On Stage: Ring in 2015 with music, fun

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From Frozen to various New Year’s Eve shows, something for almost everyone

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

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Disney On Ice presents Frozen, opens Christmas Day at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, through Jan. 4.

Fans of the annual Disney On Ice skating shows that arrive for an arena stay in Philadelphia every Christmas season will be treated this year to the debut of Elsa, the Princess of Arendelle, and her younger sister Princess Anna.

The sisters are the stars of “Frozen,” a 3-D computer-animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released last year by Walt Disney Pictures. It set box office records both here and abroad and was released for home viewing earlier this year. On its first day of release on Blu-ray and DVD, “Frozen” sold 3.2 million units and become Amazon’s best-selling children’s disc of all time.

Now, the story has a new life in “Disney On Ice presents Frozen,” which is running for 26 performances from December 25-January 4 at the Wells Fargo Center (Broad Street below Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-336-3600, http://www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com).

The Academy Award winning story will be told live for the first time in this production. It tells the tale of two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa. Anna embarks on an epic journey to find her sister Elsa, who is determined to remain secluded where she is able to test the limits of her powers.

Rugged mountain man Kristoff, his loyal reindeer Sven, the lovable and hilarious snowman Olaf and the mystical trolls help Anna along the way in this story about love conquering fear.

In “Disney On Ice presents Frozen,” Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse take the audience through the magical story based in Arendelle, with special appearances by beloved Disney princesses and favorite characters from Disney Pixar’s “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo” and Disney’s “The Lion King.”

This may be the first time audiences get to see Anna and Elsa but it certainly won’t be the last. Disney On Ice recycles its princesses on a regular basis so it’s likely that Anna and Elsa will be around for quite awhile. But, if you see them now, you’ll always be able to say that you saw them in their rookie season.

Tickets for this year’s Disney On Ice show are $30, $35, $55, $70 and $105.

New Year’s Eve is always a big party night and a night to be careful driving because of an abundance of inebriated drivers and a large number of DUI checkpoints manned by state and local police.

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David Bromberg

Fortunately for David Bromberg, an internationally-acclaimed guitarist/singer/songwriter, he’s playing a gig on New Year’s Eve that doesn’t require a motor vehicle.

Bromberg only has to walk a few hundred yards to get from his violin shop on Market Street in Wilmington to the venue he’s headlining — the World Café Live at the Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 302- 994-1400, www.queen.worldcafelive.com).

When he performs onstage, Bromberg employs a variety of band configurations — especially the David Bromberg Big Band and the David Bromberg Quintet. He also occasionally does gigs as a solo artist. His show on the Downstairs Stage at the Queen will be with the David Bromberg Band.

Bromberg, who has been a professional musician for more than 40 years, has since performed and/or recorded with many of the best musical acts in the world — George Harrison, Bob Dylan, the Eagles, Carly Simon, Willie Nelson, Jerry Garcia, the Beastie Boys and Jorma Kaukonen.

His most recent album “Only Slightly Mad” was released by West Chester-based Appleseed Records late last year. Bromberg recorded it with producer Larry Campbell (three-time Grammy-winning producer for Levon Helm and multi-instrumentalist with Bob Dylan) and engineer Justin Guip at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, New York.

“This album came out of my previous album ‘Use Me,’” said Bromberg, during a recent phone interview from his violin shop in Wilmington. “Making ‘Use Me’ was an awful lot to ask. I was humbled by the players who agreed to do it. Larry Campbell produced those sessions.”

The “Use Me” album, which was released in 2011, featured Vince Gill, Los Lobos, Levon Helm, John Hiatt, Dr. John, Keb’ Mo’, Widespread Panic and Linda Ronstadt. For his latest album, Bromberg pretty much stuck with his own musicians.

“I went in the studio with my band and the recording went pretty quickly — three weeks at the most,” said Bromberg. “I was really pleased with how it turned out.”

