Category: Morning Call

Christopher Cross sailing into Easton’s State Theatre with his signature sound

Photo: Max Crace

When singer-songwriter Christopher Cross unveiled his self-titled debut album in 1980, little did he know the impact it would have. With hits like “Ride Like The Wind,” “Sailing,” and “Never Be The Same,” the album went on to win five Grammy awards in 1981, including earning Cross the coveted Best New Artist and Album of The Year awards. A year later, Cross followed that success with an Academy Award win for Best Original Song with “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” from the movie, “Arthur.”

In the years since, Cross has released more than a dozen acclaimed albums, from 1983’s “Another Page” and hits like “All Right,” and “Think of Laura,” to recent albums like 2018’s “Take Me As I Am” and a limited-edition box set retrospective aptly titled “The Complete Works,” which celebrates his 40th anniversary as a recording artist.

On Tuesday, Cross will bring his signature sound and legacy of carefully crafted songs to an intimate performance at the State Theatre in Easton. Joining Cross that evening will be renowned Moody Blues guitarist and lead vocalist, Justin Hayward, who will be performing a selection of his own classic hits.

I recently spoke with Cross about his upcoming performance and more in this new interview:

Q. What can fans expect during your performance at The State Theatre?

Christopher Cross: I’m a singer-songwriter so for me it’s all about the songs and playing them for the fans. One thing about the show is that there are no tracks. I have an amazing group of musicians with me who are jazz trained and very high-level players and singers. It’s a sophisticated, high-production show as far as the music goes. I’ll be playing most of the first and second album and the hits that people know. I’ve made 12 albums over the years so I’ll also be playing selections from the other albums as well. This is our first time out this year and we’re really excited.

You can read the rest of my Morning Call interview with Christopher Cross by Clicking Here!

Groovy, baby: 1960s ‘Fashion Experiment’ takes spotlight in new Allentown Art Museum exhibit

The Allentown Art Museum is the place to be when its groovy new exhibition, “Fashion as Experiment: The ’60s,” opens on Saturday, May 6.

The exhibit, which runs through Sunday, Sept. 24, explores clothing as a tool for change and focuses on the mid-1960s styles that offered young people of the era a laboratory for imagination and play as well as a growing sense of activism.

The new exhibition will be structured in two parts and will feature more than 100 garments and accessories from the museum’s vast collection, some of which by iconic designers such as Geoffrey Beene, Emilio Pucci, Bonnie Cashin, and André Courrèges.

A special preview night event will take place on Friday, May 5, from 6 to 8 p.m., that will include light refreshments as well as a disc jockey spinning the music of the 1960s. If you can’t make it on Friday, there will be a special member-only preview hour on Saturday, May 6, from 10 until 11 a.m. The day’s attendees will be able to take a tour of the exhibition with museum curator Claire McRee or can stop by the museum’s new kid-friendly Fashion Maker Station.

Visitors are encouraged to wear their own vintage-look clothing or bring along old garments and transform them into iconic ’60s tie-dyed fashion statements.

I recently spoke with Museum curator Claire McRee about the upcoming exhibition and more in this exclusive new interview.

Q: What was the inspiration behind the new exhibition, “Fashion as Experiment: The ‘60s”?

Claire McRee: We have a strong 1960s area in our fashion collection with a lot of depth and interesting garments. That was really the inspiration. Then as we thought about the issues and conversations that were happening during the 60s we realized a lot of the ideas about things like gender, race and the environment still resonate today. It felt like a great moment to take a closer look at this important era in history.

Read the rest of my Morning Call Interview with Claire McRee by Clicking Here!

‘Drag Queen Fight Night’: Lehigh Valley native Carson Kressley previews new Wind Creek event

For the last 20 years, Weisenberg Township native and Emmy-award winning TV personality, actor and fashion designer Carson Kressley has delighted legions of fans with his work on acclaimed shows like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

On Saturday, Kressley will add yet another event to his entertainment roster when he returns to the Lehigh Valley to debut and host “Drag Queen Fight Night with Carson Kressley” at the Wind Creek Event Center.

