Catasauqua Press

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Cirque du Soleil ‘Crystal’ duo performs at Crystal Cave

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It was a match made, if not in heaven, then under the hills west of Kutztown.

“Crystal” meets Crystal Cave.

Performers from Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal,” June 26-30, PPL Center, Allentown, visited Crystal Cave, Richmond Township, Berks County, June 25.

They performed acrobatic moves seen in the show that’s making its Lehigh Valley debut.

Leon Fagbemi of London lifts his Cirque du Soleil “Crystal” partner Amber Van Nijk of Belgium high above his head as she balances on his hands outside the entrance to Crystal Cave.

Night On The Town: Shepard The Breeze in Lehigh Valley debut

Friday, June 21, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

They call him The Breeze and for Lehigh Valley native Chris Barczynski, his latest project is living up to its name.

“I’m celebrating 25 years as a professional musician,” says Barczynski.

“And I’ve done some amazing things in those 25 years. But this is the best thing that I’ve been a part of. I can’t wait for people to hear it.”

His latest rock group, Shepard The Breeze, performs, 9 p.m. June 21, The Gin Mill, Northampton.

Night On The Town: The Ultra Kings join ‘Summer Soltice III’

Friday, June 21, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Summer Soltice III,” 4 p.m.-11 p.m. June 22, brings six bands to the Alternative Gallery, 707 N. Fourth St., Allentown, including Ronnie Rock and The Trendsetters, The Ultra Kings, Scotty and The Slammers, The Fux, Big Handsome, and The Purrverts.

The event is well-timed and named, happening one day after the Summer Soltice, officially, 11:54 a.m. June 21.

Based on previous “Summer Soltice” events held in the first-floor concert venue at the former cigar factory near Fourth and Tilghman streets, Allentown, the concert should be fun and then some.

Theater Review: ‘Crazy for You’ taps into talent at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival production of “Crazy for You” is crazy good on multiple levels.

Singing, dancing, choreography, music, acting, set design and costuming are beyond superlatives. PSF’s “Crazy for You” will captivate and transport you to Broadway’s Golden Age of all-singing, all-dancing, all-fun musicals.

Theater Review: Three cheers for ‘Bring It On’ at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre (MSMT) production of “Bring It On” lives up to its title.

The adage about an actor being a triple-threat (acting, singing, dancing) in theater is taken one step further to become a quadruple-threat with the addition of cheerleading (including backflips, front-flips, lifts and drops that one would see at high school and college sports contests) in “Bring It On,” through June 30, Paul C. Empie Theatre, Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, Allentown. The June 15 performance was seen for this review.

‘Topsy Turvy’ returns Players to comedy roots

Friday, June 14, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s a change of pace for Crowded Kitchen Players (CKP) and a return to the Lehigh Valley troupe’s comedy roots.

“I knew I wanted to do a comedy because we did a show about rape, PTSD and child sexual abuse,” says Ara Barlieb, CKP cofounder and writer of “Topsy Turvy,” in its world premiere, continuing at 8 p.m. June 14, 15 and 2 p.m. June 16, Charles A. Brown IceHouse, 56 River St., Bethlehem.

CKP’s most recent plays were “A Softening of Her Eyes,” which dealt with the topics of rape and PTSD, and “Unspeakable,” which dealt with child sexual abuse.

Curtain Rises: Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre ‘Brings It On’ for 39th annual season

Friday, June 7, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The 2019 season is the 39th step for Charles Richter on his way to the 40th anniversay of Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre (MSMT), which he cofounded.

“They’re already planning the 40th celebration,” says Richter, Professor of Theatre Arts, Muhlenberg College, where he has been teaching for 41 years, with 25 years as chair of the college’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

When asked about retirement, Richter, who will be 68 on June 16, quips, “I’m not thinking that far ahead.”

What Richter is thinking about is the 2019 season:

Movie Review: ‘Ay, there’s the rub’

Friday, June 7, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Disney’s live-action remake of its animation feature film, “Aladdin,” is good, but not as great as the original. How could it be? As legendary animator Chuck Jones said of the raison d’être for animation: “You couldn’t put Charlie Chaplin in a milk bottle.” When it comes to the Genie in the lamp, to quote Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” “Ay, there’s the rub.”