Bethlehem Press

Monday, March 30, 2020

Erich Cawalla set to release ‘American Songbook’ album

Friday, March 20, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Editor’s Note: The concert by the Erich Cawalla Quartet, 7:30 p.m. March 20, in the “Jazz Upstairs” series, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, was canceled because of concerns about the Coronavirus.

It has taken four and one-half years, but Erich Cawalla is releasing his first solo album in March: “Erich Cawalla - The Great American Songbook.”

The new album’s official release date is scheduled for March 25 at a Berks Jazz Fest preview show with a 25-piece big band and orchestra.

Concert Review: Guitarist Steve Hackett still the heart of Genesis

Friday, March 20, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

It’s been announced that Genesis is reforming with Phil Collins, but without Peter Gabriel or Steve Hackett.

Anyone in the audience at Steve Hackett’s concert March 12, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, might well think that the new group will not be the true Genesis.

Genesis was the epitome of progressive rock until, for better or worse, Gabriel and Hackett left and the band took a commercial pop direction.

Curtain Rises: ‘Silence! The Musical’ LV premiere April 3-11 at Civic Theatre

Friday, March 13, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Civic Theatre of Allentown’s “Silence! The Musical,” April 3 - 11, Civic Theatre514, Allentown, is based on the 1991 film “Silence of the Lambs,” starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.

At first glance, this stage adaptation might not seem like a good idea.

But “Silence!” is so over the top, the psychological horror does not hit home in the way it does in the film, and it is overshadowed by laughs.

Civic Theater of Allentown Artistic Director William Sanders, who’s directing the show, says, “It is really in good fun. The violence is silly.”

In the beginning: Steve Hackett to revisit Genesis in Miller Symphony Hall concert

Monday, March 9, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Genesis was one of the great progressive rock bands. You have a rare chance to hear the band’s music in concert again.

Steve Hackett, who was the band’s guitarist during what many consider to be the group’s creative peak, is bringing his solo work and Genesis’ “Selling England by the Pound” album to Allentown.

The “Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited” concert is 7:30 p.m. March 12, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

To Piaf with ‘Love’ at Touchstone Theatre

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Edith Piaf may not be a household name in the United States, but she is an icon in her native France and legendary throughout Europe.

Her life was as tumultuous as that of Judy Garland and Billie Holiday, and she has been compared to them.

Piaf was vilified for her many, often scandalous, love affairs and glorified for her singing. She was unique in the emotion she poured into her songs, and in the way they reflected her life.

Curtain Rises: Munopco takes a second look at ‘Gypsy’

Friday, February 28, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

“Gypsy,” Feb. 29 through March 8 in Munopco Music Theatre’s production at Scottish Rite Cathedral, Allentown, has been called the perfect musical. Many critics consider it to be the best American musical ever created.

“Gypsy” has music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Arthur Laurents, based on the autobiographical book by Gypsy Rose Lee.

“It’s absolutely my favorite musical,” says Munopco “Gypsy” director Daniel Petrovich.

Concert Review: Jake Shimabukuro: To the ukulele and beyond

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Armed with just a ukulele, Jake Shimabukuro captivated a capacity crowd Feb. 18, Musikfest Cafe, SteelStacks, Bethlehem.

Shimabukuro is probably the best-known virtuoso of the four-stringed instrument, taking it to unforeseen heights despite its range of only two octaves.

Dressed in a gray T-shirt and red pants, Shimabukuro had a friendly, low-key manner onstage, telling a number of stories throughout the one hour and 45-minute concert.

Concert Review: Simon Mulligan elegant in ‘Jazz Upstairs’

Thursday, February 20, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Nothing is musically more elegant than the Simon Mulligan Trio.

On Valentine’s Day night, in the Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, Mulligan, piano; Gene Perla, upright bass, and Dave Willard, drums, did a show of romantic standards from the Great American Songbook.

The members of the trio were stylishly-attired in black for their seventh appearance in the room. Mulligan noted that for the Feb. 14 concert, red might have been more appropriate.

Fresh off ‘Trio,’ Jake Shimabukuro makes ukulele fun

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Jake Shimabukuro will change your mind about the ukulele, with his dramatic and lively mix of jazz, blues, funk, rock, bluegrass, classical, folk, flamenco, and traditional Hawaiian music. Shimabukuro, 43, has developed a sound filled with music improvisation.

The Jake Shimabukuro Trio performs at 7 p.m. Feb. 18, Musikfest Cafe, ArttsQuest Center, SteelStacks, Bethlehem, with Dave Preston, guitar, and Jackson Waldhoff, bass.

Shimabukuro is releasing a new album, “Trio,” a few days before the Bethlehem concert.

Isn’t it romantic? Simon Mulligan in Valentine’s Day jazz concert

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

A visit by Simon Mulligan has become a tradition this time of year at Allentown’s Miller Symphony Hall.

The Simon Mulligan Trio will appear for the seventh time in Miller Symphony Hall, for the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, on Valentine’s Day.

Appearing with Mulligan is Gene Perla, upright bass, and Dave Willard, drums.

Last year, English pianist Mulligan played two sold-out concerts with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra (ASO), performing George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm Variations” and “Rhapsody in Blue.”