Northwestern Press

Monday, October 16, 2017

Getting into the ‘Act’: Crowded Kitchen Players presents Lehigh Valley debut of drama about Moss Hart, legendary Bucks playwright

Friday, October 13, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

For director Ara Barlieb and the Crowded Kitchen Players (CK Players) theater company, “Act One” is a production that everyone wanted to be a part of.

“Like a lot of theater companies, we are drawn to plays about theater,” Barlieb says. “It’s really compelling to do a play about a play.”

Barlieb says that, to the best of his knowledge, “Act One” has never been performed outside of New York City.

Deadman co-founder has a Theory about group’s success

Friday, October 13, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

For Tyler Connolly, Theory of a Deadman was born from a want to enjoy what life has to offer.

“I don’t know that we knew we had anything. We were just having fun and enjoying music,” says Connolly. “We didn’t play many shows. We just jammed. I had two jobs. We were all just blue-collar dudes getting by, and this was the one thing we could vent our frustrations through.”

Theory of a Deadman performs in concert, 8 p.m. Oct. 13, Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg.

Revisit ‘Secret Garden’ at Civic

Friday, October 6, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

For director William Sanders, choosing “The Secret Garden” as Civic Theatre’s opening production for the theater’s 90th season was a no-brainer.

“Every year we try to find something that is family-friendly, then something that is fun, and then something that would be a little off the beaten path, something a little bit more cutting edge. This [‘Secret Garden’] would be family-friendly,” explains Sanders, Civic Theatre Artistic Director, of how he puts the Civic season together.

37th season ‘Leaps’ to Touchstone Theatre stage

Friday, September 29, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

For Touchstone artistic director Jp Jordan, the inclusion of “Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes” into the roster of plays being performed for the 2017-18 season at Touchstone Theater was a no-brainer.

“I’m interested in anything right now that speaks to the goodness of human nature,” Jordan explains. “‘Jakopa’s Processional’ [Touchstone’s summer 2017 outdoors production] spoke to joy and the community.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones: With a little bit of soul

Friday, September 15, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

When Jesse Phillips first met Paul Janeway, it was in the most roundabout of ways.

“He was in an early version of [The Secret Dangers] and I was asked to come in as a substitute player, as someone else couldn’t make it to a performance,” Phillips explains.

“It wasn’t anything initially. He was a nice guy, had a great voice, etcetera. And then we sort of discovered that we had a similar taste in music and became best friends based around that.”

Tommy Womack to play ‘Namaste’ at Godfrey Daniels

Friday, September 8, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

For Tommy Womack, it became clear to him from an early age that music was what made life worthwhile for him.

“At the age of 19 or 20, I decided that if life was gonna suck this bad I was gonna do what I wanted to do, and that was rock ‘n’ roll,” Womack says in a phone interview. “I had no particular talent or knew anyone in the industry, but by the time I finished college, I was determined.”

That’s not to say that this was a stable career choice. Far from it.

Concert Review: Ian Anderson journeys through time and sound

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

As I walked into the Sands Steel Stage area the final day (Aug. 13) of Musikfest in Bethehem, there was electricity in the air, and everyone could feel it. There was a camaraderie to the chatter, a feeling of connection unlike at most other concerts I’ve been to.

Waiting in line for food and drink, other attendees spoke of how the music of Jethro Tull had changed their lives, made them feel at peace. “It takes me to another world,” one person said, a glistening in his eyes, his voice breaking with honesty.

Eyes wide shut: Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson continues to tour, record

Friday, August 11, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

Despite what many are claiming, this year marks Jethro Tull’s 49th anniversary, not its 50th anniversary.

“I come across that all the time. People just seem to want to jump the gun,” says Ian Anderson, lead vocalist, flautist, acoustic guitarist, and founding member of Jethro Tull.

“But honestly, even if it was, this has been just another tour. It’s been just another tour since the beginning. I’m not an anniversary guy. It’s just not on my mind. I don’t think that way.”

Theater Review: Circus gone ‘Wild’ in world debut at MSMT

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

Much as the title implies, the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theater (MSMT) production of ‘Wild” is wildly unlike any other play I’ve seen to date, and for all the best reasons.

“Wild” continues through July 29, Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, Allentown. Showtimes are 10 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 1 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

‘Cirque It!’ City: Touchstone packs a ‘Punch’ for ‘Jakopa’s Processional’ along Bethlehem Greenway

Friday, July 14, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

Touchstone Artistic Director JP Jordan was in Peru when he first decided to create the Jakopa’s Punch Band.

“I was in Peru when I got word that David Bowie had passed,” Jordan explains, “and I was told that The Lesson Center planned to host a benefit for leukemia patients in honor of Bowie.

“Now, I didn’t have a band at the time, but I asked if I could play a set if I could pull a band together in time, and they said sure. So we ended up getting together this group of musicians.”

The name of the band stems from Jordan asking his niece what she thought “JP” stood for.