Billed as a play on sports, drag and nightlife, the event features drag entertainers made popular through social media and from their appearances on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Using their unique and extraordinary talents, performers Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, Kennedy Davenport, Angeria Paris VanMicheals, and Salina EsTitties will battle it out for bragging rights as well as a coveted, bedazzled championship belt. An after-party will immediately follow the event and will feature another “Drag Race” alum, Plastique Tiara, as guest DJ.

I recently spoke with Carson Kressley about “Drag Queen Fight Night,” his return to the Lehigh Valley and more in this exclusive new interview.

Q: “Drag Queen Fight Night” is going to be kind of a homecoming event for you. What can you tell me about your ties to the Lehigh Valley?

Carson Kressley: I’m a proud Northwestern Lehigh Tiger, Class of ’87 and always sing the praises of the Lehigh Valley. I loved growing up there and currently have a farm a little west of town. We actually have a lot of famous alum from the area. I went to the Emmys recently in Los Angeles and it was like an Allentown reunion. I got to see Christine Taylor, who was inducted into the Lehigh Valley Hall of Fame with me. I also saw Amanda Siegfried, who won an Emmy for her show, and got to reminisce with her about some Allentown stuff. It’s a beautiful area and a great place to grow up.

Read the rest of my Morning Call interview with Carson Kressley by Clicking Here.

Jay Leno’s State Theatre show Friday: What you can expect and his John Glenn story in this exclusive Q and A

It’s been a rough last few months for comedian Jay Leno. Last fall, the acclaimed TV late night show host and pioneering car enthusiast spent nine days in the hospital with severe burns following an incident while working on one of the hundreds of exotic cars in his vast collection.

This was prior to being involved in a motorcycle accident in January that left him with several broken bones. But as most comedians do, Leno is quick to make light of the unfortunate situations and even uses them as material in his stand-up routine.

At 72, Leno shows no signs of slowing down.

He’s currently fielding offers to continue his long-running series, “Jay Leno’s Garage,” and his acclaimed game show, “You Bet Your Life with Jay Leno,” has just been picked up for a third season. He’s also out on the road performing his classic standup comedy, which will see him pay a visit to The State Theatre in Easton at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

I recently spoke with Jay Leno about his performance in Easton, his recovery, the current state of comedy and more in this exclusive new interview.

You can read my complete Morning Call Interview with Jay Leno By Clicking Here.

Rick Wakeman reflects on his time with Yes and playing with David Bowie as he prepares for Wind Creek performance

With more than 50 million albums sold and having an enviable reputation as both an artist and for his wit and raconteur, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Rick Wakeman should delight his fans when he performs “An Evening With Rick Wakeman: His Music And Stories” at the Wind Creek Event Center on Thursday.

The one-man event gives Wakeman the opportunity to perform selections from his vast 50-plus-year musical catalog as well as share anecdotes from his early days as a session player right up to the present day. Included will be selections from Wakeman’s time arranging and performing keyboards on hits like David Bowie’s Life On Mars, as well as his groundbreaking stint with the progressive rock band Yes, and his own multi-platinum solo albums.

An Evening with Rick Wakeman: His Music and Stories promises to be a show filled with musical memories and riotous reflection from a true rock legend.

I recently spoke with Rick Wakeman about his plans for his Wind Creek performance and more in this exclusive interview.

What do you enjoy most about these one-man shows as opposed to performing in a group ensemble?

Rick Wakeman: I don’t really prefer one over the other, I do shows with orchestras, band shows, band shows with orchestras and even one-man and two-man shows with my son, Adam. They’re all different and I love them all. I think the reason why is because I’m not doing the same thing all the time. I’m a people person and it’s great to just be in a room with a lot of people and playing away.

What can fans expect from your upcoming performance at Wind Creek Event Center?

Wakeman: It’s a one-man show where it’s just me, a piano, a couple of keyboards and a microphone. I’ll play music from all the eras I’ve been involved with in my life and the people I’ve played with, such as David Bowie, Cat Stevens, Yes [obviously], some of my own stuff, and a few surprises. In between, I’ll tell ludicrous stories. Some of which, possibly, have some resemblance of truth to them. You never know.

Read the rest of my Morning Call Interview with Rick Wakeman By Clicking Here.

