Category Archives: Theatre

Gretna Theatre

Are you a movie or theater lover, but can’t stand the idea of spending a beautiful evening inside? The Gretna Theatre is the perfect spot for you! Located in Mt. Gretna near the lake this outdoor theater puts on spectacular summer productions. The Chautauqua playhouse has continuously operating since 1892, bringing Broadway to our own backyard since 1927. Mt. Gretna was originally established as an arts/resort community. It is now a mix of residential and vacation-rental homes, but the Chautauqua playhouse still draws a crowd in June and July.

Currently running is the popular Tony Award winning show, Man of La Mancha which is based on the novel Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes. Set during the Spanish Inquisition, it begins as famous author, actor, and poet Miguel De Cervantes is thrown in prison. He must convince his fellow inmates not to burn his beloved manuscript by convincing them of its worth before he himself must face a similar trail for his own life. He enlists their help to put on his production, making it a play within a play. The casting of characters is wonderfully done, and the singing and choreography of the show are Broadway caliber. Entertaining the audience as they follow the multiple storylines.

The show runs through July 22 as both matinee and evening productions. But don’t worry if you cannot make it, there are several other productions happening this summer as well. The summer performance schedules can be found here as well as information on other events and educational programs.

Disney’s Newsies at the Fulton Theatre

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Disney’s Newsies is at the Fulton Theatre, and the show is fantastic!

Based on the newsboy strike that happened in New York in 1899, this show gives viewers a glimpse at the past as well as encourages them to Seize the Day and stand up for what they believe in- a message that is pertinent to all time periods. You will fall in love with the gritty, scrappy characters like Jack Kelly and Crutchy, plus, be amazed by the superior singing and dancing of the cast.

The show is at the Fulton through July 23. It is a wonderful way for your family to escape the heat and experience the joys of live theatre. We can guarantee you will leave humming The King of New York while you walk the around the streets of Downtown Lancaster. The Fulton Theatre has done a wonderful job with this production which is the final show of their 2016/2017 Mainstage series. As someone who grew up tapping this show definitely danced its way into my heart as one of my favorite musicals.

The Bible Comes to Life!

On a hill near Strasburg, PA sits a beautiful theater, specializing in bringing stories from the Bible to life. Sight & Sound Theatres® brings tales from scripture to the stage with vivid costumes, captivating musical numbers, live animals, and sets and production that will take your breath away.

This year, Sight & Sound Theatres® presents Jonah, a whale of a tale (pun intended) featuring the prophet Jonah, his run from God, and consequences of his actions.

My family, including my theater-loving four year old, got the opportunity to see the show for ourselves. Upon arriving at the theater, my daughter was amazed at the beauty and size of the facade, lobby, and stage, as we made our way to our seats. The stage is epic, wrapping around the room, providing additional space for action to happen.

We settled in to our seats and prepared for a magnificent 2 hours and 30 minutes. I won’t dive too deep into the story itself, but I will say, the performance was spectacular! The effects, especially the scenes underwater and at the dock at Joppa took our breath away, and had my daughter on the edge of her seat.

The show is best experienced for yourself. For tickets, be sure to visit Sight & Sound’s website here.

Exciting news for 2018 – Sight & Sound Theatres® will debut their newest show – Jesus.  If you can’t make it to Jonah this year, be sure to put Jesus on your list for 2018!

* Photo and videos courtesy of Sight & Sound Theatres®

Ten Things to Do in November in Lancaster

November embraces fall fun in Lancaster, but also marks to beginning of the holiday celebration. Whether you’re ready to get into the holiday spirit or are still holding on to the excitement of fall, there are plenty of events for you this month in Lancaster!

Gifts Galore:

Start your holiday shopping or find the perfect memento of your visit.

If pottery is what you please, Eldreth Pottery’s 29th Annual Christmas Open House, November 11 through 13, is the event for you. Featuring a great selection of handmade pottery and unique items, this is a wonderful opportunity to find gifts for loved ones or even an addition to your own home décor.

The Artisan Fair at Spooky Nook Sports builds on the tradition of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsman, and features crafts and fine art from 80 local and national fine artists and craftspeople. November 12 and 13, the artists gather under one roof to display functional pottery, handmade jewelry, designer clothing, glass art, and more!

For one-of-a-kind Christmas items from local artists and craftspeople, be sure to visit Landis Valley Museum Store’s Holiday Open House on November 19 and 20. Browse items including Belsnickels, ornaments, Pennsylvania German paper stars, books, and more! Visitors can also learn how to make paper stars or punch a tin ornament.

