Theater

The best source for independent coverage of Philadelphia theater.

(Left to right) Adam Hoyak, Nicholas Park, Billy Kametz, Michael Linden, and Robert Hager in 11th Hour’s ALTAR BOYZ (Photo credit: John Flak)

ALTAR BOYZ (11th Hour): Raising the Praise!

The fast-paced spoof about a boy band saving the souls of an audience of sinners on the last stop of their “Raise the Praise” tour is filled with witty references to the Bible, the Passion of Christ, and the Catholic liturgy. The Boyz—aptly named Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan, and Abraham–proselytize to prospective believers in real time through their songs, employing post-modern technology, current slang, and choreographed moves that gently skewer such popular acts as the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync.

Anna Zaida Szapiro and Felicia Leicht in TIGERS BE STILL. Photo by Johanna Austin/AustinArt.org.

TIGERS BE STILL (Azuka): 60-second review

Despite the bleak premise, laughter and jokes run throughout Azuka Theatre’s TIGERS BE STILL. This dark comedy looks at the things people do to cope with tragedy, and finds the humor in these strange displays.

Justin Rose is featured in BRAT’s ALWAYS COMING SOON: THE FUTURE (Photo credit: Plate 3 Photography)

ALWAYS COMING SOON: THE FUTURE (BRAT Productions):  Alternative Cabaret with a Timely Message

Vaudeville, bouffon, and circus meet progressive rock in BRAT Productions’ ensemble-devised cabaret performance ALWAYS COMING SOON: THE FUTURE. It’s a compelling combination that entertains, mocks, and provokes through BRAT’s signature high-energy music, intriguing visual design, and dynamic physical theater which begins the moment you enter the venue as aggressive carnival buskers hawk popcorn, drinks, and breaths of fresh air to the incoming audience.

Ahren Potratz and Allen Radway in Simpatico Theatre Project's production of IN A DARK DARK HOUSE by Neil LaBute. Photo credit: by Daniel Kontz.

IN A DARK DARK HOUSE (Simpatico Theatre Project): Oh! Neil LaBute is not just a sadistic prig!

At the opening night performance of LaBute’s IN A DARK DARK HOUSE I had what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity: Suddenly an entire oeuvre littered with cruel antihero bastards made sense.

the-durang-shabang-irc

THE DURANG SHABANG! IRC stages night of seldom-seen Durang shorts

The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium gives local audiences the chance to see Christopher Durang at his comic best in a series of seldom-performed shorts, THE DURANG SHABANG! in two performances (6pm and 8pm) at L’Etage Cabaret, on Sunday, May 18, 2014.

red-eye-to-havre-de-grace-2014

RED-EYE TO HAVRE DE GRACE (Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental): New York Theatre Workshop sees a reshaped Philly Fringe hit

I have taken the train up from Philadelphia to the New York Theatre Workshop to see how RED-EYE to HAVRE de GRACE has fared since I last saw it. I had discovered it in the Philadelphia Live Arts workshop production in 2005. Between that iteration and the world premiere at Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 2012, an evolutionary process took place.

Peter Gaffney

THE FUTURE has arrived: Interview with Peter Gaffney, musical creator of BRAT’s latest production

In ALWAYS COMING SOON: THE FUTURE, BRAT Productions takes another look at what the future holds, and the auguries are not pretty: Derelict clowns, aggressive barkers, and obscene control culture. But THE FUTURE is funny and fun: It’s another of the entertaining rock cabarets which the company has launched in recent years,

David M. Lutken stars as Woody Guthrie in WOODY SEZ at People’s Light & Theatre Company (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

WOODY SEZ (People’s Light & Theatre Company): A Down-Home Musical Revue on the Life of Woody Guthrie

A touring revue on American singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie (1912-67), WOODY SEZ—on the road for seven years and now on stage at People’s Light & Theatre Company in Malvern—is an eminently likeable concert biography for fans of the respected folk musician and activist for the disenfranchised. Featuring 27 of Guthrie’s most famous songs (including his populist American anthem “This Land Is Your Land”) interspersed with snippets of his life story and folk wisdom, the show traces the highlights and low points of his times, [. . .]

Andrew McMath stars in Bristol Riverside Theatre's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Photo credit: BRT staff) 

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Bristol Riverside Theatre): Don’t Feed the Plants!

