Director Patrick Mulcahy takes a modernist approach to the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production of MACBETH, with a 20th-century minimalist aesthetic that compels the audience to focus on the emotions and actions of the characters and the power of the playwright’s language. It’s stark and intense, and also, at times, oddly anachronistic and comical, performed in attire that suggests a peculiar mash-up of wartime Berlin and dance club chic, military and punk.
A post-modern fusion of Pop art with opera, ANDY: A POPERA, a work-in-progress by the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, explores the enormous fame and legacy of Andy Warhol, with elements of both tragic opera and opera buffa. The synthesis reflects in part the ambiance of Warhol’s Factory in the Sixties.
With WE ARE BANDITS, director Rebecca Wright and Applied Mechanics are working against a brutal opponent: American cynicism.
They’ve turned the third-floor space of Asian Arts Initiative into what looks like a sprawling, minimalist installation piece. Tables, chairs, and little else delineate various spaces throughout the basketball-court-sized venue, including a city square, the apartments of various characters, a rooftop, and a church.
Zeus has decreed that Muses from Mount Olympus are not allowed to fall in love with mortals – that includes the Muse Clio and a boy from Venice Beach. Therein lies a story of forbidden love, gumption, and sly swipes at certain Hollywood movies — especially XANADU (Universal Pictures, 1980).
People’s Light & Theatre Company pairs Itamar Moses’s uber-witty historical farce BACH AT LEIPZIG with the zaniness of director Pete Pryor in a hilarious, intelligent production.
HERRINGBONE (Flashpoint Theatre Company): A remarkably strange solo musical, about a boy … with a problem
This mighty peculiar story opens with a grown up George looking back at 1929 and singing, “Did ya ever have one of those years?” His parents have one foot in the poorhouse, as their only prosperous relative has just stinted them in his will. When eight-year-old George has the chance to take performance lessons from the surviving member of an old vaudeville act, he shows inexplicable ability beyond his years. Parental hopes for financial resurrection ride on little George singing and dancing his way to Hollywood.
Greek mythology meets roller-disco in XANADU, a spirited send-up of American pop culture circa 1980, based on the preposterous movie of the same name starring Olivia Newton-John. Mazeppa’s exuberant production of the award-winning musical-comedy (book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar) delivers an uproarious parody of both disco culture and the cult-classic film.
While “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” something is wonderful in the state of Delaware! With its unsurpassed examination of the human condition, profound emotions, and exquisitely beautiful language, HAMLET is considered by many (myself among them) to be the world’s greatest play by the world’s greatest playwright.
Myra Bazell, a much-loved teacher of dance, and Jane Gotch first met fifteen years ago when Gotch had to scratch together enough change to take Bazell’s popular modern class. The good-vibe feeling between these two choreographers was evident as Bazell explained to the audience of about thirty on a (thankfully) not-too-hot June evening that the Iron Factory was a positive venue for this reunion.
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival): Fickle Love and an Irresistible Canine
Contrasting the giddy inconstancy of youthful passion with the unconditional love for and the stolid fidelity of a pet dog, THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA—one of the Bard’s earliest works—is a delightful rom-com/bromance (descended from the medieval genre of male friendship literature) that offers the perfect entertainment for a summer audience. And the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production, as directed by the ever-masterful Matt Pfeiffer, strikes the perfect balance between the comedy’s irrepressible fun and playfulness and its more serious message about regret, repentance, forgiveness, and camaraderie.
One of the most successful plays in Broadway history makes its way to the iconic Bucks County Playhouse. DEATHTRAP is a mystery/thriller (brimming with bleak humor) by Ira Levin (“Rosemary’s Baby). DEATHTRAP is the story of a once-famous playwright Sidney Bruhl (Saxon Palmer) with an enormous case of writer’s block living with his beautiful wife Myra (Angela Pierce) in Connecticut.
Cathartic, camp, and euphorically uplifting, WILD WITH HAPPY—Philadelphia native Colman Domingo’s madcap adventure with death and grief, love, loss, and sexuality—keeps you laughing while tugging at your heartstrings and ardently reaffirming the joy of life. That’s quite an accomplishment, and Center Stage’s Baltimore premiere is quite a production.
While THE TOUGHEST BOY IN PHILADELPHIA has something important to say, the material is arranged so carelessly that I’ll be damned if I can tell you what it is.
Corinna Burns’ INTERNET STALKER and Chris Davis’ BORTLE 8 is the perfect pairing of “two shows one roof” (not under, but on) in this year’s SoLow Fest. Each writer/performer is…
There’s a wonderful movement these days in the Philadelphia theater world to give voice to our younger generation. Dwindling arts funding, as well as the Fringe’s ineffectiveness as a vehicle…
To the left of the pyramid was a little shanty you could enter and perform a primal scream. A glass window on either side faced in on a small chamber with an apple and, if you hit the right decibel with your scream, the apple would explode. The mechanism for blowing up the apple failed pretty quickly (it worked a few times before the forces of chaos seeped into the mechanism), but that didn’t stop the crowd going in and screaming periodically while the Eye played master of ceremonies from his pyramid throne.
Jason (David Bardeen) and Brendan (Jered McLenigan) ease the paucity of Ritu’s (Rebecca Khalil) existence by sending monthly checks through an aid organization. The last thing in the world they’d ever expect would be for their charity case to show up in their living room.
Brainspunk Theater keeps the conversation on race going with a pair of one-acts by Kansas City writer Michelle T. Johnson, WICCANS IN THE HOOD and TRADING RACES: FROM RODNEY KING TO PAULA DEEN.
In SEX, DRUGS, ROCK & ROLL, Eric Bogasian’s revolving cast of characters—an aging rock star, a homeless bottle man, an 80s yuppie, and a handful of others—have little in common except their masculine hedonism.