The WC Press Performing Arts Issue - November 2014

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“I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost—it’s there and then it’s gone.” -Maggie Smith COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Debbie DeSantis Brad Liermann Jennifer Ozgur DJ Romeo Published By... Mathers Productions 13 South Church Street West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463

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Our no-nonsense table of contents

BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Talking great food and craft beers with Rich at Ram’s Head LOCAL TALENT Tessa has dedicated her life to dance BRINGING THE ARTS TO WEST CHESTER Previewing the upcoming season at WCU Live! EN POINTE The timeless beauty of Brandywine Ballet’s The Nutcracker LIGHTS ON Uptown! Entertainment Alliance has big plans THE MAKEOVER Peter’s Salon & European Spa styles a lucky lady THE LOOK Nich keeps you ahead of the fashion curve OWNER OF THE MONTH Michael Arizin has an appreciation for repurposed art PHOTO HUNT Your favorite game returns to these pages





From the


“Ballet is sort of a mystery to me. And I don’t want to unravel that mystery.” –Robert Caro

When my sister and I were young our grandmother—a patron of the arts determined that her grandchildren should follow her example— took us to plays, ballets and one or two experimental dance routines. My sister loved it; I was confused, and while I did my best to conceal that confusion, I was quietly relieved when I was no longer

invited on those trips. In my early 20s, while traveling in Europe, I attended the opera and lived up to the worst of American stereotypes when I fell asleep halfway through Act 1 of The Barber of Seville with a bottle of Diet Coke in my hand. I was shuffled awake when my snoring reached an audible pitch and did my best to focus on aria after aria in a foreign language for which their were no subtitles. Despite a double shot of espresso at intermission, I nodded in and out for the remainder of the performance, totally clueless. Knowing my history and nervous I’d embarrass myself again, I balked when I was offered two tickets to the Brandywine Ballet’s production of Dracula. I spent a full day talking myself into taking the tickets. “You’re publishing a whole magazine about West Chester’s performing arts,” I told myself. “If you’re gonna see a ballet, it might as well be one about vampires, right?” “You’re getting older; maybe you’ll enjoy it more.” And so it was that, somewhat depressingly, I realized I must be getting older—I enjoyed Dracula more than I had anticipated. In fact, I enjoyed it a lot more. Were there times my brain wandered? Of course. I haven’t had enough exposure to the medium to fully appreciate extended dance routines that aren’t entirely plot-driven. But the times when I found myself reading the program while others watched the stage were far outnumbered by the times I caught myself conspiciously tapping along to the music, captivated by the dancers’ movements. What made the performance so engaging for me was the production quality. As the smoke billowed behind the transparent, grainy curtain that gave texture to the opening battle scene, I was entranced, and when the lights flicked on downstage and that curtain was suddenly an opaque rendering of a gothic gate, I was thrilled. Not a word was spoken, but I followed the story. The best thing I can say about Dracula was that there were times when I thought, “I get this.” Not just, “oh, that’s cool,” but, “I get why people enjoy this.” That understanding has driven my excitement for everything else we’ve featured in this issue. I’ve made sure to pick out the shows I intend to catch this season at WCU Live!, and Uptown! Entertainment Alliance’s November 20th Jazz and Cocktail hour is already on my calendar. I won’t claim I’m suddenly smitten with live productions—I’m more excited for The Hobbit: There and Back Again than anything else this year. But who knows? Maybe there’s enough quality and variety right here in my hometown that one day I might evolve into the cultured patron of the arts that my grandmother, Barbara Mathers, always hoped I could be. –





Bartender of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


But primarily it’s people? The staff is so friendly, and the regulars are good, too. How would you describe regulars? We have a mix at Ram’s Head: we’ll do a business lunch then a decently hip, mid-twenties, early thirties happy hour crowd. Plus, you get a different vibe downstairs. Can you describe that upstairs downstairs dynamic? Downstairs is a little more

Rich Mahon talks good food and great beer at Ram’s Head.

rough-and-tumble. Upstairs is a more sophisticated crowd.

How long have you been bartending? Oh man, I guess around three years… maybe two and a half? Somewhere around there. I’ve been here longer, but I think that’s how long I’ve been bartending. You got your start at Ram’s head? Yeah. I started out as a food runner for a little while back when I had my own organic fertilizer business, then I started waiting tables, then bartending.

Upstairs people are interested in good food, smart conversations and craft beer.

What made you decide to get a second job? Just trying to get a little extra money. And what made you decide to stay fulltime? Everyone here is so awesome—the

people are great, the food is good, and the beer selection is always on point and always changing.

What do you mean by sophisticated?

Who makes decisions about the beer selection? Generally it’s the two managers—

James and Mindy. You don’t get any say? It’s generally James and Mindy, but they were changing the bottle list recently, and they asked the whole staff if they had any preferences. Everyone here has a bit of a say. What’s the most frustrating thing that’s ever happened to you? Definitely people

being rude with how they get your attention. Whistling, clapping, stuff like that. I know you want my attention, but there are other people who need my attention too— you don’t need to treat me like an animal.

Oh, and once people know your name, they start shouting it at you all the time— they think there on this other level now. I figured you’d say bad tipping. You deal with it and move onto the next situation. Not everyone understands that you’re working for zero money, but for every bad tipper, there’s a good tipper. Having been a small business owner, what’s the biggest difference between bartending and any other job? You always

want to please people, regardless of your job, but behind the bar there is a little bit of power—you get to respond to someone who is being rude. You don’t seem like the type of guy who would… You know, it doesn’t happen often,

but every now and then you have a client who’s horrible. If you’re fertilizing a client’s lawn and they’re being a jerk, you just have to take it, but if you’re bartending and you get someone who’s drunk and being awful there’s a bit more you can do. Yeah, you can kick them out. Exactly, you can kick them out. And the great thing about it is that—hopefully—there are no hard feelings after. They think, “Oh, yeah, I got kicked out of that bar. I was being a drunken idiot.”



