Something different…

This weekend and throughout the month, several slightly offbeat theatre productions are playing in the area, along with a few other new interesting events not too far from here.

Stephen Sondheim’s musical Assassins is being performed this month at the Civic Theatre, 19th Street, Allentown, PA

This groundbreaking American musical will kick off Civic’s summer with a bang! Bold, original, surreal, thought-provoking, and alarmingly funny, this five-time Tony Award-winner investigates the personalities behind nine Presidential assassins and reveals uneasy truths about the American Dream. Hugely resonant in today’s celebrity-obsessed culture, Assassins is brought to life by its desperate, disillusioned, passionate characters. It is Stephen Sondheim’s ode to the underbelly of American history.

Age Recommendation: 14+ for mature language and themes, including violence.

Tickets may be bought online, over the phone, or at the box office (either in advance or at the door the night of the show; box office opens 2 hours before curtain). The show runs until Tuesdays through Saturdays, now to May 22, 2016.

Another dark Stephen Sondheim musical, Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, takes the stage in Quakertown at McCoole’s Arts and Events Place (next door to McCoole’s Red Lion Inn), 19 Main Street, Quakertown, PA. Tickets may be bought online, May 13, 15, 20, 21, 2016.

This is the closing weekend for the hit musical Rent at the barn at Playcrafters of Skippack, 2011 Store Road, Skippack, PA.

It is more than worth the time and backroads drive to see the incredible mix of natural and carved stones in Steven Snyder’s sculpture garden. The large outdoor display contains items ranging from very small “whimsical hens on wheels and flowers” to bird baths to benches, fountains, and more.

Steven Snyder opens his studio and sculpture garden to the public May 14, 15 and May 21, 22, 2016, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. His recent works in stone will be displayed on the beautiful grounds of Cedar Maze.

My final recommendation for something off the beaten path – well, in downtown Philadephia, actually – is the Chinese Lantern Festival, open now through June 12, 2016 in Franklin Square at 6th and Race Street, Sunday – Thursdays from 6 p.m .- 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m .- 11 p.m. Ticket prices are $17 for adults, $12 for youth 17 and under (2 and under is free). Check some of the amazing photos. In addition to seeing the fantastical light sculptures of dragons, flowers, and more, there will be many performances each night, ranging from plate spinning to acrobotics to Traditional Chinese Dance, as well as exhibits, cultural activities, and delicious food and drink including burgers, “cheesesteak egg rolls,” “Chicken Satay, Beef Bao, Soba Noodle Salad, Thai Tea with Boba,” fries, “fortune cookie milk shake,” and a Dragon Beer Garden featuring culturally-inspired snacks and non-alcoholic drinks by Cooperage 7 days a week overlooking the 200-foot Chinese Dragon lantern. Thursdays – Saturdays: beer, wine, and cocktails available. Specialty “mocktails” served for the duration of the Festival will become cocktails Thursdays – Saturdays with an addition of a variety of spirits. Snacks served in the Dragon Beer Garden include: chilled Chinese vegetable noodles with teriyaki mojo, green tea-infused deviled eggs with wasabi and ginger, and white truffle buttermilk ranch potato chips. Beer and wine options are Tsing Tao, Tiger Beer, Crabby’s Ginger Beer, Sapporo, Yuengling, Heineken and a rotating tap of local craft beers served on the Cooperage Beer Bike (subject to change), and Underwood Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Cocktails and mocktails include Thai Basil Limeade, Lychee & Coconut Water, and Moscow Mule served with a choice of vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, and cognac (Thursdays – Saturdays) or mango, strawberry, or pineapple syrup (nightly).

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