Matt Sharp

2. PAC, FAIR MAID, Rachel Camp as Bess Adam Altman as Spencer CREDIT Ashley LaBonde Wide Eyed Studios

THE FAIR MAID OF THE WEST, PART I (PAC): A pirate adventure “worth gold!”

Thomas Heywood’s ridiculous rip-roaring romantic romp across the high seas of the English Renaissance is the latest in the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective’s acclaimed productions of rarely seen classics.

2. EgoPo, Stairs, LBerman, CO'Brien

STAIRS TO THE ROOF (EgoPo and Rowan): An absurdist take on a fledgling work by Tennessee Williams

This is Tennessee Williams as you’ve never seen him, filled with youthful ardor, idealism, and scorn, and well suited for showcasing a young ensemble of emerging talents.

Ballet Fleming, AFTER THE SUMMER SUN poster

AFTER THE SUMMER SUN (BalletFleming): Fringe Review 72

Award-winning choreographer and artistic director Christopher Fleming has created a beautiful program of new works to open BalletFleming’s 2014-15 season.

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.

Andrew Carroll, Ama Bollinger, Jerry Puma, and Tina Brock (Photo: Johanna Austin)

ONDINE (Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium): Nature versus Human Nature

When Hans, a handsome but not-so-smart knight-errant of Wittenstein, meets the unbridled naiad Ondine at a fisherman’s cottage in the woods, they fall recklessly in love and marry—a union that…

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.

new-city-stage-rfk

RFK (New City Stage): An American tragedy

Director Ginger Dayle and sound and video designer Ren Manley intersperse audio and visuals from the 1960s in New City Stage Company’s RFK, complementing Widdall’s powerful performance with a great soundtrack and contextualizing video clips. Following pre-show newsreels from JFK’s assassination, the play begins in 1964—eight months after the fateful day in Dallas.

phindie1

Best of Philadelphia Theater, 2011-12

Here are my annual picks for the best of Philadelphia theater: Best Play: August: Osage County (Arden) Honorable mention: The Island (Lantern) Best Actor, Male: Frank X, The Island (Lantern) Honorable…