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Becca Boyd has a passion for good food


I love musicals, and Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera are some of my favorites. With those two in mind, I decided to try my hand this month at some recipes that are puns derived from those musicals. My favorite song in Les Mis is “A Heart Full of Love,” so I’ll be sharing my recipe for Tart Full of Love. For the savory item, let me regale you with Think of Brie, a tastier take on Phantom’s “Think of Me.” Because, after all, who doesn’t love puns? Think of Brie Breakfast Burrito makes 6-8 1 tbsp. butter, divided; 2 c. frozen white corn; 1/2 tsp. salt, divided 1/4 tsp. pepper, divided; 8 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced 10 eggs, beaten with fork; 1 bunch green onions, sliced 1/2 lb (8 oz.) Brie, cubed (freeze briefly to make dicing easier) 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil; 6-8 whole wheat or flour tortillas 1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Melt 2 tsp. of the butter. 2. Add corn, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Sauté for 5-8 minutes. 3. Add jalapeños. Sauté until peppers begin to brown. 4. Remove peppers and corn. Melt remaining 1 tsp. butter. 5. Add beaten eggs and cook, scrambling gently. Add remaining salt and pepper. 6. Add the pepper and corn mixture as well as the green onions, brie and basil to the pan. 7. Mix gently. 8. Wrap this delciousness in your tortillas.

Tart Full of Love Strawberry Pie-lets makes 35 Pie: 2 c. plus 2 tbsp. flour; 1 tsp. kosher salt; 1 tsp. sugar 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small cubes; 1/4 c. ice water about 1/2 c. strawberry jelly or jam Glaze: 2 c. powdered sugar; 1/4 tsp. almond extract; 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract; 1/4 c. milk or cream 1. Whisk flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter. 2. Add all water, 1 tbsp. at a time and toss with a fork. Bring the dough together to form a ball. Divide the ball into two disks and seal with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour to 3 days. 3. Unwrap dough on a lightly floured counter and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Roll with pin until 1/4 inch thick. 4. Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter or rim of a drinking class. Transfer circles to parchment paper. 5. Dollop 1/2 tsp. of strawberry jam onto half of each circle and fold the dough over top, crimping the edges. Transfer to the freezer and repeat with remaining dough. 6. When second batch is ready to be frozen, remove the first half and press the edges with the tines of a fork. Also, prick the center of each several times with a toothpick. Repeat with second batch. Freeze for at least twenty minutes. 7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 8. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheet for 25 minutes or until lightly golden. 9. Meanwhile, make glaze by whisking all of the glaze ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth. 10. Transfer baked pie-lets to serving platter or wire rack and top with glaze. –







PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


16-year-old Tessa Cadieux Petrie is one of Harrison Dance Studio’s standout performers— she’s dedicated her life to dance. How long have you been dancing? I have

been dancing for 13 years. You do ballet, tap, and jazz. Why those three? Tap, jazz, and ballet are the classic

dance styles. They are the foundation of all dancing. They are the styles that dancing jobs will require. Ballet, tap, and jazz will never go out of style. What do you like about each? I like ballet for its effortlessness and beauty. It teaches you technique, discipline and dedication. Tap is so fun! It teaches you control using tiny muscles in your feet and really helps when you have trouble keeping a beat. Jazz is probably my favorite because it incorporates a lot of dance styles. You have the rhythm and beat of tap, the technique of ballet, the style and sass of hip hop, and finally the emotion of contemporary. How many hours a week do you dedicate to dancing? I dance around 30 hours

a week. I’m never really not dancing. All year? We prepare performance-toperformance, all year round. What have been some of your greatest achievements? I think some of my greatest

achievements have been people telling me at performances that I really moved them emotionally. That’s why I dance. I want to make people feel something. I want to share what I’m feeling with my audience. Another achievement is teaching other girls how to dance. I love seeing girls and boys so passionate about dance and know that I had a part in making them the amazing dancer they are today. Have you won any recognition? I was accepted to the Rockette Summer Intensive, which was a great way to learn more about dancing and what a real Rockette’s job is like. My first audition was in Washington, DC when I was 14, and I remember being scared out of my mind. I didn’t know anyone and have never done

anything like it before. When I got the email that I was accepted, I jumped up and down with my mom for five minutes straight. I then attended the next two years, and this past year was awarded a scholarship and invitation to an elite week of the intensive. What is your favorite performance? My favorite performance was probably dancing at the West Chester University Dance Festival. When my partner and I danced, it was like everyone disappeared, and I was

lost in the moment. It’s those times when everything I’ve sacrificed and the muscle pain and late nights are so worth it. And where do you hope this all leads?

My ultimate goal is to move to New York and be on Broadway. Broadway incorporates singing, acting, and dancing. Although I might not be great at all three just yet, I love every single one of them! Being a star or famous is not my goal. I just want to do what I love for the rest of my life. I want to dance and make people feel again.



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Tell Me something


Kate Chadwick takes a moment to spotlight a local citizen for doing something swell

Who she is: Mallory Showalter What she does: Mallory, a Prevention Specialist with Holcomb Behavioral Health Systems, is a borough resident who has been volunteering at the Charles A. Melton Arts and Education Center on Miner Street since 2009.

