About the only thing traditional about the Crowded Kitchen Players' (CKP) "A Christmas Carol," was the snow falling during the matinee, Dec. 8, outside McCoole's Arts and Events Place, Quakertown, where the show continues through Dec. 22.
The "Bah, Humbugs!" are intact, but there's little that's hum-drum about CKP's "Carol."
This is, after all, the CKP's version of "A Christmas Carol": quips, chains and pratfalls all.
If you're looking for a holiday season stage show alternative, travel to "Almost, Maine," at Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem, through Dec. 21.
Clair M. Freeman, Pennsylvania Playhouse production chair, has gotten outstanding performances from the six-person ensemble in the two-hour, two-act drama-comedy written by John Cariani.
The play, which premiered in 2004 at Portland Stage Company, Portland, Me., opened for a one-month run in 2006 off-Broadway in New York City.
Many of the best non-documentary feature films of 2013 have been based on true stories.
These include "Dallas Buyers Club," "12 Years A Slave," "Captain Phillips," "The Butler" and "42."
"Philomena" is another of the year's best films where the adage applies: "Truth is stranger than fiction."
The film should bring an Oscar actress nomination for Dame Judy Dench in the title role.
"Dallas Buyers Club" provides an alternative view of the Texas metropolis.
While the film's title might sound like the name of a club those on Bravo's "Real Housewives of Dallas" (set for a 2014 telecast start) might belong to, or a QVC telemarketing spinoff, "Dallas Buyers Club" is about a company organized to provide what was purported to be H.I.V.-positive antidotes soon after the virus was identified.
"All Is Lost" is a harrowing tale about a sailor lost at sea.
What's the big deal about that, you might say?
The big deal is that the sailor is played by none other than Robert Redford.
And, at 77, the filming of "All Is Lost" was also likely a harrowing experience for Redford.
"All Is Lost" is all Redford. The character he plays, simply called "Our Man," is the only person in the film, and he's on-screen for virtually the entire film.
The film begins with a voice-over narration by Redford and then a title card tells us it's "Eight Days Earlier."
"Last Vegas" is a hoot, starring four icons of contemporary cinema who have never appeared together in the same film.
Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline star as senior citizens, who called themselves the Flatbush Four when they were Brooklyn, N.Y., youths. In "Last Vegas," the four reunite in Las Vegas for a bachelor party.
"12 Years A Slave" is a profound film depicting an era of unspeakable horror in the history of the United States, as well as a marker in the evolution of the depiction of slavery and race in American cinema.
How funny is "Bad Grandpa'?
Take it from the ticket-seller at the multiplex: "The girl at the concession counter had to use her inhaler three times."
Don't take it from me.
Then again, two movie-goers walked out during the first 30 minutes at a recent matinee of "Bad Grandpa" at that same multiplex.
Don't take it from me.
"Next time, let's go to lunch and forget it when there's a bad movie," said an elderly woman to her two elderly female friends sitting in the row in front of me at the matinee.
The Muhlenberg College Department of Theater & Dance's "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," through Nov. 3, Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, is one of the best musical productions to ever hit the Lehigh Valley stage.
And it is a huge hit. From the opening immersive experience of the show's actors mingling with the audience as theater-goers take their seats and settle in, to the rousing finale, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" is a must-see for musical-theater fans.
When is speaking your mind saying too much? When is biting your tongue saying too little?
Truth in conversation, feelings and action is at the heart of "Enough Said," an entertaining and thoughtful romantic comedy memorable for its nuanced performances, especially that of James Gandolfini in what is his second-to-last big-screen role.
Look for an Oscar actor nomination for Gandolfini and a possible Oscar for the highly-regarded and beloved actor best-known as Tony Soprano on HBO's "The Sopranos."