Catasauqua Press

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Concert Review: java and jive with the young J.S. Bach

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Young Meister Bach," a comic opera commissioned by the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, which made its Bethlehem Bach Festival debut May 3, provides a fun and fascinating insight into the early years of Johann Sebastian Bach.

"Young Meister Bach" is presented again during the festival's second weekend, 10:30 a.m. May 10, Baker Hall, Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University.

The approximate one-hour and 10 minute take on young Bach humanizes a classical music icon, not unlike the stage play and movie, "Amadeus."

Concert Review: Bach Festival lives up to heavenly billing

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Music of Heaven On Earth" is an audacious title for the 107th Bethlehem Bach Festival. Based on the first weekend of this year's festival, it has the ring of truth.

The festival, which is repeated May 9 and 10 mostly on the Lehigh University campus, offers a full immersion for the Bach devotee, from scholarly lectures, to a comparison of early and later Cantatas to the centerpiece, "The Mass in B Minor." Approximately 1,000 attend each weekend.

Movie Review: More than a country 'Bears' jamboree

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Bears."

The title says it all.

It's as simple as that in the Disneynature documentary about a family of Alaskan Kodiak Brown bears.

Wait.

Where's the voice of Morgan Freeman?

Morgan Freeman is the go-to guy for voice-overs, television commercials and animal kingdom documentaries. "March of the Penguins" (2005) wouldn't have been the same without the voice of Morgan Freeman.

John C. Reilly narrates "Bears."

Yes, that John C. Reilly, known for playing goofy, doofus-like clods in comedies, i.e., "Step Brothers" (2008).

Theater Review: Civic gives Broadway the business

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Civic Theatre of Allentown's production of "Urinetown: The Musical" takes care of business -- show business.

It's "the" show to see so far in the Lehigh Valley regional theater's year.

Civic Theatre's "Urinetown" is top-notch in directing, acting, singing, music and production. It's on par with what you'd experience in New York City or Philadelphia.

Movie Review: In 'Heaven' there is no bier

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Is heaven a hope or real?"

Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) asks that question in the opening narration of "Heaven Is For Real," a touching tale of admittedly corny sentimentality that left me all blubbery and emotionally- moved.

Burpo is pastor of a nondenominational church in Imperial, Neb. The pastor's faith, as well as the beliefs of his wife, Sonja (Kelly Reilly), and the faith of his congregation are put to the test when the pastor's four-year-old son, Colton (Connor Corum), has a near-death experience.

Movie Review: 'Captain America' an uneasy rider

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is a return to form for the action genre.

The Marvel Comics superhero sequel wisely eschews an overdependence on computer-generated imagery. Instead, the film concentrates on character development, dialogue scenes between the main characters and several impressive live-action scenes.

"Captain America" bristles with the kinetic energy of some of the best of the action-movie genre, including "The Terminator" (1984), "Total Recall" (1990) and "Die Hard" (1988).

Movie Review: Check into a 'Grand Hotel'

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" is an actor-studded comedy-drama that bristles with the joy of cinema. The film is a concoction of dizzying dialogue, madcap pacing, larger-than-life characters, bizarre encounters, manic escapades and stunning visuals.

While the film seems to have little to do with Budapest, Hungary, it is inspired by the sense of time and place of Eastern Europe sometime between the wars: World War I and World War II.

A Brotherhood for 10 years

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Blues Brotherhood, The Blues Brothers tribute group, is beginning its 10th anniversary year with a concert, 8 p.m. April 12, Musikfest Cafe, ArtsQuest Center, SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.

"Not only to we try to stay very true to the music, but we try to stay very true to the characters," says Paul Miller, who sings as and portrays Jake, the John Belushi character in The Blues Brothers.

Elwood, the Dan Aykroyd character, is portrayed by Aaron Hetrick, who has been with the Blues Brotherhood since its founding by Miller.

Rising up at Godfrey Daniels

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

There's a reason Harpeth Rising is called Harpeth Rising.

And it's not because the eclectic group has a harp as one of its instruments.

It has to do with geography and the aspirations of the trio that mixes classical music with bluegrass.

"We have many happy associations with that river," says Rebecca Reed-Lunn, banjo player and co-founder of Harpeth Rising, which makes its Lehigh Valley debut, 8 p.m. April 11, Godfrey Daniels, 7 E. Fourth St., Bethlehem.

The Harpeth River is part of the Mississippi River watershed.

Theater Review: Touchstone 'Dream' a wonderful reality

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Journey: Dream of A Red Pavilion," in its world premiere through April 13, Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem, tells numerous stories about the Asian experience in the City of Bethlehem: Asian immigrants, Asian adoptees, Asian natives, Asian tourists, and the reactions to them by non-Asians, city officials and college professors.