Harry Connick Jr. Highlights Pennsylvania Youth Theatre’s New Season of Fresh Family Favorites

Bethlehem non-profit performing arts theatre announces the upcoming season, featuring Harry Connick, Jr. presenting The Happy Elf

Bethlehem, Pa.— The Bethlehem non-profit Pennsylvania Youth Theatre (PYT) announces their upcoming season, a line-up packed with fun, intrigue, and creative spirit for all ages. The 27-year-old performing arts organization will hold its MainStage season at the Charles A. Brown Ice House on Sand Island in Bethlehem.

For the Christmas season comes The Happy Elf, a lovable holiday musical adapted from the original song by Grammy Award-winner Harry Connick, Jr. that was later turned into a 3D-animated family television special. The script is by Lauren Gunderson and Andrew Fishman, with music and lyrics by Harry Connick, Jr. The play illustrates the story of Eubie, known as the happiest elf at the North Pole, who is stuck with checking the naughty-and-nice list. On Christmas Eve, however, he notices not one person in the entire town of Bluesville is on the nice list, and embarks on a journey with his friends and his holiday magic to turn all of the kids nice in time for Christmas! The Happy Elf will be performed by the Pennsylvania Youth Theatre from November 30 to December 16, 2012. Harry Connick, Jr. will be in Bethlehem several times leading up to the show and for the opening night gala.

“We have staged this production over the years in a few cities and when I see the unadulterated joy on the faces of the kids in the audience, I know we have created something special. We are delighted to bring Happy Elf to life with the help of the very impressive team at PYT. See you soon!,” said Harry Connick, Jr.

In time for the Hollywood release of the story’s live-action movie, PYT will perform the timeless classic, The Hobbit, based on the novel by renowned J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Children and adults alike will be captivated by Bilbo Baggins’ brave journey away from his comfortable home. As he travels the unfamiliar territories of Middle Earth, he and his crew seek treasure in playwright Patricia Gray’s adaptation of this 75-year-old tale. Directed by Mary Wright, The Hobbit runs March 15 through 24, 2013.

Musical tunes bring the silly 1964 book Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown to life in The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. Children will not be able to suppress giggles as Stanley Lambchop, an ordinary ten-year-old, wakes up one morning to find he is in a not-so-ordinary state: his body is completely flattened. In spite of the strange result from his bulletin board falling on him while he slept, Stanley turns the situation into a fun, exciting adventure. Accompanied by playful, humorous music by David Weinstein, Timothy Allen McDonald, Jonathan K. Waller and Stephen Gabriel, and song lyrics by McDonald and Waller, The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley swings the audience through Stanley’s animated journeys around the world. From May 3 to 19, 2013 children and parents alike can join the adventures at the Charles A. Brown Ice House.

Aside from the MainStage season, PYT is thrilled to announce another ghoulish tribute to the King of Pop. Thrill the World, an annual international dance event, is a hauntingly exciting good time that celebrates Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” song and dance moves during the festive Halloween season. On October 27, 2012, PYT students and other devoted fans dress as the zombies from this strong pop culture following and reenact the iconic synchronized dance. Previously PYT’s fundraiser, Thrill the World has now evolved into a free family-friendly event held at the Charles A. Brown Ice House.

“We are very excited about our new season and we truly appreciate the support we are receving from parents, corporate sponsors, donors, the City of Bethlehem and Mr. Harry Connick, Jr. and his entire creative staff,” said Michael Melcher, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Youth Theatre. “This is going to be a great season.”

PYT works towards its mission in educating, entertaining and enriching the lives of young people and their families through the art of theatre. With the new seasons’ direction, it is certain the non-profit’s commitment to provide opportunities for all children to participate and learn through the art of theatre will be remarkably fulfilled. To continue PYT’s outreach and mission, specialized classes in acting, dancing and singing for children in grades pre-K through twelfth are offered year round. Registration is currently open, with classes beginning early September

To learn more about PYT, explore their performances and events, or purchase tickets visit their website, 123pyt.org or call (610) 332-1400.