Marie Osmond talks about Wind Creek show, stardom at a young age and who made her star-struck

Now in her sixth decade as a multitalented artist and performer, Marie Osmond is showing no signs of slowing down. Her latest album, 2021’s Unexpected, debuted at #1 on the Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart. An album that showcases Osmond’s versatility in performing everything from opera to The Great American Songbook.

Osmond first rose to fame in 1973 at the tender age of 12 with the release of her debut album, Paper Roses. Three years later she would find herself, along with brother Donny, as co-hosts of one of the most popular variety shows in television history, “Donny & Marie.”

Osmond is currently performing a small run of shows, which includes a stop at the Wind Creek Event Center in Bethlehem on Friday. Longtime fans can expect to hear many of the songs and stories that made Osmond one of the most iconic artists in the world.

In addition to these select run of shows, Osmond is also planning to join in the 40th anniversary celebration of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which to date has raised more than $8 billion for children. Osmond is one of the co-founders of the nonprofit organization.

I recently spoke with Marie Osmond about her upcoming show in Bethlehem, her career and more in this exclusive interview.

What can fans expect from your performance at the Wind Creek Event Center?

Osmond: You’ll get to see six decades of my career along with multiple singing styles and genre performances with my fantastic band. There will also be lots of video and interaction with the audience. David Osmond will also be there, who’s a phenomenal entertainer. I had him perform in my Christmas shows. His story is unbelievable. I really enjoy these shows and think it’s a good time for people to get out and live again. It’s a fun show and I think people are going to have a really good time.

Read the rest of my

Interview with Marie Osmond by Clicking Here.

Dieruff grad Sabrina Joseph going full circle with role in ‘Hairspray,’ at State Theatre

When Sabrina Joseph began her musical theater journey, it was in the production of “Hairspray” during her time at Dieruff High School. She’d later go on to participate in the State Theatre’s annual Freddy Awards and take part in the ceremony’s opening and closing performances.

The Dieruff and DeSales University graduate will be making a homecoming visit on Saturday, Feb. 18, to The State, this time as part of the touring production of, ironically enough, “Hairspray.”

Set in the 1960’s, “Hairspray” tells the story of 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad (Niki Metcalf) as she dances her way onto TV’s most popular show and winds up changing the world. The show features a beloved musical score and a talented ensemble cast that also includes Andrew Levitt and Sandie Lee.

Joseph’s role in the touring production is that of a swing, an important position that requires her
to master multiple parts. Slightly different than an understudy, Joseph is an offstage performer
who goes on often at a moment’s notice if someone in the ensemble is unable to do so.

I recently spoke with Joseph about the upcoming “Hairspray” performance and her local
ties to the Lehigh Valley and State Theatre in this exclusive interview.

What can fans expect from the upcoming Hairspray tour stop at The State Theatre?

Sabrina Joseph: You can expect a great show with a lot of fun energy, moving moments and, at
the end, a big dance party.

What can you tell me about your role in this touring production?

Joseph: I’m a swing for the show, which is an understudy for the ensemble members. My role is
to learn multiple ensemble roles and be ready to go on for them at any given time due to
someone going on vacation, being sick, or has an injury. Sometimes I may have two days’ notice,
but often times it may be hours before the show or even while the show is happening.

Read the rest of my

Interview with Sabrina Joseph by Clicking Here.

‘Being alive’: Mandy Patinkin’s State Theatre show a celebration of living, learning and loving

Mandy Patinkin – Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Over the course of his nearly 50-year career, Mandy Patinkin has established himself as one of the legends of stage and screen. His accolades include a Tony Award win for his debut performance as Che in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita,” as well as an Emmy for his role on the CBS series, “Chicago Hope.” Patinkin also spent eight seasons in the role of CIA agent Saul Berenson on Showtime’s acclaimed series, “Homeland.”

On Saturday, the self-described mailman storyteller, along with pianist Andy Ben-David, will take to the intimate stage of The State Theatre in Easton, to perform Patinkin’s latest concert experience, “Being Alive.” A show Patin

kin describes as a celebration of living, learning and loving.

I recently spoke with Mandy Patinkin about his upcoming performance and more in this exclusive new interview.

Q: How did your new concert experience, “Being Alive,” come about?

