At the Wyoming County Cultural Center at the Dietrich Theater, we believe our classes and events should be accessible to all ages. All of our children’s offerings are available for free or a nominal cost, providing scholarships for those in need. This last week we were reminded of the reason we work so hard to make this possible.
We found out that a young father, a truck driver who drives the night shift, brings his 3-year-old son to our Music for Littles before he goes home to get his sleep. It is father/son time for him. He makes that precious time his priority. Both are so happy to come each Tuesday to experience the world of music with music educator, Abi Zieger, and other pre-schoolers and their caregivers. They sing songs and try out many instruments, including the xylophone, string bass, ukulele, and other rhythm instruments.
Zieger brings her music magic to the Dietrich for people like this young dad and his son from 10 to 10:45 a.m. every Tuesday.
We thank the Rotary Club of Tunkhannock for sponsoring this important program.
Another free program last week brought Dr. Phillip Atteberry, of the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville, to the Dietrich to present Judy Garland and the American Musical, sponsored by the Wyoming County Commissioners.
We mostly remember Judy Garland for her movie “Wizard of Oz,” but she was in numerous musicals before and after that film was produced. Many of us were surprised to learn that many of her films included depiction of singers and dancers in black face – white singers and dancers made up to look like black. Insensitive, to say the least, to most of us, until we learned, according to Atteberry, that this was Hollywood’s counter reaction to Hitler’s assertion that the Aryan or white race is superior. Atteberry told us that in 1936 the Summer Olympics were held in Berlin Germany and the great African-American athlete Jesse Owens won three world records in track and field, totally debunking Hitler’s theory of Aryan superiority. Hollywood films of the 1930s endeavored to further debunk Hitler’s theory by showing the talents of black musicians, even though they used black face to get the point across.
Just in time for Veterans Day, the free Dietrich Film Favorite series will feature the acclaimed Vietnam War film, “We Were Soldiers” at 1 and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8. The film, starring Mel Gibson, tells the story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War and the soldiers on both side who fought it. It dramatizes the Battle of Ia Drang on Nov. 14, 1965. It is based on the book, “We Were Soldiers Once… And Young” (1992) by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Hal Moore and reporter Joseph L. Galloway, both of whom were at the battle.
Free tickets will be available at the door. The movie showing is sponsored by Post 457 Dennis Strong American Legion.
We have to tell you about the next National Theatre Live filmed play at the Dietrich. Once in a while a play is so significant and important it garners not only a Pulitzer prize for Best Drama, but also a Tony Award for Best Play.
The Dietrich Theater is privileged to host Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America,” a play in two parts, a play that has won both awards. National Theatre Live returns to the Dietrich Theater with its filmed production of both parts: “Part I: Millenium Approaches” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5 and “Part II: Perestroika” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12. Each part tells its own story, and can stand on its own.
The subject of “Angels in America” is the AIDS crisis in New York in the 1980s. It is a complex and often symbolic examination of homosexuality in America at that time. The National Theatre Live Production stars Andrew Garfield as Prior Walter and Nathan Lane as Roy Cohn. The cast of eight actors plays multiple roles, including gender reversals. It initially focuses on one couple in Manhattan and weaves into it several other stories.
Tickets may be reserved by calling 570-996-1500, online at dietrichtheater.com or at the door.
There is so much to tell you about. This is just a start. But just remember it is our mission to serve you. We do it all for you.
We hope we see you soon and often!