Give Thanks:

Before sitting down to a delicious and filling Thanksgiving meal, take a spin around the county on a scooter or scoot coupe with Strasburg Scooters. Their Thanksgiving Day Tour takes place at 9:00 AM, and is a great way to experience the country side before a hearty family supper.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with family over a delicious meal in Lititz. At the General Sutter Inn, guests can enjoy either the Thanksgiving Buffet or Ala Carte menu featuring turkey, beef and seafood in Inn’s elegant dining room. Call ahead to guarantee your place at the table.

Enjoy a comforting meal with family without the hassle and dirty dishes. Lancaster DoubleTree’s Thanksgiving Feast features carved beef and ham, turkey, seafood, traditional sides, and scrumptious desserts. Reservations are required, so be sure to call ahead!

A Dash of Holiday Spirit:

The holiday season is right around the corner, and many theaters begin their winter-themed shows this month. From musicals to heartwarming holiday cheer, you’re sure to leave the theater humming a tune and ready for snow.

American Music Theatre presents The 2016 Christmas Show: Winter Wonderland, November 7 through December 31, for a feel-good holiday event that celebrates music, magic, and the meaning of Christmas.

A hilarious look at family tradition, holiday expectations, and the real meaning of Christmas, Our Christmas Dinner shines on the Bird-in-Hand Stage from November 11 to December 31.

Holly Jolly Christmas lights up the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre stage, November 17 through December 31, featuring dancing, holiday favorites, and a visit from the big guy in red!

Rainbow’s Comedy Playhouse presents Green Holly & Gray Potatoes, a Christmas comedy filled with family antics, now through December 28.

So whether you’re enjoying the final moments and events of fall or getting in the holiday spirit, there’s plenty to do in Lancaster. For a complete list of events, visit our complete online events calendar.

Take a Step Back in Time this Holiday Season

Terry w Triunial jpegI am addicted to technology, especially my phone – I will never go anywhere without it. This weekend, I took a step back to a time where there were no phones, televisions or even cars. The Magic Lantern Show, run by the Amish Experience, at Plain and Fancy Farm, let me escape from modern times and enjoy entertainment of the past.

Contrary to the name, a magic lantern is not what you would expect. This lantern is a brass lantern with three lenses to project hand painted illustrations on a projection screen. The magic lantern was developed in the 1850’s and was a precursor to movies. When first developed, the lantern used a candle to project and later, kerosene light.

The theatre is completely transformed to feel as though you are sitting in a barn. Before the show began, the showman, who was the host and storyteller, made sure the entire audience was in the Christmas spirit with a game of Christmas trivia. After we were in the holiday spirit, our showman began the show which consisted of classic Christmas stories, such as a Christmas Carol. My favorite part was the new Christmas stories, including a story about a giant snowball causing havoc on a town! All of the stories were narrated by the showman and accompanied by handmade illustrations and music.

The show lasted approximately an hour. During that time, I completely forgot about my phone and became immersed in a time less complicated. After the show I went to the local town, Bird-in-Hand, for homemade Amish foods and handcrafted goods. This show was a great way to experience a different form of entertainment and get into the Christmas spirit. The magic lantern show will definitely be a new holiday tradition!

An avant-garde take on theatre

Lights dim. The crowd hushes. Then suddenly beams of light flood the aisle of the breath-taking St. James Episcopal Church. Show time!

Children of Eden is a musical written by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell) and is under the creative direction of PRiMA-affiliated director, Kristen Brewer. This show, loosely based on the stories from the Book of Genesis, is a heartfelt musical dealing with the difficulties of parenting, breaking generational patterns, and the power of second chances. The vocals are dynamic and emotionally-fueled. PRiMA’s production utilizes the whole space creating an enriching and unique experience. Children of Eden sheds a positive light and insight to the hiccups in life. There’s only two more performances: September 13 or 20 (Sundays, 2015) at 7:00 PM. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this show!

PRiMA Theatre is celebrating their fifth year providing “fresh theatrics” for a multitude of audiences. Their avant-garde take on theatre and performance environments has impressed many. PRiMA Theatre’s upcoming performances will be a contemporary spin to the holidays. On the weekend of Halloween, join PRiMA for a “chic cabaret featuring songs from the Great White Way’s darkest characters.” In the middle of December, “Experience a world premiere immersive theatrical event in this limited engagement. Meet legendary holiday figures as they create chaos and fun at the Snow Queen’s Party.” For more information, visit primatheatre.org.


