CKP at IceHouse Tonight: We All Win With This “November”!

Friends, are you as tired as I am of the current political season, with its sub-ground level Presidential campaigning? 

So where’s a political junkie, or even just a civic-minded gal or guy, to go these days for a breather and a few laughs? Luckily, I have the perfect answer.

Take yourself and cohorts the the Ice House on Sand Island in Bethlehem, while you still have five more chances to see David Mamet’s “November”, a searing political satire about a hilarious presidential campaign and the lengths to which its candidate will go to win.


Stuck on 'Crazy Glue'

Touchstone Theatre’s latest presentation is not one of their original productions, but it is a lively representation of the rituals of courtship and marriage.

Crazy Glue, based on a short story by Etgar Keret, was created and performed by Single Shoe Theatre Productions, the off-spring of Filipa Tomas and Bradley Wayne Smith in partnership with The Nursery Theatre, Blue Elephant Theatre, OvalHouse, Marine Theatre and The Pleasance Theatre with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The show has toured in the UK, Germany and Bulgaria and is currently roaming the United States


Compelling rendition of 'The Miracle Worker' at Pa Playhouse

Set in the hazy countryside of post-Civil War Alabama, William Gibson's classic story about Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, is sure to warm the heart. Pennsylvania Playhouse’s production of Gibson’s script does not fail to deliver.

The play depicts the turmoil of a family in need of a miracle – both for their seemingly-unreachable daughter, and for their own tired, worn-down selves. What they do not bargain for, however, is when this miracle shows up on their doorstep in the form of a stubborn, tenacious young woman intent on teaching Helen to speak for herself.

Both Hannah Kurczeski as Helen and Jenna McBreen as Annie are extremely well cast. The prolonged physical struggles between the two characters and their efforts to physically communicate are fascinating to watch, not to mention (I’m sure) challenging to portray. One of the best scenes in the play is a long segment between the two characters in which McBreen (Annie) attempts to get Kurczeski (Helen) to remain seated at her place at the dinner table and to use a spoon to eat her dinner; almost no words are spoken throughout the entire scene, but every intention is clear. It is at these moments that the play really comes alive, and we begin to “see” the world from Helen’s point of view. Our sense of verbal communication as primary falls away, and we begin to understand meaning in different terms. One could say that by the end of the play, the audience finds their own “miracle”: as Helen learns to understand the concept of communication in words, we begin to understand the concept of communication without them. Read more...

APT's 'Robin Hood'--- timelessly riveting tale, committed performances, dare-you-to-look-away pacing

In the fleetest hour you're ever likely to spend at a show, Allentown Public Theatre's "Robin Hood" will whisk you thousands of miles and hundreds of years into the dark past and mythical land of Sherwood Forest. 

In the cozy and convincingly transformed basement assembly hall of St. Luke's Lutheran Church on tree-lined North Seventh Street in Allentown, PA, this tiny but mighty production company more commonly called 'APT', under the direction of Anna Russell, has created the look, the mood, and the feel of quintessential children's theater, combining a timelessly riveting story, utterly committed performances, and dare-you-to-look-away pacing.


PSF's 'Blithe Spirit'--- Mix-ups ensue and twists abound with perfect comedic timing.

'Blithe Spirit' is not to be missed.

As the guest of Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s 'Blithe Spirit' opening night, I was treated to an enchanting departure from reality as I was whisked back to the 1940’s in a most humorous way.

Noel Coward, the English playwright known for his biting wit, wanted to present an evening's entertainment that was simply fun in order to relieve, for a bit, the daily tensions and terrors of WWII.

The result---?


Musical Reviews

'The Producers' a raucous, riotous evening at MunOpCo

It's not often you get to enjoy a horrible play.

But that is exactly what the cast and crew of Munopco's “The Producers” strive for with their production of Mel Brook's hit musical “The Producers” currently playing at the Scottish Rite Cathedral through September 25th.

If you are a fan of the 1968 Mel Brooks' movie (which I am) the musical will seem familiar to you – but this does not detract from the amusement and pure joy the actors on stage put into every aspect of the show.


At PA Playhouse, musical version of “Big” is as charming as the movie

The musical version of “Big” is as charming as the movie, and the production at the Pennsylvania Playhouse is filled with the same wit and humor.