Why she’s on this page: Mallory was nominated by Keith Kurowski at the Parks & Recreation Department, who met Mallory when she volunteered as a camp counselor with the department back in 2002. Keith told us: “She’s been working with our department for the last decade plus— just an amazing young lady who’s always busy working or volunteering. She spends a lot of time at the Melton Center, setting up leagues and classes, and just overall doing anything she can do to help out. I’d love to see her get some recognition for everything she does in the community.” Which, as it turns out, is quite a bit. “My first year playing basketball was through the WC YMCA, and we played at the Center,” Mallory told us. “I knew I wanted to be a part of this league. I met the Director, Ken Winston, at a community meeting, and he was talking about starting a basketball summer league for local youth. We started with four teams in 2010, and, as of this past summer, we’ve increased to 12 teams, three divisions, and three all-star games – it’s so great!” When she’s not shooting hoops, Mallory helps with coordinating community service opportunities for the borough’s youth and the after-school program, and “anything else that’s needed! What she likes about West Chester: “I enjoy shopping right here in town—especially Nich! I also love attending the Parks and Recreation events, like the Restaurant Festival and Turks Head Music Festival.” Her favorite restaurant in town is Ram's Head Bar and Grill, but when we asked her to name a favorite meal, she couldn’t do it. “It’s great! I don’t have a favorite dish there—everything is good.” What we like about her: Her enthusiasm, and get-up-and-go spirit. In addition to her work at the Melton Center, Mallory finds the time for other worthy organizations such as Lions Club International, West Chester AND Downingtown Communities That Care, Coatesville Area Senior High School Students Against Drunk Driving Club, and both the YACC (Young Adult and Community Conferencing) and NOPE (Narcotic Overdose Prevention and Education) Task Forces of Chester County. Talk about boundless energy—it must be all that basketball. Moral of the story: Teach your children. “Volunteering was something that was instilled in me as a child,” Mallory told us. “My parents wanted me to understand the values of hard work, and to respect your property and other people's properties. I want to be involved and make the community I live in a better place. And I want the youth I know to be proud of where they come from, and to better their community. “ The Charles A. Melton Arts and Education Center is a non-profit cultural and education organization located at 501 E Miner St. For more information on their programs or how you can volunteer, please call 610-6929290, or visit





! E V I L story

When the Vienna Boys Choir toured the United States in 2003, the Choir was looking for a place to rehearse between concert dates in New York and Philadelphia. That’s when John Rhein, Director of Cultural and Community Affairs at West Chester University, shrewdly booked the Choir as part of the WCU Live! Series for an unbelievably low price. He then passed those savings onto the audience.


Hey Terry

Rhein is responsible for booking and marketing the WCU Live! Series, which falls under the umbrella of the Department of Cultural and Community Affairs of West Chester University. His job is to bring cultural programs to the West Chester University campus for the benefit of the general community. Armed with limited financial resources, relationships built over twenty years in the performance world, and a savvy for deal-making, Rhein has been bringing quality artists to West Chester since 1995. In the course of a year, WCU Live! will present up to twelve shows, and none of the performances this season

e Arts ing th Bring t Chester s to We


have ticket prices higher than $25—a core mission of the series is to bring reasonably priced entertainment to the region. “Ticket prices for these same shows in other venues are often double or greater than what we charge,” says Pam Levin, who just recently finished a five-year stint as a member of the WCU Live! advisory board. Rhein knows his demographics well and, at this point in his career, has a clear understanding of what his audience wants. But still, he likes to mix it up between traditional favorites and the unexpected. Below is a rundown of what you can look forward to this season at WCU Live! 



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Black Violin: Two classically trained musicians from South Florida play the violin as you’ve never heard it before.


Expect the Unexpected Voca People – November 14th You might believe that space aliens and a cappella singing groups are two things that should never be combined. But then you’d be missing out on Voca People, who perform as space aliens who communicate solely by music and vocal expressions. They’re visiting our planet and have a lot to sing about. If that sounds hard to imagine, then you owe it to yourself to see this award-winning group at Asplundh Concert Hall, located at the corner of South High Street and University Avenue. It is certain to be one of the more unique offerings in the series this year.

Tamagawa University Taiko Drumming and Dance Troupe – March 31st

Black Violin – February 7th Two classically trained musicians from South Florida play the violin as you’ve never heard it before. Their music is hip, modern, and contemporary, blending R&B and rock and roll. The duo has played with pop music’s biggest names such as Kanye West, P. Diddy, Aerosmith and The Eagles as well as at President Obama’s Inauguration Ball.

When Professor Yasuji Hamanaka from West Chester University’s Department of Language and Culture first saw the Taiko Drumming and Dance Troupe at Philadelphia’s Painted Bride in 2009, he was overwhelmed by the group’s synchronization of color and sound; twelve drummers acting in perfect unison with dancers costumed in colorful kimonos holding fans. Deciding that the group needed to come to West Chester, he reached out to their Director. WCU Live! has been a regular stop on their tour ever since. The show is always immensely popular, selling out every year. This spring, between performance dates at the Cherry Blossom Festivals in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., the Taiko Drumming and Dance Troupe will bring their electrifying drum beats and folkloric dance to West Chester for the fourth time. 







Vertical Current: A quintet of five vocalists who will be performing their own spin on holiday classics, mixing jazz, funk and gospel influences.

Stick to the Classics Vertical Current – December 12th  Vertical Current, a quintet of five vocalists, will be performing at WCU Live! for the first time this season, showcasing their own take on holiday classics, mixing jazz, funk, and gospel influences. It’s a group that Rhein predicts will become extremely popular with audiences.

Brian Conway – February 27th  For the fourth year, beloved Irish folk musician Brian Conway brings an evening of traditional Irish music and dance to WCU Live!. Conway has been called one of the best fiddlers of his generation with his sligo-style playing.

Masters of Soul – March 13th  Take a musical stroll down memory lane with the Masters of Soul as they celebrate the harmonies made famous by the greatest artists of the Motown era. Be warned, people have been known to sing and dance in the aisle during their show. 





