THE CRUCIBLE NOW SHOWING AT THE TRI-PAC

Courtesy of Village Productions
What if speaking the simple truth meant certain death. Would you lie? If being loyal cost you everything you love, would you betray? Themes of truth, loyalty and betrayal are explored in a new staging of The Crucible at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center, 245 E. High Street, Pottstown.

A Tony Award Winner for Best Play, this drama about the Puritan purge of witchcraft in old Salem is both a gripping historical play and a timely parable of our contemporary society. The story focuses upon a young farmer, his wife, and a young servant-girl who maliciously causes the wife’s arrest for witchcraft. The farmer brings the girl to court to admit the lie – and it is here that the monstrous course of bigotry and deceit is terrifyingly depicted. Arthur Miller’s masterpiece was written during Senator Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee hearings, for which Miller was called to testify in 1956.

Visiting Director John Moletress recently received The John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company at the Helen Hayes Awards in Washington, DC. The award recognizes the excellent work of Mr. Moletress’ home theater, Factory 449: a theatre collective, which is committed to maintaining an ensemble of multi-disciplinary artists and professionals dedicated to the collaborative process of creating “theatre as event” through dynamic and innovative productions.

The cast includes Brent Adams, Jim Lewis, Andrea Frassoni, Sue Giddings, Nancy Dolan, Titilola Verissimo, Molly Lang, Cassie Van Druff, Isabella Rota-Talarico, Hannah Paczkowski, Ali Dougherty, Jeff Hunsicker, Bob Stineman, Frank DiElsi, Paul Fein, Paul Recupero, Emma Russek, Jim Ewald, Frank Licopoli, Elissa Drummond, Maggie Swahl, and Mark Schule.

The Crucible runs Thursdays through Sundays until March 20th. Tickets cost $13 – $21, with special group discounts available for all shows. Tickets may be purchased online at www.tripac.org, by calling 610-970-1199, or at the door if available. A study guide with more information about the show is available for download here. Parents: due to themes about relationships, this show is rated PG.

**If you’re coming to the Positively!Pottstown Happy Hour on Friday, March 18 at the Tri-PAC, AND you want to see The Crucible afterward, you can get a $2 discount on your ticket to the show! Simply call the box office at 610-970-1199 or email Beth at beth@villageproductions.org to purchase your discounted tickets. Then pick up your $2 coupon at the Happy Hour, get your tickets at the box office that night, and present the coupon at that time. Due to the staging, seating is more limited for this show.**

Village Production/The Tri-County Performing Arts Center is a dynamic performing arts organization founded in 2001 by a dedicated team of performing artists, arts educators, and area residents who dreamed of creating new and highly accessible performing arts opportunities for the community. Village Productions seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and educational opportunities geared toward a diverse audience.

Tavern Night at Pottsgrove Manor

Gentry imbibing

This looks like a really fun event — Tavern Night at Pottsgrove Manor this Saturday night, March 12. It will be an evening of 18th century diversions at Mr. Potts’ “tavern” for the opening of the new exhibit “Spirituous Liquours & Healthful Distillations: Alcohol in Colonial America.” Come out to enjoy colonial musicians, tavern songs, games of chance, and a tour of the new exhibit.

Pottsgrove Manor – one of Pottstown’s unique heritage resources – is at 100 W. King Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. Tavern Night will run from 7-9 pm. There is a $2 per person suggested donation. For more info: call 610-326-4014 or on check out their website.

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Creating public art through local partnerships

I just had to share this link to the website of Olde Town Grove City, PA. I got it from Stephanie Dittrich Conlon; she’s the creator of Community Buzz, which covers Berks County towns. Thanks, Stephanie!

It’s a great example of a bunch of local partners coming together to create public art around a parking signage project. It involves students from a residential treatment community, the borough’s Design Committee, the school district, an artist-in-residence, ArtsErie and other arts funders, Interstate Machine and Fabrication, Canadian National Railroad, Tower Presbyterian Church and the Borough of Grove City, among others.

Pottstown is now creating a Heritage Action Plan that will include similar partnerships to come up with a vision, goals and objectives to draw visitors from the Schuylkill River Trail to its downtown. Check out the Pottstown Heritage Action Plan page at Facebook and join the conversation!

Heritage Action Plan needs your input!

