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.

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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…

Photo courtesy of Bucks County Playhouse

IN THE MOOD (Bucks County Playhouse): 60-Second Review

IN THE MOOD is more than a music revue—it’s a concert, a musical, a history lesson, a show of patriotism, and a celebration of one of the most important times in American history. The 1940’s was a time of significant change. In music, the whole nation was listening to the same big bands. Swing music, romantic ballads, and dancing shaped an entire cultural movement and most importantly became a prevailing icon of hope as we faced the reality of World War II. Proudly, the show takes a segment to recognize and honor the veterans in attendance. In its 20th year of touring, IN THE MOOD is an international success.

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.

Photo courtesy of National Water Dance

The National Water Dance

A typical concert dance performance does not usually conjure up thoughts of social justice and governmental reform. At first glance, dance and politics might not seem to go together. That is not to say that the art form is entirely apolitical – different genres of art can certainly serve as a persuasive medium for declaring political statements. From a historical perspective, analysis of the arts can be used to study social change and political reform, and dance is no exception to this.

Krista Apple-Hodge as Queen Elizabeth I. (Photo credit: Plate3Photography)

MARY STUART (PAC): The Prison of Power

Philadelphia Artist Collective’s tightly-corseted production of Frederich Schiller’s Mary Stuart, starring the earth-shattering Charlotte Northeast and the finely-tuned Krista Apple Hodge will leave you white-knuckle-gripping the edge of your seat. Sitting in a severe theater-in-the-round circle, the audience itself forms four oppressive walls seemingly trapping the actors on the Broad Street Ministry’s cherry wood floor. If Schiller were alive today, he would raise a thumb in approval of director Dan Hodge’s minimalist approach.

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If You’re In…. Long Island: BINGO! THE WINNING MUSICAL

The famous five-letter-word and its off-beat aficionados Bingo is a game that has its own fascinating culture with quirky characters for devotees (the stereotype being elderly women who smoke), but…

Photo by Mark Garvin

DEAR ELIZABETH (People’s Light & Theatre Company): Kindred Spirits in Poetry and Depression

Is a play told solely through the extant letters of its real-life characters really a play? Sarah Ruhl’s DEAR ELIZABETH, which traces the friendship between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell through their thirty years of correspondence (1947-77), seems more of a pedantic academic exercise in hero worship by a playwright who began her writing career as a poet and an admirer of Bishop’s oeuvre.

THREE CHEKHOV SISTERS: From left, Sarah Sanford (as Olga), Mary Tuomanen (as Irina) 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)

THREE SISTERS (Arden Theatre): Does the gimmick stick?

THREE SISTERS is the story not only of its title characters—the sisters Olga (Sarah Sanford), Masha (Katharine Powell) and Irina (Mary Tuomanen)—but also of the various characters who shuffle in and out of their country home over the course of a few years. It’s a soap opera on wheels as nearly everyone falls in love, gets caught up in adultery and waxes philosophical, all while sinking deeper and deeper into the exact sorts of lives they never wanted to lead.

Photo by John Donges

John Donges Photographs THREE DAYS OF RAIN (Quince): A Double Assignment

In shooting Richard Greenberg’s THREE DAYS OF RAIN, my first photographic challenge was to capture the unique structure of the play: the first act is set in 1995 and involves a brother/sister and their old friend – the son of their father’s architecture partner and oldest friend. In Act II, the three actors play the parents of their Act I characters. So it was a dual challenge to photograph basically two casts instead of one, and to try and paint a visual portrait of what is both similar and different between each character and his/her parent, and to portray the look of two very different decades.

PaperClips215's top picks for First Friday

First Friday April • Top Picks from PaperClips

Here are PaperClips’ Top Picks for what not to miss this First Friday, April 4th! There is a lot happening on Friday and beyond, so make sure to check out their Events Calendar for a complete listing of events throughout the month. If you are out exploring the arts in Philadelphia, use #clips215 to share, tweet, and gram along with the PaperClips team!

Mark Nadler in I'm a Stranger Here Myself (photo courtesy of The Prince Music Theater)

I’M A STRANGER HERE MYSELF (Prince): Intimacy, Song, and Rage in Weimar Germany

I’M A STRANGER HERE MYSELF, created and performed by Mark Nadler and directed by David Schweizer, is both a lament and a celebration of Weimar Germany and the bohemian lifestyle celebrated by the young during this time. Incredibly impoverished, pincered by a swiftly inflating currency, stabbed by the growth of hate and, underneath that hate, a creeping fascism; yet this impossible position also gave rise to an incredibly fertile undergrowth and the arts mecca which Berlin became.

Arlen Hancock in Ellie Brown's DEAR DIARY, BYE. Photo: Ellie Brown.

DEAR DIARY, BYE (Ellie Brown): Schoolyard scraps and crushes galore

And maybe that’s what makes Ellie Brown’s DEAR DIARY, BYE such a fascinating show. The play, directed by Seth Reichgott, presents her 1984 diary. Brown wasn’t so different from any other ten year old – she liked boys, she got sick of her parents, she was teased, and she liked more boys. There’s a pleasure in this kind of uncensored presentation, a la Nature Theater of Oklahoma.

photo by Jessica Giacobbe

ALL THIS HAPPENED, MORE OF LESS (Subcircle): Scenes from a dance marriage

Multimedia theater designer Jorge Cousineau is moving abstract objects under the rustic dance studio in the Maas Building in Northern Liberties. Niki Cousineau is rehearsing with her Subcircle dancers for new piece  All…

Philadelphia theater calendar

Philadelphia Theater Calendar: April 2014

January | February | March | April | May | June July | August | September | October | November | December Arsenic and Old Lace. By Joseph Kesselring. March 11–April 27, 2014. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street. walnutstreettheatre.org. Don Juan Comes Back from…

Directors Gallery Salon 1: Designing the Future

Directing the Future: An Interview with DG Founder Jill Harrison

Since moving to Philadelphia in 2009 (from New York, where she began her career), and joining the Philadelphia theater community as a freelance director, producer, and educator in the fall…