What the show lacks in the huge “spectacle” which seems necessary in Broadway shows today it more than makes up for in the development of characters and a string of songs which range from sweet (“Stars”) to funny (“Fun”) to showstopping (“Cross The Line”)


"Growl!" an effervescent concoction presently on tap at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre

One of the many endearments of "Growl!", the effervescent concoction presently on tap at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre, is the full extent of its contrast to this outstanding and long-running festival's 'adult' presentations.

I'm talking theater space, choreography, singing, musical accompaniment, and the dreaded category of 'production values'.

While shows in the splendid and heavily appointed Baker Hall inTrexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance are routinely breathtaking, this very small but highly kinetic playlet in the definitive black-box space called The Studio Theatre is thoroughly rejuvenating.

Eight seemingly tireless twenty-somethings fill this modest room with a kind of dancing, a smattering of slap-schtick, various forms of highly creative puppeteering, along with more-than-commendable singing and playing of any number of silly but endearing ditties.

More adults than tots littered the theater during yesterday's 1PM performance, and I honestly can report that their response was even more enthusiastic than the youngsters'. And, trust me, the tykes were getting their money's worth of giggles and often outright guffaws at the non-stop onstage antics of this fine assembly of actors.

The admirable conceit of the play is in its inventively eye-popping retelling of the familiar and dead-tired tale of 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears'.

Let's not waste any time or column inches on a synopsis of the plot.

Just allow me to say that there is nothing wearying about this iteration; I am willing to bet that, unless you're under ten years of age, you won't be able to keep up with its relentlessly sharp turns and witty reinterpretations of the story you thought you knew.

The show runs one hour to the precise tick of a finely wound watch, with nary a child nor grandparent nor nanny showing signs of distraction for even a second, and it was preceded by a determined and seemingly spontaneous pre-show warmup and immediately followed by a child-friendly workshop (re: debriefing).

The show is the offspring of the Brooklyn-based company, Doppelskope, and was coceived and written by founder Christopher Scheer and Ora Fruchter. Scheer, a Muhlenberg alumnus, also heads the fine ensemble that includes Sabrina DeWeerdt, Jordan Elman, Ellen Herschel, Helen Laser, Patrick C. Smith, Nikk Tetreault, and Kiera Ryan, many of them fellow alumni.

I am obliged by the theater gods to quibble with whoever was responsible for scarring the cheeks of these lovely performers-- all clearly capable of strong vocal projection--- with completely unnecessary and silly looking black wireless microphones even though the cast seldom ventured more than ten or fifteen feet from the first row of their rapt audience. (Lose those lizards, people!)

Adopt a child, or reunite with a nephew or niece, and do both of you a happy turn by visiting this very engaging little show.

Growl! is playing through July 20, 2016 at Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, 2400 W Chew St, Allentown, PA 18104. For tickets, call 484-664-3333 or visit

"In the Heights" at Muhlenberg: “Muy bueno!”

“In The Heights” at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theater

“In The Heights” won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2008 and is a funny, clever and totally enjoyable show set in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York about the Latino population who live, work and struggle to make ends meet on a daily basis.

I therefore believe it unfair to bill “In The Heights” as “from the creator of Broadway's smash hit Hamilton.”


"Gypsy" at Muhlenberg is compelling, lyrical, heart-rending

I've grown so accustomed to seeing the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre stage crammed with lightly skipping, long-legged women and furiously spinning, chiseled young men who effortlessly toss one another off balconies to the beat of brassy, thunderous orchestrations that I found myself surprisingly and happily transfixed by the reedy calm of the music and economy of the dance in their interpretation of the American stage classic, 'Gypsy'.


Stage News

Winners announced in Original Playwright Series contest

Each year the Shawnee Playhouse encourages local playwrights to submit their original and unpublished works for a chance to win our annual Shawnee Original Playwright Series contest.

This spring, each submission was read by volunteer actors over several weeks. The public was invited to listen to the readings of the original plays and had a chance to vote and comment on each work. When our Executive Committee reviewed the ratings, the tabulations revealed that three plays scored closely, so it was decided all three full length winners as well as the six short play winners would be produced and performed by Worthington Players in 2016. Read more...

