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Philadelphia Theater Calendar: June 2014

January | February | March | April | May | June July | August | September | October | November | December Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. Based on the book by Dr. Seuss. April 16–June 22, 2014. Arden Theatre Company, 40…

Putting the value on the art of performing art

The support for performing arts organizations and artists, of all sizes, pales in comparison to the type of funding that art museums obtain. It is time to start placing more value on the “art” part of performing arts.

THE SCREWTAPE LETTTERS (Lantern): 60-second review

The Lantern Theater Company’s remount of THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS by C.S. Lewis is a sizzling show from hell. Kathryn Osenlund’s 60-second review

Solstice. Image courtesy of Douglas Williams.

SOLOW FLASH INTERVIEWS 2014, EPISODE TWO: DOUGLAS WILLIAMS, GAVIN WHITT, and HANK CURRY

Needless to say, with over forty individual shows slated to pop up across Philly from June 19-29, it can be hard to decide where you’re going to spend your pocket money.

To give you a clearer picture of what’s in store, freelance writer/performer Julius Ferraro conducts a series of flash interviews of our artists!

In episode two, we get Chaplin in Queen Village, time travel in South Philly, and brain spasms in Kensington.

Image courtesy of Corey Bechelli

SOLOW FLASH INTERVIEWS 2014, EPISODE ONE: COREY BECHELLI, DAVID LAWSON, and ELLIE BROWN

While excitement mounts for SoLow Fest’s wooden anniversary, our artists are all at different stages of production. Some are re-memorizing old scripts, some are putting on the finishing touches on new compositions, and others are still hard at work in the studio.

Needless to say, with over forty individual shows slated to pop up across Philly from June 19-29, it can be hard to decide where you’re going to spend your pocket money.

To give you a clearer picture of what’s in store, freelance writer/performer Julius Ferraro conducts a series of flash interviews of our artists!

CHAPTER TWO (Bucks County Playhouse): 60-second review

Directed by Marsha Mason, the actress in the original film adaptation, Neil Simon’s CHAPTER TWO is a romantic comedy/drama in the spirit of the Hotel Suite.

Steve Pacek and Adam Altmanin THE 39 STEPS. Photo by Matthew J. Photography

THE 39 STEPS (Theatre Horizon): Thriller? I hardly know her!

Plot-wise, 39 STEPS stays quite true to the original film (often down to the dialogue), with a few other Hitchcock references thrown in for good measure. The difference? This play is the height of camp.

Photo credit Kate Raines.

COMMUNITAS (Almanac): The Contortionist and the Dancer

The action in COMMUNITAS could be best described as four people taking turns carrying one another around a space, then falling off, then swapping who carries whom. In a way, it is structured around a continual exploration of ways to make two or more people into one. Balance is challenged not by standing on a tight rope, but by joining two bodies at a single point and leaning precipitously apart; disassemble and repeat as necessary.

The Company. Photo by Mark Garvin.

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING (Walnut Street Theatre): 60-Second review

J. Pierrepoint Finch (Jeremy Morse) is a determined window washer with a handbook “How to Succeed in Business” and a dream to navigate the corporate maze. Step one: apply for the job at a major corporation.

Incubator artist Asaki Kuruma

NOTES from the INCUBATOR (Simpatico): Entry Three: World of BI(?!)LINGUAL

When you hear the word “bilingual” what do you picture in your mind? International, business-y personnel? Or one of those lucky kids who happened to have parents who speak different languages? Or growing up in a different country? Well, I’m don’t fit in any of those scenarios, except being international, sure, but that’s about it. None of my family speaks English. I learned it in school because I had to, and was awful at it. I hated the subject throughout the years of forced education. But then life turns in a strange way, and somehow I ended up in this city with an unpronounceable name for almost a decade now. My every day life is in English. I ask myself over and over again: “What am I doing here?”

Photo © Jacques-Jean Tiziou / www.jjtiziou.net.

Interview with Charlotte Ford: The untenable career of a successful Philadelphia theater artist

Philadelphia’s theater scene is better than ever—haven’t you heard? But so few of its practitioners can eke out a living wage from it. This interview Charlotte Ford takes a serious look at how poor the health of the theater industry is in this city.

(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 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 (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