5 things we’re looking forward to in Lancaster County entertainment in 2024 | Entertainment

It was a great year in local entertainment. But, we’re pretty excited about what the future holds, too. From music to theater to the big screen, there’s a lot to look forward to in the new year. Here are five things we’re excited for in 2024.

Celebrating culture

In 2023, diverse cultural celebrations were held across the county. Those included a Lunar New Year celebration in Ewell Plaza; the African American Cultural Alliance of Lancaster’s annual fair and parade; the inaugural Sakura Matsuri, or cherry blossom festival, at Franklin & Marshall College; the South Asian Association of Lancaster’s Diwali celebration; and the multicultural One World Festival (which returned as part of the Extraordinary Give). We think Lancaster’s cultural diversity is part of why the county is such a great place to live, and hope these events return – and others begin – in 2024.

Lunar New Year 22.jpg

The Lancaster community takes photos and video as the Lion Dance is performed during the celebration of the Lunar New Year in Ewell Plaza in Lancaster city on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023.

A solid concert lineup

There’s a lot to look forward to for music fans in and near Lancaster County in 2024. Boyz II Men is planning a February return to American Music Theatre, and the R&B vocalists will surely bring the Valentine’s Day vibes. (Last time they performed there, they handed out roses to audience members.) In March, the Dropkick Murphys will get Lancaster ready for St. Patrick’s Day with a concert at the Lancaster County Convention Center, and Tellus360 is planning shows with country artist Sam Grow and indie mainstays Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

We hope WIOV’s FallFest country concert continues to stay a Lancaster County event after returning to Overlook Community Campus in 2023 following a few years in Berks County. And speaking of country music, the Buck’s Country Freedom Fest is set to return in July.

Hootie and the Blowfish

Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish performs at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

Even though Hershey is outside of Lancaster County, it’s a short drive for music fans. And Hersheypark Stadium’s solid lineup offers a lot in the next year: Foo Fighters, Hootie & the Blowfish and Pink are just some of the huge artists who will visit central PA in 2024. We’re going to need to put a few more quarters in our “concert tickets” piggy bank.

More nights at the theater

The local theater community shines every year, but our great group of Lancaster County theaters have some fantastic shows planned in 2024. We’re excited for the Fulton Theatre’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (perhaps we’ll pair it with a viewing of the new Timothee Chalamet-starring prequel, “Wonka”). We also can’t wait for Prima Theatre’s “Off the Yellow Brick Road,” the digital-age reimagining of “Wizard of Oz.” The show will be directed and choreographed by the talented Cody Smith – who has worked with the Radio City Rockettes team, as well as inspired performers throughout Lancaster County through his work at area theaters. Other standout shows on area theater schedules in 2024 include “Cabaret” and both parts of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Angels in America” at Ephrata Performing Arts Center; “Hairspray” at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre; Shakespeare’s tragedy “Cymbeline” by the People’s Shakespeare Project; the musical “Tuck Everlasting” from Servant Stage Company; Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins” at Susquehanna Stage; and Gretna Theatre’s production — in conjunction with the Hershey Symphony — of Tim Rice, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson’s “Chess in Concert.”

Fulton Theatre marquee u16

Fulton Theatre is selling tickets for its 2023-24 season of shows for audiences of all ages.

Budding venues and visual art

Lancaster’s artistic community had a few new spaces to grow and thrive in 2023, and we’d like to see that continue in 2024. EsoArts, a sprawling gallery space that shape-shifts as a vendor market, live venue and part-time tattoo parlor proved itself as a community staple on Lancaster city’s Queen Street. Little Mutants, the new Prince Street brewery, hosted dance parties with great vibes and DJs that regularly draw crowds in Philadelphia. And West Art, a church-turned-community arts hub on Lancaster’s west side, offered great concerts, a curated holiday market and more. We’re excited to see what else these spaces do in 2024.

Of course, though, Lancaster’s arts community proved it doesn’t need four walls and a roof to thrive. Several artists hosted pop-up events in Art Park, the green space across the street from the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. And we saw Lancaster’s public art scene continue to blossom as more murals popped up throughout the city and beyond. More of that, please!

Brave the Dark movie still

This movie still from Make / Film’s “Brave the Dark,” which premiered at a film festival in Indianapolis on Oct. 6, shows actors Jared Harris, left, and Nicholas Hamilton. The film is based on the true story of Garden Spot teacher Stan Deen and a young man, Nate Deen, for whom he became a father figure.

Lancaster on screen

Last but certainly not least, 2024 should bring the local debut (and hopefully wider release) of “Brave the Dark,” the feature film about Stan Deen, the late Garden Spot High School teacher and theater director who inspired Nate Deen, a student with a traumatic past who was so moved by his teacher’s influence that he took his last name.

“Brave the Dark” stars Jared Harris (“Mad Men,” “Chernobyl”) as Stan Deen and Nicholas Hamilton (“It,” “The Dark Tower”) as Nate Deen.

“Brave the Dark” premiered during the 32nd Heartland International Film Festival in Indianapolis on Oct. 6 where it won the Overall Audience Choice Award. The film went on to other festivals California, Philadelphia and even Ireland.

“We’re eager to share our film with Lancaster, the place that made this project possible, as soon as we secure distribution,” said Derek Dienner, producer and owner of Make / Films, the Lancaster-based company that co-produced the movie with the New Zealand- and Lancaster-based production company Inspiring Films.

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