Touchstone Theatre Presents Its Annual Holiday Revue 'Christmas City Follies'

Touchstone Theatre presents the latest in their Christmas City Follies series, the theatre's annual holiday-themed vaudeville show, filled with jolly mischief, merry melodies, and holiday cheer. Christmas City Follies XIX runs December 6-23, 2018 at Touchstone's home theatre at 321 East Fourth Street in Southside Bethlehem.

A favorite of Lehigh Valley residents past and present, 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 sketches, characters, songs, and more. 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 for the show began in mid-October, with the cast brainstorming the building blocks of the show, with new ideas- this year's 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 twenty-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, for the third year running, Fig- a hyper-local, super-social magazine all about Bethlehem- is joining in on the Follies fun by hosting a preshow party on December 7th from 6:30-8pm. Since Fig Bethlehem features all things art, dining, shopping, and entertainment, audiences who arrive early for the party can expect to enjoy a festive time, with food, music, and a chance to win a Bethlehem-centric basket of joy.

Christmas City Follies is sponsored by Peoples Security Bank and Trust; the show receives additional support from the County of Northampton. Touchstone's season is supported locally by season sponsor RCN. WDIY provides media sponsorship, and Working Dog Press provides print sponsorship.

Christmas City Follies XIX plays December 6-23, 2018, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm; in addition to these regularly scheduled performances, there will also be a matinee on Saturday, December 22 at 2pm. 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, as available, allowing walkup 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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