Follies Brings on the Mischief, Merriment, and Melodies
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.
Described as “The Super Bowl of Lehigh Valley Christmas season”, many locals and tourists alike have come to count Christmas City Follies as part of their holiday tradition, coming out to Touchstone’s cozy black box theatre for an evening of original sketch, characters, songs, and more. The show traditionally ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous – last year’s show included a quartet of lady pirates, penguins bursting into confetti, and Santa Claus singing melancholy 90s tunes.
“It’s Christmas already?!” quips Jp Jordan, Touchstone artistic director and ringleader of the Christmas City Follies cast for the last nine years. Rehearsals for the show began in late September. So far, proposed scenes have included returning characters, like Touchstone founder Bill George’s cantankerous persona “The Old Guy” dealing with some trust issues and Mary Wright’s silent clown “Little Red” taking on all of the negativity in the world. The cast of actor-creators has also been exploring a host of new scenes, songs, and characters, including a shout-out to Bethlehem’s 275th birthday, a Friars’ Club-style roast of Santa, and a group of mysterious women known only as the Snow Witches.
“We’ve got a larger cast than we’ve had in a while,” Jordan adds, “which translates into many more incredible ideas, vying to find their way into the final show.” Besides the Touchstone ensemble and apprentices, this year’s Follies features Christopher Morris and Ashley Tait Weller, theatre teachers from the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, as well as local young actors and siblings, Sarah and Alex Vogelgesang.
Accompanying Follies in the Touchstone Theatre gallery space is an exhibit by Kim Christman, who draws inspiration from the everyday, transforming humble materials into evocations of the transcendent. Her work will be on display from December 1, 2016 – February 15, 2017 with an opening reception Friday, December 2nd from 5-7pm in the Touchstone Café. Christman’s explorations focus on quiet, overlooked objects, pulling them into the foreground of our attention using surface treatments, combinations, and arrangements.
This year Fig – a hyper-local, super-social magazine all about downtown Bethlehem – is joining in on the Follies fun by hosting a preshow party on Saturday, December 3rd from 6:30-8pm. Since Fig Bethlehem features all things art, dinning, shopping, and entertainment, audiences who arrive early for the party can expect to enjoy food, live music, and a chance to win a Bethlehem-centric basket of joy.
Touchstone is supported locally by season sponsors First Generation, an integrated marketing communications company, and RCN. WDIY provides media sponsorship, and Working Dog Press provides print sponsorship. Touchstone is proud to receive support for the first time for Christmas City Follies from the County of Northampton.
Christmas City Follies XVII plays December 1-18, 2016, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm; in addition to regularly scheduled performances, there will be an extra matinee at 2pm on Saturday, December 17, and an extra evening show at 7pm on Sunday, December 18. Tickets are $25 for adults / $15 for students and seniors, with group rates available on request. On Thursdays, Touchstone offers a pay-what-you-will ticket option at the door, allowing walkup patrons to name their own ticket price. Advance tickets may be purchased at 610.867.1689 or online at www.touchstone.org The Touchstone Café is open one hour before show time and at intermssion, with pastries and gourmet coffee by Nazca K-Fé Premium Peruvian Coffee available for purchase.
Celebrating thirty-six years, Touchstone Theatre produces and presents both original and classic productions, with a dedication to the renewal of theatre as a vital art form. Touchstone works to foster collaboration on a local and national level through educational and youth empowerment programs, using theatre as a community-building tool. Visit us on the web at www.touchstone.org