Last Friday, about 20 individuals and representatives from many different organizations in the community gathered at the Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce for a 3.5 hour workshop to really dig into Pottstown’s Heritage Action Plan. Pottstown is creating a Heritage Action Plan or HAP with funds from the Schuylkill River Heritage Area (SRHA). The purpose is to come up with a plan that will help promote and protect Pottstown’s heritage resources, make it a destination location and promote economic development.

On hand were Bob Folwell and Kara Wilson from the SRHA, as well as heritage planning consultants Shane and Peter Johnston from Peter Johnston Associates of Easton, MD. They were there to give an overview of the heritage planning toolkit, which they developed and which is being used to guide Pottstown through the process.

Our first step had been reaching out and trying to find “partners” to participate. A partner can be just about anyone, from an interested citizen to the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation, the Tri-County Performing Arts Center, The Hill School, the Pottstown Community Land Trust, or local blogger Roy Keeler. I have gotten back partnership forms from several participants. To anyone else who would like to be an official partner: please get me your forms by this Friday, March 11! The Partnership_Form can be accessed here for anyone reading this for the first time.

After forming useful partnerships, the next step from the toolkit is creating a vision and goals. On Friday, we went around the room and people shared their vision for what the town could look like and feel like in an ideal world, while consultant Shane Johnston typed away. We came up with some common themes, which will be posted here shortly. We will also open up that conversation to the public for more input.

The next major step from the toolkit is to identify and assess a community’s heritage resources. Before we can market Pottstown, we need to catalogue exactly what resources we have and then decide which ones will provide the most immediate, visible return if we spend money to promote them. When this HAP is completed in April, we will apply for $25,000 to the SRHA to implement those top priorities over the course of the next year.

In an effort to bring the wider community into the conversation, we are putting out a request for help in identifying Pottstown’s “heritage resources.” Readers are welcome to respond here or at our Facebook page: Pottstown Heritage Action Plan.

So, what exactly is a “heritage resource”?

Here are a bunch of categories and some examples to get you thinking:

Historic Sites/Structures
– Downtown historic walking tours
– Potts Cemetery
– Edgewood Cemetery
– Various war memorials

Archeological Sites/Structures

Cultural Sites (Churches, Synagogues, etc.)
– Any historic church in town

Educational Institutions and Libraries
– Pottstown Historical Society
– Pottstown Regional Public Library

Museums & Other Interpretive Centers

Arts, Entertainment, and Shopping Areas

Major Highways and Roads

Trails, Greenways, Bikeways, Railroads

Sensitive Environmental Areas, Natural Wonders

Parks and Recreation Areas
– Riverfront Park
– Memorial Park

Tourism Dependent Businesses (hotels, restaurants, bars)

Special Events/Festivals that highlight local history/culture
– Schuylkill River Festival
– Carousel of Flavor
– July 4th
– Volleyball Rumble

Tourist Facilities (public restrooms, parking)

Other Resources

WE NEED YOU TO JOIN THE CONVERSATION
What are some of Pottstown’s resources that you’d like to see on the list? As people respond, I’ll periodically update the list. Because of our short time frame to complete the plan, it would be great if people could get their suggestions in by this Friday, March 11th. If you have any questions, or would like to be involved further, send an email to PtownHAP@gmail.com Thanks for participating!

Violin Virtuoso at Emmanuel Lutheran TODAY!

The Music at Emmanuel Series is one of Pottstown’s best-kept secrets that really should be shouted from the rooftops!

Violin virtuoso, Solomiya Ivakhiv, will perform today, Sunday, March 6 at 4pm, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church at 150 N. Hanover Street, Pottstown.

Ukrainian born violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv, has been hailed in the press for her “luminous performances” and her “assured and noble sound.” This gifted young artist has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in concert halls throughout Europe, North America and China; and has served as concertmaster for the Curtis Symphony and the Augusta Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Ivakhiv has received critical praise and is especially noted for her exceptional technique, superb musicianship and her distinct ability to illuminate a score with mature and “deeply realized” insights.

The Music at Emmanuel series provides outstanding music within the gorgeous Romanesque architecture of historic Emmanuel Lutheran Church, all in the heart of Pottstown. Most concerts are free, with voluntary contributions gratefully accepted.

The next concert in the series will feature the Copeland String Quartet on Sunday, April 3 at 4 pm. For more information, go here. Or find Music at Emmanuel on Facebook.

