Coronavirus closings update: Allentown Symphony cancels Diane Wittry tribute concert; Allentown Art Museum closed; Bach Festival may be impacted
The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on the greater Lehigh Valley arts and entertainment scene continues as the crisis of cancellations expands.
Among the latest casualties are Allentown Symphony Orchestra concerts to honor the 25th anniversary season of ASO Music Director and Conductor Diane Wittry.
Also canceled is the Allentown Band’s “Side By Side” concert.
And, the Allentown Art Museum is closed “indefinitely.”
The “Freddy Awards,” May 21, State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton, and the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, scheduled to open May 29 at DeSales University, are still on, but the 113th Bach Festival, May 8, 9 and May 15 and 17 in Bethlehem, is in uncharted territory.
The Bach Festival may be in jeopardy because the campus of Lehigh University, where Bach’s mighty “Mass in B minor” is sung by the Bach Choir of Bethlehem in Packer Chapel, is closed until May 13.
According to an update by Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy on the PSF website: “Please know that our hearts are with you in light of the current global health situation, as we plan for any impact this may have on our upcoming summer season. We will keep you updated. We are highly attentive to the guidance from civil and health authorities and will continue to hold health and safety as our priority.
“We look forward to gathering together with you at the nearest opportunity to create memorable and magical theatre experiences. Until then, we wish you and yours the utmost in safety and good health. Please take care of yourselves, those close to you, and our community as a whole.”
PSF, May 29- Aug. 1, DeSales University, opens with the children’s show, “Charlotte’s Web,” May 29, Schubert Theatre. PSF’s first main stage production is “A Chorus Line,” June 10-28. PSF’s “Luminosity Gala,” May 30, University Center, honors Dr. Lona M. Farr with the 2020 Will Shakespeare Award.
The 40th season of Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre is canceled.
Civic Theatre of Allentown closed, postponed its season and laid off its staff.
Productions at Muhlenberg College, Lehigh University, DeSales University and Touchstone Theatre are canceled.
Postponed through April are concerts at Penn’s Peak, State Theatre Center for the Arts, Sherman Theater, Godfrey Daniels and Mauch Chunk Opera House.
Concerts at SteelStacks, Wind Creek Bethlehem and PPL Center have been canceled.
Shelley Brown, President & CEO of the State Theatre, stated March 17: “Through March 31st, the State Theatre has suspended Box Office operations for the safety of the community at large. When it is possible to accurately determine the status of a performance, postponement or cancellation, we will communicate that information to you.”
According to a State Theatre official, a decision on holding the May 21 “Freddy Awards” ceremony, telecast live on WFMZ-TV and online, has not been made. Scholarships to schools and students will still be able to be awarded.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s order for schools in Pennsylvania to March 16 - 27 was extended through April 9 (when students can return to class).
High school musical performances entered in the Freddy Awards Theatre that were scheduled to be performed were not presented following the governor’s March 13 announcement have been canceled or postponed.
At Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, ”Diane’s Wittry’s 25th Celebration” was to culminate with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra “The Pines of Rome” concerts, April 19 and April 20. Also canceled: “Meet the Artist” with Wittry and the concert’s guest violinist Irina Muresanu.
Also postponed: Take3, “Live OnStage,” April 4, with a new date to be announced; “Third Thursday,” The Lyric Room, April 16; “Musicians’ Sponsorship Dinner,” April 17; Hector Olivera, organ, ”Chamber OnStage,” April 20, and “Laughs at The Lyric,” April 29.
“The Met: Live in HD Series,” including “Puccini’s Tosca,” April 16, and “Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda,” May 10, are canceled because The Met Opera canceled its season.
Miller Symphony Hall concerts in May are in a “wait and see mode,” according to a symphony official.
However, according to Allentown Band conductor Ronald Demkee, the Allentown Band’s “Side by Side” May 3 concert, with guest artists Joanne Pearce and Martin May, is canceled.
Still scheduled: “The Music of Zen for Primates,” “Jazz Upstairs Series,” May 1; Allentown Symphony Pops, “Women Rock,” May 9, and Dan Wilkins’ Horizons Quartet, “Jazz Upstairs,” May 15.
Al Jacobsen, Executive Director of the Allentown Symphony Association (ASA), announced in a March 25 press release: “It is with much sadness and regret that I inform you we are postponing-cancelling all Miller Symphony Hall events through April 30, including the orchestra concerts scheduled for April 18 and 19.”
Jacobsen explained that “due to the COVID-19 pandemic and with all ‘non-life sustaining’ businesses now ordered closed by our Governor for an indefinite time period, it would be impossible for the organization to carry out tasks in the upcoming weeks in preparation for the April events. The safety of our staff, musicians, our audience and our community is our highest concern.
