Broadway, Jazz Kick Off Lively Arts Season

by Lauren Somers

Award-Winning Actor/playwright Stephen Lang Stars in Broadway hit ‘Beyond Glory’

BLOG Stephen LangJust a few weeks before Americans celebrate Veterans Day, Montgomery County Community College will bring the compelling true stories of eight war veterans to the stage in a national touring production of Beyond Glorywith award-winning playwright, stage actor and screen star Stephen Lang on Friday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m. in the Science Center Theatre, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tickets cost $30 for general admission and $15 for children under age 12. Visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518 for tickets and information.

The soul-stirring one-man show, which enjoyed celebrated runs on Broadway and in Chicago, was created by Lang of “Avatar” fame as an adaptation of journalist Larry Smith’s book, “Beyond Glory: Medal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words.” In what Broadway.com has hailed as a “stunning tour de force performance,” Lang depicts accounts of valor that earned veterans of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts the nation’s highest military award. Against a backdrop of video screens that compellingly allude to the realities of combat, each man’s harrowing experience is vividly reenacted.

“It is an unsparingly direct portrait of men at war, pushed into narrow corners and faced with hard choices,” said Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal. “It is also one of the richest, most complex pieces of acting I’ve seen in my theater-going life.”

Most widely known for his portrayal of Colonel Miles Quaritch in the James Cameron blockbuster “Avatar,” Lang has enjoyed a long acting career on stage and in television and film. His many film credits include Stonewall Jackson in “Gods and Generals,” the title role in the television movie “Babe Ruth,” and Commander Nathaniel Taylor in the recent sci-fi television series, “Terra Nova.”

The Tony-nominated actor and Swarthmore College graduate has won more than half a dozen theater awards, including the Drama Desk and Helen Hayes awards. He originated the role of Colonel Jessup in the stage version of “A Few Good Men” and earned acclaim for his work in the Broadway revival of “Death of a Salesman” as Harold “Happy” Loman, which he recreated in the film version opposite Dustin Hoffman.

“Beyond Glory” has been showcased at several military bases and on the floor of Congress with Medal of Honor recipient Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii in attendance.

Follow “Destination Arts” at Montgomery County Community College on Facebook at facebook.com/DestinationArts for information about performing and fine arts events.

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Jazz Legend Pharoah Sanders Makes a Rare Local Appearance

BLOG PharoahSanders5hi-res3_SILOFresh from a world-spanning tour of select cities including Paris, Vienna, Manchester and New York, highly regarded jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders returns to the Philadelphia region after a long absence for a rare local appearance at Montgomery County Community College on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m. in the Science Center Theatre, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tickets cost $35. Visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518 for tickets and information.

In a warm, intimate atmosphere that encourages active listening, the Pharoah Sanders Quartet will showcase jazz interpretations influenced by decades of experience and many musical genres.

While an unofficial member of the late jazz great John Coltrane’s ensembles of the mid-’60s, Sanders infused his work with intensity and passion and initially experimented with organic, unstructured sounds.

“Pharoah is a man of large spiritual reservoir, always trying to reach out to truth,” said Coltrane of the distinctive tenor sax virtuoso.

Since those early years, Sanders has explored a more complex fusion of harmonically rich sounds inspired by jazz funk, world music and hip-hop. Throughout his career, he has worked with such celebrated icons as Sun Ra, Don Cherry and Albert Ayler, performed throughout the world and produced numerous recordings.

“In the decades after his first recordings with Coltrane, Sanders [has] developed into a more well-rounded artist, capable of playing convincingly in a variety of contexts, from free to mainstream,” writes music journalist Chris Kelsey. “Some of his best work is his most accessible.”

This performance represents the first of two jazz-related events, “The Griot and the Mystic,” with Sanders as the “griot”―a revered African caste member serving as oral historian through story and song―and world-renowned organist Dr. Lonnie Smith as the “mystic.” (The Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio performs on March 22.)

This year’s slate of Lively Arts performances will also feature “Jazz Cubano,” a three-part series funded by a Philadelphia Music Project grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage showcasing conga player Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Band on October 26, jazz fusion artist Omar Sosa on November 16, and the bebop/Latin “Ninety Miles” trio of Stefon Harris, David Sanchez and Christian Scott on December 14.

Follow “Destination Arts” at Montgomery County Community College on Facebook at facebook.com/DestinationArts for information about performing and fine arts events.

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