 18-26. During the show, the admirers charge allotment calm the clues to actuate who is the killer.
“I Do! I Do!” appointed to ball Feb. 8 to March 24, follows a brace from their bells day to 50 years later.
Following that is “Second Chances: The Austerity Boutique Musical,” April 5 through May 12. The agreeable tells the adventure of a abbey austerity boutique that is in crisis of actuality bankrupt to accomplish way for condos, bidding the agents to bandage calm to save the store.
“Rock Around the Clock,” a agreeable caricature featuring hit songs of the 1950s and 1960s, is appointed May 24 through July 7.
Broadway agreeable “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” July 13 to Aug. 18, introduces audiences to the pump boys, who advertise gas on Highway 57 in Grand Ole Opry country and the dinettes, who run the Double Cupp Diner aing door.
“Clue: The Musical” is appointed Sept. 6 through Oct. 27. The alternate agreeable is based on the accepted lath game.
Finally, “A Pines Country Christmas” is a caricature that includes admired anniversary songs and anniversary traditions, as able-bodied as the Nativity and Santa Claus. The appearance is set for Nov. 8 through Dec. 29.
It has all kept Blatt, who has no complaints, appealing busy.
“I can’t accept we’ve done 10 years in Allentown, but I’m attractive advanced to addition 10,” he says.
“The Marvelous Wonderettes” 12:30 p.m. dinner, 2 p.m. appearance Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 6:30 p.m. dinner, 8 p.m. show, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7 through Oct. 21, Pines Banquet Theatre, 448 N. 17th St., Allentown. Tickets: $50; $35, students; $20, ages 2-9. Info: 610-433-2333, pinesdinnertheatre.com.mobile app
John Such Artist’s Management
Easton built-in and Broadway accompanist Dee Roscioli
Easton built-in and Broadway accompanist Dee Roscioli (John Such Artist’s Management)
Easton built-in Dee Roscioli has fabricated a name for herself by captivation the almanac for assuming the best times in the acclaimed role of Elphaba in the Broadway agreeable “Wicked.”
Now she will be an amateur for two out of the three incarnations of the Goddess of Pop in the “The Cher Show” on Broadway this fall.
“The Cher Show,” which begins previews at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre Nov. 1, will acquaint the activity adventure of Cherilyn Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman through three stages in her activity with altered actors arena anniversary role.
Stephanie J. Block plays “Star,” the complete Cher. Micaela Diamond plays “Babe,” the adolescent Cher, who avalanche in adulation with Sonny Bono, and Teal Wicks plays “Lady,” the middle-age Cher who leaves Bono for Gregg Allman.
Roscioli will be stand-by for the Star and Lady roles, acceptation she can go on in the roles at any time, if Block or Wicks are not able.
The agreeable appearance Cher’s chart-topping hits, including “If I Could About-face Back Time,” “Believe,” “I Got You Babe,” “Strong Enough,” “Half Breed,” “I Found Someone,” “A Altered Kind of Adulation Song,” “Take Me Home” and “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.”
Roscioli additionally performed in the ensemble for the show’s pre-Broadway run this summer at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre.
“The Cher Show” is appointed to accessible Dec. 5.
Other casting associates accommodate Jarrod Spector as Sonny Bono, Michael Berresse as Bob Mackie, Michael Campayno as Rob Camilletti, Matthew Hydzik as Gregg Allman and Emily Skinner as Cher’s mother Georgia Holt.
The musical’s book is by Rick Elice, administration by Jason Moore, choreography by Christopher Gattelli, and orrations, arrange and agreeable administration by Daryl Waters. Cher’s longtime artist Bob Mackie is designing the costumes.
Roscioli, who accelerating from DeSales University in 1999, fabricated her Broadway admission as the Wicked Witch of the West in “Wicked” in 2009 and additionally starred in the Chicago, San Francisco and civic touring productions of the hit musical. She played Fruma-Sarah in “Fiddler on the Roof” on Broadway in 2015.
Locally, Roscioli played Eva Peron in “Evita” at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival in 2017 and was Mrs. Lovett in PSF’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” in 2012.
“The Cher Show,” opens Nov. 1, Neil Simon Theatre, 250 W. 52nd St. New York. Tickets: $59-$249. Info: www.broadway.com/shows/cher-show.
DeSales Universty’s Act 1 has appear its 2018-2019 season, which accommodate plays and musicals “featuring characters exploring their hearts and attempting to absolute the trajectories of their lives.”
DESALES UNIVERSITY/ CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Dane McMichael, center) prepares to accompany his monster to activity with lab abettor Inga (Ally Borgstrom, left) and his Transylvanian servant, Igor (Jonas Bloomfield, right) in Act 1 DeSales University’s assembly of ‘Young Frankenstein,’ aftermost spring.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Dane McMichael, center) prepares to accompany his monster to activity with lab abettor Inga (Ally Borgstrom, left) and his Transylvanian servant, Igor (Jonas Bloomfield, right) in Act 1 DeSales University’s assembly of ‘Young Frankenstein,’ aftermost spring. (DESALES UNIVERSITY/ CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
Opening the division is William Inge’s Pulitzer-winning ball “Picnic” Sept. 26-Oct 7. In a baby Kansas town, the women of a quiet adjacency are advancing for the anniversary picnic, back a handsome adolescent drifter called Hal Carter appears, anon capturing the women’s attention. In the aing 24 hours, lives are afflicted as Hal’s absorbing yet alarming beastly animation pits the abundance of average age adjoin the yearnings of youth.
Next Oct. 11-21 is “Dames at Sea,” a rarely produced agreeable adulation adventure about big break and big dreams. The apish appearance spoofs the Hollywood musicals of the 1930s; a alone babe Ruby with “nothing but tap shoes in her attache and a adoration in her heart,” goes to New York City to try to accomplish it big on Broadway.
DeSales ball division opens with “Activate: Emerging Choreographers Concert” Nov. 2-4, which showcases the choreography of the university’s ball majors.
Act 1’s anniversary show, Nov. 28-Dec. 9, will be the Pennsylvania premiere of “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,” a anniversary aftereffect to Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice.” This absurd sequel, set two years afterwards the atypical ends, puts the focus on average sister Mary Bennet, who is admiring by the accession of the shy Arthur de Bourgh as the ancestors gathers for Christmas at Pemberley, the august home of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy.
Chekhov’s masterpiece “The Blooming Orchard” is appointed Feb. 20 to March 3. The aloof Gayev ancestors is in debt and unless they can acquisition funding, their huge estate, including its much-loved blooming orchard, will go to auction.
The ball department’s “Dance Ensemble Concert” March 15-17 appearance choreography by acclaimed choreographers and the ball faculty.
Act 1 chief amphitheater majors present “The Angel King” as its children’s appearance March 19 to April 16. In the story, angel Genevieve and Henry, the cook, booty on a antagonism to prove that Genevieve is aloof as able as any prince.
The division afterpiece is Broadway agreeable “Pippin,” which is an Act 1 premiere. Winner of four 2013 Tony Awards including Best Agreeable Revival, “Pippin” is set to run April 24 to May 5. The agreeable tells the adventure of a adolescent man’s adventure to be extraordinary. Guided by a bewitched Leading Player, the adolescent prince searches for accurate beatitude in the glories of the battlefield, the temptations of the flesh, and the intrigues of political power.
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