In 2021, entertainment was what we made of it.
The year started with waning enthusiasm for everything zoomable, a post-vaccine scramble for as many live events as possible and then another dip at the end of the year, with 2022 as questioned as parts of 2020. But we had fun along the way , or?
Lancaster locations went all out, huddling in shows postponed from 2020 along with new events in 2021, to a point where there were times when, if you screw up your eyes, there were even the lucky ones Days of 2019. New venues like Mickey’s Black Box and the Lititz Shirt Factory popped up as Lancaster City continues to feel the glaring space the Chameleon Club left behind when it closed its doors on Water Street in 2020.
Entertainment is by nature a distraction from the “real world,” and when that world feels “more real” than ever, it helped to have people there who put a smile on our faces. Whether you’re on this list or not, if you’ve been played, sung, performed, danced, re-enacted, or performed in front of one or more audiences in front of one or more audiences in 2021, we welcome you.
Below are just a few highlights, in no particular order, from a year of entertainment in Lancaster County by entertainment reporters Kevin Stairiker and Mickayla Miller.
“Marionette Land” premiere in Zoetropolis
2021 was a year of victorious ups and downs for the Lancaster Marionette Theater. Alexander Monelli’s film âMarionette Landâ about the owner Robert Brock and his theater celebrated a full premiere in the Zoetropolis Cinema Stillhouse, which ended with a wonderful improvised a cappella performance by Brock. Unfortunately, the year also brought the news that the Lancaster landmark has finally closed its doors. âMarionette Landâ is coming to streaming services in 2022.
After several virtual and personal trips to film festivals across the country, a film was made about …
Creative works from Lancaster’s 24-hour games
One of the most fascinating virtual events of the year was the Creative Works of Lancasters â24 Hour Playsâ. Usually all of the players gathered in person to write, rehearse, and perform new short pieces within a day, but this year nearly 40 Lancaster artists managed to create entirely through online video calls. After countless virtual appearances in 2020, it was a pleasure to watch this.
At the end of another long virtual meeting, Josh Dorsheimer had to go outside to decompress.
NRBQ with phantom power
If you were one of the 60 or so people who did it smart and bought a ticket this November to see NRBQ on Phantom Power, kudos. The band, which has been led by the mentally deranged piano genius Terry Adams since the mid-1960s, hosted a clinic without warning in the form of an almost three-hour set without a setlist and conjured the socks off those who were lucky enough to be there.
With the release of their 22nd studio album “Dragnet” earlier this month, members of the band …
The 108 experience
The return of personal concerts gave like-minded creators an opportunity to unite and share stages like never before. Take the 108 Experience in October, hosted by CJ Brown, which brought together musicians and artists like Laddie Moran, PINK I, Suge, Keisha Finnie, Kaya Hobbs, Sir Dominique Jordan and many more. There is still no sign of whether or not this is an annual event, but as it sells out quickly, the signs point to it.
Butterflies seem to have figured it all out – to become something beautiful, you have to …
Tuck Ryan House Show in July
Do you remember the summer of 2021? Of course you do. It was right after the first wave of vaccinations hit, and venues of all kinds were rushing to triumphantly put on shows again. What I missed most in the concert vacuum was already a rare beast in Lancaster City – a house show. Tuck Ryan, formerly ubiquitous Lancaster musician who now lives in Philadelphia, held about 15 people at his house for a concert in his living room with Jake Sherman and Ajay in July. It was a nice experience to feel the music so close again; Hopefully it will come back soon.
Live music can be heard everywhere.
Boat building at Sickman’s Mill
This music for everyone fundraiser was an easy favorite. People in teams made boats from donated materials to drive them down Pequea Creek in Sickman’s Mill. Music For Everyone used the proceeds to fund its nonprofit that provides music programs for children in schools. The music and the atmosphere were excellent and it was a fun, happy competition. And best of all, of course, were the boat names, including Sail Earnhardt Jr. and Neither Form nor Function.
‘Waitress’ at the Hershey Theater
The touring Broadway musical “Waitress” was shown at the Hershey Theater. This was followed by the journey of Jenna (Jisel Soleil Ayon), who was in an abusive relationship and was pregnant despite not wanting to be. Your real passion? Bake a cake. “Love Song” singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles wrote the music and lyrics for the musical, and the lyrics were thoughtful and clever. Overall, the musical was engaging and fun (but also downright devastating at times).
Cover of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for the AMT Christmas show “Winter Wonderland”
Music director and mastermind behind all the things that play Christmas at the American Music Theater, Andrea McCormick said in an interview with LNP | LancasterOnline earlier this year that this show featured probably the most talented cast she’s worked with. After you’ve seen the show it’s easy to agree. The best part was probably towards the end when the orchestra started playing its version of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra song “Christmas Eve / Sarajevo”. My grandfather, whom I don’t see often, and my late mother both love TSOs, although I’ve never had the chance to see the orchestra perform myself. In a crowded Lancaster theater, I felt connected to my distant family in ways I did not expect.
Mountain goats concert
It’s still hard to believe that one of the best and most prolific music writers, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, played in Lancaster of all places. Let alone Tellus360. The sold out concert was intimate and close – scary for pandemic times – but everyone masked and kept them on throughout the show. Darnielle was just as magical in person as she was from the recording. (Greetings to Kevin for introducing this band; it was life changing).
Block Party in front of the Thistle Finch / Burley Bar
Thistle Finch / Burley Bar hosted a summer block party on Charlotte Street with music, drinks, food, and other activities. The drinks were cheap and the food good, but there’s another sentimental reason this event is on this list: It’s one of the first times my new partner and I have been able to party together as a couple. The air outside was sticky hot, and when a water balloon fight began during a musical performance, the asphalt steamed with joy. It was one of the first events since the pandemic restrictions were lifted and one of the first times this year for the city to feel like a community again.