Northampton Press

Sunday, June 25, 2017

$5.5-milion Capital Campaign to restore Civic’s 19th Street Theatre

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Lehigh Valley Trust Building was a magnificent setting for the launch of a magnificent new project for Civic Theatre of Allentown: “The Next Act: Setting the Stage for the Future,” a $5.5-million Capital Campaign to return “the historic 19th Street Theatre to its original splendor as a landmark arts facility and focal point of Art Deco architecture.”

The capital campaign is said to be the most ambitious project in the history of the 88-year-old theater.

Review: ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

Friday, November 11, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

At family picnics at my maternal grandparents’ house in Fullerton, Whitehall Township, Uncle Tom didn’t talk much about his military service in the South Pacific Theater during World War II, or when he tried to, after a beer, he would start sobbing quietly.

See director Mel Gibson’s landmark film, “Hacksaw Ridge,” and you will get a sense of why many veterans of “The Greatest Generation” have been reluctant to talk about what they did during the war.

NAMS project millions under budget

Thursday, November 10, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

Superintendent says building ‘transformed the district in many ways’

Even as Northampton Area School District Board of Education formally closed the chapter on one project, it learned it will have the funds to begin other projects.

The Northampton Area Middle School and Secondary Campus Renovation Project came in $5.1 million under budget, NASD Superintendent of Schools Joseph S. Kovalchik told school directors Nov. 7 in a presentation at the first board meeting of the month.

The district set the project cost at $80,720,752, borrowed $80,290,147 with the actual project cost at $75,210,124, a savings of $5,080,023.

Theater Review: ‘Aliens’ arrives at Touchstone Theatre

Friday, November 4, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

You could sense the aroma in the lobby of Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem.

Who’s wearing Patchouli?

The Touchstone stage.

There, incense was wafting, votive candles to the saints burned and three skull replicas and a cross and a sign that stated “No guacamole for immigrant haters” were among the props for ”Aliens, Immigrants, and Other Evildoers,” before José Torres-Tama took the stage for his rowdy one-man show that continues at 8 p.m. Nov. 4 and 5 and 2 p.m. Nov. 6, Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. Fourth St., Bethlehem.

Movie Review: ‘Jack Reacher’

Thursday, November 3, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” is not much of a reach for actor Tom Cruise.

The action-thriller is well within the wheelhouse of Cruise. As with the original “Jack Reacher” (2012), the sequel is a kind of low-rent “Mission: Impossible,” of which Cruise has made five since 1996 with a sixth in pre-production.

The character of Jack Reacher is more simplistic, working-class and not as suave as Ethan Hunt, the James Bond inspired protagonist of “Mission: Impossible.”

The last songwriter: Jimmy Webb’s extraordinary songs to be heard in Bethlehem showcase

Thursday, November 3, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Hear Jimmy Webb sing “Didn’t We,” as he recounts how the song is from the second act of a never-performed college musical. Then hear Sinatra sing “Didn’t We,” with a dry as Jack Daniels vocal and Don Costa arrangement and let the chill bumps start.

Listen to Webb’s intro to “The Worst That Could Happen” as he talks about Johnny Maestro introducing 40 guys “all in maroon blazers,” former members of the Brooklyn Bridge, which took the song to No. 3 in 1969.

Borough Elementary principal to retire

Thursday, November 3, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in School

Longtime Northampton Area School District educator Carol Cunningham is retiring.

The NASD Board of Education voted 8-0, with one board vacancy, Oct. 25 to approve the administration’s recommendation to accept the resignation of Cunningham, Borough Elementary principal, in order for her to retire May 14, 2017.

School directors approved a paid leave of absence Jan. 3-March 17, 2017, and an unpaid leave of absence March 17-May 14, 2017, with insurance, for Cunningham because of “a serious health condition of a family member,” according to a statement on the school board agenda.

Theater Review: A timeless ‘Time Warp’ at Bucks Playhouse

Saturday, October 29, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Aficionados of “The Rocky Horror Show” probably can’t do better than to see, or rather, experience Bucks County Playhouse’s production, which continues through Oct. 30 in New Hope.

This is a Broadway-quality production with great performances by an incredibly-talented cast, super stage values and an on-stage sizzling four-piece rock band led by the show’s Music Director Will Shuler, who conducts and plays keyboards, with Sound Design by Bart Fasbender.