East Penn Press

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Theater Review: ‘Ragtime’ sings, dances to a timely tune at Pa. Shakespeare Fest

Monday, June 18, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Ragtime” is a sprawling musical that defies description. By turns, it’s three musicals in one, with interlocking storylines that mix historical figures with fictional characters.

It’s big. It’s brash. It’s bold.

“Ragtime” is also profoundly relevant to contemporary societal problems in the United States.

And in the hands of Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Associate Artistic Director Dennis Razze, who has directed PSF’s season-opening musicals, including “Evita,” 2017...

Theater Review: ‘Good Grief!’ and then some at Civic514

Monday, June 18, 2018 by CAROLE GORNEY in Focus

Despite its title, “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead,” Civic Theatre of Allentown’s latest offering, seems straight-forward enough, at least for the first couple of scenes.

The lead character’s dog has died of rabies, and CB invites his friends to the funeral, but no one comes. Along the way, he wonders where people and dogs go when they die.

Then a faint light begins to flicker in the brain. Wait a minute. The show opens with a very large, familiarly-shaped...

Theater Review: ‘Beauty’ of a ‘Beast’ at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre

Monday, June 18, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Disney Beauty And The Beast: The Broadway Musical” is the Disney version of the beloved fairytale about the bookish Belle who looks beyond the cover of the Beast to discover a Prince of a person inside.

The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre (MSMT) version is satisfying, fun and entertaining for the whole family. It’s really the kind of musical you can, and should, take your child, grandchild or a young family relative to see.

That’s not to say it’s not enjoyable for older folks...

Movie Review: ‘RBG’: The film of Ruth

Monday, June 18, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“RBG” is one of the most memorable documentary feature films of 2018 so far.

It deserves to be in the early running for the short-list of feature documentary film Academy Award nominees.

“RBG” is the initials of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, United States Supreme Court Justice, 84. who exercises with a fitness trainer.

The documentary is not so much about her tenure on the Supreme Court, although it does address that, including some of her dissenting opinions; as well as...

Theater Review: ‘Alice’ enthralls at PSF

Monday, June 18, 2018 by CAROLE GORNEY in Focus

It is almost 10 a.m. and 20 youngsters are seated on the red carpet that covers three sides of the thrust stage in Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley.

Another dozen or so pre-schoolers, wearing identical T-shirts, sit in theater seats close to the stage. Older children are interspersed throughout the theater.

The youngsters are here to see a performance of “Alice in Wonderland,” through Aug. 4 at the Pennsylvania...

8 DAYS A WEEK:

Thursday, June 21, 2018 by The Press in Focus

Teen-age angst: Civic Theatre of Allentown tackles timely topics in the Lehigh Valley debut of “Dog Sees God: Confessions Of A Teenage Blockhead,” June 15 - 24, Theatre514, Allentown. The comedy-drama written by Burt V. Royal is directed by Civic Theatre Artistic Director William Sanders. The “unauthorized parody” of the characters in Charles M. Schulz’s comic strip “Peanuts” premiered in 2004 as part of FringeNYC. According to a plot synopsis about the play: “Drug use, suicide, eating...

Lehigh Valley Summer Theater: Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre to pull out all the stops for opener, Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Saturday, June 16, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre (MSMT) promises spectacle with a big, splashy family show, a stage-filling classic Frank Loesser musical, and the high-flying acrobatics of a modern circus.

“It’s going to be a very happy summer,” says MSMT artistic director Charles Richter. “There will be lots of premiere performing.”

The 38th season kicks off with Disney’s Broadway musical, “Beauty and the Beast,” June 14 to July 1. The production will feature lavish scenic design, spectacular...

Teenage angst at Civic, according to ‘Peanuts’

Saturday, June 16, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

“Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” asks what happens when a certain beloved blockhead and all his pals hit their turbulent teens.

Inspired by the popular Peanuts comic strip, “Dog Sees God,” opening June 15 at Civic Theatre 514, imagines what it might be like after the gang reaches puberty and faces high school.

Jonathan Shehab, Civic director of marketing, makes his Civic stage debut as CB, the central character. Shehab is not the only Civic staffer in the show...

It’s not all about getting into ‘The Beast’ mode at MSMT

Saturday, June 16, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

“Beauty and the Beast” may be best-known for its dancing silverware extravaganza “Be Our Guest” scene, but it is the heart-breaking ballad “If I Can’t Love Her” that rests at the core of the story about a prince transformed into a beast as punishment for his cruel ways and warned to change or forever stay a beast.

“If I Can’t Love Her,” which was added when the Disney animated film was made into a 1994 Broadway musical, was composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Tim Rice.

The...