Parkland Press

Monday, December 17, 2018

‘Dictators 4 Dummies’ musical is Touchstone world premiere

Friday, April 6, 2018 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

For writer and director Christopher Shorr, the creation of “Dictators 4 Dummies” started as early as 2014.

“Dictators 4 Dummies” has its world premiere, April 5-15, Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem.

“It began as a research into a phenomenon. I was looking into the odd situation of people not seeming to recognize these ... moves from ‘The Fascist Playbook,’ if you will,” Shorr explains.

No reservations about fun for The National Reserve

Thursday, March 1, 2018 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

Sean Walsh was content being a solo musician, often preferring it over being a part of a band. So it surprised him when he became the front man for The National Reserve.

The National Reserve, as well as Tioga, opens for Low Cut Connie, 8 p.m. March 3, Musikfest Cafe, Bethlehem.

“I’ve been making songs since I was younger and always liked my solo projects, but it just kinda happened,” Walsh explains in a phone interview.

Two sides of Deer Tick on latest tour

Thursday, March 1, 2018 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

To some, Deer Tick might sound like an odd name for a rock band.

According to Deer Tick guitarist Ian O’Neil, that was the point, to some degree.

“John [McCauley, lead singer] was hiking in Indiana and was bit by a deer tick,” O’Neil explains in a phone interview. “The story goes that it sounded off-putting enough to make for a great band name.”

Deer Tick is in concert, 8 p.m. March 6, Musikfest Cafe, SteelStacks, Bethlehem, to continue the second half of the “Twice is Nice” tour.

Civic to ‘Rock’ the ‘80s at Crest

Friday, February 9, 2018 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

In the case of many musicals, the songs performed are the true focus, even above the narrative and main characters, and “Rock of Ages” is no exception.

“Rock of Ages” is being presented Feb. 9-25 by Civic Theatre of Allentown, in Alumnae Hall, Cedar Crest College, Allentown.

“The characters have been fashioned to accommodate the music,” says Civic Theatre Associate Artistic Director-Production Manager Will Morris, who’s directing the musical.

Touchstone ‘Punch’-raiser returns

Friday, February 9, 2018 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

A little more than two years ago, Jakopa’s Punch formed to perform at a Lehigh Valley cancer benefit and play three songs in honor of David Bowie, who died Jan. 16, 2016.

Since then, the band has become something of a staple of Touchstone Theatre, appearing on multiple occasions at theater venues and events.

After the success of Touchstone’s “Jakopa’s Punch Processional” last summer, “Jakopa’s Punch Bowl,” a Mardi Gras-themed musical revel of a fundraiser, returns at 7 p.m. Feb. 9, Charles A. Brown Ice House, Sand Island, 56 River St., Bethlehem.

There’s a ‘BrouHaHa’ at Touchstone Theatre

Thursday, February 1, 2018 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

There’s a “BrouHaHa” at Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem.

“BrouHaHa” will be performed 8 p.m. Feb. 1, 2 and 3, and 2 p.m. Feb. 4 by Happenstance Theater at Touchstone Theatre.

The Happenstance Theater has always wanted to perform a play featuring clowns. “BrouHaHa” is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

“As a company, we wanted to make a clown show. We have theatrical clowns in a lot of works, but we hadn’t explored the show that emphasized the clown aspect,” Happenstance Theater co-artistic director and performer Sabrina Mandell says in a phone interview.

‘Art of Circus’ spans hundreds of years

Friday, January 26, 2018 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

At his core, lead producer and creator Tad Empage has a deep passion and appreciation for the arts.

“I’ve always been interested in the arts,” Empage explains in a phone interview. “I was a painter when I first arrived in New York City, started getting involved in theater. Art has always been with me, even before performing arts became my career. I wanted to honor the visual arts in which we find in life.”

Empage conceptualized “Art of Circus,” which will be presented at 8 p.m. 26, State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton.

Theater Review: Laughter center stage in Civic’s ‘SantaLand’

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

Featuring a single actor on a small black-box stage, “The SantaLand Diaries” boasts a level of intimacy that rivals the casual conversation you might have with people at home.

It often feels like the audience is chatting with the main character, David, as he rants and raves about his difficult and often hilarious work as Crumpet the Elf in Macy’s Santaland in New York City in “The SantaLand Diaries,” through Dec. 17, Theatre514, Civic Theatre of Allentown.

Return to ‘SantaLand’ at Civic

Thursday, December 7, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

During the season when “A Christmas Carol” dominates the stage and “It’s a Wonderful Life” dominates the silver screen, Civic Theatre of Allentown Associate Artistic Director-Production Manager Will Morris is excited to bring a different flavor of Christmas to the Civic stage.

Morris again directs Jarrod Yuskauskas in the one-man show, “The SantaLand Diaries,” Dec. 8 - 17, Theatre514, Allentown. The show, with Yushauskas playing a not so happy elf, had its Lehigh Valley debut during the 2016 holiday season at Civic to sold-out shows.

Well, hello, ‘Follies,’ it’s the 18th year at Touchstone

Thursday, November 30, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

For many in the Lehigh Valley, attending Touchstone Theatre’s “Christmas City Follies” is a holiday season tradition, and this is no different for the show’s director Jp Jordan.

“This is my 13th. This is my 11th as director. For the first three, I was involved with, I was the musical director,” says Jordan, Touchstone Theatre artistic director.

“Christmas City Follies XVIII” opens Nov. 30 and continues through Dec. 22 at Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. Fourh St., Bethlehem.