Thursday, October 12, 2017

Buyer & Cellar

Dito van Reigersberg
An evening of non-stop laughter can be found in… (Who knew?)... the mall in Barbra Streisand’s basement. 1812 Productions, located at Plays and & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, is presenting  Jonathan Tolin’s Buyer & Cellar through October 29. Dito van Reigersberg stars in this one-man one-act comedy and he is superb. He chats to the audience, has conversations with his boyfriend, with Barbra’s housekeeper, and with Barbra herself among others. His sense of comic timing is exceptional. If a laugh is not immediately forthcoming, he will wait for it with a tilt of the head or the slightest raise of an eyebrow and the audience roars. If you are not a season ticket holder, you might want to check out this very funny play and extremely talented performer. Discover why Barbra hired this unemployed actor and how he becomes the premiere seller in the cellar. For more information or tickets, call 215-592-9560 or visit

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Charissa Hogeland

The F. Otto Haas Stage of the Arden Theatre, located at 40 N. 2nd Street, Olde City, had been magnificently transformed into a two-level Cabaret through October 22, 2017. Blink and you are transported to the lavish  gay night life of decadent 1929 –30 Berlin. The Kit Kat Club  comes to life before the show even starts as actors interact with audience members. The very talented and flamboyant emcee John Jarboe  makes dramatic entrances and perches on the laps of smiling audience members. His articulation in the fast-paced “Money"  defies description. The choreography throughout the show is excellent.  The timing is superb  with the dancers' many minute steps and movements working like clockwork. It is even more impressive to note that in some of the numbers not all of the dancers are women dressed in the stockings and heels. The staging has a wow factor of ten!  Cabaret tables are set up on the floor near the stage with phones on each. The emcee comes up and down the aisles and sometimes starts to sing  from the back of the theatre. Charissa  Hogeland,  with her commanding voice as Sally Bowles, sings on the main floor of the Kit Kat club or on the balcony.  She not only can sing a seductive melody, but can also belt out cries of anguish. Mary Elizabeth Scallen’s performance as Fräulein exceptional. Her renditions of  “So What?” and “What Would You Do?” are rendered with as much emotion through her eyes as through her voice. Kenny Morris as Herr Shulz is her perfect foil. The show ends with great drama and emotion…  a fitting ending to a phenomenal work of art. For more information or tickets,  call 215-922-1122 or visit online at

November Events at the Kimmel

Following a hugely successful two-and-a-half year revival on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera begins its North American tour with a remarkable new production. It will return to Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music for a 12-day engagement beginning Wednesday, November 1 through Sunday, November 12. With newly reinvented staging this new version of Phantom is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this one of the largest productions on tour in North America. The Phantom of the Opera tells the tale of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House and terrorizes all who come in contact with him.  He falls in love with a young soprano and devotes himself to turning her into a star.

Progressive rock icons King Crimson have announced a two-night visit to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Merriam Theater on November 2 and 3, 2017. King Crimson was officially formed in 1969 in London and came to prominence after supporting the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park. The current 8-piece line-up, the ninth iteration of King Crimson,  has been touring since 2014, honoring the band’s strong reputation with three albums and sold-out shows across the globe.

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, in association with Live Nation, welcomes back Nick Offerman to the Kimmel Center’s Merriam Theater on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. for his new solo comedy show Full Bush. Nick excels in many areas. He is the star of hit    television series and films, author of New York Times best sellers and a passionate woodworker. He got his start in the Chicago theater community where he was the founding member of the Defiant Theatre. In his spare time, he can be found at his workshop in Los Angeles building hand-crafted items ranging from fine furniture to canoes to ukuleles.

