Bethlehem Press

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Allentown Band back at Waldheim Park for historic 102nd concert

Friday, August 4, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Allentown Band’s 102-year journey to Waldheim, Park, Allentown, continues with “A Musical Journey through American History,” 7 p.m. Aug. 8.

The Band performs historic, patriotic and popular tunes with special guests George B. Miller and Kate Scuffle, founders of Selkie Theatre, who will provide historical readings.

“In between each music piece, they’re going to reading something relevant to the period,” explains Pamela Varkony, concert chair for the Allentown Band concert conducted by Ron Demkee.

Movie Review: ‘Maudie’

Friday, August 4, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Maudie” is a charming film based on the real-life story of Maud Lewis (1903-1970), a Nova Scotia folk artist with a disability whose paintings brought her national attention in Canada.

Look for an Oscar actress nomination for Sally Hawkins, who portrays Maud with brash reverence and raw-nerved reality.

Also look for an Oscar supporting actor nomination for Ethan Hawke, who plays Maud’s husband, Everett, with barely-repressed anger.

Maud, rejected by her Aunt Ida (Gabrielle Rose) and brother, Charlie (Zachary Bennett), answers Everett’s ad for a housekeeper.

Theater Review: ‘Troilus And Cressida’ rules at PSF

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The 2017 season of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) has been a fight to the finish.

Think about it: “Evita” (fight for power), “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (death and detective work), “The Three Musketeers” (sword fights), “As You Like It” (wrestling), and “Troilus And Cressida” (also, wrestling, and the deaths of Hector and Patroclus).

Up close & personal: State Theatre’s Shelley Brown promises fans more ‘Wow’ for venue’s 2017-18 season

Saturday, July 29, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Wow Factor” is in effect for the 2017-18 season of the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton.

The 2016-17 season at the historic State Theatre was billed as “90 years of Wow.”

State Theatre President and CEO Shelley Brown says when she was planning the 2017-18 season she made sure that the 91st year would continue to “Wow.”

“It really inspired me that it was really important to me that we’re ready for 90 more,” says Brown. “That’s why the tag line, “Nobody does it better.’

Theater Review: Shakespeare as we like it at PSF

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) has saved the best for last in its 2017 season (“Troilus and Cressida,” July 26-Aug. 6, notwithstanding) with a splendid production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” which bookends a season that opened with the spectacular “Evita” (June 14-July 2).

“As You Like It” is in repertory with “The Three Musketeers,” through Aug. 6, Main Stage, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley. In other words, it’s the same cast in different roles. “As You Like It” was seen opening night, July 22, for this review.

Allentown Public Library request for annual funding increase refused

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners is refusing to pay a funding increase request from the Allentown Public Library.

Commissioners agreed the township would continue to provide its annual funding of $81,559 to the library. Payment allows township residents to use library services. The library has been including township parks in its summer outreach program.

House sales in Lehigh Valley decrease 2.4 percent in June

Friday, July 21, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Business Showcase

During what is traditionally considered to be the peak house sales season, the summer months, sales of houses in the Lehigh Valley moved back to negative territory.

Closed sales decreased 2.4 percent in June to 893 houses sold, compared to 915 in June 2016, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR).

At midyear 2017, closed sales are up 4 percent to 3,878 from 3,728 year-to-date in 2016.

‘Despicable Me 3’

Friday, July 21, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Despicable Me 3” isn’t so much despicable as bland.

This time, Steven Carell gets to voice two characters of the film’s title, the original “Despicable Me,” Gru, and now his twin brother, Dru.

The saving grace in the third of the “Despicable” series (“DM2,” 2012, and the original “Despicable Me,” 2010) are, of course, the Minions, those one and two goggle-eyed, blue denim bib overall-wearing, yellow vitamin capsule looking, nonsense-spouting characters.