Carlo Collodi's epic about a puppet is storytelling at its best.

Fun for the Family The National Marionette Theater presents "Pinocchio" – December 6th The National Marionette Theater will be presenting Pinocchio in the intimate Adler Theatre, located on South High Street in the heart of the West Chester University. Ticket prices top out at just $8, making it a great value for the family.

Popovich Comedy Pet Theater – March 27th Having played Las Vegas and around the world, Gregory Popovich brings his circus-style juggling and balancing acts to West Chester for the second time with the help of over twenty cats and dogs. And if that doesn’t make you want to buy tickets for the animal lovers in your life, you should know that the animals in Popovich’s show were all once strays that he rescued from shelters and trained.

The Missoula Children’s Theatre Company presents "The Jungle Book" – April 11th A wonderful opportunity for children to become acquainted with the performing arts is through the Missoula Children’s Theatre Company. The company will arrive in West Chester a week before their April 11th performance and audition local children, in grades kindergarten through 12, to be cast in the show. Fifty children are selected and after five whirlwind days of rehearsals, they put on a professional quality musical production. This year, the Company will be performing The Jungle Book. 

The Missoula Children's Theatre is back by popular demand NOVEMBER 2014 THEWCPRESS.COM




Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre: a unique blend of physical comedy, world-champion juggling and the extraordinary talents of more than 20 performing pets, loved by kids and kids-at-heart.

So much more than entertainment... WCU Live! is not only a terrific resource for the community but a generous one as well. Since 2003, they’ve made tickets for each performance available to Art-Reach, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that connects underserved audiences with the performing arts. They also routinely donate tickets to local schools and charities for silent auctions as another way to say thank you to the community that has enthusiastically embraced them for the past twenty years.

For Rhein, one of the most satisfying aspects of producing the WCU Live! Series is introducing relatively unknown artists to the community and then watching their popularity grow. Barrage, a group of talented young violin players, who perform a high-energy combination of music, song, and dance, was one such group. The first time they came to WCU Live! in 2009 they sold 450 tickets. Word of mouth helped spread the news of this electrifying group and the following season, ticket sales jumped

to 800 and then 900 the season after. “The talent that John scouts out is amazing,” says Levin. “The series is a great way to introduce young children to theater and live performance because it’s reasonably priced and so close,” says Levin. WCU Live! does an excellent job of intermingling traditional favorites, unexpected offerings and family fare. There is something for everyone, making it a great option for quality entertainment in our historic town.



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The Real (estate)


Entrepreneur and Realtor Brad Liermann keeps tabs on development here in the borough

Built in 1908, the Farmers and Mechanics building has watchfully stood seven stories over the West Chester borough for more than a century. The building exchanged owners in late 2013 for $3.18 million, and although it has a storied past as premier office space, the property has struggled to maintain market rates of occupancy. When 70,000 square feet of Class A office space opened to full occupancy across the street in the North Wing of the old county buildings, the F&M building was confronted with serious competition. With more Class A office space planned for the borough just blocks away, it appears that Myles Land & Improvement Company, the new owners of the F&M building, have seen the writing on the wall for the property’s current use. The Myles Land & Improvement Company has only been in existence since July of 2013, apparently created as a holding company for the property. Their recent initial proposal to a work session of borough council indicated their desire to renovate the property into a boutique hotel. The reuse of the building as a luxury 40-room hotel and high-end restaurant apparently includes plans for a rooftop swimming pool. Including the Zukin property, formerly home to Rite Aid, this proposal brings the total existing or proposed hotel count to three within the borough. This property is unique in it’s prominence, history and character. Identity in a neighborhood starts with the places that matter —the places with which we are familiar, where we gather, buy, live and do business; this is one of those places. For too long a “For Lease” sign has dominated the first floor retail windows. The prospect that this property could return to its origins as a cornerstone West Chester property is exciting. Of course, that's pending borough council approval. The question of demand is ever-present in a market the size of West Chester. While being the county seat and home to a large state university certainly helps, they are, in themselves, not enough of a driver to fill 40 rooms of a “boutique” hotel each night. Conferences are a tough sell without a readily available large meeting space, and the likelihood of a $200-per-night price will push many to the Hotel Warner. But, we can reason that the owners wouldn’t propose such extensive renovation (with a major price tag attached) without doing the market research and coming to favorable conclusions. Still, this is the kind of business this town deserves. If the borough can handle another hotel, this property could really become something special. If there were ever hope for a property to further shape the identity of a town, this is it. A high-end hotel with beautiful public space could really fill a gap in the wealthiest county in the state. Here's to West Chester's most iconic property returning to prominence in this century. –





En Pointe

Brandywine Ballet's creative director discusses the timeless appeal of their holiday production of The Nutcracker story Kate Chadwick

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hether you’re a ballet aficionado or not, and whether you’ve ever attended a performance of The Nutcracker or not, it’s very likely that you are familiar with it—whether you realize that or not. Widely considered the most famous ballet ever, it’s as ubiquitous during the holiday season as gift-giving and candy canes, and snippets of Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score have been used countless times in everything from car commercials to movie soundtracks (YouTube “Nutcracker Suite” and see how much of it you recognize if you don’t believe us). And for those of us who do love it, the holiday season simply wouldn’t be complete without The Nutcracker, whether it’s a live production or a showing of it on television (the 1977 Mikhail Baryshnikov/ Gelsey Kirkland production is best, if you ask us). Given The Nutcracker’s accessibility, the storyline of young Clara being gifted with a nutcracker on Christmas Eve and her subsequent fantastical dream, and the ballet’s close association with the holiday season, it is often the first (and in some cases, the only) exposure to the world of ballet that many people will get.

studio, The Dance Center, in 1973, and subsequently founded the Brandywine Ballet in 1979. We had to ask: why both? “I founded Brandywine Ballet because I wanted a performing company that was non-profit, so it could be open to all students in the area, not just the students who trained at The Dance Center,” she told us. Also, it would open the company up for

This is the one ballet that whole families come to watch...