“This is a situation that is changing daily, even hourly, not just for the ASA, but for everyone in the Lehigh Valley and beyond. We will keep everyone in the ASA family informed as we face these challenges and look ahead as we welcome audiences back to Miller Symphony Hall in the coming weeks.”
In a March 25 press release, Chris Potash, Allentown Art Museum Manager of Marketing and Public Relations, stated: “The Allentown Art Museum will remain closed until further notice. The date of the Museum’s reopening will be determined when conditions allow.”
Movie theaters and film venues closed include the Roxy Theatre, Emmaus Theatre, Civic Theatre of Allentown, ArtsQuest Banko Cinemas, New Vision Tilghman Square 8, AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas.
Here’s an update, as of March 25, of Lehigh Valley arts, entertainment and cultural closings, cancellations or postponements. The list is in alphabetical order.
Allentown Art Museum - Closed indefinitely
AMC Theatres - Closed as of March 17 for “at least six to 12 weeks.”
America on Wheels, Allentown - Closed March 14 - March 31
ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, Banana Factory, Bethlehem - Closed March 16 - March 31. Programming suspended, including cinema screenings and comedy shows at ArtsQuest Center and classes at the Banana Factory. Postponed: Lehigh Valley Podcast Festival, SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase, March 19; Splintered Sunlight, April 3; Igor and the Red Elvises, April 10; Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel, May 5; Rescheduled: The Amish Outlaws, July 23; Gary Hoey, March 13, 2021; Everlast, March 14, 2021
Bach Choir of Bethlehem - Canceled: Spring Concert, March 29; “Bach at Noon,” April 14
Baum School of Art, Allentown - Closed through March 28
Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Bethlehem - Postponed: 2020 iXchange, May 12
Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission, Rotunda Gallery, Town Hall, Bethlehem - Canceled: “Quiet Reflections” by Jeffrey M. Green; Lehigh Valley Charter Arts students exhibition
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center - Activities suspended until May 15
Bucks County Playhouse - Postponed: World Premiere, “Other World,” new dates to be announced
Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem - Canceled: Jupiter String Quartet, April 3
Civic Theatre of Allentown - Closed. Postponed: “Silence! The Musical,” Lehigh Valley premiere, March 13 - 21; “Frozen Jr.” April 2 - 5; Exhibition on Screen- Easter in Art, April 9 - 12; Monty Python Film Series, April 11 - 25; “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” May 1-17. Film programming on hiatus.
Community Music School, Allentown - Canceled: Spring Brunch, April 26
Crowded Kitchen Players, Charles A. Brown Ice House, Bethlehem - Postponed: World premiere, “The Rising: The Irish Rebellion of 1916 in Song and Verse,” March 16 - 18
DeSales University, Center Valley - Postponed: Act 3 Children’s Theatre, “The Jungle Book,” March 19 - April 28; Canceled: Dance Ensemble Concert, March 20 - 22; Student Film Festival, March 27, 28; Act 1, “The Sound of Music,” April 22 - May 3; Elisabeth Von Trapp, April 5
Dorney Park, South Whitehall Township - Postponed: Opening, May 1, rescheduled mid-May at earliest
Emmaus Theatre - Temporarily closed
Global Impactors Group, Allentown - Canceled: “Thinner than Water,” March 20 - 29
Godfrey Daniels, Bethlehem - Concerts canceled or postponed: Lucy Wainwright, Frog Holler, Blackwater, The Razzies, “Dave’s Night Out,” Kristy Cox and Serene Green, Pierre Bensusan, Come Together, “On the Road, In the Round,” Michael Smith, Toby Walker, “Jelly Bean Jam,” My Darling Clementine, Sirens of Spring, The Kennedys, Family Storytelling, Jams and Open Mike. Next scheduled concert: Rory Block, May 1
Hawk Mountain, Kempton - Closed through May 10
Historical Bethlehem Museums and Sites - Moravian Museum, Kemerer Museum, Visitor Center closed through March 22
Lehigh University, Bethlehem - Canceled: “Godspell,” April 17 - 25; Zoellner Arts Center events, through May 3
Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, Allentown - Closed through March 31
Mack Trucks Historical Museum, Allentown - Closed until further notice
Mauch Chunk Opera House, Jim Thorpe - Concerts postponed through March
Michener Museum, Doylestown. Closed through March 30
