Bethlehem Press

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Movie Review: ‘Maleficent’ deficient

Friday, November 1, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is a hodgepodge of movies that have gone before: “Lord of the Rings” (2001), “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009), “The Hobbit” (2012) and, of course, “Maleficent” (2014).

The Maleficent character is based on Charles Perrault’s fairy tale (1697) and Walt Disney’s animation theatrical feature film “Sleeping Beauty” (1959).

Angelina Jolie is back in the title role of Maleficent, fairy godmother of Aurora, again played by Elle Fanning.

Theater Review: Crowded Kitchen Players’ most unusual ‘Club’

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The title of “The Suicide Club” might be off-putting, but the Crowded Kitchen Players’ original play, continuing at 8 p.m. Oct. 25, 26 and 4 p.m. Oct. 27 and 8 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16 and 4 p.m. Nov. 17, Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem, is thought-provoking and intriguing.

That’s because of the production’s commendable performances and a detailed script, written by Ara Barlieb, who directs the play. “The Suicide Club” is most unusual, unlike just about any play you will experience on the Lehigh Valley stage.

Movie Review: The ‘Joker’ is wild

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The ‘Joker” is wild.

The reboot, or origin story, of the arch-villain from the DC Comics’ “Batman” franchise, is a tour de force.

While the movie jettisons the article “the” in the name of the character and the movie’s title, it retains the menace.

The Joker is a villain, created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, who first appeared in the “Batman” DC Comics debut, April 25, 1940.

Janet and Malcolm Gross being honored for years of dedication to Baum School

Sunday, October 20, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Janet and Malcolm Gross have been longtime benefactors of The Baum School Of Art.

At the annual Baum School of Art Fall Gala, Oct. 19, Janet and Malcolm Gross will be honored for their support of the Baum School and the arts.

This year, the Gala is at the Barristers Club, Allentown, beginning at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 with a cocktail hour.

There will be a performance by singer-songwriter and chanteuse Phoebe Legere.

Curtain Rises: Barry Glassman reflects on ‘Amadeus’ and Lehigh Valley theater roles

Saturday, October 19, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Barry Glassman has played iconic roles in Lehigh Valley regional theater on stage and offstage.

On stage, he’s played the nasty but redemptive soul, Scrooge, nine times in “A Christmas Carol”; Roy Cohn, the disgraced and presumably not so redemptive Atty. Roy Cohn, twice in “Angels in America”; the irascible but charming Morrie in “Tuesdays with Morrie,” and the glum but wise Norman in “On Golden Pond,” all at Civic Theatre of Allentown.

Theater Review: See and hear ‘Amadeus’ at NCC Theatre

Friday, October 18, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s good to revisit the classics of theater. “Amadeus,” written by Peter Shaffer, is certainly a classic.

The Northampton Community College Theatre production of “Amadeus,” through Oct. 23, Lipkin Theatre, Green Pond Campus, Bethlehem Township, merits revisiting for several reasons.

The production of “Amadeus,” which opens the NCC Theatre 2019-2020 season, is beautifully-directed by William Mutimer with several commendable performances by students and a veteran Lehigh Valley regional theater performer.

Theater Review: Civic cast drives ‘Sunset Boulevard’

Thursday, October 17, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Sunset Boulevard” is a storied and legendary place, the proverbial street of dreams, brought to the stage in the perfect venue, Nineteenth Street Theatre, Allentown, where the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical has its Lehigh Valley debut through Oct. 27 to open Civic Theatre of Allentown’s 2019-2020 season.

It’s a jewel of a show in a jewel of a venue.

It’s a grand performance in a grand setting.

Article By: Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Sunset Boulevard” is a storied and legendary place, the proverbial street of dreams, brought to the stage in the perfect venue, Nineteenth Street Theatre, Allentown, where the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical has its Lehigh Valley debut through Oct. 27 to open Civic Theatre of Allentown’s 2019-2020 season.

It’s a jewel of a show in a jewel of a venue.

It’s a grand performance in a grand setting.

Movie Review: Judging ‘Judy’

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Judy” is a marvelous and complex biographical portrait of movie icon and pop singer Judy Garland.

The movie is a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Judy Garland, best-known for her starring role as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) and her rendition in that movie of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a song with which she would always be identified.

Garland, born Frances Ethel Gumm, June 10, 1922, died at age 47 on June 22, 1969, in London from an apparent accidental barbiturate overdose.

Theater Review: ‘Mamma Mia!’ lots of fun at Munopco

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Mamma Mia!” is one of those fun musicals: serious, but not too serious, frivolous, but not too frivolous, and nearly all-singing and all-dancing, from beginning to end.

It’s fun in the sense that the stage musicals “Hairspray” (2003) and “Bye Bye Birdie” (1960) are fun. You can’t help but get caught up and depart with a smile on your face.

Munopco Music Theatre’s production of “Mamma Mia!,” in its Lehigh Valley community theater debut, through Oct. 20 at Scottish Rite Cathedral, Allentown, opens Munopco’s 2019-2020 season.