A production of The Nutcracker is practically a given as an annual sendoff to the dance season for studios large and small all over the world, and The Brandywine Ballet Company, which has its home on the West Chester University campus’s Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, is no exception. We caught up with founder and Artistic Director Donna Muzio, as the company gets ready to bring The Nutcracker to the stage December 12-21. Donna Morley Muzio opened her own

grant money—Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants, for example—as well as bringing credibility to the organization. “Most dance studios have performing groups, but they’re not non-profit. Therefore, profits from all the performances go back to the owners of the studio,” she continued. “With a non-profit, we’re governed by a board of directors, and all proceeds go directly back into the organization for things like costumes, scenery, master classes, etc. Also, any donations to the company are tax deductible to donors, as we’re considered a Pennsylvania non-profit, charitable organization.” We asked Donna how she accounts

for the broad appeal of The Nutcracker. “I truly think it’s the connection to Christmas and to the holidays,” she said. “This is the one ballet that whole families come to watch—sisters, brothers, moms, dads—where most of our performances are attended by moms and daughters. It appeals to all ages, and it’s just a beautiful tradition for a lot of families.”

The Nutcracker is performed annually by the Brandywine Ballet, so we’re looking at 35 years of this particular production for Donna. We asked if she has a favorite scene. “The Act One Party Scene is my favorite part,” she replied. “I love the interaction with all the guests and with the children. It sets the stage for Clara’s dream.” It takes a small army, both onstage and off, to pull off a spectacle like The Nutcracker, which has a cast of approximately 130 dancers. There are eight performances offered over two weekends, with an average attendance of 600 for each one. The Brandywine Ballet will also employ six ballet mistresses to set the entire ballet, and Donna works closely with resident choreographer, Nancy Page. “She’s worked side by side with me for the past 15 year,” Donna told us. “Nancy was 





trained at The Dance Center, went on to dance professionally for years, then returned to West Chester to choreograph and train students at The Dance Center/ Brandywine Ballet.” And Donna’s part in all of this? “I come in during the last two weekends to fine tune the production,” she said. “We’ve been compared to the Pennsylvania Ballet and other companies. Our sets and scenery are first-class, and the level of our dancers is professional. Even our young students who perform the children's parts are welltrained, well-rehearsed, and completely dedicated to the art of dance,” she said. A particular point of pride for Donna is that many families see Brandywine Ballet’s Nutcracker production year after year, as opposed to heading into Philadelphia for the Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance at the Academy of Music. “For the cost, the quality is not compromised,” she said. “We’re lucky to have our Certificate in Dance program with West Chester University. As a result, our most advanced senior class students have an opportunity to continue with our preprofessional program while in college. Therefore, we keep our pre-professional dancers for four more years to train, fine-tune, and transform them into professional dancers. Our leads are professional quality, not dance studio quality.”

Our leads are professional quality, not dance studio quality.

We wondered about the challenge of keeping an annual production fresh year after year. “That’s a good question,” Donna said. “Because our company stays true to the original

story line, we don't stray much in Act One, which has been reviewed as one of the best in the tri-state area. However, Act Two gives us the opportunity to introduce new choreography. And we also like to freshen up our sets, props and costumes every other year. It’s an on-going expense for the company, but it’s worth it.”

so the rehearsals are not a job to me, they’re actually fun. The dancers work so hard all year, and during The Nutcracker everyone enjoys pulling it all together. There’s a great comradery during this production between the dancers, as they also truly love it. And the music. The music is breathtaking.” Agreed.

And finally, does she ever get tired of it? “No, I never get tired of it,” she said. “It’s always the highlight of the dance season for me personally. I love The Nutcracker,

For dates, times, and ticket information for Brandywine Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, please call 610-6962711, or visit



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Children in


Jennifer Ozgur is a mother, wife and teacher who still finds time to get out and about with her family

I adore the holiday season: crisp air, cozy smells of baked treats, family and friends gathering, beautiful nighttime drives past twinkling decorations, and—of course—the performances. I remember when I was my daughter’s age. My parents would scramble for the requisite white dressy top, black skirt and dress shoes in time for the “Christmas Concert.” Yes, that’s what our school called it. I have the blurry, tattered, mimeographed programs to prove it. There was always that one boy who wore a short-sleeved, baby blue or butter yellow sport shirt. High-waters abounded. A glimpse of a bad clip-on tie meant that Santa was right around the corner. I think there’s a special place in heaven for the elementary school concert director—flapping arms, sweaty brow, desperate for the bass drum player to find a consistent beat to a plodding “Deck the Halls”—and for the audience who listens to it. Those moments serve a purpose—they introduce children to music. If we are lucky, those children continue along that path, following it into the upper grades and perhaps even into college. I was one of those students. Music was the one element that anchored me amid a sea of turbulent adolescence and young adulthood. I loved the predictability of it. The sheet music with so many note combinations that were foreign to me in September would be mastered by December… if I practiced. It was totally under my control and the results were tangible. Pay attention; work hard; sound good; receive applause. West Chester University is a great testament to what happens after students leave home to go onto higher education. Music—either as a teaching path or for performance—is a popular major. Alongside a rigorous curriculum comes the individual recitals—both student and faculty—and group performances. There’s the Concert Choir and Mastersinger; Wind, Brass and Percussion Ensembles; Symphony and Concert Band and various jazz groups.The Criterions are a personal favorite since I used to be their featured vocalist “back in the day.” All their performances are listed on the University’s Cultural Events Calendar ( where they not only have the entire music department’s concerts for the year but also the President’s Speaker Series, Planetarium Series, Artist Receptions, Dance Events and other noteworthy occasions. November signals the start of the holiday season: parades, Gilbert and Sullivan, The Nutcracker and more. Before I start throwing on a cable-knit sweater and begin channeling the spirit of Andy Williams, I plan to go online and select a few performances to attend with my family this winter. You should do the same; a West Chester University event would be a great addition to your family holiday traditions. Sure beats Uncle Ron singing “Biker Santa.”





