Bethlehem Press

Monday, March 27, 2017

Oakes Fegley comes back a star for Civic ‘Pete’s Dragon’ premiere

Friday, August 19, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

You’ve heard the term, “Hollywood on this ... Hollywood on that ... ,” as in “Hollywood on the Hudson” (a book about the history of film-making in New York City and New Jersey), “Hollywood on the Potomac” (a web site; also, a book about the Hollywood-Washington, D.C., connection), “Hollywood on the Bayou (a web site about film-making in Louisiana) and “Hollywood on The Tiber” (a New York Times article about Rome’s Cinecittà film studio).

Movie Review: ‘Pete’s Dragon’

Friday, August 19, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Pete’s Dragon” is enchanting, thrilling and funny. You you may even shed a few tears.

Anchoring the film as Pete is Oakes Fegley, the young Lehigh Valley actor who started out on the Civic Theatre of Allentown stage as Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Writer-director David Lowery opens “Pete’s Dragon” with a back story about an orphan boy living in the Pacific Northwest Woods for six years, and Elliot the Dragon, who has taken Pete under its wings.

Movie Review: ‘Cafe Society’

Friday, August 12, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

In the olden days of cinema, say, about 20 years ago, a new Woody Allen film would appear with the falling leaves each September. With the younger set back in school, the Oscar contender season gets underway soon after Labor Day.

Nowadays, a Woody Allen film can pop up at anytime. Writer-Director Allen’s latest, “Cafe Society,” is released at the height of the summer movie season, perhaps as counter-programming to the multiplex blockbusters.

Ally Borgstrom rises to the roles in three Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival productions

Saturday, August 6, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

If you thought you were seeing double or even triple when you attended three different plays at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, not to worry.

You were seeing Ally Borgstrom in three different roles at PSF: Pearl, the title character in “The Little Mermaid,” through Aug. 6, Schubert Theatre, and Bianca, the younger sister in “The Taming of the Shrew.” and Edith the maid in “Blithe Spirit,” with the two latter plays in repertory through Aug. 7, Main Stage, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center.

Theater Review

Friday, August 5, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Laughter propels ‘Blithe Spirit’

The title says it all:

“Blithe Spirit.”

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival production of the Noël Coward classic of couples behaving comedically, through Aug. 7, has the proper balance between the “blithe” (look it up: ”showing a casual and cheerful indifference considered to be callous or improper”) and the “spirit” (a double-entendre here; again, you could look it up: “the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul” and “those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person”).

Theater Review Comedy gained in ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ at Pa. Shakespeare Festival

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

There’s a new playwright in town.

Monty Shakespeare.

The actors have taken over the stage at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) for a zany production of William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” through Aug. 7, Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley.

The actors inject Monty Python absurdities into the romantic comedy, with crazy costumes, silly walks and tomfoolery. PSF’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” is comedy found.

Theater Review

Friday, July 29, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Shakespeare untamed a ‘Shrew’ thing

“The Taming of the Shrew” is often billed as the ultimate “battle of the sexes.”

The battle is not always a contact sport, and in Director Matt Pfeiffer’s production, through Aug. 7 at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, it’s more of a rapturous dance.

And, while “The Taming of the Shrew” is often also billed as one of the first rom-coms, as in a romantic-comedy movie, or one of the first sit-coms, as in a TV situation comedy, it is not often considered a musical.

90 years and counting State Theatre’s Shelley Brown: To 2016-’17 season and beyond

Friday, July 29, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Shelley Brown, State Theatre Center for the Arts President and CEO is not only looking forward to the star-studded 90th anniversary season, she’s ensuring the downtown Easton entertainment mecca will be there for another 90 years.

Noting that bookings for the theater are planned one year to one year and one-half in advance, Brown has booked several headliners, Patti Lupone, Brian Wilson, Rosanne Cash, Johnny Mathis, and Penn & Teller, to name a few, commensurate with what’s billed as “The 90th Season of Wow!”