Salisbury Press

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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.

Pa. Playhouse taps inner ‘Elf’

Thursday, November 30, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

While many theaters this time of year celebrate the holidays with more well-known or traditional plays, the Pennsylvania Playhouse, 390 Illick’s Mill Road, Bethlehem, stands out from the crowd with “The Happy Elf,” Dec. 1 - 17.

“[The Playhouse] wanted to stay away from ‘A Christmas Carol,’ ‘A Christmas Story’ and ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ because other theaters were presenting them,” explains director Bill Mutimer. “This was a good fit for the Holiday Season.”

“The Happy Elf” works to touch on the holiday season and spirit for all individuals.

King Crimson courts continuity at Miller Symphony Hall

Friday, November 10, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

Jakko Jakszyk found himself enamored with music at a young age, an understandable fascination considering the explosion of talent that radiated out of Great Britain in the 1960s.

“When I was very young, and obviously had an innate interest in music, barriers were being broken down, particularly in England,” Jakszyk says in a phone interview.

The Wood Brothers ramble to Sherman Theater

Saturday, November 4, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

As the name suggests, The Wood Brothers is as much family-oriented as it is a musically-talented band.

“[Chris Wood, bassist, and I] are good at balancing passion with compromise. Ninety-eight percent of the time, it’s awesome working with my sibling,” says guitarist Oliver Wood.

The Wood Brothers perform in concert, 7 p.m. Nov. 5, Sherman Theater Stroudsburg.

THEATER REVIEW:

Thursday, October 26, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

‘The Lion’ roared at Pa. Playhouse

Two things became clear to me in the first few moments of attending “The Lion in Winter” at The Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem.

First, that some of Bethlehem’s most talented actors were brought in to bring this medieval narrative to life, truly breathing fresh air into some familiar-feeling characters.

Second, The Pennsylvania Playhouse has such a fantastic reputation for a reason.

Spend ‘Sunday in the Park’ with Sondheim at Muhlenberg

Thursday, October 26, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

Director James Peck was always a fan of Stephen Sondheim’s theatrical work, well before he had the chance to present “Sunday in the Park with George,” one of the playwright’s best-known works.

“Sunday in the Park with George” runs Oct. 27 through Nov. 5, Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, Allentown.

“[Sondheim’s] work has a musical complexity to it that’s rare in theater music,” explains Peck. “Light, rich sounds in a chromatic scale, and the rhythmic structures are complicated.”

Getting into the ‘Act’: Crowded Kitchen Players presents Lehigh Valley debut of drama about Moss Hart, legendary Bucks playwright

Friday, October 13, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

For director Ara Barlieb and the Crowded Kitchen Players (CK Players) theater company, “Act One” is a production that everyone wanted to be a part of.

“Like a lot of theater companies, we are drawn to plays about theater,” Barlieb says. “It’s really compelling to do a play about a play.”

Barlieb says that, to the best of his knowledge, “Act One” has never been performed outside of New York City.

Deadman co-founder has a Theory about group’s success

Friday, October 13, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH in Focus

For Tyler Connolly, Theory of a Deadman was born from a want to enjoy what life has to offer.

“I don’t know that we knew we had anything. We were just having fun and enjoying music,” says Connolly. “We didn’t play many shows. We just jammed. I had two jobs. We were all just blue-collar dudes getting by, and this was the one thing we could vent our frustrations through.”

Theory of a Deadman performs in concert, 8 p.m. Oct. 13, Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg.