East Penn Press

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Silver Jubilee: A ‘Season of Celebration’ for Conductor Diane Wittry in her 25th anniversary year with the Allentown Symphony

Friday, July 19, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

quarter of a century is a significant milestone: a silver jubilee.

For Diane Wittry, her 25 years as Allentown Symphony Orcestra Music Director and Conductor will be celebrated all-season-long in 2019-2020. It’s a “Season of Celebration.”

During Wittry’s 25 seasons of artistic leadership, the Allentown Symphony has risen to increasing standards of excellence, performing with passion and dedication and honored nationally with the prestigious “American Prize” for artistic quality in 2014 and 2017.

Single tickets for the 2019-2020 season go on sale Aug. 1.

Night on the Town: Wonderground digs that idie rock

Friday, July 19, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The name Wonderground evokes a 1960s’ vibe of The Beatles, Kinks and Zombies.

That’s exactly what Jason Adams and the members of Wonderground intend.

When asked to describe Wonderground’s sound, Adams says it’s “psychedelic soul progressive indie rock.”

True to that description, Adams lists the music groups and music artists influencing Wonderground as including Miles Davis, Zombies, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown, and the Kinks.

Wonderground returns July 19 to The Shanty on 19th, 613 N. 19th St., Allentown.

Theater Review: ‘Antony & Cleopatra’ conflicted loyalties at PSF

Friday, July 19, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival production of William Shakespeare’s “Antony & Cleopatra,” through Aug. 4, Main Stage, Labuda Center for the Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley, is big, sprawling and grand.

The drama, believed to have been first performed in 1607 possibly at the Globe Theatre, by Shakespeare’s troupe, the King’s Men, is a hybrid in the Shakespeare canon of a history play, a tragedy and a problem play.

Movie Review: ‘Echo’ and the Dylan man

Monday, July 15, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Echo in the Canyon” is not one of the greatest-ever documentary films, but it has its charms, especially for contemporary music buffs.

The film depicts the 1965-1967 Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, music scene when singer-songwriters, musicians and groups, including The Beach Boys, The Mamas & the Papas, Buffalo Springfield (and later, Crosby, Stills and Nash) and others gathered to live, hang out and write one pop-rock music charter-topper after another.

Classical Mystery Tour: Roll up for ‘Abbey Road’ 50th anniversary tribute with Allentown Symphony

Saturday, July 13, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Roll up, roll up for

the Mystery Tour”

- The Beatles,

“Magical Mystery Tour”

When The Beatles performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” Feb. 9, 1964, Jim Owen wasn’t among the 73 million viewers of the legendary British rock group’s United States’ television debut.

Owen wasn’t born yet.

When The Beatles’ “Magical Mysery Tour” album was released in 1967, Owen was in diapers.

The Classical Mystery Tour, featuring Jim Owen as Beatle John, rolls up to Miller Symphony Hall for an Allentown Symphony Pops concert, 7:30 p.m. July 13.

Curtain Rises: ‘Anything Goes’ brings Jarrod Yuskauskas home to MSMT

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s the seventh season for Jarrod Yuskauskas at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre (MSMT).

For 2019, Yuskauskas plays Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in “Anything Goes,” July 11-28, Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, Allentown.

Yuskauskas played Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady” in 2017 and had lead roles in “Gypsy,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “Spamalot” since 2012 at MSMT.

Henry Higgins is his favorite role so far at MSMT. “He’s a lot to dig into. And I enjoyed that,” Yuskauskas says.

Movie Review: ‘Pavarotti’: Life as opera

Monday, July 8, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

After Ron Howard directed the documentary film, ”The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years” (2016), one can Imagine (the name of Howard’s and Brian Grazer’s film and television production company), Howard saying, “How can I top that”?

First, there was the little matter of directing the feature movie, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018).

When it came to the topic of his next documentary, Howard chose the rock star of opera, tenor Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007).

Allentown’s Lee Iacocca’s secret sauce was innovation

Monday, July 8, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

In the mid-1960s, many teen boys, even before they could drive, wanted a Mustang.

So did many teen girls.

Just ask “Mustang Sally” (a Top 20 hit in 1966 for Wilson Pickett).

The Mustang was a point of pride for those in the Lehigh Valley who knew that the Pony Car, as it was dubbed, was the brainchild of Allentown native Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca, President of Ford Motor Company (1970-1978). Iacocca would go on to become President-CEO of Chrysler Corporation (1978, and Chairman in 1979) before retiring in 1992.

Curtain Rises: Christopher Patrick Mullen is a maid man in PSF ‘Irma Vep’

Monday, July 8, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It isn’t often an actor revisits a favorite role, much less with the same artistic team.

Make that “favorite roles” for Christopher Patrick Mullen in the 2019 Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s “The Mystery Of Irma Vep,” through July 14, Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University. Center Valley.

Mullen is back, opposite Brad DePlanche, directed by Jim Helsinger and with costumes by Lisa Zinni, the same artistic team for the 2007 PSF production of playwright Charles Ludlum’s farce.