Philadelphia theater calendar

Philadelphia Theater Calendar: January 2014

January 2014 Philadelphia Theater Calendar

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AMERICAN FAIRY TALES (Walking Fish): Riotous fairy tales at Walking Fish

AMERICAN FAIRY TALES is a kids’ show, adapted by co-artistic director Stan Heleva from L. Frank Baum’s short stories with a generous amount of modernization and localization. This is fast and messy theater making, thriving on audience involvement. The story doesn’t matter as much as the laughs, and the more we shouted along, and the more sassy little Benjamin in the front row jeered and challenged the actors, the more engaged they, and we, became.

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THE TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS (Act II): My true love came to me?

Overbearing relatives, forced merriness, the same damn songs playing over and over and then over again—Christmas can be a real pain in the toches. Depicting the next year of her life, Lakis plays (almost) all the characters in this 90 minute show, without a single break.

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Breaking Bad, sketch comedy style

I never saw Breaking Bad, but lots of people love it. Then again, lots of people love crystal meth, and I thought it was awful. A much better bet for your cold December evening is BREAKING BAD SANTA by Philadelphia’s funniest sketch comedy troupe,

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NERDS (PTC): As Steve Jobs said, “All you really have in life is time”

In The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life With Steve Jobs, Chrisann Brennan—Steve Jobs’s first girlfriend—wrote “Steve often said that he had a strong sense of having had…

The Nutcracker. PA Ballet.

Dance ornaments sparkle in Pennsylvania Ballet’s NUTCRACKER (2013)

Pennsylvania Ballet is only one of just a few companies licensed to do Balanchine’s 1954 classic ballet.

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A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES (Lantern): 60-second review

Dylan Thomas’s poem A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES runs the risk of becoming sticky-sweet with nostalgia, and it is director Sebastienne Mundheim’s idiosyncratic vision, and the spot-on instincts of her actors, which…

Dana Kreitz as Olivia and Merci Lyons-Cox as Oliver in Curio Theatre Company's GENDER COMEDY. Photo by Claire Horvath.

GENDER COMEDY: A LESS STUPID TWELFTH NIGHT GAY FANTASIA (Curio): A loving parody brings infectious glee

Harry Slack has cut the gaping holes in Shakespeare’s logic into microscope slides, and the result is a hilarious and self-aware send-up of the rarely-discussed flaws in the work of our most beloved playwright.

1812 Productions THE BIG TIME review

THE BIG TIME: NEW VAUDEVILLE FOR THE HOLIDAYS (1812): Juggling seasonal laughs

Vaudeville has returned in all its glory with 1812’s THE BIG TIME: NEW VAUDEVILLE FOR THE HOLIDAYS. Pratfalls, double entendres, and caricatures of people past and present light up the…

Charlie DelMarcelle, Geneviève Perrier, Amy Smith, and Doug Hara in the Lantern’s A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES (Lantern): Idyllic visions of a holiday past

Lantern Theater Company’s world premiere adaptation of A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES by Charles McMahon and Sebastienne Mundheim, the inventive “interdisciplinary performance-maker” who designed the production and also directs, captures all the warmth, nostalgia, and childlike wonder of the original, employing live actors, puppets, miniature houses, plastic-bag clouds, and exhilarating snow flurries to transform Thomas’s descriptive language and idealized memories into an enchanting theatrical vision.

Twelfth Night Pig Iron

TWELFTH NIGHT, or WHAT YOU WILL (Pig Iron/FringeArts): The 1602 equivalent of a holiday special

TWELFTH NIGHT being the 1602 equivalent of a holiday special, there’s no shortage of booze-riddled merriment in Pig Iron’s revival from the 2011 Fringe Festival.

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Considering A CHRISTMAS CAROL

You might call me a scrooge. The Philadelphia theater scene goes on hiatus in July and August, as most companies take a season break. And for me, December is like…

Photo credit: Cindy Jensen Graphic Design

FROST/NIXON (New City Stage Company): A gripping game of psycho-political chess

New City Stage Company’s Philadelphia premiere of FROST/NIXON is anything but the dry historical debate you might expect. Under Aaron Cromie’s brilliant direction, playwright Peter Morgan’s story of the series of TV interviews conducted by faltering British talk-show host David Frost in 1977 with disgraced US President Richard Nixon is a painfully tense and surprisingly humorous cat-and-mouse game.

Photo by Johanna Austin

TWELFTH NIGHT (Pig Iron): Upends Expectations, Rights Shakespeare’s Play

David Patrick Stearns writes yet another petulant review, this time of Pig Iron’s TWELFTH NIGHT. If he whines enough that he isn’t entertained at theater and doesn’t get it, will…

Photo credit: Julius Edward Maurer III.

OWNERS (InVersion): A farce in a dark world

OWNERS, a dark comedy by British playwright Caryl Churchill, is an examination of the sexual politics of power and property. It’s a fun, dark world, where everything and everyone is just an acquisition waiting to happen; apartments are traded for babies, which are traded for sex, which is used as leverage for more negotiations and scheming.

Chelsea Packard in MEET ME IN SAINT LOUIS.

MEET ME IN SAINT LOUIS: A LIVE RADIO PLAY (Bucks County Playhouse): 60-second review

MEET ME IN SAINT LOUIS: A LIVE RADIO PLAY is based on The Kensington Stories by Sally Benson and the MGM motion picture Meet Me in Saint Louis; the musical book written by Hugh Wheeler was expertly adapted to the unique radio play style by Joe Landry. Simply, this show is fun.

Kim Carson stars in People’s Light & Theatre Company’s CINDERELLA (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

CINDERELLA (People’s Light): The Return of an Award-Winning Panto

In celebration of its tenth anniversary season of wintertime pantos People’s Light & Theatre Company in Malvern is presenting a remount of CINDERELLA, its most acclaimed panto to date.

Brian Sanders' JUNK in a pre-production photo of a scene from SNOWBALL (Photo credit: Ted Lieverman)

SNOWBALL (Brian Sanders’ JUNK): A Wondrous Urban Fairytale for Kids of All Ages

The latest installment of SNOWBALL, the annual wintertime extravaganza by Brian Sanders’ JUNK, is a must-see world-premiere holiday delight for the whole family. Combining a post-modern urban narrative with a charming “Winter Wonderland Furrytail,” the engaging two-act show will keep you smiling, gasping, oohing and aahing at its heartwarming moral, Sanders’ stunning choreography, and his acclaimed dance troupe’s extraordinary finesse.

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NO RESERVATIONS (PNAA): 60-second review

As the holiday season begins, so does the decorating process.  We all have those neighbors who take the time to remind us about the true story of Christmas, by displaying entire…

Koresh Asya Zlatina and Jessica Daley. photo by Frank Bicking

THROUGH THE SKIN (Koresh): Flesh and the dance devil

The body beautiful is an aspect of dance that can be easily exploited. Two shows, from opposite ends of the dance spectrum, featuring scantily clad dancers, challenge audiences not to objectify – Koresh Dance’s Through the Skin and Flashdance, the Musical. In contrast to the sexy poster art for both show, they both un-voyeuristically sing the body electric.