Lights On:

Uptown! Entertainment Alliance Has Big Plans For Live Events In Downtown West Chester By Jesse Piersol “It all started right out there.” Tom McEvoy points out through the living room, beyond the French doors that lead to a large porch. His wife and some friends were in the process of polishing off a quantity of their favorite drinks—grapefruit juice and vodka—and lamenting the closing of the old Warner Theater. “There was no place in town we could go for that type of entertainment any more,” Tom says. “So right then and there, we made a pinky pledge to fix that.” Today, Tom is president of Uptown! Entertainment Alliance, an organization with its sights on bringing a theater to downtown West Chester. It requires an ambitious, multi-staged plan that includes entertainment and community outreach activities, all housed in the perfect venue. 





Act One

Entertainment: Not necessarily mainstream Uptown! currently brings live acts to venues all over town. One of those events is the Jazz Cocktail Hour, currently held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Market Street. On a perfect evening in September, violinist Diane Monroe was joined by vocalist Paul Jost, along with a standup bass player and a drummer from Atlantic City. There was an impressive capacity crowd: a few musician types in their 20s, baby boomers, a 30-something couple with a toddler. Attendees were buzzing because Teddy Pendergrass’ son was in the audience.

Tom adds, “Right now we’re working on building consistent programming in any venue we can find. Every one of our programs has sold out. People come to our events and say, ‘This is great stuff, but it sure is a lousy venue.’” Moments later, someone behind the bar loudly dumps a large amount

...we’re working on building consistent programming in any venue we can find. Every one of our programs has sold out.

Live jazz has a visceral, layered beauty able to evoke deep melancholy and also helps audiences appreciate the human capacity to feel that way. Gary Green, an Uptown! board member sitting next to me, knows the feeling. “You won’t find this anywhere else in town. It’s not necessarily mainstream. But there’s an audience for it.”

of ice into a metal container, drowning out the upright bass solo and making everyone in the room cringe. If only a better stage existed. 





Act Two

The Venue: Pennsylvania National Guard Armory Uptown! can be credited for taking the Historic West Chester Armory building on High Street off the auction block. Realizing that the building—one of 16 armories being phased out by larger development—was a perfect choice, they called up Senator Andy Dinniman. In turn, he reached out to State Representative Dan Truitt, and together, they were able to secure the building for 20% under the appraised value, provided Uptown! preserves its historical character.

love to have seats that are comfortable, but also telescope out of the way to open up the space for big events.” To make sure they get it right, Uptown! has brought in top talent. The Clair Brothers in Lancaster have a long history engineering sound and lighting for top acts, including the Beatles in the 1960s. Today, they also lend their expertise to designing theaters, including Carnegie Hall. The Homsey Architects firm is re-

Wow, I can’t believe we have this here in West Chester.

Combining the old with the new is part of the redesign, and Uptown! is still in the process of deciding which historical features to keep. On the two-story wall of the main staircase, a silhouette of a soldier dominates the space, reminding visitors of the building’s original purpose. “We want people’s reaction to be, “Wow, I can’t believe we have this here in West Chester,” says Tom. “But it can’t just look the part, it has to sound great, too. In addition, we want the design to be flexible to accommodate all types of events. For example, we’d

nowned for taking old buildings and making them new again. Their work includes the Wilmington Opera House and the Delaware History Museum. Tom notes, “They all told us they like what we’re doing in West Chester.” 





Act Three

The Audience: Serving the Underserved Uptown! wants to appeal to a variety of audiences, offering everything from children’s classes in the studio spaces, to programs for senior citizens. “From an entertainment perspective, the 21-26 year-old population is already pretty well served by downtown West Chester. We want to serve people who aren’t being served now.” When Tom was hanging posters around town for one of Uptown!’s recent events, he got to talking with Limoncello’s Maria Mingrino, who suggested an Italian night at the movies. Tom brims with excitement. “She said, ‘Show an Italian movie and we’ll do food to go along with it.’ That’s genius. That’s the kind of stuff we’re looking to do.”

pus, Uptown! didn’t anticipate such enthusiastic support. Tim Blair, head of the Performing Arts Department, told Tom, “Our professors need to perform outside the university. And it would also be cool to have the arts greet visitors who are travelling to West Chester, whether they are entering town from the north or the south.”

From an entertainment perspective, the 21-26 year-old population is already pretty well served.

Uptown! has found supporters in surprising places, including the Performing Arts Department at West Chester University. With numerous state-of-the-art performance facilities already on cam-

Support has also come from local telecommunications engineering company CTDI. “They’ve given us a nice contribution, but they’ve also done things like have their art department take care of posters if we need them,” Tom says. “They are very low key, but whenever we need something, they tell us to stop by.” 






