Pope fever continues with ALTAR CALL

Philadelphia is still recovering from the grip of Pope fever, a peculiar sickness which rendered the city a friendly oasis of quietly walkable and bikeable military occupation. Random Acts of Theater and the Liberty Education Forum are riding this wave of focus on faith and family with the Philadelphia premiere of Melissa McBain’s ALTAR CALL, opening October 9 at the Broad Street Ministry.

Gil Johnson (left) and Peter Andrew Danzig. Photo by Andy Joos.

Gil Johnson (left) and Peter Andrew Danzig.
Photo by Andy Joos.

McBain is a former Radnor Township teacher and Eastern University graduate, who recently returned to Philadelphia after a career teaching college in Illinois. Her play, which has already had two successful runs in Illinois, depicts a minister’s daughter trapped between the demands of her fundamentalist father and the needs of her gay son.

“I know a little bit about this,” says McBain. “I’m the daughter of a Baptist minister and the mother of a gay son.”

Critics in Illinois were effusive, calling ALTAR CALL a “must see” and a “volatile mix of sexuality and religion.” No less a viewer than Edward Albee simply stated, “I think you should see this play.”

The Philadelphia cast includes Russ Walsh, father of exiled local playwright Bruce Walsh, as well as Julia Wise, Susan Mattson, Gil Johnson, Ben Kendall, and equity performers Peter Andrew Danzig and Andy Joos. It is directed by William A. Robinson, who first supported McBain’s work over thirty years ago.

[Broad Street Ministry, 315 S. Broad Street] October 9-17, 2015; altarcall.brownpapertickets.com

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.