Thursday, January 23, 2020

A Woman of No Importance

Ian Merrill Peakes & Karen Peakes

Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance will be playing on the mainstage of the Walnut Street Theatre at 825 Walnut Street, through March 1, 2020. The set is magnificent with revolving rooms. It is a delightful revival of Wilde’s moralistic play in the Victorian age when women had few of the advantages of men. The times were rife with a double standard; men did as they wanted; women did as they were told…but the women are kept bedecked in long gowns,jewelry,and petty gossip. Wilde pokes fun of this society and laugh lines are sprinkled throughout the dialogue.The women seem to have everything they need until Mrs. Arbuthnot (Alice Roper) enters looking for her son Gerald (Brandon O’Rourke). Clearly she is not “one of them” but she is admitted to the salon and given a seat. Her son appears, to tell her he has been offered a significant job as secretary to an important man. When Mrs. Arbuthnot discovers who her son’s patron will be, she is horrified and asks her son to leave the room for a moment. In the argument that ensues between Mrs. Arbutnoth and the patron Mr. Kelvil (Ian Merrill Peakes), it is disclosed that Mr Kelvil is actually the boy’s father who had refused to marry the mother 20 years ago, causing her a lifetime of heartache and shame. She does not want Gerald to have anything to do with the man who had rejected both of them 20 years ago. Nor does she want him to know her reasons for objecting to his taking the position as secretary. Added to this lovely cast of characters is Miss  Hester Worley, (Audrey Ward) a wealthy American who disagrees with most of the Brit’s way of life. Gerald is in love with the American and wants to have this new job so he will be in a position to propose marriage. Wilde adds a sumptuous twist at the end of the play. Enjoy! For more information or tickets, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787 or visit www.walnutstreettheatre.org or Ticketmaster

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Riverdance 25th Anniversary

Riverdance Troupe
The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus presents Riverdance: 25th Anniversary at the Merriam Theatre through January 26th as part of its Broadway Philadelphia 2019-2020 Season. The dancing is phenomenal, of course. The principal dancers have been dancing since they were between 2 and 5 years old and have won a myriad of competitions to get to where they are today. Riverdance 25 is a bigger production than Riverdance 20. Each new musical number is introduced by a magnificent projected setting. The settings are life-like and unique, making it difficult to believe they are projections on a curtain. Dancers interact with spots on the projections. There is a humorous interaction in Act Two entitled Trading Taps.  The Riverdance Male Principal and 2 male troupe members have “a challenge” by the American Tappers. Each side does a routine and the other side has to try to do one better. In the end, they end up dancing together. It is a great insight into how two different styles of dancing can merge. Music abounds throughout. When the dancers are not on the stage, the Riverdance Band is playing or singers are singing. The music is haunting. When Haley Richardson plays the fiddle the whole stage is transformed. When she gets into a musical duel with Emma Frampton on the Saxophone, you’ll wish they’d never stop playing but then it’s time for those incredible dancers. A Russian Folk Dance Troupe joins the Riverdance troupe for some numbers. All dancers dance a variety of routines with impeccable precision. The vocal and instrumental acts are extraordinary. This is an exceptional show. For more information or tickets visit www.kimmelcenter.org

Friday, January 17, 2020

The Vertical Hour

Joe Guzman & Genevieve Perrier
The Lantern Theater Company, located at 10th and Ludlow Streets, is presenting the Philadelphia premiere of British playwright David Hare’s The Vertical Hour through February 16, 2020. Genevieve Perrier brilliantly portrays Nadia, the retired American foreign-war correspondent-turned college professor engaged to a British ex-pat. Marc Levasseur  portrays Philip Lucas, her fiancé. Even though she is a successful college professor at Yale, Nadia has never quite gotten over the war in Iraq and the inequities there. Philip suggests a short vacation to meet his parents and Nadia is charmed by Lucas, Philip’s hippie father, portrayed by Joe Guzman. The two have several heart-to-heart talks about war, love, and life. Philip is unsettled by their closeness. Rounding out the ensemble cast are newcomers to the Lantern, Ned Pryce and Sydney Banks, both of whom portray Nadia’s students  at Yale. The sets are beautifully arranged and the set changes are intriguing. This is a very thought-provoking play on many levels. For more information or tickets, call 215-829-0395 or visit online www.lanterntheater.org

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Ensemble Cast

The Kimmel Center, as part of its 2019-2020 Broadway Philadelphia series, is presenting The Band’s Visit at the Academy of Music through January 19, 2020. This one-act is a surprising vision of stark sets, delightful projections and phenomenal music.
 A Superscript begins with:
 No one has ever heard this story
 It is not very important.
 An Egyptian orchestral ensemble appears on the doorsteps of an Israeli cafe which is located in the middle of nowhere. Laughter ensues as the language barrier between the owner and the bandleader explains the confusion. The band has chosen the wrong destination for their expected concert the following evening. Dina, the café owner, declares that speaking in English would help everyone. Perhaps out of boredom, perhaps because she is inherently kind, Dina, (Janet Dacal) offers to feed the band in the café and later to put them up for the night. Yet we see another side of Dina as she sits in a night spot with the band leader (Sasson Gabbay). Dina sees her lover out with his wife in “their” place and becomes jealous so she calls out to him. A short angry exchange in Hebrew ensues between Dina and her boyfriend Sammy (Marc Ginsburg) as his wife walks offstage. It is brief and doesn’t matter whether or not the audience can understand the words. She then turns all of her attention back to the bandleader Tewfiq. The Band’s Visit begins with a minimalistic set with a partial circular revolving stage. This leads to the ease of multiple set changes by adding chairs, lamps and tables. The bare walls are a surprising set-up for future projections which play an integral part of this beautiful production. As scenes progress, they become progressively more complex. Bare walls turn and rooms have a small amount of furniture. Egyptian band members  interact with Israelis, finding common ground. Music is the universal language that connects them. Walls turn again and Dina is magnificently shadowed on a back wall as she slowly moves across the stage, singing “Omar Sharif". Underlying everything is the music. There is always the band’s music, either accompanying the singers or playing in groups of two or three in the corner of the stage or solo as part of the script. It is delightfully both Middle Eastern and contemporary. The music sets a basis for commonality in the two distinct cultures. There is a comedic note running throughout the story. A Telephone Guy (Mike Cefalo) waits by a phone booth for a girl to return his call. As various characters pass him, some will ask “Has she called yet?” to which he always replies, “Soon.” He tries to fend off others from using the phone booth in case he should miss his call. What a joyful moment when the phone rings! After the band has departed the following day, Dina closes the café with a parting, “This is not a very important story.” It is, however, a very important story. It is a story of people from one culture helping to solve problems in another; it is the story of people forgetting their differences and joining together over their similarities.  To see the wonderful acting of this ensemble cast, the marvelous blend of melodies in their singing, and the breathtaking music of the band, visit www.kimmelcenter.org for tickets or more information. It is not music that you will sing on your way out of the theatre but it is music that you will revel in while you are there.

Friday, December 27, 2019

February Events on Kimmel Cultural Campus



The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus in association with AEG presents the cast of the award-winning podcast, The Sceptics’ Guide to the Universe, to the Perelman Theater on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. joined by host and musician George Hrab. Hosted by Dr. Steven Novella, the cast explains the tenants of critical thinking, debunks some of the biggest scientific myths, fallacies and conspiracy theories Since beginning in 2005, the show has been one of the most popular science podcasts on itunes.


The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus presents the Philadelphia presents the Philadelphia premiere of the humorous, fantastical plat, Grey Rock, at the SEI Innovation Studio from Thursday, February 6, 2020 through February 9, 2020. The play will be performed in English by a cast of actors from across Palestine. Set in the present day, Grey Rock muses on the American 1969 moon landing and sets out to build a space rocket so that Palestine could have a presence on the moon. The play is about man’s absolute right to dream. This is a designated BYO performance. Acceptable forms of BYO are a 6-pack and/or 750 ml bottles of wine per two guests.

Thursday, December 26, 2019



THE TONY AWARD-WINNING BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL
WILL RUN AT THE ACADEMY OF MUSIC
ON THE KIMMEL CENTER CULTURAL CAMPUS
FEBRUARY 19 – MARCH 1
 HELLO, DOLLY!
   

Hello, Dolly!, the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival starring Carolee Carmello, will run in Philadelphia February 19 – March 1, 2020 at the Academy of Music on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus, as part of the 2019-20 Broadway season.  It is being brought to Philadelphia with the help of a very successful revival team. Hello Dolly! has broken box office records on Broadway and the touring company is paying tribute to the original work of   legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion – It has stagings hailed as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history. Led by four time Tony award-winning Director Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, the entire creative team of the Broadway production is reprising their roles for this national tour. This is a catch -your-breath production that you absolutely cannot miss! Tickets are on sale now and start at $20.00. Tickets can be purchased by calling (215) 893-1999, visiting www.kimmelcenter.org, or at the Kimmel Center Box Office. Group sales are available for groups of 10 or more and can be purchased by calling (215) 790-5883. More information at www.kimmelcenter.org

Friday, December 13, 2019

This Is the Week That Is

Ensemble Cast in Top 40 sketch

1812 Productions, Philadelphia’s all comedy theatre located at 1714 Delancey Place in Center City, is presenting its annual political comedy This Is the Week That Is through January 4, 2020. As Dave Jadico begins his curtain speech, interspersed with numerous puns, one by one additional cast members come on stage, are introduced, and complain about the excessive use of puns. Two hold up signs petitioning an impeachment from the curtain speech. All cast members agree, followed by an impeachment trial which is left up to the audience. Due to popular demand, 1812 Productions has been including This IS The Week That Is in their season schedule for the past 14 years. This year the delicious satire in the first act is fresh and innovative. Relying heavily on the theme of elections, the ensemble cast outdid themselves in quick costume change, gender reversal and role play. “Steve Harvey” introduces contestants for The New Pyramid. When “Bernie Sanders”, “Joe Biden”, “Elizabeth Warren” and “Cory Booker” take the stage, the audience erupts in laughter. No less humorous are some of the categories on the board, such as Nicknames, Big Words and Porn Stars. When the categories are revealed, big Ooooohs are emitted from the audience. In a perfect world, one would expect these categories to be easy but of course, neither candidate scores a point. By now the audience expects a similar result from Warren and Booker and they are not disappointed. There are several hysterical numbers in the America Top 40 Countdown. One of the funniest is a cast member ensconced in a huge globe that is browner than green decrying climate change, singing “You Let Me Down.”  Perhaps the piece de resistance was a   Hamilton riff with all the Democratic Presidential candidates who had not been previously seen on stage. For those who like tradition, Patsy still sits on her stoop; there is still news from the News Desk and an Interview from the Lobby. But please don’t hesitate getting tickets to this performance thinking you have seen one just like it last year, because you haven’t.  This is 2020.0 – brighter, fresher, and more edgy. For more information or tickets, call 215-592-9560 or visit online at www.1812productions.org.