Alton Brown takes recommendations for top Philadelphia eating spots during his “Eat Your Science” tour at the Kimmel Center, November 5, 2017. Television personality, author and Food Network star Alton Brown launched his #ABRoad Eats initiative to discover culinary treasures and connect them with millions of followers while Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science tours the country, stopping at the Kimmel Center on Sunday November 5, 2017. Fans in Philadelphia can submit recommendations for local coffee houses, breakfast spots, lunch joints and late night spots on his website, Facebook, and Twitter using #ABRoadEatsPhilly. Everyone is encouraged to take to social media to recommend their favorite eatery. Brown will tabulate votes each day and make picks from the submissions. “I do not eat a bite of food that does not come from the hashtag,” he says. After his visit, Alton posts photos or videos and write-ups on his social media platforms. Brown created a new form of entertainment – the live culinary variety show with his “Edible Inevitable Tour. “which played in over 100 cities. The Eat Your Science Tour has  sold    more than 200,000 tickets in over 80 cities.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will appear at the Academy of Music on Wednesday November 15, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. as he embarks on a multi-city tour to promote his new book, Promise Me Dad: A Year of Hope. All Price Level One VIP tickets will include a meet and greet and photo opportunity. Joseph Biden served as the 47th Vice President of the United States alongside President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. Beginning his career as an attorney and becoming a member of the senate in 1972 he became the sixth youngest senator in U.S. history. He is now a professor at the Penn Biden Center for diplomacy, foreign policy and national security as the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice professor at the University of Pennsylvania. His new memoir, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, available November 14th, focuses on Biden’s life, including his time in office and the recent loss of his son, Beau Biden.

Critically acclaimed electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling is releasing her first ever holiday album entitled Warmer in the Winter. Lindsey will tour in support of her album and will appear at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Academy of Music stage on Thursday, November 16, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. Lindsey Stirling is one of the biggest artist breakthrough stories in recent years.  An acclaimed violinist from Gilbert, Arizona, she has entered a futuristic world of electronic big beats and animation. She has almost 10 million YouTube subscribers, over 1.9 billion views on her YouTube channel, 2 Billboard Music Awards and sold out tours world-wide. She’s created a world where modern classical meets the infectious energy of dance and electronica.  On stage, Stirling moves with the grace of a ballerina then works the crowd into a  frenzy.

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and Sirius Radio Presents  welcome The Brian Seltzer Orchestra’s  14th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour to the Academy of Music, Friday November 17, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. The orchestra will perform seasonal hits from their Christmas-themed albums including Boogie-Woogie Christmas, Dig that Crazy Christmas, and Rockin’ Rudolph. Brian Seltzer’s 19 piece orchestra has sold over 13 million records since 1994. Seltzer received the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement award for his celebrated career and iconic line of Gretsch guitars. A replica of one of them was donated to the Smithsonian institute’s collection.

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in association with Live Nation is presenting Mike Birbiglia at the Merriam Theater on Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.  Mike Birbiglia is a comedian and storyteller who has performed in front of audiences worldwide, from the Sydney Opera House to Carnegie Hall. His most recent shows, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and Thank God for Jokes were both filmed for Netflix.  His book, Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories was a New York Times best seller and a finalist for the Thurber Prize For American Humor. Birbiglia has also appeared in films and on several TV series. 

The new show Brain Candy Live! starring Adam Savage, editor–in-chief of and Michael Stevens, creator of the award-winning YouTube channel “Vsauce” will appear at the Academy of Music on Sunday, November 19, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. They will unleash their collective  sense of fun, wonder and curiosity with the audience and deliver an explosive batch of magical Brain Candy to every mind in the audience. They are inviting everyone to join in and get their minds messy.

American rock band Dream Theater will appear at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Merriam Theater on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. as part of their “Images, Words, & Beyond 25 Anniversary Tour.” Music from the album will be played in its entirety as well as a few of Dream Theater’s latest tunes and some of their rare material.

