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Touchstone’s annual holiday revue

Published December 06. 2018 12:33PM

Touchstone Theatre presents the latest in its Christmas City Follies series, the theater’s annual holiday-themed vaudeville show, filled with jolly mischief, merry melodies and holiday cheer. Christmas City Follies XIX runs today through Dec. 23 at Touchstone’s home theater at 321 E. Fourth St. in Southside Bethlehem.

The show traditionally ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous, with subject matter that has included holiday cultural heritage to seasonal depression, exploding penguins to Black Friday shopping frenzies, dancing toys to talking fish.

Rehearsals began in mid-October, with the cast brainstorming the building blocks of the show, with new ideas — including an original Christmas storybook creature, a lesson on how to be an effective holiday pickpocket and how the toys really feel as they’re getting loaded onto Santa’s sleigh — plus a host of returning favorites, like Bill George’s curmudgeonly “The Old Guy,” Mary Wright’s silent “Little Red” and the annual favorite Shopping Cart Ballet.

“We have some amazing new talent in the cast this year, and the Follies veterans are firing on all cylinders,” says Jp Jordan, Touchstone’s artistic director and leader of the Follies crew for over a decade.

“We shook up the creative process a bit in the studio, as one needs to do in a nearly 20-year creative endeavor, and while it’s no doubt still Follies through and through, we’re all feeling like the material has never been fresher.”

On display in the Touchstone Gallery is the work of painter Lynn Beedle. His exhibit features profiles of familiar Lehigh Valley landmarks and landscapes, as well as a few unique character studies appropriate for the Follies mood. Beedle’s en plein-air painting style evokes the impression of a moment suspended in time.

“Painting for me is a scramble to apply a fraction of the day onto canvas before it all slips away. That is the joy and wonder of painting,” says Beedle.

Additionally, Fig is hosting a preshow party from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Christmas City Follies XIX plays now through Dec. 23, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. There will also be a matinee on Dec. 22 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $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, as available, allowing walk-up patrons to name their own ticket price. Advance tickets may be purchased at 610-867-1689 or online at www.touchstone.org.

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