Bethlehem Press

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Movie Review: ‘Birth of a Nation’

Friday, October 21, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Director Nate Parker, in his theatrical feature film directorial debut, couldn’t have chosen a more audacious title, “The Birth of a Nation,” intentionally referencing producer-director D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of A Nation,” which purported to tell the story of the United States’ Civil War and the Reconstruction era that followed. The 1915 silent epic film is credited with the birth of a revived Ku Klux Klan.

The Annie Moses Band: Faith and family in classic fashion

Friday, October 21, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

While immediate comparisons to “The Partridge Family” might come to mind when describing the Annie Moses Band, the family connection is where the similarity begins and ends. The Annie Moses Band is the real deal, not some fictional fabrication.

The Annie Moses Band presents “The Art of the Love Song,” 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

There are five siblings in the band, including Annie Wolaver, lead singer and violinist, and more family members behind the scenes.

Movie Review: ‘Peregrine’ a ‘Miss’

Friday, October 14, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is peculiarly cold and distant.

Blame, or credit, director Tim Burton and the screenplay by Jane Goldman (“X-Men: First Class,” 2011) based on the novel by Ransom Riggs.

With a cast of unusual-looking children (from Great Britain), all watched over with loving menace by Miss Peregrine (Eva Green, magnificent, chewing every scenery in sight), Burton moves the actors from set to set like so many pieces on a chess board. Burton is grandmaster, albeit with too much flash.

Classical or Jazz? Branford Marsalis bridges both worlds of music in Allentown Symphony Orchestra ‘Opening Gala’

Friday, October 14, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The 2016-17 season-opening Allentown Symphony Orchestra classical music concerts will be long-remembered for a Lehigh Valley world premiere by a well-known musician, band leader and composer.

Branford Marsalis and the Allentown Symphony perform Villa-Lobos’ “Fantasia for Saxophone and Orchestra” in an updated transcription of the work.

Marsalis headlines the “Opening Gala” for the Allentown Symphony Orchestra ”Classical Series,” 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 and 3 p.m. Oct. 16, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Theater Review: ‘Carrie: The Musical’ sings at Civic

Saturday, October 8, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Carrie: The Musical” is one of the most technically-ambitious productions Civic Theatre of Allentown has mounted.

Set Designer Ann Beyersdorfer has created a huge interior of a high school gymnasium that doubles as a classroom; becomes the home of high school student Carrie (an amazing August Fegley) and her mom, Margaret (the always amazing Tracy Ceschin), and a psychiatrist’s office where fellow student, Sue (excellent Emilie Leyes), recalls to a Doctor (Deena Linn) the circumstances of the big night, which serves to frame the story.

Review: ‘Crazy Glue’ sticks to movement theater at Touchstone

Saturday, October 8, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The ineffable substance that holds a marriage and relationship together is explored in “Crazy Glue,” which opened the 2016-17 season at Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem.

The London-based, two-person Single Shoe Theatre Productions’ “Crazy Glue” was presented Oct. 6 (the performance seen for this review) and Oct. 7 at Touchstone Theatre, where the one-act, 65-mins. show (with no intermission) continues at 8 p.m. Oct. 8 and 2 p.m. Oct. 9.

‘Carrie’ on: Musical about a wayward daughter opens Civic Theatre 2016-17 season

Friday, October 7, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Civic Theatre of Allentown Artistic Director William Sanders has done it again.

He’s directing a seasonally-appropriate musical to open Civic’s season.

This time it’s “Carrie: The Musical,” Oct. 7-23. In the previous two seasons, Civic opened with “The Addams Family” and “Young Frankenstein.”

Civic’s 2016-17 season continues with its annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” Dec. 2-17 on the main stage and, in a first for Civic, a second show running simultaneously, “The SantaLand Diaries,” Dec. 9-18 in Theatre 5014.

Getting ‘Crazy’ For 2016-17, Touchstone Theatre returns favorites, expands shows

Friday, October 7, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

For its 2016-17 season, Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem, has an expanded number of productions and a new house band.

The season opens with “Crazy Glue,” Oct. 6-9, created and performed by Single Shoe Theatre Productions.

“‘Upcoming Projects’ are three new offerings. So, if you look at our overall season, there are more [productions] with the ‘Upcoming Projects,’” says Touchstone Theatre Ensemble Member-Managing Director Lisa Jordan.

“The new thing is that there’s now a house band at Touchstone. That’s Jakopa’s Punch,” Lisa Jordan continues.