For the past 20 years, the professional acting ensemble of Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem, has presented its “Christmas City Follies” to help audiences celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, while satirizing the commercialization and human foibles that continue to distract from the true meaning of the holidays.
Directed by Jp Jordan, and utilizing original vaudeville-style sketches filled with humor, music and shopping carts, the “Follies,” through Dec. 22, is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of shopping, package-wrapping and party-going.
Q. My 12-year-old daughter’s best friend has a 16-year-old sister who just got her learner’s permit. My daughter told me that they went on a long highway drive with the older sister driving and the father in the passenger seat. I am furious that my daughter was in a car driven by someone who has little experience, and hasn’t even taken driver’s ed yet. Should I confront the parents, not let my daughter go over to her friend’s house, or just let it go?
The immediate response from panelist Denise Continenza was “None of the above.”
If you are a fan of classic Hollywood movies, you might have seen the 1949 Technicolor film, “In the Good Old Summertime,” starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson. It was the musical version of the 1940 Jimmy Stewart movie, “The Shop Around the Corner,” which in 1998 was adapted as “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
In all its transformations, the plot is about two individuals who despise each other, unaware that they are the secret pen pals whom they “met” through lonely hearts advertisements. They know each other only as “Dear Friend.”
Civic Theatre of Allentown’s holiday show, “A Christmas Carole 1944,” through Dec. 21, Nineteenth Street Theatre, Allentown, is a refreshing departure from traditional productions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
The good thing is that nothing is lost in this stylish adaptation. Scrooge is just as miserly and mean, spouting, “Bah, Humbug!” at every opportunity.
Only “He” is a “She,” living in a high-rise apartment in New York City, the country is at war, and in place of workhouses there are taxes, welfare and FDR.
Q. My four-year-old is starting to ask a lot of “why” and “how” questions: “Why is the sky blue?” “How do birds fly?” “How do babies happen?“ I am not sure what and how much to tell her. Sometimes, I’m not sure if I know how things work. Should I just make up what I don’t know?
“Four-year-olds are just starting to learn social interaction, and part of that is asking questions,” panelist Chad Stefanyak said. “This four-year-old is trying to find out how to have a conversation, so practice that. Ask her a question.”
Q. My 15-year-old stepson told his dad that he doesn’t want me to tell him what to do. He would rather his dad (my husband) tell him. I try to make sure homework and chores are done before his dad gets home so they can spend time together. I understand that being a stepparent can be thankless, but I am a maid, chauffeur, chef, scheduler, and more, and now don’t have enough authority to ask my stepson to take out the garbage. What can I do?
“The stepmother needs to take a step back and think about what her goals are,” panelist Mike Ramsey said.
Christmas has arrived at The Pines Dinner Theatre, wrapped in original and traditional holiday music and lyrics, and tied up with a spirited cast of five singers, dancers and musicians.
“Pines Country Christmas,” through Dec. 29, is doing its best to prove that this is the most wonderful time of the year.
Q. I can’t seem to take my children, ages 7, 5 and 3, anywhere. In the grocery store they run all over the place, and in restaurants they can’t stay in their seats and eat. I am exhausted from trying to control them. Please help.
“I read in the question that the young kids run all over the place, and can’t keep in their seats,” panelist Mike Ramsey said.
“That is very normal for kids their age,” Ramsey said. “The things I’d be more concerned about are their trying to stab each other with forks, or the throwing of food in the restaurant.”
Q. I have a beautiful, awesome 16-year-old daughter. She does well in school and she doesn’t get into trouble. This morning I dropped her off for swim team practice and saw that she left her cell phone in the car. A text caught my eye, and I snooped. She has been sending naked pictures of herself over her phone to a couple of boys. What do I do?
Q. My 4-year-old loves scary Halloween displays in stores, so I took him to a haunted house that I thought was kid-friendly. It wasn’t. I covered his eyes and we ran out as soon as we could. He told me he saw horrible things. I tried to tell him it was all fake. Did I scar him for life?
“No, you have not scarred you child for life,” panelist Mike Ramsey said. He said the mother may be experiencing guilt feelings for having made a decision that resulted in an emotional reaction from her child. “Was it scary for the four-year-old?” Ramsey asked. “Yes, but not traumatic.”