Patinkin: I had a previous concert called “Diaries” that I did before the pandemic. Times were a little dark then and, although I loved it, it was a bit of a dark concert. When we were coming out of the pandemic and deciding to get back on the road I said, “I need a concert that makes me and my audience feel happy.” So I went through 13 hours of archival material that I had in my repertoire over the years and we put together a happy, fun evening. I called it “Being Alive” because that’s the great privilege of being 70 years old and still waking up every morning. To say nothing of the fact that I get to do what I love and have fun.

Read the rest of my

Interview with Mandy Patinkin by clicking here.

John Denver tribute concert set to honor late singer’s musical legacy with hits and holiday favorites

When singer-songwriter Ted Vigil entered a singing contest in Laughlin, Nevada in 2006, little did he know his life as an artist was about to change. With no pre-set agenda, Vigil decided to perform a John Denver song and took home first place in the competition that included contestants from more than 25 States and three other countries.

Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Denver, it wasn’t long before people who had worked with the late singer encouraged Vigil to do a tribute show, and the ball started rolling.

Today, Vigil performs more than 100 shows a year celebrating Denver’s life and musical legacy. He even spent a few years performing with Steve Weisberg, who was the late singer’s lead guitar player from the 1970′s.

This season, Vigil is including holiday songs as part of his appropriately titled, A John Denver Christmas, which will stop at The Sellersville Theater Dec. 10.

Fans of Denver’s music can celebrate the holidays with hits from Denver’s traditional and Christmas catalogs as well as a selection of holiday favorites performed by an award-winning artist who not only looks like the musical legend but continues to keep the spirit of John Denver alive more than 25 years after his untimely passing.

I spoke with Ted Vigil about his John Denver Christmas show and more.

James Wood for The Morning Call: What made you decide to do a John Denver tribute?

Ted Vigil: It really started as a result of a contest I won in Nevada. I met some people who had been friends with John, and they said that I should start thinking about doing a tribute show to John’s music. I was a rock and roll drummer at the time, but the ball started rolling, and I couldn’t stop it. I ended up touring with John’s lead guitar player, Steve Weisberg, for four and a half years, performed in 50 states and probably do around 100 shows a year as my full-time job. I’ve been doing this for about fifteen years and have loved every minute of it.

Read the rest of my

Interview with Ted Vigil by Clicking Here.

Blues guitarist Joanne Shaw Taylor, playing Easton’s State Theatre, talks about rocking with Joe Bonamassa and her musical personality

Blues guitarist Joanne Shaw Taylor, at age 16, was discovered by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and over the past two decades, has proven herself as a guitarist and prolific songwriter.

She’s received praise fans and artists like Joe Bonamassa, Stevie Wonder and Annie Lennox for her distinctive style and soulful voice.

Taylor has released three albums in the past year, including “The Blues Album” (produced by Bonamassa and Josh Smith) which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart.

Her new album, “Nobody’s Fool,” is another collection of catchy hooks and riffs and includes the lead single “Just No Getting Over You (Dream Cruise)” as well as Taylor’s spin on The Eurythmics’ hit “Missionary Man.” Bonamassa also joins Taylor on the original song, “Won’t Be Fooled Again.”

Taylor brings her infectious blues prowess to Easton’s State Theatre on Nov. 12.

I spoke with Joanne Shaw Taylor about the show, her new album and more in this exclusive Morning Call interview.

James Wood for The Morning Call: Is your tour stop in Easton part of a larger run of dates you’ll be doing?

Taylor: We’re doing three weeks here in the States in November and then straight to the UK for three more weeks. We’ve got a bigger Spring run through the U.S. in March and April that’ll start in Florida and make its way out west.

What can fans expect from your upcoming performance at The State Theatre?

For people who know my stuff, it’ll be a bit of a mix. In the past year, we’ve done three albums: “The Blues Album,” “Blues From The Heart: Live,” and the new album, “Nobody’s Fool.” With COVID kind of shutting down touring for a bit, all of that material is still fresh. I say this tongue in cheek, but I’ll also play a selection of greatest hits from the older albums. It’ll be a good night of the best of my catalogue played by an explosive band.

Read the rest of my

Interview with Joanne Shaw Taylor by Clicking Here.