The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 20, 2013

Performing arts centers will stage musicals, comedies, dance


JOHNSTOWN — “Electrify Your Strings,” a music educational phenomenon that fires up students and teachers by injecting a high-voltage dose of rock into a school’s music education program, is new to the schedule at Richland Performing Arts Center.

 Mark Wood, an original member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra for 13 years, conceived the program.

After two days of practice with Wood and his band, Richland music students in grades 5-12 will be rocking in concert with the band at 7:30 p.m. April 2.

Wood, a world-renowned musician, composer and electric violinist, will be joined by his wife, Laura Kaye, as vocalist and their son, Elijah, as drummer.

“We thought it was a great program,” said Scott Miller, executive director of Richland Performing Arts Center. “He contacted us since he’s on a national tour and will be passing through Johnstown.”

“The concert will be open to the public.”

Musical selections will include Wood’s own compositions and arrangements of classic rock and contemporary music, such as Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train,” Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” and the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

The concert will benefit music education at Richland.

Richland’s regular season will continue with the Recessionals Jazz Band, which will jazz up the stage at

7 p.m. March 23.

Born on the streets of New York City, the group is a highly celebrated ensemble that specializes in traditional jazz, including New Orleans standards, gospel, spirituals and early New York City-Tin Pan Alley standards.

“This will be for people who enjoy jazz,” Miller said. “When you say jazz, this is what you think of.”

Proceeds from the show will benefit Richland Theater Boosters.

“On the Town,” the classic American musical composed by Leonard Bernstein, will be onstage at 7 p.m. March 1-2 and 2 p.m. March 3.

The story follows three American sailors on a 24-hour leave in New York City during wartime 1944.  

The musical introduced several popular and classic songs, including “New York, New York,” “Lonely Town,” “I Can Cook, Too” and “Some Other Time.”

“School House Rock – Live!” will be the Richland Junior High School musical at 7 p.m. April 26-27.

The play follows the story of a nerve-wracked schoolteacher who is anxious about his first day of teaching and sees characters who show him how to win over his students with imagination and music.

Songs include “Just a Bill,” “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly” and “Conjunction Junction.”

“This is for grades 7-9,” Miller said.

“We have it every year. It’s a good part of our theater program – to get them hooked younger.”

Students in grades 7-12 will perform a musical tribute to Broadway’s greatest shows in “Way Off Broadway,” at 7 p.m. May 19.

Musicals showcased will include “42nd Street,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Miss Saigon,” “Les Miserables” and “South Pacific.”

“This will be songs in concert,” Miller said. “There will be some acting as a prelude to the songs, but it’s more of a concert atmosphere.”

After the Summer Performing Arts Academy 2013 is held June 16-29, “Disney’s Little Mermaid Jr.” will be performed at 7 p.m. June 28-29.

The classic musical is the story of beautiful young mermaid Ariel who longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above.

It will feature the hit songs “Part of Your World,” “She’s in Love” and “Under the Sea.”

“This is the Broadway version for ages 11-18,” Miller said. “We’ve had kids from all over the area – Cambria, Somerset, Bedford and Blair counties.

“We’re getting more from the Pittsburgh area who might come to stay with their grandparents.

“Last year, we had some from Washington, Indiana and Westmoreland counties. We’re starting to branch out.”

Information: 269-0300 or

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