Miller Symphony Hall - Canceled: “The Met: Live in HD Series,” Handel’s “Agrippina”; March 25, “Laughs at The Lyric”; March 29, Young Musician String Festival Concert; Take 3, April 4. new date to be announced; “The Met: Live in HD Series: Puccini’s Tosca,” April 16; “Third Thursday,” The Lyric Room, April 16; “Musicians’ Sponsorship Dinner,” April 17; Hector Olivera, organ, ”Chamber OnStage,” April 20; “Laughs at The Lyric,” April 29; Allentown Band, “Side by Side,” May 3; “The Met: Live in HD Series: Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda,” May 10
Muhlenberg College, Allentown - Canceled: “The Bacchae,” March 26 - 29; Fringe Festival, April 4, 5, 17 - 19; Dance Emerge 2020, April 23 - 25
Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre, Allentown - Canceled: “Legally Blonde,” June 11 - 28; “The Legend of New York,” July 9 - 26; “The Comedy of Wizards,” June 24 - July 25
National Museum of Industrial History, Bethlehem - Closed until April 1
New Vision Tilghman Square 8 - Closed as of midnight March 16 until further notice
Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe - Postponed: Styx, March 14; Melvin Seals and JGB, March 20; Mike DelGuidice and Big Shot, March 21, rescheduled to Aug. 22.; Last in Line, Lynch Mob, March 22, rescheduled to June 7; “The Kids Closet Sale,” March 27, 28, 29; Clint Black, April 3, rescheduled to Aug. 15; Artimus Pyle Band, April 17; Cash Cab’s Ben Bailey, April 18; LiveWire AC-DC tribute concert, April 25, rescheduled to Aug. 29; Accept, Blackfoot, April 30; The Mavericks, May 1; Daughtry, May 3; The Ultimate Johnny Cash Tribute Starring Terry Goffee, May 5, rescheduled to Sept. 15; Jukebox Saturday Night: A Tribute to the Big Bands, May 7; Lights Out - The Music of Frankie Valli, May 7, rescheduled to Sept. 16; Get The Led Out, May 8. Canceled: The Blue Mountain Community Church Easter Service, April 11
Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem - Postponed: “Twelve Angry Jurors,” March 27 - April 19
Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra - Postponed: April 4 concert, First Presbyterian Church, Allentown; rescheduled to Aug. 1
Pines Dinner Theatre, Allentown - Postponed: “Nunsensations! the Nunsense Vegas Revue,” March 20 - May 10. Performances suspended through March 27.
PPL Center, Allentown - Postponed: Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, March 18; “Trolls Live!,” April 10 - 12; “Baby Shark Live!,” June 4. Next scheduled concert: Michael Buble, May 19.
Regal Cinemas - Closed until further notice
Roxy Theatre, Northampton - Closed until further notice.
Sellersville Theatre - Closed through March 26
Selkie Theatre, Charles A Brown Ice House, Bethlehem - Postponed: Lehigh Valley premiere, “The Revolutionists,” March 26 - 29
Sigal Museum, Easton - Closed March 13, including historic houses; reopening to be announced
Sherman Theater, East Stroudsburg - Postponed: Ynot, Roi and The Secret People, March 28; Makeshift, Goalkeeper, House & Home, April 1; In This Moment, Black Veil Brides, DED, Raven Black, April 3; Blue October, April 4; Lil Tjay, April 5; The Infamous Stringdusters, Upstate, Serene Green, April 9; Nighttrain, Contraband, April 18, Next scheduled concert: Tim Reynolds, Chicago Farmer, Copper Fields. May 8
Star of the Day Productions, Emmaus - Postponed: “Newsies,” March 27 - April 5
State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton - Postponed: The Fab Faux, March 14, rescheduled to Sept. 12; Postponed: Red Hot Chilli Pipers, March 21; rescheduled to March 11, 2021; “One Night of Queen” by Gary Mullen & the Works, April 4, new date to be announced; “The Daily Show Writers Comedy Tour,” April 18, new date to be announced; The Orchestra: Former Members of ELO, April 25, new date to be announced.
Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem - Postponed: “The Secret, Act 2,” April 3, 4; new dates to be announced. Canceled: 15th Annual Young Playwrights’ Festival & Gala, May 9
Wind Creek Event Center, Bethlehem - Closed March 15; scheduled to reopen 6 a.m. March 29. Postponed: Chelsea Handler, March 13, new date to be announced; Professional Boxing, March 14, rescheduled to May 8; Reba McEntire, March 27, rescheduled to July 18; Air Supply, March 19, rescheduled to June 19; Brit Floyd, March 21, 22, rescheduled to Aug. 14, 15; Pitbull, March 26, rescheduled to June 28; Brian Regan, April 2, rescheduled to June 26; David Foster, Katherine McPhee, April 19, rescheduled to Oct. 18; Dennis DeYoung & The Music of Styx, April 25, rescheduled to Nov. 7
Paul Willistein is editor of the Focus features section in the eight Lehigh Valley Press newspapers and the eight Press websites. Email Paul Willistein: firstname.lastname@example.org; follow Paul Willistein on Linkedin; Twitter and Instagram.