Whitehall-Coplay Press

Saturday, July 20, 2019

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...

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...

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.

When the actors are Christopher Patrick Mullen and Brad DePlanche, you can be sure they’...

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.

Nearly everything about the production is unconventional: the script by English playwright Nick Payne (the play debuited in...

Theater Review: A merry Robin and Marian at PSF

Friday, June 28, 2019 by ERIN FERGUSON in Focus

“The Adventures of Robin Hood and Maid Marian,” through Aug. 3, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, DeSales University, Center Valley, is a fun and modern rendition of the classic tale.

As the lights dimmed and children on the stage carpet seats started looking around, the Sheriff of Nottingham appeared and the tale of Robin Hood and Maid Marian unfolded.

Kailey Edwards, as Sheriff Nottingham, is exciting and grabbed everyone’s attention with her clear, projected voice and...

Theater Review: NCC ‘Falsettos’ returns to another era

Friday, June 28, 2019 by CAROLE GORNEY in Focus

Northampton Community College Summer Theater’s production of “Falsettos” provides an opportunity to explore what was in its time breakthrough-theater in style and subject.

The musical, through June 30, Norman Roberts Lab Theatre, Kopecek Hall, NCC Green Pond Campus, is a two-act compilation of three one-act off-Broadway musicals: “Trousers,” 1979; “March of the Falsettos,” 1982, and “Falsettoland,” 1985. The musical was seen June 20 for this review.

“Falsettos” was nominated...

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...

‘Part of the story’: Skater’s thrilled with role in Cirque du Soleil ‘Crystal,’ set for PPL Center shows

Friday, June 21, 2019 by CAMILLE CAPRIGLIONE in Focus

The world-famous Cirque du Soleil brings a thrilling and “cool” new show, “Crystal,” to PPL Center, Allentown, June 26-30.

The production blends stunning acrobatics and figure skating. With aerial feats and impressive artistry on ice, “Crystal” is predicted to surpass expectations in a breakthrough show.

“Crystal” has an international cast of 43 performers, including figure, extreme and freestyle ice skaters, plus acrobats, musicians and comics.

The storyline for “...

Night On The Town: The Ultra Kings join ‘Summer Soltice III’

Friday, June 21, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Summer Soltice III,” 4 p.m.-11 p.m. June 22, brings six bands to the Alternative Gallery, 707 N. Fourth St., Allentown, including Ronnie Rock and The Trendsetters, The Ultra Kings, Scotty and The Slammers, The Fux, Big Handsome, and The Purrverts.

The event is well-timed and named, happening one day after the Summer Soltice, officially, 11:54 a.m. June 21.

Based on previous “Summer Soltice” events held in the first-floor concert venue at the former cigar factory near Fourth...

Stoneback ‘Jazz Upstairs’ to swing

Friday, June 21, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

If you have a taste for Big Band music, mark 7:30 p.m. June 21 on your calendar when the Rob Stoneback Big Band holds court in Miller Symphony Hall’s Rodale Community Room for the “Jazz Upstairs Series.”

The 19-piece unit has performed with such notables as Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, The Manhattan Transfer and Frank Sinatra and Frank Sinatra, Jr. to name a few. The Stoneback Big Band has four CDs to its credit, and has recorded with Simone, Nina Simone’s daughter...