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ELLA: FIRST LADY OF SONG (Delaware Theatre Company): Channeling Ella Fitzgerald

Freda Payne does some lovely singing in ELLA: FIRST LADY OF SONG, a biographical tribute to Ella Fitzgerald

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NOISES OFF (Walnut St): Hi-jinks prevail

The chestnut sails in Frank Anzalone’s production of NOISES OFF at the Walnut Street Theatre, but not consistently.

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I WILL NOT GO GENTLY (People’s Light): Third time’s a charm

I’ve gone from a fan and admirer to an enthusiastic supporter of Jen Childs in I WILL NOT GO GENTLY.

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SCHOOL OF ROCK (National tour at the Academy of Music): Amiable mediocrity

Most things are destined to be average, even musicals that have managed to stay on Broadway for a couple of years.

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FROZEN (Isis Productions): Forgiveness, redemption, and moving on

Neill Hartley’s ensemble for FROZEN makes the most of all the emotion and thoughtfulness Bryony Lavery invests in his play of forgiveness, redemption, and moving on.

Jasmine Ward as Pecola, Back: Nicolette Lynch as Claudia in THE BLUEST EYE at Arden Theatre Company through April 1, 2018. www.ardentheatre.org. Photo by Mark Garvin.

THE BLUEST EYE (Arden): Bringing Toni Morrison to the stage

In adapting THE BLUEST EYE, Lydia R. Diamond trusts Toni Morrison.

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CROWNS (McCarter): 60-second review

Regina Taylor’s CROWNS is an entertaining and telling musical about traditions among African-American women

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ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE (Media Theatre): 60-second review

Republished by kind permission from Neals Paper. Vocally, Jenny Lee Stern channels Patsy Cline. The clean, heartfelt sounds register. Physically, I kept seeing Judy Garland and began hoping Stern, a known…

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LYDIE BREEZE PART 2: AIPOTU (EgoPo): Seeking utopia

EgoPo’s presentation of John Guare’s Lydie Breeze continues with a look at a New England utopia.

Caroline Strang, Brittany Anikka Liu in THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK. Photo by Tori Harvey

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (People’s Light): An intense retelling of a familiar story

David Bradley’s production of this classic is a sterling example of a strong scripts coupled with a great ensemble.

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MARIE ANTOINETTE (Curio): You say you want a revolution?

Danton, Marat, Robespierre, and their ilk have mostly been forgotten, while the guillotined Marie retains fame.

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AN EVENING WITH GROUCHO (Bucks County Playhouse): 60-second review

Frank Ferrante can turn into his boyhood and current idol, Groucho Marx, on a dime.

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NEXT TO NORMAL (Media Theatre): Powerful and poignant

Krissy Fraelich’s riveting central performance blends with the perfection of Geoffrey Goldberg’s direction to make this production not only powerful and poignant.

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MORNING’S AT SEVEN (People’s Light): A sorority of acting talent

A delightful comedy that shows an evening and morning in the lives of four sisters

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TOMFOOLERY (Act II): Rediscovering the satire of Tom Lehrer

Tom Lehrer is the smartest, most devilish, most perceptive, and most funny of the editorial songwriters

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SIDE SHOW (Media Theatre): Coming together on a small stage

SIDE SHOW is a tricky piece, but there was much to savor at Media Theatre’s production

Kittson O'Neil in OR.

Neal Zoren’s BEST OF PHILADELPHIA THEATER, 2016

Neal Zoren chose his favorite productions, directors, and actors from the last year.

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SLEEPING BEAUTY (People’s Light): Festive wake-up

The Grimmish fairy tale kingdom is transformed to Paoli Shoals, a town depressed by the collapse of a once-thriving recording industry

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DISGRACED (McCarter): No disgrace here

A divinely thorough production of an honest, far reaching play.