Bethlehem Press

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Curtain Rises: Munopco gives ‘Mamma Mia!’ its Lehigh Valley debut

Friday, October 11, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

When “Mamma Mia” became available for community theaters to stage, Rody Gilkeson didn’t waste any time helping to secure the rights to be the first in the Lehigh Valley to direct it.

“When ‘Mamma Mia!’ got released, Munopco grabbed it because it’s an extremely popular show,” says Gilkeson.

“Once it got released for community theater two years ago, if you were in an area where the national tour was going through, you had to wait.

Curtain Rises: Civic Theatre of Allentown ready for its close-up in Lehigh Valley debut of ‘Sunset Boulevard’ musical

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Lehigh Valley is ready for its close-up of “Sunset Boulevard” when the musical makes is Lehigh Valley premiere, Oct. 11-27, Civic Theatre of Allentown.

Sunset Boulevard stretches 21 miles from Figueroa Avenue in downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Palisades.

It makes a beeline through Hollywood, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, Bel-Air and Brentwood before descending with often wicked curves to Pacific Palisades and dead-ends at the Pacific Coast Highway.

Curtain Rises: Star of the Day notes fifth anniversary season

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Kirsten Almeida is founder of Star of the Day, a Lehigh Valley theater troupe noting its fifth anniversary season.

“I’ve been involved in theater since I was 14-years-old,” says Almeida, who lives with her husband in Lower Saucon Township.

Star of the Day opened its season at The Macungie Institute Performing Arts and Conference Center, Macungie, with the Lehigh Valley premiere of “Disenchanted! The Musical,” Sept. 19-28.

Movie Review: ‘Peanut Butter Falcon’ soars

Monday, September 23, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

‘The Peanut Butter Falcon” is, to quote Spanky in the “Our Gang (The Little Rascals)” comedy shorts (1932-1942), “bringmarkable.” It’s a film that defies categorization and stereotypes.

The narrative fiction film is one of the best of 2019 and deserves several Oscar nominations, especially for Zack Gottsagen, a person with Down Syndrone, who plays Zak, the character of the film’s title who has Down Syndrome.

The title, “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” refers to the name of the character that Zak (Zack Gottsagen) takes on for his hoped-for career as a professional wrestler.

LV house sales down two-straight months; drop 2.7 percent in August

Friday, September 20, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Business Showcase

House sales in the Lehigh Valley again declined, down in August, which is toward the close of the peak sales season.

July also saw a decline in house sales. And, in June, sales were flat, with no increase at all. Sales were up slightly in May.

September can be considered part of the peak house sales season as closings sometimes extend into the month.

The comparison of house sales is year to year. The actual number of houses sold stayed about the same from month to month during the 2019 summer sales season.

Movie Review: ‘It” takes two; too long

Friday, September 20, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It is a very long chapter.

At nearly three-hours-long, “It Chapter Two” makes the case for more than one sequel. This is one case where two sequels would have been better than one.

At least each sequel would have probably been shorter.

“It Chapter Two” returns us to the fictional Derry, Me., 27 years later. The impetus is a pact made by The Losers Club, when they were pre-teens, to return to Derry if Pennywise, the killer clown, ever returns to his malevolent ways.

He does.

And they do.

‘Hobbs & Shaw’

Saturday, September 14, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s an odd movie title: “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.”

How can a movie present two of its characters?

Perhaps the title was chosen so as to not confuse the movie with the “Calvin and Hobbes” daily newspaper comic strip (1985-1995) by United States cartoonist Bill Watterson.

Just kiddin.’

There’s no confusing the comic strip with “Hobbs & Shaw,” although the action movie’s plot line is paper-thin and the dialogue might as well be enclosed in cartoon word balloons.

Movie Review: Inspiring ‘Maiden’ voyage

Monday, September 2, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Mothers, take your daughters to see “Maiden.”

Fathers, take your daughters to see “Maiden.”

Mothers, take your sons to see “Maiden.”

Fathers, take your sons to see “Maiden.”

In fact, everyone should see “Maiden,” an inspirational documentary film about Tracy Edwards, who led the first all-female crew on the yacht, “Maiden,” to compete in the 1989-1990 Whitbread Round the World Race.