Catasauqua Press

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Theater Review: ‘12ness’ a fascinating, compelling world premiere

Friday, June 16, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“12ness” tells the story of the apparently little-known and unlikely friendship between American songwriter George Gershwin and avant-garde composer Arnold Schoenberg.

The Crowded Kitchen Players production of the comedy-drama, written by Charlie Barnett and directed by George B. Miller, with assistant director Kate Scuffle, continues in its world premiere through June 18 as part of the “IceHouse Tonight Series” at the Charles A. Brown IceHouse, Bethlehem.

SouthSide Film Festival brings international fare to Bethlehem

Friday, June 9, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Area festivals, events and venues may come and go, but the SouthSide Film Festival (SSFF), now in its 14th year, has become a Lehigh Valley institution.

“The community’s been great,” says Glenn Koehler, SSFF director. “We get a lot of support.”

Jeff Vaclavik, board of directors president of the Southside Film Institute, which runs the SSFF, is already thinking about next year’s 15th annual event.

“It’s one of those anniversary years,” Vaclavik says, regarding SSFF programming. “We’ll come up with something.”

Review: ‘Pirates’

Friday, June 9, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Deadmen Tell No Tales” could more aptly be subtitled “Lousy Screenplays Tell No Tales.” Therein lies the problem with the fifth sequel in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series that stars Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, who doesn’t so much swashbuckle as sashay, speaks with an at times difficult to understand drunken lisp, and rolls his eyes at every ironic aside in the grand manner of a silent movie star.

Shakespeare for everyone: Broadway in Center Valley returns to DeSales campus for Pa. Shakespeare Festival

Friday, June 2, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF), with its Main Stage Theatre production of “Evita” opening June 14, bodes to be bigger and better than ever for its 26th season.

Already, the 2017 season has set a record.

PSF set a new one-day sales record Feb. 15, opening day of single-ticket sales for the summer 2017 season. In one day, 938 tickets were sold for a more than $43,000 total. That’s a 64 percent increase, compared to the first day of single ticket sales in 2016, the Festival’s record-breaking 25th anniversary season.

‘Alien’ review

Friday, June 2, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Be prepared to be scared.

“Alien: Covenant” is the latest in the “Alien” science fiction motion-picture franchise. Although released in spring, “Alien: Covenant” is really a summer season horror film, bringing back one of the scariest, most disgusting-looking and vicious monsters ever created for the cinema.

“Alien: Covenant” is a sequel to “Prometheus” (2012), the second “Alien” prequel, and the sixth installment in the “Alien” franchise.

Movie Review: ‘Guardians Vol. 2’

Friday, May 26, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2” brings the usual crew of galactic misfits back for an entertaining mix of 1970s-era mix-tape music, galactic shenanigans and a summer movie season of bountiful quips.

The best part, though, is that writer-director James Gunn was to the movie superhero spoof genre born (writer-director, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” 2014; “Super,” 2010; “Slither,” 2006; writer, “Dawn of the Dead,” 2004; “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” 2004; “Scooby-Doo,” 2002; “The Specials,” 2000; “Tromeo & Juliet,” 1996).

LV house market: Air goes out of March sales winds; April sales dampen 4.3 percent

Friday, May 26, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Business Showcase

Sales of houses in the greater Lehigh Valley again declined in April after rebounding in March.

Closed sales decreased by 4.3 percent in April to 626 houses sold, compared to 654 in April 2016, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR).

For the year-to-date, closed sales inched up 1 percent to 2,133 from 2,111 in 2016

Pending sales were up slightly, 5.4 percent in April to 924, compared to 877 in April 2016.

For the year-to-date, pending sales are up 8.9 percent to 2,922 from 2,682 in 2016.

Both sides now: Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘Hair’ contrast two eras of the Broadway stage

Friday, May 26, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s the Yin and Yang of Lehigh Valley summer theater.

It’s polar opposites on the Broadway musical spectrum.

It’s Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre (MSMT).

This year, MSMT again is staging the radical and new, and the tried and true, in the American musical theater canon.

For its 37th season, MSMT presents the revolutionary rock musical “Hair,” June 14 - July 2, and the classic musical, “My Fair Lady,” July 12 - 30. The family children’s show is a really big show, “Wild,” a circus performance, June 28 - July 29.

Concerts Review: Bethlehem Bach Festival gives ‘To God Alone The Honor’

Thursday, May 18, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

What’s best about the Bach Festival of Bethlehem is its surety of purpose, its certainty of artistry, its expectation and fulfillment of inspiration.

The 110th Bethlehem Bach Festival, continuing May 19 and 20 with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Festival Orchestra and world-renowned soloists, is billed as a celebration of the human voice.

Movie Review: ‘Guardians’ turns up the ‘Volume 2’

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2” brings the usual crew of galactic misfits back for an entertaining mix of 1970s-era mix-tape music, galactic shenanigans and a summer movie season of bountiful quips.

The best part, though, is that writer-director James Gunn was to the movie superhero spoof genre born (writer-director, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” 2014; “Super,” 2010; “Slither,” 2006; writer, “Dawn of the Dead,” 2004; “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” 2004; “Scooby-Doo,” 2002; “The Specials,” 2000; “Tromeo & Juliet,” 1996).