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From Lisa – Hometown Pride

April 19, 2012

Bringing the circus to City Hall. Photography © h scott heist 12 /

So, last week was my week for blog duty, a task I enjoy about once a month or so– except when it’s during the same week we’re opening a “ginormous” community-based production with auxiliary events, nearly three years in the making! Needless to say, I was behind on my blog post, though I just about wrote it all in my head one day on the way in to work. Here it is, a little late, but hopefully still worthy of a read…

As I drove into work, I was thinking about what kind of people we’d draw for A Resting Place— Civil War buffs, family and friends of the cast and crew, Touchstone regulars, and who else? I also thought about whether or not I’d come out and see A Resting Place if I wasn’t directly involved (pretending for a moment I also wasn’t a theatre-goer!), ultimately realizing that what would draw my attention is Bethlehem itself.

I moved to Bethlehem over ten years ago, and, aside from a short stint near Philly, have lived here since, developing over time a genuine love and deep pride for my hometown. When I send gifts to out-of-town friends, I buy from a locally owned shop and make sure to include their business card; when company comes to town, we walk down Main Street or hit up the South Side for some non-chain, unique-to-Bethlehem restaurants; when talking about Bethlehem, I warn people, “Tell me when you’ve heard enough, because I can go on forever about all the shops, eateries, arts organizations, people…”

Dan Rice greets the incoming audience. Photography © h scott heist 12 /

I also noticed, as I met people from all over Bethlehem and the Greater Lehigh Valley that lots of Bethlehemites share this “hometown pride.” Now, to be clear, I am not trying to start a rivalry or claim one city is better than another in the Valley. There are fantastic things to do and see in each of the neighboring cities. But I guess the realization I came to as I got “audience jitters,” wondering who and why anyone would come to A Resting Place, is that living in a city which allows a life-size elephant puppet to lead a circus wagon with nearly 100 people into its City Hall Plaza is pretty exceptional and breeds that kind of pride and interest in its local history.

So, hats off to Bethlehem and its citizens, present day and past. We are fortunate to live here, and if I may show some “homebase theatre pride,” I feel fortunate to work at a company like Touchstone, rooted here and willing to examine and entertain its community.


For more on why Bethlehem is great, check out City of Bethlehem here and the Downtown Business Association here.

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