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts  presents Finding Neverland  at the Academy of Music on Tuesday November 21 through Sunday, November 26, 2017.  The story follows the relationship between playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up  It is packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs, and plenty of laughs. It is a timeless story about the power of imagination and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up. It is produced by Weinstein Live Entertainment and NETworks Presentations.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is touring 8 cities this fall to discuss her new memoir, What Happened. She will be in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Academy of Music on November 30, 2017.  Secretary Clinton will bring a highly personal perspective on what happened during the election and what’s next. What you will see is her story of resilience, how to get back up after a loss and how we can all look ahead. Hillary discusses her experiences as a woman in politics and other topics in a way that she has never done before.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Bristol Riverside Theatre, located at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, Pa, is presenting the  multiple Tony Award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee  through October 15. With 6 quirky tweens vying for the top prize of $200, a trophy, bragging rights and self-esteem,  4 other audience members are added as last minute additions. It’s not always easy to discern how much they have been coached.  The show has a few basic themes which it reiterates throughout: “The best spellers don’t necessarily win.” along with “Winning isn’t everything and losing doesn’t make you a loser.” To prove the point, a 'comfort officer' is on stage to walk the losing contestants off stage and offer them a box of juice as he consoles them on their loss. The very talented ensemble cast sings their way through 18 numbers in a 95 minute performance, with several of them demonstrating strong solo voices. All have quite a litany of theatre  works to their credit and hopefully we can look forward to seeing each cast member in many more shows in our region. For more information or tickets, call 215 785-0100 or visit online at 

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

Mary Martello & Scott Greer
Walnut Street Theatre, located at 825 Walnut Street, is presenting the Tony Award winning musical A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum through October  22nd.  A Funny Thing…  premiered 55 years ago and some of its jokes are a little dated; however, there is still an abundant amount of material  to appeal to anyone in the audience. As the opening number so aptly states, “something for everyone, a comedy tonight.” Those who enjoy physical comedy will not be disappointed and it’s almost impossible to keep track of the number of times there are instances of mistaken identity. Those who enjoy seeing beautiful women will delight in the parade of courtesans as they try to win a potential client’s favor.(Surprise. They are not just pretty faces.  They can all sing as well!) The set is simple which allows the audience to concentrate on the characters and their whimsy. The ensemble cast reads like a who’s who of Philadelphia actors. Each and every one plays his  part to the hilt but it is Scott Greer who steals the show as Hysterium, slave to Senex (Ron Wisniski) and Domina (Mary Martello). Greer is a one-man comedy show and his expressions are priceless. For more information or tickets, call (215) 574-3550 or visit or ticketmaster.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Red Velvet

Ensemble cast of  Red Velvet 
The Philadelphia Premiere of Lolita Chakrabarti’s  Red Velvet will be presented by the Lantern Theater Company, 10th and Ludlow Streets, through October 8, 2017. It is based on a true story of 19th century actor Ira Aldridge, who made history playing the first African American actor  to portray Othello in 1833 London. Riots on the streets protesting the Slavery Abolition Act mirrored the critic’s reviews of Ira Aldridge’s performance. The show closed after two nights. Although he went on to become a very successful actor throughout Europe and Russia, Ira Aldridge never again acted on the London stage  Red Velvet begins with a young Polish reporter asking an aging Aldridge why he never returned to Covent Gardens. The play is so skillfully written and the production so skillfully staged that the audience almost forgets that they are watching a flashback. Scene changes are  done  in an instant with a flick of a curtain. The sound and lighting effects are first-rate. Although the subject matter is serious, there are many humorous moments. The ensemble cast is outstanding and Forrest McClendon lets us feel every ounce of Ira Aldridge’s rage upon learning that the show is closing after two performances. Lantern Theater Company is well known for producing good theater. This production is not only good; it is exceptional. For more information or tickets, call (215) 829-0395 or visit               

Sunday, September 3, 2017



Philadelphia is one of 8 cities that have been announced in Hillary Clinton’s fall tour of North America. The tour is produced by Innovation Arts and Entertainment . Hillary Clinton will appear at The Academy of Music on Thursday, November 30, 2017 to discuss her new memoir, What Happened. Hillary Clinton takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president in an election marked by rage, sexism, stranger than fiction twists, Russian interference and an opponent who broke all the rules. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age and appearance and the double standard confronting women in politics. She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on our democracy by a foreign adversary and why Americans need to understand these forces to protect our future. Visit to register and receive an invitation along with a password to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public on September 18.