The Future: A long, hard climb It’s a Wednesday evening at the Armory, and the marketing committee is focused on getting the business of their meeting finished by 7pm, because there are no working lights in the building. Uptown! also has significant restrictions on the types of public events it can hold until the space is officially complete due to accessibility regulations. Fundraising efforts are in full swing to get them to the finish line. Want your name on the front of the building? That will cost one million dollars. Only have a half million to spend? You can get your name over the entrance to the inside theater. “We feel that a company that does most of its business in Chester County would get so many hits from that,” says Tom. Fundraising experts told Uptown! that they can’t approach big donors without architectural drawings. “We’re just now getting those,” notes Tom. “We also have a very strong capital campaign team. They’re real go-getters.” There is significant forward momentum. Events such as the Red Carpet Gala bring in revenue, and this year, the gala

moved to the Winterthur Museum and Garden in Wilmington because no venue in town was big enough to contain it. The Uptown! crew can’t wait to bring it back to the Armory. They hope to be able to open the doors to the public at the end of 2015. “We talk about having the first event at the Armory be a New Year’s Eve party,” says Tom. At last year’s gala, the featured drink was the “Uptini,” the same signature blend of grapefruit juice and vodka that spurred Uptown! Entertainment Alliance on its bold quest to redefine a historic space and bring a live theater to downtown West Chester.

We talk about having the first event at the Armory be a New Year’s Eve party. Ringing in the new year with the drink that started it all. What better way to set the stage for the future?








One lucky lady receives a makeover from Peter's Salon and European Spa

Karla Smith is a wife and mother of two, as well as an accomplished interior design and home improvement consultant. Her busy lifestyle requires an easy-yetfashionable hairstyle. Karla's stylist, Tina, gave her highlights over a medium blonde base color to create a look with depth and volume to give her fine hair a thicker, fuller appearance. The asymmetric hair cut shifts the balance to create interest and further accentuate Karla's bone structure. Makeup artist Kelly used a blend of soft tones which highlight her cheek bones and give a fresh youthful look. Her eyes were defined using a black gel eyeliner and her lips are accented with a soft roseberry shade of lipstick.





Going to the


Looking to acquire a new four-legged companion? Here are a few things to keep in mind before making your purchase.

Debbie DeSantis, CPDT-KA, is a certified dog trainer and behavior specialist as well as the owner of Going to the Dogs Obedience. She’s trained nationally-ranked obedience, rally, agility and therapy dogs. Before choosing a new pup, it’s best to first consider your lifestyle and research the breeds. Are you sedentary or very active? How much room do you have for a dog? How much time do you have to devote to it? Is everyone in your house prepared for a dog? Is your budget sufficient for the needs of a dog—including food, training, vet care, boarding, toys, treats, bedding, fencing, crates and grooming? If you answered “no” to any of those questions, now might not be the right time to purchase your furry friend. To choose the right companion, read about and speak with knowledgeable people who have the breeds that you’re interested in. The research you do will pay off in many happy years with your canine companion—different breeds can have very different characteristics. There are seven different groups of dogs under the American Kennel Club’s classifications. The herding breeds (such as border collies and German Shepherds), dogs in the working group (Rottweilers, Dobermans), and sporting dogs (Retrievers and Spaniels) usually have lots of energy and need a job to do. They need lots of excercise. Terriers, such as Westies and Jack Russell terriers, can also have high energy and prey drive, and hounds, such as Beagles, were bred to track and hunt. If you’re looking for a companion with lower excericse needs, consider the toy group—they are generally content to sit on your lap being adored. Popular examples include Maltese, shih tzus, yorkies, and pugs. Dogs from other nonsporting groups can also be viable options. If you’re buying a puppy, purchase only from a good breeder who knows the breed. It’s important to see your pup’s parents, make sure they live in a clean setting and that all pertinent health checks are run on the parents. Good breeders care about who buys their pups. Beware of purchasing from mass-breeding facilities—known as puppy mills—which don’t breed for the well-being of the animal but solely for profit. They sell through shops, newspaper ads and the internet. The parents of these pups usually live their entire lives in cages, aren’t socialized and don’t receive proper vet care. As a result of poor breeding, the offspring can suffer health and behavioral problems. If a puppy doesn’t meet your needs (it is constant effort!) a mature dog may have already been housebroken and be more sedate. Another benefit of adopting an adult dog is that you can see the final product—there’s no guessing about what you’re going to get. is a great resource where you can search for various breeds and mixes of dogs from rescues and shelters.





Nich Boutique keeps you ahead of the fashion curve with two of this month's best looks.



Look PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

STORY Kristy Mak

Outfit One Outfit Two Tyrel Color-blocked Illusion Jacquard Knit Cardigan Dress Jack by BB Dakot, $64

Jealous Tomato, $55

3/4 Sleeve Top

Open-weave Cocoon Sweater

Niki Biki, $20

No Time For Dat Skinny Denim BLANK NYC, $78

Eunishop, $38

Fall is in full swing Instagram posts about apple-picking, pumpkin spice whatever, cozy this and cozy that put us in the mood to talk about footwear. The riding boot fad is fading, and it’s all about the wedge. We love this trend because it looks good and it feels good. Who doesn’t need a few extra inches? (In height, people—in height!) Plus, you can walk forever in wedges! We all know wedges work with denim, but wedges with dresses? Wedges with skirts? Try those looks out too! Your legs will seem longer and leaner, so why wouldn’t you want to show them off? On the left, you have the perfect autumn look—oversized cardigan, skinny jeans and suede wedges. But on the right is an outfit that’s a bit more outside-of-the-box. The model is wearing a sweater bodycon dress with a big, drapey cardigan. Paired with the wedges, an otherwise fancy dress becomes more accessible.

Space-dyed Knee Socks So if you haven’t already, invest in a pair of wedges. They’re versatile, Boutique Goods, $16

comfortable, and—most importantly—they look oh-so-good!



