Catasauqua Press

Monday, August 21, 2017

THEATER REVIEW Couldn't ask for anything more with 'Crazy for You'

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Muhlenberg College Music Theatre (MSMT) 33rd-season opening production of "Crazy for You" is crazy fun and crazy good. It's as if an MGM musical has come to life in west Allentown in Technicolor.

The all-dancing, all-singing musical with many of George and Ira Gershwin's most popular songs (12 in Act One and eight in Act Two), continues through June 30, Dorothy H. Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

THEATER REVIEW 'Oklahoma!' more than OK; it's fantastic at PSF

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival opens its 22nd season with an exuberant, stupendous and memorable production of the landmark Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "Oklahoma!"

PSF Associate Artistic Director Dennis Razze pulls out all the stops in his thoughtful yet zealous direction of the huge cast of 25, a dynamic 14-piece orchestra conducted by music director Nathan Diehl and rambunctious boot-scootin' boogie choreography by Stephen Casey.

Article By: PAUL WILLISTEIN pwillistein@tnonline.com

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

X marks the spot

The Southside Film Festival (SSFF) is underway.

You may have seen those posters with the big red "X" on them.

The X isn't for the MPAA ratings of the films being shown at the SSFF.

Rather, X is the roman numeral 10, as in the SSFF 10th anniversary.

The X also marks the spot, or screening locations, for more than 57 films, through June 15, Broughal Middle School auditorium, Victory Fire House, Lehigh University Sinclair Lab Auditorium and Godfrey Daniels, all south side Bethlehem.

'Now You See Me,' now you don't

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

There's not a lot of magic in "Now You See Me," even though the film's milieu is prestidigitation.

There are digital special effects aplenty the kind of cinematic magic we expect in sci-fi, fantasy and action films.

The special effects cannot distract from a weak screenplay with half-baked plot and lack of character development.

"Now You See Me" inadvertently proves a motto said in the film by one of the magicians: "The closer you look, the less you see."

An 'Epic' disappointment

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The animated family feature movie,"Epic," is beautiful, especially in the 3D format in which it was seen for this review.

Unfortunately, "Epic" lacks a cohesive storyline, the clever dialogue we've grown accustomed to in animated features and memorable animated characters.

That's not good. The art form is, after all, about character animation.

Moreover, the concept for "Epic" is ill-conceived.

'Star Trek Into': sci-fi boldly

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Star Trek Into Darkness" is that all-too-often rare sci-fi movie that has spectacular special effects, a screenplay with an actual storyline, character development and surprise plot turns.

J. J. Abrams ("Star Trek," 2009; TV's "Aliens," "Lost"), directs a screenplay by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman ("Transformers," 2007, 2009; "Star Trek," 2009) and Damon Lindelof ("World War Z," "Prometheus," "Cowboys & Aliens," TV's "Lost") that mixes action set pieces and character-driven scenes.

Groucho returns for 'Evening' at Miller Symphony Hall

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

When Frank Ferrante performs "An Evening with Groucho," 8 p.m. May 18, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, the ghost of Groucho may be with him.

First, a personal aside. My father, Paul, once told me that when he was an usher at Miller Symphony Hall (then The Lyric), the Four Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico, Harpo and, Zeppo) performed their musical-comedy, "The Cocoanuts," there before it was a Broadway hit (1925 - '26) and film (1929). Allentown was a "try-out town," where Broadway-bound shows or stage acts were tested for audience reaction.

Creativity discovered anew in Young Playwrights' Lab

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Instead of teaching to the test, the Young Playwrights' Festival reaches for the stage.

The creative process, the writing and the plays' staging are key to its success, says Mary Wright, Touchstone Theatre Ensemble Associate and Young Playwrights Lab Coordinator:

"With schools' budgets getting cut further and further, anytime the arts can get reintroduced to the schools is a big deal."