The outlandish parody of the horror and sci-fi genres, now in production at Bristol Riverside Theatre, still elicits laughs and gasps from appreciative audiences and delights with a score of period-style rock, Motown, and doo-wop numbers. BRT’s show, directed with spot-on timing by Susan D. Atkinson, embraces all the retro-camp in the story of Seymour Krelborn

nell-bang-jensen-jennifer-summerfield

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (Hedgerow): I hated Jane Austen, but I love this

I took a seat on one of the long, cushioned benches at the unusual Hedgerow Theatre, a grist mill from the 1800s, for the opening night of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. Satisfied that at least I was introduced to such a beautiful place, I wondered what Jane Austen was going to smother me with this time.

Brooke Fitzgerald, Katherine Perry and Cindy Spitko in Ed Swidey's mEEp.

The Return of the mEEps (White Pines)

Ed Swidey’s mEEps return for a one-night only show at White Pines place in Elkins Park, May 9, 2014.

Julius in rehearsal for MICROMANIA

Micromaniac: Interview with Julius Ferraro about his new work, Philadelphia theater, and how well-paid critics are

Julius Ferraro talks about his new show, MICROMANIA, and how writing about theater has changed the way he looks at it.

The Daughters of King Lear - James Archer

Why present an all-female production of KING LEAR? Revolution Shakespeare’s director lays down a persuasive case ahead of their reading

On Monday, May 12, 2014 (the day after Mother’s Day), upstart local Shakespeare company Revolution Shakespeare will present a staged reading of the Bard’s classic KING LEAR. The reading’s director, Samantha Bellomo tells Phindie what excites her about the decision to give the reading an all-female cast.

gint-egopo-sean-lally

GINT (EgoPo): Ibsen as American folklorist

Romulus Linney’s GINT, now in an engaging staging by EgoPo Productions, does an admirable job of translating this modernist classic for contemporary audiences. Linney reworks the story so it seems to have been lifted straight from the annals of American folklore.

Frank Ermilio and Jessica Orsini star in Thespionage's inaugural production.

UPPER MIDDLE CLASS WHITE (Thespionage): A DIY romcom

Thespionage Theater Company trumpets itself as a ‘pay what you can’ theater company; every ticket is priced by the audience member, and every dollar made is put into the budget for the next show. It’s an interesting new approach to small-theater funding in an age where the little guys are increasingly struggling against larger marketing machines, dwindling grant money, and thinly spread audiences of theatergoers.

Aetna Gallagher and Brian McCann in Curio Theatre Company's OEDIPUSSY.

OEDIPUSSY (Curio): Shenanigans, tomfoolery and ballyhoo reign

OEDIPUSSY isn’t something to analyze, it’s just something to enjoy— an antidote to life’s heavy stuff. Appealingly physical and comically overwrought, it’s tons of fun. The most amazing thing about this lunatic version is that the epic tragic story actually emerges through all the clowning, sight gags and laughter.

Amanda Grove, Jessica Gruver, and Amanda Schoonover star in Luna Theater Company’s BRAINPEOPLE (Photo credit: Gregory Scott Campbell)

BRAINPEOPLE (Luna): A Haunting Invitation to Dinner

Concluding its 2013-14 themed season “Once upon a Time,” Luna Theater Company’s 80-minute Philadelphia premiere of BRAINPEOPLE, told in real time, is mysterious, disturbing, and challenging; but then director Gregory Scott Campbell was never one to avoid a challenge

The ensemble (Dave Jadico, Alex Bechtel, Aimé Donna Kelly, Scott Greer, and Jennifer Childs) plays “The Spinners” in 1812 Productions’ THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS (1812 Productions): Now a Musical and Better than Ever!

Lampooning everything from Hillary Clinton ‘not’ running for President in 2016 to NJ Governor Chris Christie ‘not’ closing the George Washington Bridge, 1812 Productions’ THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS delivers non-stop laughs in a fast-paced ensemble-devised review of today’s important issues.

Mary Tuomanen video preview

Video Preview: Hitchcock’s THE 39 STEPS at Theatre Horizon

Dunk the master of mystery in a vat of absurdity and you have Alfred Hitchcock’s THE 39 STEPS, a zany adaptation of the 1935 movie. Norristown’s Theatre Horizon is staging…

makoto-hirano-charles-mcmahon-julius-caesar-japan

The fault, dear Brutus, Act III: Makoto Hirano interviews Lantern AD Charles McMahon about “Super Racist” Julius Caesar

Makoto Hirano asks Lantern artistic director Charles McMahon some tough questions about the “Super Racist” Julius Caesar. And a clearly contrite McMahon does his best to explain the process that lead to the company’s misguided choices.