New Year’s Eve is frequently a time to visit memories. Bromberg will have some reflections that will be a combination of sadness and fondness. The following was posted on his website this week.

“With a heavy heart we say goodbye to Richard Crooks, longtime drummer for David’s Big Band. Richard died in hospice yesterday. Richard was a supremely gifted musician and joyful human being.

“In addition to playing with David, Richard was a “first-call” drummer in the New York City session scene. He was nicknamed “Father Time” for his solid playing. He performed and recorded with a who’s who of artists like Bob Dylan, Dr John, Leonard Cohen and many others.”

Expect the fondness (great memories of Crooks) to override the sadness (of losing a longtime friend) when Bromberg and his band crank it up onstage at the Queen in New Year’s Eve. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and the show will start at 10 p.m. Tickets range from $40-$57.

Other shows at the Queen on December 31 are a “Countdown to Noon” with Trout Fishing in America at 11:30 a.m. on the Downstairs Stage. Tickets are $17 for the family-friendly show.

At 10 p.m., the Upstairs Stage will present performances by Plow United, Mikey Erg, The Headies and Goddamnit. Tickets are $16. Other shows slated for the Upstairs Stage are Megan Betley on December 26 and Xtra Alltra and Friends on December 27.

The schedule for the Downstairs Stage includes a “Sing-Along Sound of Music” presented by Miss Nina Stone on December 26 and a rocking evening with Montana Wildaxe on December 27.

New Year’s Eve at Philadelphia’s World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, philly.worldcafelive.com) will see Philly Bloco, a band that plays a raucous mash-up of samba, funk and reggae, performing on the Downstairs Stage and the Dukes of Destiny headlining on the Upstairs Stage.

On December 26, the Downstairs Stage will feature “Mistletoe Jam” with John Faye & Those Meddling Kids!, Tess Emma & The Monthlies, The Great SOCIO, WaveRadio, Minshara, Joe Jordan’s Experiment and Camille Peruto.

The Downstairs Stage schedule for the upcoming week also includes “Sing-Along Sound of Music” presented by Kathy O’Connell on December 27, the Seventh Annual Winter Beer Festival on December 28, Todrick Hall on December 29 and the Grand Slambovians on December 30.

The Upstairs Stage will host “Folk Comedy Revival Tour” with Miles Mueller, Mark Kilianski, John The Gun and Ari Fishbein on December 26, a singer-songwriter night with Jill Jacobs, Melissa Clampffer, Dana K Fiero, Emily Mineo, Hot Breakfast and Maggie Lefczik on December 27 and the Fighting Jamesons and the Bloody Catholics on December 28.

The show on New Year’s Eve at the Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will definitely be looking back with a pair of tribute bands — Start Making Sense, which plays the music of the Talking Heads, and HmfO, a Hall and Oates tribute act.

The venue also will be hosting two other shows that will feature vibes from the past. The Beru Revue will play a Christmas Show & Benefit” on December 26 and Splintered Sunlight, a Grateful Dead tribute band, will play on December 27.

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Christine Havrilla

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will have a special concert on December 31 billed as “New Year’s Eve with Christine Havrilla and Friends.”

Havrilla and pals Gretchen Schultz and Christine Moll will combine their unique writing and performing styles for this special New Year’s Eve show. Havrilla and Moll have performed and recorded music for over a decade — most recently with the project 3 Stories High. Schultz met and started singing back up with Havrilla in 2005

Schultz and Havrilla recently performed together when Havrilla headlined a show at Burlap and Bean back in November.

“The show at Burlap & Bean was a live, multi-track recording with just me and Gretchen Schultz on percussion and backing vocals,” said Havrilla, during a recent phone interview from her home in West Chester. “When I’m playing live, I like to be in the moment and feed off the audience.”

Schultz just released her new album “Not Afraid To Fall” in September. Moll, a Philadelphia area singer-songwriter, has released two albums as a solo artist and two with a former project called Lotus Hill.