The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University.

Downtown Lancaster Tips

Lancaster City is unique – you have to visit in order to understand. It’s exciting, it’s rich in history, heritage and the arts, and there’s an underlying hip urban vibe that permeates the community. The City boasts art in every form, restaurants and cafes, and boutique shops and hotels. Creativity, inspiration, and community envelopes this walkable City.

Come spend a day (or two) exploring. Below are a few insider tips that I believe will help you get the most out of your trip.

Tip #1 – Walk, don’t drive

Plan to walk around the City. Take your time and drink it all in. You won’t want to miss anything. From historic ghost signs to an off-the-beaten-path puppet theatre, this place has it all.

Tip #2 – Find a parking garage

Downtown Lancaster has many easily-locatable and easily-accessible garages. Although you may find street parking, chances are you’ll spend less money at a parking garage.

Tip #3 – Check gallery hours

If you like original art, check out Gallery Row located on the first and second blocks of Prince Street where you will find over 20 galleries. My tip – go online and check out gallery hours first. Not all galleries have the same hours.

Tip #4 – Take a back stage tour

Further down Prince Street, you’ll find what I like to call the “performing arts triangle.” To one side is The Trust performing arts center and directly across the street is The Ware Center; both are owned and operated by local colleges. Within a stone’s throw of these performance spaces is the majestic and historic Fulton Theatre.

These venues allow visitors to tour the facility even if you are not going to see a performance. The Fulton Theatre offers their backstage tour every Friday at Noon (the history is unique and the building is haunted). The Ware Center offers self-guided tours from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday and from 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM on Saturday (this building’s architecture is amazing). The Trust Performing Arts Center hosts tours 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Tuesdays and Fridays and from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturdays (this building used to be one of Lancaster’s largest banks; ask to see the vault).

Tip #5 – Eat here; shop there

I suggest checking out the menus at Aussie and The Fox and at the Pressroom Restaurant (this place has a great outdoor seating area). Don’t miss Lancaster Central Market, America’s old continually operating farmer’s market, but note the hours: Tuesdays and Fridays from 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Saturdays from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

After grabbing a bite to eat, check out the 300 block of Queen Street where you’ll find great shopping and a quaint café – Commonwealth on Queen – that sells gourmet coffee and sweet treats from scratch. Be sure to stop at Mommalicious and Building Character.

Live Theatre and Family Fun

In the spirit of the Holidays, my wife and I took my six-year-old to see the Nutcracker at the Fulton Theatre, and we were blown away with the creativity. The Fulton does an amazing job selecting and producing their Family Theatre Series shows. Click here to see what’s currently on stage.

The dance numbers, slapstick comedy, and riveting action kept my son on the edge of his seat throughout the entire performance, and there was plenty of pop-culture references and subtle jokes for the adults in the crowd. The show moved at the perfect pace and held everyone’s attention the entire time.

The Fulton Theatre has shows for all ages and interests. If you want a night out without the kiddos, check out their Mainstage Series.

A White Christmas in Lancaster

I am not ashamed to admit this:  I have a love affair with old movies. Any type will do, but I especially love classic musical theater. (Nope, not ashamed to admit that either!) While most little girls in the 90’s fantasized about meeting New Kids on the Block, I dreamed of one day meeting Gene Kelly or Danny Kaye. There’s just something about classic musicals that is uplifting and magical to me. One of my all-time favorites, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, is currently on stage on The Fulton Theatre. So I reserved two tickets and told my husband it would be our first official Christmas activity for the 2014 holiday season.

Since moving to Lancaster, I’ve always been in awe of the grandeur and beauty of the historic Fulton Theatre. I was beyond excited to finally experience one of their productions. We picked up our tickets at will call and made our way up to the mezzanine to our seats. The theater, which is decorated in reds and golds, is both very beautiful as well as comfortable – a perfect mix of Victorian elegance and modern convenience. Before the show began, we walked around to different parts of the theater to get a feel for different audience perspectives. We did not find one seat in the the whole theater without a full view of the stage.

The lights finally dimmed and the orchestra started playing the intro. The stage adaptation of the original 1954 movie tells the story of a famous entertainment duo (Bob Wallace and Phil Davis) and a lesser know sister act (the Haynes sisters) that, through a series of comical twists and turns, come together to save a declining Vermont inn – which just happens to be owned by the famous duo’s former commanding Army general.

