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Charter Arts presents ‘Earthland’

The Lehigh Valley Charter HS for the Arts (Charter Arts) is presenting its spring musical, “Earthland” (book and lyrics by J. Gulotta) through a variety of events taking place until May 2.

The original show, written by Charter Arts alumnus J. Gulotta, with music by Charter Arts faculty member and alumna Erica Dickson, introduces extraterrestrial audiences to a long-abandoned planet repurposed as an alien museum called Earthland! Travel with Floopa and Caaade (the story’s trusty tour guides from Alpha Centauri) as they explore the unique earthling phenomena of “song”.

Audiences will enjoy this heartwarming and funny family-friendly folk musical, filled with dance and song, as the alien guides share their fandom for Earth on their tour through the museum’s various exhibits. This show will make its impact as a celebration of human expression in the age of coronavirus.

Lead roles are played by students Jolie Lanning-Werkheiser and Tessa Seals, with an outstanding supporting cast.

The filmed show is produced by Rae Labadie, the school’s director of Production Arts, and directed by Ashley Weller with choreography by Jennifer Dite-Weaver, music direction by Erica Dickson, videography and editing by Carlo Acerra, and set design by Peter Wrenn-Meleck and student, Kyra Zimmerman. The crew was rounded out with costume design by students Cyril Neff and Julia DeMore, and make-up design by Abigail Katz-Rehrig.

“Going into this year’s musical preparation, our team knew exactly one thing: we were going to put on a musical,” said Rae Labadie when asked about the challenge of producing a musical this year. “What it would be, where it would happen, how we would rehearse, and what format it would take were all up in the air as we continued to teach remotely. Flexibility was non-negotiable, and with a brilliantly creative and capable team from our outside-the-box school, it became clear that this was a perfect opportunity to create something new. ‘Earthland’ was written especially for our students, to be an adaptable piece in the face of the unknown, to highlight student voices and designs, and ultimately, to celebrate human expression and connection in a time when those crucial pieces of ourselves feel distant.”

Due to COVID safety protocols, the cast and crew filmed “Earthland” over a period of two weeks, incorporating various Southside venues for their locations, including the National Museum of Industrial History and ArtsQuest.

The show will be available on-demand April 30-May 1. Previously, it was presented at an in-person premiere screening at ArtsQuest April 25 and as a drive-in movie experience at Becky’s Drive-In in Walnutport April 27.

Tickets for the On-Demand event can be purchased through the school’s website, www.charterarts.org.

PRESS PHOTO COURTESY CHARTER ARTS HS The cast and crew of the Lehigh Valley Charter HS for the Arts' original spring musical, “Earthland,” filmed scenes for the production at various South Bethlehem locations, including ArtsQuest and the National Museum of Industrial History.
Screenings of the show are available on-demand April 30-May 2. Information is available at CharterArts.org.