Shawnee Playhouse readings of contest entries

Each year, Worthington Players produces and performs an original work at Shawnee Playhouse by an area playwright, chosen by our Executive Committee from among submissions received in an open contest.

Stage readings are held in the playhouse to help determine the winner.


Crew Calls

Call for Director Applications at Pa Playhouse

Pennsylvania Playhouse is accepting applications for director of their 2017 Christmas show "The Happy Elf" by Harry Connick, Jr.

Performances are scheduled Dec. 1 through Dec. 17, 2017.

To apply to direct please forward your contact information and a resume of your theatrical experience (particularly directorial experience) to Beth Breiner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Deadline to submit applications: Oct. 27, 2017.

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Upcoming Shows

Touchstone Theatre kicks off its 2016-17

Bethlehem, PA – Touchstone Theatre kicks off its 2016-17 season with international theatre company Single Shoe Productions in their critically acclaimed production of Crazy Glue, a two-person show following a husband and wife through their rollercoaster of a romance. Crazy Glue plays October 6-9, 2016.

Inspired by the physical comedy of Buster Keaton and the madcap absurdity of Looney Tunes, Crazy Glue blends vocal sound effects, quirky humor, and an evocative 1930s soundtrack, celebrating the mad, messy, sticky side of love. Without the use of words, the piece combines clown, dance, and mime into a universally accessible 65-minute performance. A brief talk-back with the performers will follow each show.


Muhlenberg's Mainstage productions include six theater productions, three dance concerts, running September through April

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (Sept. 16, 2016) — Muhlenberg College’s nationally-ranked Theatre & Dance Department announces its 2016-2017 mainstage season. Highlights include classics by Gilbert & Sullivan and Anton Chekhov, a dance-theatre performance based on Harlem drag ball culture, a rarely produced Gertrude Stein play, and works by acclaimed guest choreographers.

The season features six fully mounted theatrical productions and three mainstage dance concerts, running from September 2016 through April 2017.


Touchstone Theatre Presents Guest Artist in Aliens, Immigrants, and Other Evildoers

Bethlehem, PA – Touchstone Theatre welcomes performance artist José Torres-Tama back to Bethlehem with his award-winning solo piece Aliens, Immigrants, and Other Evildoers. Torres-Tama performs November 3-6, 2016 in a production that has been critically acclaimed for putting a human face and heart on Latino immigrants.

The play, which Torres-Tama describes as a "Sci-Fi Latino Noir Multimedia Solo," satirizes the status of Latino immigrants as aliens and explores the trends in hate crimes against immigrants across the United States. The show, which is now in its sixth season of touring and has been met with sold out houses across the country, runs approximately 75 minutes long, and at Touchstone will include a brief talk-back with the performer after each performance. Read more...

Touchstone's Annual Holiday Revue is Back!

Bethlehem, PA - Touchstone Theatre presents the latest in their Christmas City Follies series, the theatre's annual holiday vaudeville, filled with jolly mischief, merry melodies, and holiday cheer. Christmas City Follies XVII runs December 1-18, 2016 at Touchstone's home theatre at 321 East Fourth Street in Southside Bethlehem. Read more...

Muhlenberg’s ‘Pirates of Penzance’ features high seas and high Cs,

Allentown, PA (Oct. 17, 2016) — Fresh direction and choreography will paint a new face on a classic Gilbert and Sullivan comic operetta this fall, as the Muhlenberg College theater and dance department presents “The Pirates of Penzance,” Oct. 28 – Nov. 6.

“Expect a night of great family entertainment,” says theater professor Charles Richter, who directs the production. “It’s a work of comic genius and a real pleasure to direct.” Read more...

CKP returns for One Night Only to Quakertown with Mamet's 'November'

'November', Crowded Kitchen Players' critically acclaimed production of David Mamet's political comedy about a Presidential election, will be presented for one-night only, October 22 at 8PM at The Proper Brewing Company, 117 West Broad Street, Quakertown, Pa.

The production will be completing its Bethlehem run at The Charles A. Brown IceHouse on Friday at 8PM.

'November' at The Proper represents a return of sorts for the Lehigh Valley based repertory company, which performed for seven seasons at another Quakertown venue. Their last production, 'Too Clever by Half', was in June 2014.


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