The entire show was wonderful, funny, and engaging. The dancing was incredible! My favorite part of the production was the actor playing Phil Davis (originally played by Danny Kaye in the movie version.) Everything about him reminded me of Mr. Kaye.

The staff at the theatre is extremely customer-focused. They even started offering the service of pre-ordering concessions, so that you’re not waiting in a line during intermission. This definitely contributes to an even better guest experience.

In addition to high-quality, Broadway-caliber productions and great customer service, the Fulton Theatre embraces and invests in the surrounding community. They offer theatre academy and training programs, partnerships with schools, pay-what-you-want performances, and more.

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Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is playing at the Fulton Theatre now through January 4, 2015.  Click here for the full 2014-2015 production schedule.

white-christmas-dana

An overnight experience in Bird-in-Hand

It seems like a fact of life these days that many families live far apart; college, careers and relationships drew my mom, my dad, my brother and I to settle in different cities across the east coast. When we are able to get together, it’s always a blessing and a blast! Being the spontaneous people that we are, my mom decided on a recent Monday to come from Pittsburgh that Wednesday to spend two adventure-filled days with me here in Lancaster. And of course, I wanted to impress my dear mother, so luckily, I was able to secure a gorgeous suite at the Bird-in-Hand Village Inn & Suites for our “mini-staycation.” This lovely bed & breakfast is subtle yet elegant, and a breath of fresh air among many traditional motel lodging options in Lancaster County.

During our stay, we learned from the innkeeper that this historical property was once a tavern, dating back to 1734. And while the property is full of rich history, the fresh and inviting feel of the inn made us feel at ease immediately. Each staff member wore a name badge proudly displaying the number of years they had served at the Inn.  Upon arrival, we were greeted warmly by LouAnn, who has worked at the inn for over ten years. For me, a regular traveler, this sense of caring and hospitality is what really set the Inn apart from other lodging locations, and according to innkeeper Penny Hershey, draws many visitors back year after year.

There are four separate homes on the property: The 1734 Inn, The Ressler House, the Desmond House, and the Carriage House. Our suite in the Carriage House featured its own private entrance, and lovely back patio shaded by winding, woven trumpet vines and overlooking a rolling corn field. We were pleasantly surprised by the spacious accommodations and the convenience of the mini-fridge and kitchenette. But for me, all I wanted to do was immediately forget the world and dive into the amazingly luxurious looking spa tub and never leave – ever! But, we decided instead to begin our adventures in Bird-in-Hand.

Well, we didn’t make it very far. Our first – and last – stop of the night was the Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord. The spread of authentic PA Dutch comfort food was perfect for our girls’ night out, and we topped it off with a hand-made slice of pie followed by some browsing in the gift shop. What could be better? We couldn’t think of anything, so we decided to turn in for the night. I never did make it in the spa tub. Bummer!

The following morning, we enjoyed a delicious continental breakfast in the Ressler House. Fresh fruit, muffins, and home-made waffles were available in the lovely private dining area.  A perfect way to start a great day together! The hostess was exceptionally pleasant, and offered suggestions for our day’s adventures, as well as educating us about the local history.  We learned that all guests at the Bird-in-Hand Village Inn receive a complimentary shuttle tour of the Amish farmland, as well as options for vineyard, brewery, and other interest based excursions.  But, for us, unfortunately, there wasn’t time to do everything, so we decided to treat ourselves to an afternoon of theatre.

My mom is a quilter, but, I am not. No, no, no, my attention span will not spare me even five minutes of sewing. However, we both absolutely loved the Amish musical “Half Stitched,” performed on the Bird-in-Hand Stage. I am not too proud to admit that I teared up at least five times during the play… which of course I tried to hide from my mom so she wouldn’t see what a blubbering sentimental I have become in my “old age” (I’m 30 now).  Thankfully, just when I thought she’d find me out, they would crack a hilariously unexpected joke and provide the moment of uproarious laughter I needed to slyly flick a tear off my cheek. We laughed out loud more than we have laughed in a long time. The whimsical characters were lovable, relatable, and provided good, clean entertainment – which is hard to find these days.

Leaving the stage, we both felt blessed and so thankful that we were able to take this time out of our busy lives to make lasting memories. So, whether you’re traveling from near or far, make sure you check out the Bird-in-Hand Village Inn & Suites, Bird-In-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord, and the play, “Half Stitched.” If you’re anything like me, you’ll be glad you did!

 

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