Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Movie Review: Oscar nomination will be Close

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Wife” is a disturbing drama with an Oscar nominee-worthy performance by Glenn Close as the long-suffering, supportive and loyal wife of a successful novelist about to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

When they receive the early-morning phone call the couple, Joan Castleman (Glenn Close) and Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce), jump for joy on their bed as they did many years before when they were just starting out, he as a college professor, and she, as one of his graduate students.

Theater Review: ‘Harry Potter’ spoof at Peddler’s Village dinner theater

Friday, September 21, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Thrills and chills and funnybone pokes are the order of fare for “The Goblet Of Poison” at the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, Peddler’s Pub, Cock ‘N Bull in Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, Bucks County.

The show, presented by Without A Cue Productions, is a spoof of the “Harry Potter” movies and books. Performances continue through Nov. 10. The show, written by Lesley Zaya and Justin Calazzo, is directed by Traci Connaughton. The Sept. 15 performance was seen for this review.

Movie Review: ‘Meg’ low mania

Monday, September 17, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Meg” is a by-the-screenplay-book thriller about a prehistoric shark run amok.

Think: “Jaws” (1975) meets “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972) meets “The Abyss” (1989).

The movie’s title, “The Meg,” refers to a 75-foot-long megalodon shark, a prehistoric creature thought to be extinct. The creature resurfaces from the deep to wreak havoc on a nuclear submarine, a research vessel, and a beach resort. The movie is based on a 1997 book, “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror,” by Steve Alten.

Movie Review: ‘Searching’ for a movie

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Technological devices have often been plot devices in movies.

Film-makers Auguste and Louis Lumière scared the heck out of audiences in 1896 with their 50-second-long silent film, “L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat” (“Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat’).

Director William A. Wellman’s 1927 feature film about World War I fighter planes, “Wings,” received the first best-picture Oscar.

“The Story of Alexander Graham Bell,” released in 1939 and starring Don Ameche as the inventor of the telephone, entered the lexicon when “Ameche” became slang for telephone.

Concert Review: Elton John ‘Yellow Brick Road’ farewell all you could imagine and more at PPL Center, Allentown

Monday, September 10, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

For Elton John, “Farewell Yellow Brick Road - The Final Tour” began Sept. 8, 2018, in Allentown, no less, at the PPL Center, where the superstar and his band, staff and crew holed up for nearly a week to assemble, rehearse and present what is a spectacular retrospective of the iconic pop-rock singer-performer-composer’s 50-year career.

Elton John ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ starting here in Allentown at PPL Center

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Yellow Brick Road begins in Allentown right at the PPL Center at Seventh and Hamilton.

That’s where Sir Elton John kicks off his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road - The Final Tour.”

The buzz is already on the street.

Apparently, they’re building the Yellow Brock Road tour brick by brick, or at least semi tractor-trailer by semi tractor-trailer, some 20 of them, which pulled into center city Allentown Sept. 2 with the precious cargo.

“EJ’s stage is a monster” described one unnamed eyewitness.

The set is reported to have cost $15 million.

Theater Review

Friday, August 31, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

A solid-gold hit at Bucks County Playhouse

Displayed on the back wall inside Bucks County Playhouse are posters and photos of productions and stars who appeared there over the years, including Grace Kelly, who made her acting debut at Bucks Playhouse in 1949 in playwright and uncle George Kelly’s “The Torchbearers,” and Robert Redford, in the 1963 world premiere at Bucks Playhouse of Neil Simon’s “Barefoot In The Park,” then called “Nobody Loves Me,” the first play ever directed by Mike Nichols.

And there’s “The Solid Gold Cadillac,” starring Billie Burke, produced in 1956 at Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope.

Movie Review: ‘Finale’

Friday, August 31, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Operation Finale” is an important film that should be seen as much for its history-based story as for its presentation of that story.

The title refers to the “capture and extraction” of Adolf Eichmann, said to “the architect” of “The Final Solution,” in which 10 million, including 6 million Jews, were killed in The Holocaust, promulgated by the Nazi regime in Germany.

Pittsburgh Symphony official appointed Allentown Symphony executive director

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Board of Directors of the Allentown Symphony Association has announced the hiring of Alfred O. Jacobsen as its new Executive Director.

A reception for Jacobsen will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sept, 22, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, prior to the opening 2018-19 season concert at 7:30 p.m. of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra.

Bakithi Kumalo brings ‘Graceland’ to Bethlehem

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Bakithi Kumalo is bringing “Graceland” back home with The All-Star “Graceland” Tribute Band,” 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1, Levitt Pavilion, SteelStacks, Bethlehem. The concert is free and open to the public.

Home is Bethlehem now for Kumalo, legendary Johannesburg, South Africa, bass player on Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album (1986) and in his subsequent concerts, including “Homeward Bound: The Farewell Tour.”

Kumalo originated the memorable bass line of “You Can Call Me Al” on Simon’s now classic world music album, “Graceland.”