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& Daily Specials 15 S HIGH ST  610.696.1400 BARNABYSWESTCHESTER.COM



Owner of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


For Michael Arizin of The Merchant of Menace, it's all about finding beauty in ordinary objects Your gallery is beautiful, but it’s a little off the beaten path. What brings most people through your doors? For a lot of peo-

ple, this place has become a destination, whether they saw our ad or they heard about us from a friend. Often times they make a day of it and take lunch at The Four Dogs Tavern and wander down. What was the inspiration behind opening such a unique gallery? I worked in the

real world for a company out in Oaks called SEI. The founder was very into progressive art. I worked there for 20 years and it became part of our culture—a financial services company displaying really funky art. I gravitated towards all this junk art. When you say “junk art” what do you mean? I guess junk art isn’t the term I

should use—people who are working in repurposed, reimagined objects. There is something to me that is magical in someone who can look at sleigh rails, a centerboard from a grand piano, a croquet ball, and find another use for it. Of all these re-imagined objects, what is the oddest one to become a piece of art?

The piece in the corner is the hull of a rowboat that the artist used to make a cabinet. The head of this small robot statue is actually a juicer. To pick the weirdest… who knows? That’s a toaster, that’s a power drill—it’s kinda tough for me to choose one. What is it you find so interesting about the pieces? The imagination of these peo-

ple is remarkable. I don’t have the genes they have. I don’t have the gene that allows me to see it or the gene to execute it. But you have the gene to appreciate it. I have the gene to like it, but that’s it. I mean, we display an artist here who makes things out of gourds; I don’t even really know what a gourd is! Would you say you’re part of the larger “green” movement? You know, I’m not

really motivated by being “green.” It’s not

that I don’t care about it, but that’s not the motivation behind this gallery, behind these pieces of art. To me, it’s all about the imagination. How many artists are on display? Probably somewhere between 15 to 20 at any given time. We try to move some in and move some out to keep the gallery fresh.

everyone’s taste? That’s the question. Just because I don’t want it in my house doesn’t mean it isn’t necessarily a great piece that somebody else wouldn’t appreciate. I don’t want to be so haughty that I think I can decide what everyone should like, but I do like everything in here.

How many of those artists are routinely here versus on rotation? I try to keep about

I like all of them. I mean, I get a little bit sad whenever I sell a piece—I don’t want to sell any of them! I’m probably more attached to the work than the artists are. But I understand the economics of it. It is a business after all. This isn’t my first job. I had a 30-year career at SEI. I do this because I like being here. I like being surrounded by this art. Really, this gallery was born out of me sitting around for two years after retiring and my wife saying, “You better get out of here and find something to do, or I’m going to kill you.” So it’s like a second career. Well, not quite—I don’t think about it as a job; I don’t think of it like a retail business. I want to be the cool, quirky gallery that’s only open a few days a week. Obviously we want to make enough money to cover costs, but for me it’s much more about helping the artists and giving people exposure to these great works. If my goal was making money, I’d have stayed at work.

ten artists here all the time—the ones who people seem to like the most—and rotate the rest in and out. Are their any artists you routinely feature? The guy who makes the furniture,

Rich Dunbrack, is a well-known artist. Leo Sewell—he has a full-sized elephant in the Please Touch Museum made of recycled toys and a 40-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty’s arm in Fairmount Park. He’s pretty famous. Do you own any of these pieces? Some of it’s on consignment, but I do own a good bit of it. Really, I own it if I wouldn’t mind owning it, as opposed to, “If we go out of business, that ain’t going in my house.” Does anything come into this gallery that you don’t personally enjoy? I try not to.

I gotta like it. How much do I gotta like it? How much do I want to be the arbiter of

Any personal favorites in the gallery?




Hit List

DJ Romeo curates a list featuring the top tracks you'll hear played on the radio this month.

The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months—you'll soon know know them by heart and play them 'til they're tired. But, good news: you can download them first and look like the cool musical genius to all of your lame friends.

Foo Fighters – “Something From Nothing” Maroon 5 – “Animals” David Guetta ft. Sam Martin – “Dangerous” MAGIC! – “Let Your Hair Down” Priory – “Weekend” Meghan Trainor – “Lips Are Movin’” Kendrick Lamar – “i” Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne – “Real Love” Eden XO – “Too Cool to Dance” Fergie – “L.A. Love (La La)” Galantis – “Runaway (U & I)” OneRepublic – “I Lived” Hozier – “Jackie and Wilson” Charli XCX – “Break the Rules” ZHU – “Faded” Owl City ft. Britt Nicole – “You’re Not Alone” T.I. ft. Pharrell Williams – “Paperwork” Sheppard – “Geronimo” Duke Dumont – “Won’t Look Back” Ariana Grande ft. The Weeknd – “Love Me Harder” Prince – “FUNKNROLL” Steve Aoki ft. Fall Out Boy – “Back to Earth” One Direction – “Steal My Girl” Avicii – “The Days” B.O.B. ft Trey Sonz – “Not For Long” Tove Lo – “Like Em Young” Milky Chance – “Stunner” Jessie J – “Personal” Nick Jonas ft. Angel Haze – “Numb” Caribou – “Can’t Do Without You” Sam Smith – “Money On My Mind” Cedric Gervais ft. Coco – “Through the Night” Eric Church – “Talladega” TV On The Radio – “Careful You”





BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: It's everyone’s favorite bar game, in print (and you won’t have to pay 50 cents). You can actually WIN money. Compare the two photos at right. They may look the same, but there are five subtle differences between the two. Find those five differences and identify the items that have been changed. Then send an email to listing those items. You’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to a local business. Winners will be chosen at random, and their name will be posted to Facebook along with the solution at the end of the month. So make sure to like us and follow along if you want to play. Enjoy!

Identify the five differences between these two photos of The Nutcracker. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.