Guest blogger recommends Maximiliano’s for Mexican cuisine

Please welcome guest blogger, Carrie Grabowicz, who enjoyed her visits to Maximiliano’s at 569 W. High Street so much that she just had to write about it. Carrie Grabowicz is the owner of Hammi Jammi Jewelry and blogs about her craft here. She lives in Pottstown with her husband and two sons. Welcome and thank you, Carrie!

This is the second time I’ve been to Maximiliano’s Mexican Food in the past month. The first time was for a business lunch, and the restaurant, owners, décor and – most importantly – the fresh food pleasantly surprised me. I wasn’t overly familiar with the location, but after that initial visit, I decided to help out the owners in any way I could to promote this fantastic find. As a small business owner myself – of Hammi Jammi Jewelry, which I design – I constantly strive to expand my network and support them. Hey, you never know when you will need someone else’s services or help! On my second visit to Maximiliano’s, I brought a dear friend and my three-year-old son with me. Here is my attempt at informing the Pottstown public about this must-try Mexican restaurant.

Enchilada Verde Platter

Mexican cuisine (if we can even call it that) was introduced to the United States by that culinary haven known as Taco Bell, a fast-food stand that first appeared in 1962, offering hungry diners something called tacos. It made it seem like the essence of Mexican food was fried tortillas, bent into a uniform shape, so rigid that they seemed to have been shellacked. These prefab tacos became the culinary icon of what is actually a large, diverse nation. Mexican cuisine was defined as a rigid shell carelessly stuffed with shredded lettuce, grated cheese, crumbled beef and a red sauce of varying degrees of heat. If this is your idea of Mexican food, then Maximiliano’s is NOT for you!

Authentic Mexican cooking is way more subtle than that. According to Eve and Maximiliano Luna, the owners and gracious hosts of Maximiliano’s, different regions of Mexico have their own style of cooking, where different ingredients and methods of cooking produce different results. Additionally, in the Mexican household cooking is a planned, all-day event. This gave the young Maximiliano plenty of time to watch his mother, grandmother, and sometimes his father, cook different meals. This is how he learned the family recipes that he still cooks today at the restaurant.

On our visit, my friend, son and I sat at our table by the stained glass windows and were immediately given some homemade chips and salsa. I ordered the Enchilada Verde Platter with two cheeses – not that standard, shredded nacho cheese, but real Mexican crumbled cheese – and onion enchiladas with the best verde sauce I have ever tasted. The entrée came with a side of refried beans that had been boiled and crushed just that morning and some rice. As we were sitting and talking with Max and Eve, the table next to us got up to leave and said, “Sorry we don’t come in as often as we like, but we come from Boyertown on our lunch break and there’s just not enough time over lunch hour.” Maxmiliano offered for them to just call in the order and he’d have it ready for them when they came in.

My son had the cheese quesadillas. He occupied himself during our lunch by playing little peg games at the table and interjecting that he had to use the bathroom, which is small and quite nice, but I digress.

Cheese Quesadilla

Maximiliano’s food was so authentic and fresh. Since I had a meatless entrée, I inquired about their tacos and was informed that they are made using steak and chicken breast and not crumbled meat. The food is prepped and made from scratch each day. They have a small menu but what they do offer is done right!

Eve and Maximiliano Luna are gracious hosts and it is my hope that Maximiliano’s Mexican Food becomes a staple in Pottstown. I am very grateful to have found this restaurant to fulfill my Mexican food urges….I wouldn’t want to have to go to Taco Bell ever again, now would I?

Maximiliano’s is offering up free sopapillas to anyone who mentions this blog. Just say you heard about them on Positively!Pottstown to receive this yummy dessert on the house.

Max and Eve Luna

Maximiliano’s Mexican Food
569 W. High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
(484) 948-1681
Find Maximiliano’s on Facebook here.

Hours of Operation: Tuesday-Thursday 11-8; Friday 11-9; Saturday 12-9
Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Discover
Services: Takes Reservations; Walk-Ins Welcome; Good For Kids; Take Out;
Catering
Specials:
Taco Tuesday (Chicken tacos $1.50; Steak tacos $2.00)
Family Special (10 Chicken tacos, 2 Cheese Quesadillas, and chips and salsa $20)

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