Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Review: Cirque du Soleil ‘Crystal’ breathtaking at PPL Center

Friday, June 28, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Cirque du Soleil “Crystal” is one-part ice show, one-part circus and all-parts Cirque du Soleil.

“Crystal,” through June 30, PPL Center, Allentown, takes ice-skating and contemporary circus performance arts to a whole new level.

And, while the temperture sign on a bank building across the street at Seventh and Hamilton stated 91 degrees fahrenheit at 7:10 p.m. June 26, on opening night when the show was seen for this review, it was a world of cool creativity inside PPL Center.

On multiple levels, “Crystal” is breathtaking and thrilling.

Theatre Review: ‘Constellations’ visible at Civic Theatre

Friday, June 28, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Civic Theatre of Allentown’s “Constellations” puts a cosmic spin on a romantic relationship that over time travels at the speed of love.

The two-person play, skillfully-directed by William Ross Sanders (Civic Theatre Artistic Director) continues at 7:30 p.m. June 28 and 29 and 2 p.m. June 30. The opening night June 21 performance was seen for this review.

Theater Review: ‘Mystery’ of a comedy at PSF

Friday, June 28, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Mystery of Irma Vep,” through July 14 at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Fesitval, is too much fun.

That’s for openers. it’s also a fascinating, self-contained, self-proclaimed, compact comedy of manners, and ill-mannered at that, in breaking the fourth wall between actor and audience by using nearly every trick in the book.

When the director is Jim Helsinger, that’s a thick book.

Cirque du Soleil ‘Crystal’ duo performs at Crystal Cave

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It was a match made, if not in heaven, then under the hills west of Kutztown.

“Crystal” meets Crystal Cave.

Performers from Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal,” June 26-30, PPL Center, Allentown, visited Crystal Cave, Richmond Township, Berks County, June 25.

They performed acrobatic moves seen in the show that’s making its Lehigh Valley debut.

Leon Fagbemi of London lifts his Cirque du Soleil “Crystal” partner Amber Van Nijk of Belgium high above his head as she balances on his hands outside the entrance to Crystal Cave.

Night On The Town: Shepard The Breeze in Lehigh Valley debut

Friday, June 21, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

They call him The Breeze and for Lehigh Valley native Chris Barczynski, his latest project is living up to its name.

“I’m celebrating 25 years as a professional musician,” says Barczynski.

“And I’ve done some amazing things in those 25 years. But this is the best thing that I’ve been a part of. I can’t wait for people to hear it.”

His latest rock group, Shepard The Breeze, performs, 9 p.m. June 21, The Gin Mill, Northampton.

Night On The Town: The Ultra Kings join ‘Summer Soltice III’

Friday, June 21, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Summer Soltice III,” 4 p.m.-11 p.m. June 22, brings six bands to the Alternative Gallery, 707 N. Fourth St., Allentown, including Ronnie Rock and The Trendsetters, The Ultra Kings, Scotty and The Slammers, The Fux, Big Handsome, and The Purrverts.

The event is well-timed and named, happening one day after the Summer Soltice, officially, 11:54 a.m. June 21.

Based on previous “Summer Soltice” events held in the first-floor concert venue at the former cigar factory near Fourth and Tilghman streets, Allentown, the concert should be fun and then some.

Theater Review: ‘Crazy for You’ taps into talent at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival production of “Crazy for You” is crazy good on multiple levels.

Singing, dancing, choreography, music, acting, set design and costuming are beyond superlatives. PSF’s “Crazy for You” will captivate and transport you to Broadway’s Golden Age of all-singing, all-dancing, all-fun musicals.

Theater Review: Three cheers for ‘Bring It On’ at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre (MSMT) production of “Bring It On” lives up to its title.

The adage about an actor being a triple-threat (acting, singing, dancing) in theater is taken one step further to become a quadruple-threat with the addition of cheerleading (including backflips, front-flips, lifts and drops that one would see at high school and college sports contests) in “Bring It On,” through June 30, Paul C. Empie Theatre, Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, Allentown. The June 15 performance was seen for this review.