Bethlehem Press

Sunday, June 25, 2017

THEATER REVIEW Civic's 'Next to Normal' is anything but

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Next To Normal" is certainly not your normal musical.

It defies the conventions of traditional Broadway fare in several ways.

"Next to Normal," through May 19, Civic Theatre of Allentown, has very few spoken words of dialogue. The story is advanced through songs 17 in act one and 20 (including five reprises) in act two, for a total of 37 production numbers.

This is about double the number of songs in a typical musical. "Chicago," for example, has 11 songs in act one and seven songs (with no reprises) in act two, for a total of 17 production numbers.

SALISBURY TOWNSHIp: Answers sought on KidsPeace Broadway Campus housing of illegal alien children

Thursday, May 9, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

The announcement that KidsPeace Broadway Campus is to be a site for the housing of children caught trying to cross the United States-Mexico border has caught Salisbury Township officials off-guard.

Township officials are looking into whether KidsPeace is permitted by law to undertake the project. Salisbury officials said they will speak with KidsPeace officials.

'The Place' for fine acting

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Place Beyond The Pines" is a complex drama with three parallel plots telling three interlocking stories. Each is about an individual's choice, and the truth or consequences that result, depending on the choices made.

"Pines" is an indie film crime caper that is of chief interest for its clever if somewhat convoluted screenplay and a bevy of stellar performances by some of the United States' best hot young movie stars.

THEATER REVIEW DeSales Act 1 'Chicago' has all that sass

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Chicago" is as brash a musical as can be expected to be set in America's second-city, where crime, scandals and front-page newspaper headlines are second to none.

The musical, directed stunningly with that brash spirit by Dennis Razze, chair of theater, DeSales University, and Associate Artistic Director, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, continues 8 p.m. May 1 - 4 and 2 p.m. May 4 and 5 on the main stage, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley.

THEATER REVIEW Touchstone's 'Ulysses Dreams' realized

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Vouchsafe it to say that nothing like Touchstone Theatre's "Ulysses Dreams" was going on when the outdoor theater work was being presented for only its fourth performance April 14 at the Bethlehem Greenway Amphitheater no, not in any park, in any city, anywhere in the United States, or in any nation in the whole wide world.

'JP3D': New life in old dinos

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Why would anyone want to see "Jurassic Park" in 3D when director Steven Spielberg's blockbuster 1993 movie has been available in multiple formats for two decades?

Two words: Steven Spielberg.

And you thought I was going to say: T- Rex.

Oh, T-Rex is big and frightening especially in 3D.

However, T-Rex wouldn't exist in "Jurassic Park" if not for Spielberg, perhaps the United States' best contemporary director who can and does direct all genres (for contrast, see "Lincoln").

"Jurassic Park" is "Jaws" of the jungle.

Doug Roth: The other side of D Smash

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It was Dougie Roth's last show.

And, true to form, it was Dougie's show all the way.

Family members recalled a talent raw and near-genius, a personality at once hilarious and often off-putting and, in the end, a brother, a son, an uncle and brother-in-law who, after being a brother in arms seemingly railing against the world achieved an apotheosis of, if not contentment, then peace with family, friends, and so it seemed, himself.

A kind of 'Croods' charm

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Croods" has its own kind of, ahem, "crood" charm.

Yes, there's lots of punching and smacking, fighting, rolling around, chasing, ugly faces, insults and did we say? fighting.

And that's just the Crood family of cavemen or is it cave persons? and doesn't include the prehistoric creatures.

Admittedly, I resisted seeing "The Croods." It was a case of 3D-animation feature overload. Also, I may have been wondering how "The Croods" could improve upon TV's "The Flintstones" (1960 - '66) for me the tabula rasa of prehistoric humor.

THEATER REVIEW

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Acting duo unparalleled in APT's 'Lives'

What a sketch.

"Parallel Lives" is a tour de farce of sketch comedy by two female actors who are, when you get right down to it, incredible to behold as they carouse through some 14 sketch-comedy scenes and an estimated 30 characters in an amusing two-hour show (not including a 15-minute intermission) produced by Allentown Public Theatre (APT) through April 7 at the Salemme Foundation gallery, Allentown.