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.
Lately I’ve been thinking about that “worthwhile strategy” in regards to making a living as a theatre artist. Too many of my colleagues can’t afford to get sick, and certainly can’t afford to start a family. An interview with Charlotte Ford (revealing she’s stepping away from theater to go back to school for speech pathology) seems to have sparked a vigorous public debate about how difficult it is to make a living as an artist, and what can be done about it.
The Who’s 1969 concept album TOMMY kicks ass. It’s a real rockists rock album, from the golden age of British rock. The 1975 movie and 1993 Broadway adaptation capture the dramatic…
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.
Arrogantly profiling American history: An interview with Colin Quinn, starring at the Philadelphia Theatre Company
Let me say it up front: Unconstitutional, running through July 6th at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, is a tour de force stronger than the Tour de France.
The famous Quinn, familiar to Saturday Night Live fans, presents his observations on the quirks of life in the U.S. at such a neck-breaking pace that I thought I was participating as a bidder at an auction, where the auctioneer speaks at world record speed so that I, as one of his “bidders,” was unsure at times if I was buying or not. So as not to miss his many powerful insights, wrapped in highly addictive humor, I was forced to listen carefully. And listen I did.
“There aren’t enough cocktails to help me understand why I continue to be an actor! This shit is for the birds!”
Thus begins the Facebook entry by Joey, a dancer-actor-singer who played many roles along the U.S. east coast, but recently did not get hired for a new musical.
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…
Freezing one’s laughter mid-stream: THE MOST SPECTACULARLY LAMENTABLE TRIAL OF MIZ MARTHA WASHINGTON by James Ijames
“You will be broken and put back together again,” as one theatregoer commented on Facebook.
Given the explosive nature of this extraordinary play, I thought it important to talk to the playwright directly.
Philly Performing Artists Discuss their Untenable Careers: Video from the Philadelphia Artists Summit
Josh McIlvain’s interview with Charlotte Ford “The untenable career of a successful Philadelphia theater artist” sparked some soul-searching among Philadelphia performers. They met on June 23rd to discuss.
In this final episode, we talk about people talkin’ ‘bout bodies in West Philly and a double-bill: dark skies and stalkers in South Philly.
“It’s really hard to do acting and make a living unless you’re really good—and a Caucasian man.”
In episode ten, we’ve got nothingness Goethe in a secret secret place, grief clowning in West Philly, and autobiographical anatomy in Rittenhouse.
In the SoLow Fest this year, some 30+ artists are creating cheap cheap theater in formal and informal spaces around the city. Challenging the idea that budget = quality, artistic…
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.