Northwestern Press

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Crystal Cave a cool place for family visit in summer

Friday, July 5, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Crystal Cave was discovered nearly 150 years ago.

Recently, it was discovered by Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal.”

Leon Fagbemi of London lifted his Cirque du Soleil “Crystal” partner Amber Van Nijk of Belgium high above his head as she balanced on his hands outside the entrance to Crystal Cave.

They performed acrobatic moves seen in Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal,” June 26-30, PPL Center, Allentown.

The “Crystal” duo visited Crysal Cave, Richmond Township, Berks County, June 25.

It was a match made, if not in heaven, then under the hills west of Kutztown.

May LV house sales trend upward

Friday, July 5, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Business Showcase

Lehigh Valley house sales increased slightly in May, continuing a positive trend for two months in a row.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley increased 0.4 percent in May, with 815 houses sold, up from 812 houses sold in May 2018, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) monthly report released June 12.

Closed sales for the first five months of 2019 are up slightly, 0.3 percent, to 3,010 from 3,002 for the first five months of 2018.

Closed house sales had rebounded in April, reversing a three-month decline in the first quarter of 2019.

‘Toy Story 4’

Friday, July 5, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

You know the story in “Toy Story 4”: The toys talk, laugh and scheme to remain in the company of children.

“Toy Story 4” reprises the familiar, from the opening song, “You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” written and performed by Randy Newman, who composed the score and also wrote some new songs (“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” figures into the theme and plot line), and concludes with the familiar, a happy ending for the toy and the movie-goer, as well.

Theater Review: ‘Mamma Mia!’ lights up Bucks Playhouse stage

Wednesday, July 3, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

To turn a phrase from the title song: “Here we go again ... “

And furthermore, “Mamma Mia!”: what a fizzy, fun, sunny musical, through Aug. 3, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope. The June 30 opening night performance was reviewed.

In Broadway parlance, “Mamma Mia!” is a jukebox musical, whereby hit songs are packaged into a revue, strung together by an often biographical story about the group or singer of the hits.

Movie Reviews: Shakespeare & Moe

Saturday, June 29, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“All Is True” and “The Spy Behind Home Plate” couldn’t be two more disparate films.

“All Is True” is a leisurely, mostly fictional account of the last years of playwright William Shakespeare, directed by Kenneth Branagh, who plays the Bard under extensive facial prosthetics.

“The Spy Behind Home Plate” is a bristling, well-researched documentary film, written and directed by Aviva Kempner about Morris “Moe” Berg, a Major League Baseball catcher who secretly was an international spy.

Each film is worth viewing.

Review: Cirque du Soleil ‘Crystal’ breathtaking at PPL Center

Friday, June 28, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Cirque du Soleil “Crystal” is one-part ice show, one-part circus and all-parts Cirque du Soleil.

“Crystal,” through June 30, PPL Center, Allentown, takes ice-skating and contemporary circus performance arts to a whole new level.

And, while the temperture sign on a bank building across the street at Seventh and Hamilton stated 91 degrees fahrenheit at 7:10 p.m. June 26, on opening night when the show was seen for this review, it was a world of cool creativity inside PPL Center.

On multiple levels, “Crystal” is breathtaking and thrilling.

Theatre Review: ‘Constellations’ visible at Civic Theatre

Friday, June 28, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Civic Theatre of Allentown’s “Constellations” puts a cosmic spin on a romantic relationship that over time travels at the speed of love.

The two-person play, skillfully-directed by William Ross Sanders (Civic Theatre Artistic Director) continues at 7:30 p.m. June 28 and 29 and 2 p.m. June 30. The opening night June 21 performance was seen for this review.

Theater Review: ‘Mystery’ of a comedy at PSF

Friday, June 28, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Mystery of Irma Vep,” through July 14 at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Fesitval, is too much fun.

That’s for openers. it’s also a fascinating, self-contained, self-proclaimed, compact comedy of manners, and ill-mannered at that, in breaking the fourth wall between actor and audience by using nearly every trick in the book.

When the director is Jim Helsinger, that’s a thick book.

Cirque du Soleil ‘Crystal’ duo performs at Crystal Cave

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It was a match made, if not in heaven, then under the hills west of Kutztown.

“Crystal” meets Crystal Cave.

Performers from Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal,” June 26-30, PPL Center, Allentown, visited Crystal Cave, Richmond Township, Berks County, June 25.

They performed acrobatic moves seen in the show that’s making its Lehigh Valley debut.

Leon Fagbemi of London lifts his Cirque du Soleil “Crystal” partner Amber Van Nijk of Belgium high above his head as she balances on his hands outside the entrance to Crystal Cave.