It is about to get jazzy in center-city Allentown. The inaugural Allentown Jazz Fest launches April 28 and continues through May 3. The six-day event will take place at various sites throughout the revitalized downtown district.
The Allentown Jazz Fest has been just shy of a year in the making, according to Atty. Bryan Tuk, Executive Director and CEO of Performing Arts Live, organizer of the event.
"National Pastime," an original musical with music and lyrics by Albert M. Tapper and book by Tony Sportiello through April 19, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, is hoping to get called up to the big leagues, aka the bright lights of Broadway.
"I wrote the music and lyrics to the show. We started working on it a few years ago and it's played now in five different cities. We are hoping that from Bucks County we take it to Broadway," says Tapper in a phone interview.
Philadelphia native and "Dirty Daddy" Bob Saget brings his R-rated brand of comedy to the Sands Bethlehem Event Center 8 p.m. April 19.
Saget doesn't consider himself a touring standup comedian in the traditional sense. His live shows are grouped into small blocks of dates in nearby cities rather than months of performances across the country.
"It's actually not much of a tour. That's what I like about it," Saget says in a phone interview.
Comedy's resident bad boy Ron "Tater Salad" White returns to Easton's State Theatre Center for the Arts for two shows at 7 and 9:30 p.m. April 10.
When asked if the early show will differ from late show, White explained they will be by and large the same performance.
"I only take stuff out of my show one joke at a time. When I write something funny enough to go in the show then I take something out of the show," White says in a recent phone interview.
Big Band leader and renowned trombonist Rob Stoneback scales down and brings his septet to Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, 7:30 p.m. April 17, for the monthly "Jazz Upstairs" series.
The Lehigh Valley native, who calls Whitehall home, has played behind notable names like Aretha Franklin, Sonny and Cher, Johnny Mathis and Natalie Cole.
When asked about his preferred style, Stoneback says, "I'm pretty much a straight-ahead jazz guy, meaning that I usually do standards, maybe a little Be-Bop, some Dixieland. Everything is pretty melodic because that's the way I like stuff."
Songs from Neil Sedaka's extensive catalog provide the musical foundation for The Pines Dinner Theatre's latest production, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," weekends through May 10.
The setting for the play, written by Erik Jackson and Ben H. Winters, is Esther's Paradise, a South Pacific style resort in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains.
John and Leslie need to convince the IRS they are a married couple. Seems simple enough, but what the IRS doesn't know is that both parties are male.
That may not sound unusual in this day and age, but "Love Sex & The I.R.S" is set in New York during the late 1970s, well before the legalization and acceptance of same-sex marriage.
"Love Sex & The I.R.S," written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore and directed by Charles Weigold, III, weekends through April 12 at Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem, brings to the stage many elements of classic madcap comedy.
Blues lovers rejoice.
The annual three-day Blast Furnace Blues Festival returns March 27 - 29 to ArtsQuest Center, SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.
Featured performers include Shemekia Copeland, Tommy Castro, Heritage Blues Orchestra and John Németh & the Bo-Keys.
Along with concerts, workshops, a new addition to the festival for professional and aspiring blues musicians, begin March 26.
If you are unaware of who Hannibal Buress is, then you haven't been looking. The 32-year-old stand- up comic has been honing his craft since he was 19-years-old and can be found seemingly everywhere these days. He's the next big thing you may not have discovered yet.
Buress can be seen on the critically-acclaimed Comedy Central show "Broad City," which is in the midst of its second season. He co-hosts "The Eric Andre Show," now in its third season on Adult Swim where he is the ideal laid-back counterpart to Andre's manic energy.
Twenty years ago, the man known these days as Raymond the Amish Comic was toiling away at a screen-printing factory. It would be the last day-job he would hold.
"In 1996, I was fired when I returned from my Christmas vacation," says Raymond, who lives in Emmaus. "I saved up my vacation so I could do some headlining from Christmas to New Year's in Reading: two shows a night, all sold-out.