Northwestern Press

Friday, November 22, 2019

Theater Review: ‘Crazy for You’ taps into talent at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival production of “Crazy for You” is crazy good on multiple levels.

Singing, dancing, choreography, music, acting, set design and costuming are beyond superlatives. PSF’s “Crazy for You” will captivate and transport you to Broadway’s Golden Age of all-singing, all-dancing, all-fun musicals.

Theater Review: Three cheers for ‘Bring It On’ at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre (MSMT) production of “Bring It On” lives up to its title.

The adage about an actor being a triple-threat (acting, singing, dancing) in theater is taken one step further to become a quadruple-threat with the addition of cheerleading (including backflips, front-flips, lifts and drops that one would see at high school and college sports contests) in “Bring It On,” through June 30, Paul C. Empie Theatre, Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, Allentown. The June 15 performance was seen for this review.

‘Topsy Turvy’ returns Players to comedy roots

Friday, June 14, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s a change of pace for Crowded Kitchen Players (CKP) and a return to the Lehigh Valley troupe’s comedy roots.

“I knew I wanted to do a comedy because we did a show about rape, PTSD and child sexual abuse,” says Ara Barlieb, CKP cofounder and writer of “Topsy Turvy,” in its world premiere, continuing at 8 p.m. June 14, 15 and 2 p.m. June 16, Charles A. Brown IceHouse, 56 River St., Bethlehem.

CKP’s most recent plays were “A Softening of Her Eyes,” which dealt with the topics of rape and PTSD, and “Unspeakable,” which dealt with child sexual abuse.

Curtain Rises: Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre ‘Brings It On’ for 39th annual season

Friday, June 7, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The 2019 season is the 39th step for Charles Richter on his way to the 40th anniversay of Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre (MSMT), which he cofounded.

“They’re already planning the 40th celebration,” says Richter, Professor of Theatre Arts, Muhlenberg College, where he has been teaching for 41 years, with 25 years as chair of the college’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

When asked about retirement, Richter, who will be 68 on June 16, quips, “I’m not thinking that far ahead.”

What Richter is thinking about is the 2019 season:

Movie Review: ‘Ay, there’s the rub’

Friday, June 7, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Disney’s live-action remake of its animation feature film, “Aladdin,” is good, but not as great as the original. How could it be? As legendary animator Chuck Jones said of the raison d’être for animation: “You couldn’t put Charlie Chaplin in a milk bottle.” When it comes to the Genie in the lamp, to quote Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” “Ay, there’s the rub.”

Curtain Rises: Northampton Community College Summer Theatre doubles audience

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The third time’s the charm for Northampton Community College Summer Theatre.

Attendance more than doubled from the first season to the second season and is poised to increase for the summer 2019 season.

“I think we’re moving forward. We grow each year, which is great. The quality of work is really strong. We’re putting out a solid product that I’m really proud of,” says Northampton Community College Summer Theatre Producing Artistic Director Bill Mutimer, now in his fifth year as Chair of the NCC department of theater, succeeding Norm Roberts, who retired.

Curtain Rises: ‘Topsy Turvy’ returns Crowded Kitchen Players to comedy roots

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s a change of pace for Crowded Kitchen Players (CKP) and a return to the Lehigh Valley troupe’s comedy roots.

“I knew I wanted to do a comedy because we did a show about rape, PTSD and child sexual abuse,” says Ara Barlieb, CKP cofounder and writer of “Topsy Turvy,” in its world premiere, 8 p.m. June 7, 8, 14, 15 and 2 p.m. June 9, 16, Charles A. Brown IceHouse, 56 River St., Bethlehem.

CKP’s most recent plays were “A Softening of Her Eyes,” which dealt with the topics of rape and PTSD, and “Unspeakable,” which dealt with child sexual abuse.

LV house sales rebound; April increase 3.8 percent

Friday, May 31, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Business Showcase

Lehigh Valley house sales rebounded in April, reversing a three-month decline for the first quarter of 2019.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley increased 3.8 percent in April, with 651 houses sold, up from 627 houses sold in April 2018, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) monthly report released May 14.

Closed sales for the first four months of 2019 are down slightly, 0.7 percent, to 2,174, down from 2,190 for the first four months of 2018.

Curtain Rises: Great actors, great plays for 28th season of Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

Friday, May 31, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

When curating the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) season, Patrick Mulcahy looks for themes, resonances and connections between the plays by William Shakespeare and classic works of theater and the Broadway stage.

For PSF’s 28th annual season, Mulcahy’s 16th season as PSF Producing Artistic Director, beginning in 2003, he says, “The season is stacked to be a blast, just a lot of fun. There’s also this thread of rebellion throughout the season.”

The PSF 2019 season at Labuda Center for the Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley, is: