Parkland Press

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Theater Review: Loving ‘Shakespeare In Love’ at PSF

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Shakespeare In Love” could be subtitled “Shakespeare With Writer’s Block.”

William Shakespeare (played by the magnificent Luigi Sottile), taking a page from modern nomenclature, must come up with his next hit.

Quill in hand, centerstage at his desk, backdropped by the impressive wood two-tiered set by Scenic Designer Daniel Conway that evokes The Globe Theater, Shakespeare laps up plot points from his pal, Kit Marlowe (an enthusiastic Justin Adams), as willing and eager as the shaggy dog, Spot (the willing and eager Buddy Igor), that ambles on stage.

Theater Review: Grande shows how to ‘Succeed’ at MSMT

Monday, July 16, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

If you want to have the dibs on saying,”I saw him when ..., “ don’t miss the astounding performance of Frankie Grande in The Muhlenberg College Summer Music Theatre production of “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.”

Grande does it all: act, sing and dance (including speed-tap and a handstand flip) in the terrifically-entertaining musical directed with impish charm by MSMT co-founder Charles Richter.

Movie Review: ‘Ant-Man’ is big fun

Monday, July 16, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Ant-Man And The Wasp” is preposterous. That’s OK. It’s preposterous fun.

The Marvel Comics superheroes Ant-Man, aka Scott Lang, is played with charming bravura by Paul Rudd.

The Wasp, aka Hope Van Dyne, is played with confident strength by Evangeline Lily.

Together, and apart, they are big fun. Ant-Man super-sizes to proportions bigger than the Stay Puft Marshamallow Man in “Ghostbusters.”

They are also small fun. Ant-Man shrinks to the size of, well, an ant. And the Wasp, too, goes from large to small.

Call it “Honey, I Shrunk The Superheroes.”

Movie Review: Revisit ‘Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood’ of kindness

Saturday, July 7, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The question, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” has an implicit assumption.

It’s not “Please be my neighbor.”

it’s not “Will you be my neighbor?”

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” implies that the decision is up to the individual being asked. It’s a straight-forward request. And it indicates a willingness on the part of the person asking, to be your neighbor to begin with.

It’s how Fred Rogers (1928 - 2003), creator and host of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” (beginning on PBS in 1968 and continuing until 2001), put it.

Theater Review: ‘Hairspray’ a fabulous ‘do at Munopco

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Munopco Music Theatre production of “Hairspray: The Broadway Musical” is adorable kitsch.

Munopco “Hairspray” director Susan McDermott, and assistant director Vince Rostkowski, get it right: a mix of 1960s’ dance-craze nostalgia, in excellent choreography by Suzanne Baltsar, with dance captain Caitlin McLemore; in exuberant singing, with robust direction by Julius Sarkozy; in catchy costumes, with fabulous frocks and thrift-shop chic by McDermott, and clever set design, with pastel palette by McDermott, and lighting by Jonathan Tobias.

Theater Review: ‘42nd Street’ spectacular at Bucks Playhouse

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

In “42nd Street,” Peggy Sawyer is the best little tapper from Allentown, Pa.

“42nd Street,” the musical, through Aug. 4, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, has the best tap-dancing this side of Broadway.

Tessa Grady, who plays Peggy Sawyer with a combination of innocent insecurity and can-do bravado, has to be one of the fastest tap-dancers ever. Her feet are a blur as she taps her way across the stage, in turns, spins, in place, and even backwards.

Movie Review: ‘Jurassic’ sequel World’

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

A more forthright title for “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” would have been “Jurassic World: Franchise Builder.”

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” sequel to “Jurassic World” (2015), is second in a trilogy, with “Jurassic World 3” set for 2021 release. Universal Pictures distributes the “Jurassic Park” (1993, 1997, 2001) movies, including “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”

Theater Review: ‘Hairspray’ a fabulous ‘do at Munopco

Saturday, June 30, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Munopco Music Theatre production of “Hairspray: The Broadway Musical” is adorable kitsch.

Munopco “Hairspray” director Susan McDermott, and assistant director Vince Rostkowski, get it right: a mix of 1960s’ dance-craze nostalgia, in excellent choreography by Suzanne Baltsar, with dance captain Caitlin McLemore; in exuberant singing, with robust direction by Julius Sarkozy; in catchy costumes, with fabulous frocks and thrift-shop chic by McDermott, and clever set design, with pastel palette by McDermott, and lighting by Jonathan Tobias.

Movie Review: ‘Incredibles 2’

Monday, June 25, 2018 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s just “Incredibles.”

Yes, the sequel, “Incredibles 2,” outdoes “Incredibles,” released nearly 15 years ago, in 2004.

“Incredibles 2,” as with many Disney-Pixar animation features films, is preceded by brief interviews with those who voice the characters, including Craig T. Nelson (Bob Parr-Mr. Incredible) and Holly Hunter (Mrs. Parr-Elastigirl), who joke about the lag time between the original and its sequel.” To paraphrase, they promise, “It’s worth the wait.”

They are correct.