When Schultz takes the stage on New Year’s Eve sandwiched between a pair of Christines, there is no doubt that a rousing evening of music will emerge and provide a great musical passage into 2015 for the fans at Steel City.

Other upcoming shows at the Steel City Coffee House are the Royales with Cheese on December 26, Riley Road on December 27, Christine Lavin and Don White on December 28 and Phoenixville’s Emily Magynn on December 29.

The New Year’s Eve line-up for Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) includes Brothers & Sisters, Dipped in Moonlight (a Grateful Dead cover band) and Seoul Delhi.

Other shows at the venue over the next week will feature Pushing Static, Laela Johnson and Names & Dates on December 26, Miles Til Dawn, Hayley Jordanna and Eunoia on December 27 and Coahoma Soul, The Last Remark, Kat & Dev and Roll on 3 on December 29.

Melodies Café (2 East Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore, 610-645-5269, www.melodiescafe.com) will host The Black Moons and Ethan Pierce on December 27 and hill have “Open Mic” sessions on December 29 (jazz) and 30 (all genres).

The Chameleon Club (223 North Water Street, Lancaster, 717-299-9684, http://www.chameleonclub.net) will be dark on New Year’s Eve but will have a lot of rocking evenings between now and the end of the year.

The show on December 26 will feature Crobot, Testosteroso, Only Living Boy and Witch Hazel while the December 27 concert will showcase Shake Shake Shake. Six bands will be on the bill for December 29 — August Burns Red, Texas in July, One Year Later, Chasing Safety, Brightwell and From Under The Willow.

On New Year’s Eve, Tellus 360 (24 East King Street, Lancaster, 717-393-1660, www.tellus360.com) will present what it bills as “a boot-stompin’, flat-pickin’, corn-liquorin’ good time featuring Lancaster’s bluegrass and Americana heroes, Vinegar Creek Constituency and Corty Byron Band, along with Second Hand Suits.

Other upcoming shows at Tellus 360 are The Royal Noise on December 26, Mike McMonagle & The Opportunists on December 27, Dave Pedrick on December 28 and the Seperators on December 30.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) will host a New Year’s Eve party on December 31 with the Blues Brotherhood, one of the best Blues Brothers tribute bands on the East Coast.

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Trout Fishing in America

Other shows during the holiday week are Popa Chubby and Flamin’ Harry on December 26, Beatlemania Now on December 27, Trout Fishing in America on December 28 (1 p.m.), the AC/DC tribute band Live Wire on December 28 (7:30 p.m.), 2U, a U2 tribute band on December 29 and Hoots & Hellmouth on December 30.

There are times that The Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will host a performer with 51 years of experience in the music business.

On December 28, the club in Kennett Square will present a show where the combined age of the three solo artists is 51 years — Wendell Woods Jr., who is the oldest at the ripe old age of 18; Danica McGuigan, a 17-year-old high school senior from Rising Sun, Maryland; and Chase Pavese, a 16-year-old high school junior from Avon Grove High.

All three play guitar and sing. Hopefully, they’re not performing original compositions from experiences in their own lives because that could lead to very limited repertoires. But then, kids have feelings too so who knows what to expect at this Sunday’s triple bill.

Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $14 at the door. This is the only show at The Flash until January 3 when the club presents the Rolling Thunder Blues Revue.

Two area holiday stage shows will have their final curtain prior to New Year’s Eve.

The American Music Theatre (2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, 800-0 648-4102, www.AMTshows.com) has its holiday show running now through December 30. The show features spectacular vocal harmonies, lively musical arrangements, impressive dancing, elaborate scenery, elegant costumes and the music of the AMT Orchestra. Tickets are $42.

The Rainbow Dinner Theatre (3065 Lincoln Highway East, Paradise, 800-292-4301, www.RainbowDinnerTheatre.com) is presenting its holiday production “Burglar’s Holiday” now through December 28. Ticket prices range from $48-$54.

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