Catasauqua Press

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Curtain Rises: ‘Anything Goes’ brings Jarrod Yuskauskas home to MSMT

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s the seventh season for Jarrod Yuskauskas at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre (MSMT).

For 2019, Yuskauskas plays Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in “Anything Goes,” July 11-28, Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, Allentown.

Yuskauskas played Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady” in 2017 and had lead roles in “Gypsy,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “Spamalot” since 2012 at MSMT.

Henry Higgins is his favorite role so far at MSMT. “He’s a lot to dig into. And I enjoyed that,” Yuskauskas says.

Movie Review: ‘Pavarotti’: Life as opera

Monday, July 8, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

After Ron Howard directed the documentary film, ”The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years” (2016), one can Imagine (the name of Howard’s and Brian Grazer’s film and television production company), Howard saying, “How can I top that”?

First, there was the little matter of directing the feature movie, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018).

When it came to the topic of his next documentary, Howard chose the rock star of opera, tenor Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007).

Allentown’s Lee Iacocca’s secret sauce was innovation

Monday, July 8, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

In the mid-1960s, many teen boys, even before they could drive, wanted a Mustang.

So did many teen girls.

Just ask “Mustang Sally” (a Top 20 hit in 1966 for Wilson Pickett).

The Mustang was a point of pride for those in the Lehigh Valley who knew that the Pony Car, as it was dubbed, was the brainchild of Allentown native Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca, President of Ford Motor Company (1970-1978). Iacocca would go on to become President-CEO of Chrysler Corporation (1978, and Chairman in 1979) before retiring in 1992.

Curtain Rises: Christopher Patrick Mullen is a maid man in PSF ‘Irma Vep’

Monday, July 8, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It isn’t often an actor revisits a favorite role, much less with the same artistic team.

Make that “favorite roles” for Christopher Patrick Mullen in the 2019 Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s “The Mystery Of Irma Vep,” through July 14, Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University. Center Valley.

Mullen is back, opposite Brad DePlanche, directed by Jim Helsinger and with costumes by Lisa Zinni, the same artistic team for the 2007 PSF production of playwright Charles Ludlum’s farce.

Crystal Cave a cool place for family visit in summer

Friday, July 5, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Crystal Cave was discovered nearly 150 years ago.

Recently, it was discovered by Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal.”

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

They performed acrobatic moves seen in Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal,” June 26-30, PPL Center, Allentown.

The “Crystal” duo visited Crysal Cave, Richmond Township, Berks County, June 25.

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

May LV house sales trend upward

Friday, July 5, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Business Showcase

Lehigh Valley house sales increased slightly in May, continuing a positive trend for two months in a row.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley increased 0.4 percent in May, with 815 houses sold, up from 812 houses sold in May 2018, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) monthly report released June 12.

Closed sales for the first five months of 2019 are up slightly, 0.3 percent, to 3,010 from 3,002 for the first five months of 2018.

Closed house sales had rebounded in April, reversing a three-month decline in the first quarter of 2019.

‘Toy Story 4’

Friday, July 5, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

You know the story in “Toy Story 4”: The toys talk, laugh and scheme to remain in the company of children.

“Toy Story 4” reprises the familiar, from the opening song, “You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” written and performed by Randy Newman, who composed the score and also wrote some new songs (“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” figures into the theme and plot line), and concludes with the familiar, a happy ending for the toy and the movie-goer, as well.

Theater Review: ‘Mamma Mia!’ lights up Bucks Playhouse stage

Wednesday, July 3, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

To turn a phrase from the title song: “Here we go again ... “

And furthermore, “Mamma Mia!”: what a fizzy, fun, sunny musical, through Aug. 3, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope. The June 30 opening night performance was reviewed.

In Broadway parlance, “Mamma Mia!” is a jukebox musical, whereby hit songs are packaged into a revue, strung together by an often biographical story about the group or singer of the hits.

Movie Reviews: Shakespeare & Moe

Saturday, June 29, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“All Is True” and “The Spy Behind Home Plate” couldn’t be two more disparate films.

“All Is True” is a leisurely, mostly fictional account of the last years of playwright William Shakespeare, directed by Kenneth Branagh, who plays the Bard under extensive facial prosthetics.

“The Spy Behind Home Plate” is a bristling, well-researched documentary film, written and directed by Aviva Kempner about Morris “Moe” Berg, a Major League Baseball catcher who secretly was an international spy.

Each film is worth viewing.

Review: Cirque du Soleil ‘Crystal’ breathtaking at PPL Center

Friday, June 28, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Cirque du Soleil “Crystal” is one-part ice show, one-part circus and all-parts Cirque du Soleil.

“Crystal,” through June 30, PPL Center, Allentown, takes ice-skating and contemporary circus performance arts to a whole new level.

And, while the temperture sign on a bank building across the street at Seventh and Hamilton stated 91 degrees fahrenheit at 7:10 p.m. June 26, on opening night when the show was seen for this review, it was a world of cool creativity inside PPL Center.

On multiple levels, “Crystal” is breathtaking and thrilling.