Parkland Press

Friday, June 23, 2017

Theater Review: ‘Hair’ is the love at MSMT

Monday, June 19, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s the 50th anniversary of “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical.”

“Hair” was post-hairspray. Young women let Aqua Net on the shelf, ironed their hair, or went Afro. Young men let Brylcreem on the shelf and skipped the barber.

“Hair” was pre-”Hairspray.” It set the stage for other non-book Broadway musicals (“Company,” “Godspell,” “Pippin”).

“Hair” is of a time, a time that now seems long ago, naive and quaint. It not only seems long ago. It was long ago: a half-century long ago.

Theater Review: Roscioli remarkable in PSF ‘Evita’

Monday, June 19, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

To begin with, to paraphrase Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Eva Peron was dead. And yet, not unlike the Ghost of Jacob Marley, the spirit of Eva Peron is still with us.

The musical, “Evita,” begins with the funeral of Eva Peron, and then rewinds magnificently, fascinatingly and somewhat shockingly through the twists and turns of her youth, cabaret success, and movie actress fame to that of First Lady of Argentina at age 27.

‘Wonder Woman’

Saturday, June 17, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Wonder Woman” has typically-overblown Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) fights, explosions and over-the-top special effects (too much “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” flying “Wonder Woman” for me), which bloat the film to a butt-numbing approximate 2-1/2 hours. The plot sticks to the DC Comics storyline whereby a World War I (originally, the setting was World War II) airplane pilot crash-lands on a Greek island of Amazons, among them, Diana, aka Wonder Woman.

Theater Review: ‘12ness’ a fascinating, compelling world premiere

Friday, June 16, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“12ness” tells the story of the apparently little-known and unlikely friendship between American songwriter George Gershwin and avant-garde composer Arnold Schoenberg.

The Crowded Kitchen Players production of the comedy-drama, written by Charlie Barnett and directed by George B. Miller, with assistant director Kate Scuffle, continues in its world premiere through June 18 as part of the “IceHouse Tonight Series” at the Charles A. Brown IceHouse, Bethlehem.

Review: ‘Pirates’

Friday, June 9, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Deadmen Tell No Tales” could more aptly be subtitled “Lousy Screenplays Tell No Tales.” Therein lies the problem with the fifth sequel in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series that stars Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, who doesn’t so much swashbuckle as sashay, speaks with an at times difficult to understand drunken lisp, and rolls his eyes at every ironic aside in the grand manner of a silent movie star.

SouthSide Film Festival brings international fare to Bethlehem

Friday, June 9, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Area festivals, events and venues may come and go, but the SouthSide Film Festival (SSFF), now in its 14th year, has become a Lehigh Valley institution.

“The community’s been great,” says Glenn Koehler, SSFF director. “We get a lot of support.”

Jeff Vaclavik, board of directors president of the Southside Film Institute, which runs the SSFF, is already thinking about next year’s 15th annual event.

“It’s one of those anniversary years,” Vaclavik says, regarding SSFF programming. “We’ll come up with something.”

Shakespeare for everyone: Broadway in Center Valley returns to DeSales campus for Pa. Shakespeare Festival

Friday, June 2, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF), with its Main Stage Theatre production of “Evita” opening June 14, bodes to be bigger and better than ever for its 26th season.

Already, the 2017 season has set a record.

PSF set a new one-day sales record Feb. 15, opening day of single-ticket sales for the summer 2017 season. In one day, 938 tickets were sold for a more than $43,000 total. That’s a 64 percent increase, compared to the first day of single ticket sales in 2016, the Festival’s record-breaking 25th anniversary season.

‘Alien’ review

Friday, June 2, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Be prepared to be scared.

“Alien: Covenant” is the latest in the “Alien” science fiction motion-picture franchise. Although released in spring, “Alien: Covenant” is really a summer season horror film, bringing back one of the scariest, most disgusting-looking and vicious monsters ever created for the cinema.

“Alien: Covenant” is a sequel to “Prometheus” (2012), the second “Alien” prequel, and the sixth installment in the “Alien” franchise.

Movie Review: ‘Guardians Vol. 2’

Friday, May 26, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2” brings the usual crew of galactic misfits back for an entertaining mix of 1970s-era mix-tape music, galactic shenanigans and a summer movie season of bountiful quips.

The best part, though, is that writer-director James Gunn was to the movie superhero spoof genre born (writer-director, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” 2014; “Super,” 2010; “Slither,” 2006; writer, “Dawn of the Dead,” 2004; “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” 2004; “Scooby-Doo,” 2002; “The Specials,” 2000; “Tromeo & Juliet,” 1996).