By Sandra Zunino
While some things just get old, others improve with age and the Avalon Theatre in downtown Easton is proving to be one of the latter.
The Avalon, built in 1921, refurbished in 1934, then renovated in the 80s after years of neglect, unveiled its latest addition last September. The $50,000 Stoltz Listening Room, a.k.a. the SLR, is the newest Avalon venue to showcase musical talent.
The SLR was donated by Keith Stoltz, son of Jack and Susan Stoltz, in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary. Long-time supporters of the Avalon Theatre, the Stoltz family is best known as owners of the Talbot Town Shopping Center.
A more intimate setting than Avalon’s 400-seat Vaudeville-style main theatre, the SLR can comfortably house up to 60 patrons. Aesthetically in vogue, art from Peter Turner, renowned album cover photographer, graces the SLR’s walls. Turner, himself, dictated the art arrangement. A glowing screen behind the stage slowly changes color adding drama to each performance. Include the state-of-the-art sound system, remote control noise-dampening curtains, artistic lighting and bar, and the SLR has all the ambiance of an exclusive jazz club.
With tickets ranging from $10 to $20 and reasonably priced Evolutions beer from a local craft brewery, as well as premium lagers and wines by the glass, a night at the SLR won’t break the budget. An atmosphere conducive to stand-up, comedy shows at the SLR will be forthcoming as well.
Avalon has a full line up of talent for both the SLR and the main theatre with holiday-oriented acts booked just in time to ring in Christmas spirit. “We feel lucky that we have two amazing intimate venues to provide even a bigger variety of acts,” says Avalon Marketing Manager David Ferraris.
On Friday, December 4 at 8:00 p.m., the Branford Marsalis Quartet appears in the main theatre. Since Marsali’s brother Wynton’s performance at the Avalon last year sold out, David recommends buying tickets early for this show. On December 10, the Celtic Tenors perform at 8:00 p.m., and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s authentic Creole Christmas show features traditional New Orleans jazz on the 11th.
The Eric Byrd Trio brings Charlie Brown to life on the 13th from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the young and young at heart playing live “Peanuts” music after a showing the original “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Easton High School’s choir gets to perform with legendary Rita Collidge on the 18th at 8:00 p.m. in her Christmas Show, and local ArtHouse Live Productions, using an ensemble of local talent, brings holiday favorite “A Christmas Carol” to Avalon December 21 through the 23.
The Avalon Theatre is part of the Avalon Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization. The Avalon Foundation’s mission is to provide leadership, venues and a variety of programming to improve the quality of life on the Mid-Shore.
For more information about the Avalon Theatre, view a schedule of upcoming shows, or purchase tickets online, visit its updated website at www.avalontheatre.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the box office in advance or at the door. Call 410-822-7299, Tuesday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to purchase tickets directly or inquire about shows.