Theater

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Ben Grinberg rehearsing COMMUNITAS at Penn Treaty Park. Photo credit Justin Rose

Communitas Organizer: Interview with Ben Grinberg about his dance circus theater

Together with collaborator Nick Gillette, Ben Grinberg founded Almanac Dance Circus Theatre to offer production of his unique brand of acrobatic theater. Almanac’s inaugural show, Communitas, launches this May 22-24 at Christ Church Neighborhood House. Phindie asked Ben a few questions about the show and his new company.

Ann Crumb, dressed like an exotic bird, ready to take off in her final scene in Sunset Boulevard at the Media Theatre. Photo by Mark Jordan.

SUNSET BOULEVARD (Media Theatre): Ann Crumb as Norma Desmond, the delusional diva

Few singers can do what Ann Crumb can do, namely to transform herself in such versatile ways that people follow her wherever she goes, whether she performs on Broadway or in Media. Crumb, a depowered female King Lear, dominated every scene of SUNSET BOULEVARD in her own dream castle.

Patch Theatre Company’s ME AND MY SHADOW, in collaboration with PAPAYA (Photo credit: Courtesy of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts)

INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL (Annenberg Center): A Fun-Filled 30th-Birthday Celebration!

The oldest of its kind in our country, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts’ INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL celebrates its 30th birthday in 2014. With a roster of affordable family-friendly presentations of theater, puppetry, and music from around the world, along with a hands-on Fun Zone filled with interactive cultural experiences in the Center’s outdoor plaza (or, in the case of inclement weather, inside in the lobby), this springtime tradition is a great way to introduce kids to the arts, and to reintroduce adults to their magic!

Philadelphia theater calendar

Philadelphia Theater Calendar: May 2014

January | February | March | April | May | June July | August | September | October | November | December The Train Driver. By Athol Fugard. April 10–May 4, 2014. Lantern Theater Company, 923 Ludlow Street.  lanterntheater.org. Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in…

Adrienne Mackey

Checking in with Adrienne Mackey: Musing on the future of theater arts and artists

Adrienne Mackey, 32, is the artistic director of Swim Pony Performing Arts, a performing arts company that prides itself on presenting work that is “loud, strange, and never seen before on earth.”

the renegade company star wars

May the Fourth Be With You: Renegade Star Wars theater event coincides with announcement of Star Wars VII cast

In the vein of last years William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by local publisher Quirk Books, The Renegade Company is holding a one-off Star Wars themed event to raise money for its upcoming productions. Costumes! Shakespeare! Lightsabers! Faux-Southern theater-rockers Jawbone Junctions!

Help us Renegade, your our only hope.

From left:  Mary Tuomanen (as Irina) Sarah Sanford (as Olga),and Katharine Powell (as Masha) as the ‘Three Sisters’ in the Arden Theatre Company production of Anton Chekhov’s play. (Photo courtesy of Mark Garvin)

Conversations on Chekhov: What gimmicks? The Arden’s THREE SISTERS has a lasting effect

In September of 1900 Anton Chekhov confessed in a letter to his actress-wife Olga Knipper: “I find it very difficult to write THREE SISTERS, much more difficult than any other of my…

Exile, ANNAPURNA, CSlusar, PBunting, photo PNogueras

ANNAPURNA (Theatre Exile): A powerful Philadelphia premiere of playwright Sharr White

Black comedy, bitterness, and intimacy intertwine in Sharr White’s ANNAPURNA. Theatre Exile’s top-notch Philadelphia premiere of the gritty two-hander captures the dark humor and devastating hurt of their relationship, as they come to terms with broken love, debilitating loneliness and regret, and imminent death.

musicalofmusicals

THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS (Montgomery Theater): A homage and a takeoff in song

Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart raise the stakes with their devilishly clever and cheekily smart send-up of prolific songsmiths Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, John Kander, and Fred Ebb, THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS.

Photo credit: Mark Garvin

DR. SEUSS’S THE CAT IN THE HAT (Arden): A Review in Seussical Verse

I loved to read when I was a kid
And although I’m full grown I still love what I did.
THE CAT IN THE HAT was one of my faves.
Now that book is a play* and I’m giving it raves!

The Arden’s production is silly and wild.
It’s as good for adults as it is for a child.

Lantern Theater Company The Train Driver review

THE TRAIN DRIVER (Lantern): A haunting look across the tracks

There’s something haunting Roelf (Peter DeLaurier) in the Lantern Theater Company’s atmospheric production of Athol Fugard’s THE TRAIN DRIVER. Disturbed by the memory of a young woman and baby “pulverized”…

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tax-day

Is there money in theater? Where does it come from? Who gets it?

Phindie looks at tax returns for local theaters to see how much they brought in from what sources. We also look at who the best paid employee was for each “non-profit”.

Victoria Rose Bonito and Akeem Davis in ROMEO AND JULIET

ROMEO AND JULIET (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre): A Love to Die for

They’ve known each other for what—a couple of hours? Already they’re crazy in love, and they’ll steadfastly love each other against all odds. A love to die for. One of the world’s most celebrated and enduring love stories, ROMEO AND JULIET, is currently on stage at The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre.

Three Days of Rain 5

THREE DAYS OF RAIN (Quince Productions): 60-second review

It’s 1995, siblings Walker (Mark Sherlock) and Nan (Jessica Snow) meet at a run-down Manhattan loft after the death of their star-architect father. Peripatetic Walker has just returned from his latest escapist foreign jaunt and is obsessed by a new find: the journal of his taciturn father. Maybe this will will reveal the inner soul of this silentious man?

(Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE (Walnut): A 60-Second Review

Some of life’s biggest journeys begin with that one small voice in our heads, telling us to take an unexpected leap of faith. As a painfully shy young girl channeling bold songstresses of the past through her deceased father’s record collection, Ellie Mooney delightfully shows audiences how to find the power within, as the star of THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE.

Photo credit: Katie Reing

MIDSUMMER (Inis Nua): A Dream of a Rom-Com

Closing its 2013-14 season of funny and poignant contemporary two-handers with one-word titles (the excellent BLINK and TROUSERS—see Phindie reviews here and here, respectively—were the previous productions), Inis Nua presents…

Image courtesy of GPSBodies

#GPSBODIES (Marcel Williams Foster): Tweet the Rainbow

Marcel Williams Foster turns social media and performance upside down, and spontaneous performance, situational intimacy, and social media are the tools you have to curate your own audience/performer experience.

Using theses and other techniques to activate the audience, theatermaker/scientist Marcel Williams Foster takes us on a self-referential tweeting goose chase. How ‘meta.’

Alex Keiper and William Zielinski in DOWN PAST PASSYUNK. Photo by Kathryn Raines.

DOWN PAST PASSYUNK (InterAct): Theater ‘wit’ a taste of South Philly

I once heard then-governor Ed Rendell give some cheesesteak advice: for the real deal don’t go to one of the big name line-around-the-block places, go to a food truck or your local deli and get one made-to-order. I was thinking about this truism and our prevailing infatuation with authenticity as I watched A. Zell Williams’s world premiere production of DOWN PAST PASSYUNK at InterAct Theatre.

Photo by Shawn May

MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA (Quintessence): America’s Ghosts Return to Haunt

There are plenty of things to thrill over in Quintessence Theatre Group’s stirring, and impressively-performed, MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA. Director Alex Burns and his well-picked ensemble continue to impress.