Catasauqua Press

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Touchstone ‘Follies’ back for 19th year, and counting

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Dancing hippos in pink tutus, a shopping cart ballet and singing Christmas trees are just a few of the unexpected delights in Touchstone Theatre’s “Christmas City Follies XIX,” a one-of-a-kind send-up of the Christmas season in the Christmas City, Dec. 6-23.

“We’ve been shaking it up bit this year,” says Emma Ackerman, Touchstone ensemble member and general manager. “And I think it’s fresher than ever.”

Bach Choir brings Christmas concerts to two cities

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Two cantatas that Johann Sebastian Bach wrote specifically for the holidays in the 18th century highlight the Bach Choir of Bethlehem Christmas concerts, 8 p,m. Dec. 8, First Presbyterian Church, 3231 Tilghman St., Allentown, and 4 p.m. Dec. 9, First Presbyterian Church, 2344 Center St., Bethlehem.

The Choir, conducted by Bach Choir Artistic Director Greg Funfgeld, will be joined by the Bach Festival Orchestra and five soloists on three joyful pieces to usher in the season.

Allentown’s Jerome Collins returns with Straight No Chaser

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

A decade after the release of Straight No Chaser’s hit debut album, “Holiday Spirits,” Allentown native Jerome Collins says he still has to pinch himself sometimes.

“We are just all American boys still doing what we did in college,” he says. “We never thought something we started for fun would be our livelihood.”

The male acapella group sensations bring “An Evening with Straight No Chaser” to the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton, for two shows, 4 and 8 p.m. Dec 8. The tour is in support of the group’s sixth album, the retrospective “One Shot.”

Kenny G brings Christmas tunes and more for State Theatre debut

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Kenny G has played Tokyo, Singapore and Spain.

He’s performed in London’s Royal Albert Hall and New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

And at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, he’s at the State Theatre Center for the Arts for his first-ever Easton concert.

And Kenny G wouldn’t have his life any other way.

“I’m proud of being one of the guys who has been a road musican for the last 30 years,” he says.

‘26 Pebbles’: Parkland High School student play about Sandy Hook in state contest

Friday, November 30, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

A Parkland High School production of “26 Pebbles,” a play about a very difficult topic, the 2012 shooting of 20 students and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., will get a statewide audience Dec. 1.

Mark A Stutz, Director of Visual and Performing Arts, Parkland School District, is hoping the student production could even reach a national audience.

“We felt it was a message that needed to be brought to as many people as we could,” Stutz says of the Parkland production, which he directed.

‘Singing Policeman’ back with Allentown Band

Friday, November 30, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

“The Singing Policeman” returns Dec. 2 to Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, to sing with the Allentown Band for the fourth year and he couldn’t be more excited.

Daniel Rodriguez, also known as “America’s Tenor,” joins the Allentown Band, El Sistema Lehigh Valley Children’s Chorus and the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts Touring Choir for the annual “Americans We Tribute to Veterans-Holiday Concert.”

“I travel all around the world, but Allentown is a place I keep coming back to,” says Rodriguez.

On ‘Broadway,’ a ‘Carol’ sendup at Pa. Playhouse

Friday, November 30, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Rody Gilkeson admits there’s quite a bit of his father in “A Broadway Christmas Carol,” the holiday show opening Nov. 30 at The Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem.

Gilkeson is directing the zany musical comedy described as “Scrooge meets ‘Forbidden Broadway,’ the latter a popular Off-Broadway revue that pokes fun at musical theater.

However, Gilkeson says “A Broadway Christmas Carol” is first and foremost the story of Scrooge’s redemption.

“This is a kind of an insane show,” he says. “But it has the same feel-good ending.”

A Christmas ‘Voice’ in Allentown concert

Friday, November 30, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

From Long Island pizza delivery boy to performing all over the world, Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti says appearing on “America’s Got Talent” transformed his life.

In January, he will return to the NBC hit reality TV show for its first-ever former champions edition.

But before that, it’s the “Sal ‘The Voice’ Valentinetti Holiday Concert,” 8 p.m. Dec. 1, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

‘Chamber On Stage’ turns musicians, audience around

Thursday, November 1, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

The Allentown Symphony Association is turning the Miller Symphony Hall stage around for its new chamber music series.

For the 3 p.m. Nov. 4 concert that opens the hall’s “Chamber On Stage” series, the New York City group Decoda will play on the main stage, but with the performers’ backs to the orchestra seats in which the audience usually sits.

And audience members will be seated toward the back of the stage facing the performers.

Zeke Zelker’s ‘Billboard’ having its world premiere at Nineteenth St. Theatre

Thursday, November 1, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

A locally-produced film, inspired by a 1982 billboard-sitting contest in Whitehall Township, will have its world premiere, 7 p.m. Nov. 1, Nineteenth Street Theatre, Allentown.

Lehigh Valley filmmaker Zeke Zelker’s “Billboard” will be the first film shown in the newly renovated theater which reopened after a one-year $5.5-million capital campaign project.