Russ Widdall

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ROSEBURG (New City Stage): A difficult thing to talk about

Two stories are retold in parallel structure—the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the 2015 Umpqua Community College shooting.

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FULL OF GRACE, part 2: Oppressed Catholic voices on stage

More thoughts on the good, bad, and ugly presented in Scott Barrow and Robert Choiniere’s play about LGBT Catholics.

The Loman family in EgoPo Classic Theater’s DEATH OF A SALESMAN: Ed Swidey (Willy), Mary Lee Bednarek (Linda), Sean Lally (Biff), and Kevin Chick (Happy). Photo by David Cimetta

DEATH OF A SALESMAN (EgoPo): A Jewish take on the classic of American theater

DEATH OF A SALESMAN is often seen as a cultural comment on the American Dream, in EgoPo’s production it is a moving look at a man, his son, and their personal tragedies.

HINCKLEY (New City Stage): Life, Death, Celebrity

“Anything’s possible in a world where media rules all.” In 1981, John W. Hinckley Jr. fired into president Ronald Reagan’s entourage, hitting four men, including the president. Reagan’s press secretary…

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.

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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.

Russ Widdall as RFK.

Revisiting New City Stage Company’s RFK

Since my original review of New City Stage Company’s stellar production of RFK in October 2012 (reprinted below), the show was featured in Washington, DC’s Capital Fringe in July 2013,…

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A Hollywood Wasteland: New City’s HURLYBURLY

“When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning or in rain? When the hurlyburly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won.” —William Shakespeare, MACBETH ARTIE: Eddie, can I ask…

Russ Widdall as RFK.

RFK (New City Stage): Remembering the Turmoil and Ideals of the Sixties

With all the mud-slinging in the current American presidential campaign and negativity about the state of our nation, it is an appropriate time, before the November election, to reflect on…

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A Taste of the Fringe in Early Summer: New City Stage Presents Two Sam Shepard Shorts

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival receives hundreds of applications from American drama troupes every year. Philadelphia’s New City Stage Company is in talks to become one of those selected to travel…

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WHY TORTURE IS WRONG AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM (New City): Side-Splitting Satire on a Timely Topic

Written by Durang (a Bucks County native) in 2009, in the aftermath of Abu Ghraib and in the midst of America’s unending involvement in the Middle East, WHY TORTURE IS WRONG, AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM will have you howling, as well as questioning the sanity of our elected officials, national security advisers, and the growing reactionary fringe of our voting populace (if you don’t already).