Friday, March 24, 2017

Coriolanus

Tina Packer &Mary Lee Bednarek
The Lantern Theater Company, located at 10th and Ludlow Streets, next to St. Stephens Church, is presenting William Shakespeare’s Coriolanus through April 16th, 2017. One of Shakespeare’s lesser-known works, this production of Coriolanus is so well done that it should be required viewing for all theater-goers, Shakespeare fans and non-devotées alike. Scenic designer Meghan Jones and lighting designer Drew Billiau have designed an intricate set that surrounds the audience.  Actors, always on the move, are backlit as they move from one arena to the next.  Robert Lyons, an accomplished Shakespearean actor, is outstanding as Coriolanus, the superb warrior and patrician who has little empathy for the common man that elects him to counsel. Tina Packer is brilliant as his mother Volumnia. The depth of anguish she portrays seems to emanate from her toes and ebb throughout her body. In addition to the war scenes, there are several hand-to-hand battles. Fight director J. Alex Cordaro has choreographed the most outstanding combat sequences ever to hit the stage. Shakespeare was thinking of class unrest in England when he wrote this piece about class distinctions in the newly formed Republic near Ancient Rome. Keeping in mind the similarity of the polarization of the poor and rich in our society today, this production has war scenes taking place with contemporary weapons. The Lantern continues to uphold its tradition of producing incomparable Shakespearean productions. For more information or tickets, call 215-829-0495, visit online at www.lanterntheater.org, or visit the box office at 10th and Ludlow Streets, Philadelphia. Pa.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Importance of Being Earnest

Daniel Fredrick,Jake Blouch,
Alanna J. Smith & Lauren Sowa
Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is appearing on Walnut Street’s mainstage through April 30. Calling the settings of the first-act Victorian London flat and second-act Manor House garden magnificent may sound like a hyperbole, but when the curtain arose at the beginning of each act, the audience applauded wildly in appreciation. The audience is fully invested throughout the production. Oscar Wilde’s best known piece, this is a farce of epic proportions and the humor is not lost on the audience. Philadelphia favorites Mary Martello, Jake Blouch, and Ellie Mooney join the rest of the very talented ensemble cast to tell Oscar Wilde’s very funny tale of identity crisis and the powers of true love, albeit with a twist thrown in for good measure. Alanna J. Smith is excellent as the simpering Cecily Cardew, "Uncle Jack's" ward. Daniel Fredrick is every-so-silly as he pretends to be Earnest, "Uncle Jack's" brother while trying to woo Cecily. The Importance of Being Earnest may be a 19th Century piece of outrageousness, but it “holds up” today. Audiences appreciate the latest iteration as much as audiences did when the production was introduced in London in 1895. Don’t be left out.  For tickets or more information, call 215-574-3550, 800-892-2787, visit online at www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Broadway Philadelphia 2017-18 Season

THE KIMMEL CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

AND THE SHUBERT ORGANIZATION PRESENT

BROADWAY PHILADELPHIA

2017-2018 BROADWAY PHILADELPHIA SEASON SHOWCASES

12 BLOCKBUSTER PRODUCTIONS WITH A COMBINED
31 TONY AWARD®WINS

 HAMILTON
ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2018-2019 SEASON

The upcoming season features productions with a combined 31 Tony Awards® and 18 Drama Desk Awards.  In addition, seven brand-new national touring shows will be making their Philadelphia premieres. Subscribers will not only receive priority access to the best seats for the 2017-18 season, but they will also be the first to access tickets when Hamilton arrives in Philadelphia during the following season when they renew their subscription for the 2018-19 season. Season ticket packages for the 2017-18 season are now on sale. The seven productions making their Philadelphia premieres include: Finding Neverland, Waitress, Something Rotten, School of Rock, On your Feet and Disney’s Aladdin. Returning favorites include Kinky Boots, The Color Purple, The Phantom of the Opera, STOMP, Les Miserables, and The Sound of Music.  In order to gain priority access to tickets for Hamilton’s Philadelphia run during Broadway Philadelphia’s 2018-19 Season, patrons must subscribe for the 2017-18 season and renew their tickets for the 2018-19 season. Tickets are available online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway17-18 or by calling 215-893-1955.  Group sales are available for groups of 10 or more and can be purchased by calling (215)790-5883 or 866-276-2947, visiting online at kimmelcenter.com/groupsales or telecharge.com/groups. Single tickets for individual productions will go on sale at a later date.

Lashed but Not Leashed

Martha Graham Cracker
The SEI Innovation Studio in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is presenting its 5th World Premiere through March 18, 2017. Dito Van Reigersberg created LASHED BUT NOT LEASHED for his alter-ego, Martha Graham Cracker with collaboration from songwriters and performers Vince Fererici, Eliza Hardy Jones and David Sweeny. Once everyone  is comfortably seated in the intimate setting of the Innovation Studio, Martha Graham Cracker glides up to the stage in a modest skirt and vest, claiming that she has had it with show business and is on her way to study in the library. Shortly after her announcement to this effect, she receives a “special delivery” from the library - flat shoes  to demark her new life.  Members of the audience groan as she takes off her spiked heels, pleading with her not to change her shoes, but after the shoes change, so do her movements, both on stage and off. Once in flat shoes, this “tallest drag queen in the world” can really move. She even bounces off the stage to make moves on some of the men in the audience. She is joined on the stage by back-up singers Eliza Hardy Jones and David Sweeny, very talented in their own right, and a talented three piece band. Martha Graham Cracker is a consummate entertainer and the audience loves her. In a coquettish manner she admits that she has written all the songs herself. Many are filled with innuendo and the audience roars. The songs are entertaining and varied, from slow ballads to catchy, jovial tunes. Many audience members groove right along to the upbeat rhythms. The performance is more than a plethora of original music. It is filled with quotes (attributed to their source) and quips (attributed to herself…”I wrote that!”) and a myriad of laughter from the audience.The performances are BYOB (limited to a bottle of wine or six-pack per two people) so grab yours and contact www.kimmelcenter.org to see if there are any tickets available for the remaining performances.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Evil Dead The Musical

Roxanne Daneman
Dominion Stage, Theatre on the Run in Arlington, VA is presenting Evil Dead: The Musical through March 25. It is  obvious  that the young ten-member ensemble cast has fun performing this high camp production which  is deliberately outrageous for humorous effect…and it works! Five friends plan to spend a weekend in the woods when the youngest of them gets attacked by trees in the forest. No sooner does she escape and head back to the cabin then she becomes a zombie, and an evil one at that. Colleen Robinson portrays Cheryl, the first demon, and proves to be a very good comedic actor. Nick Stone portrays Ash, the only member of the cast who is not turned into a demon but he is not Mr. goody-two-shoes.  He repeatedly tries to kills the demons with a gun or hacksaw as they become infected by each other, but to no avail. ( You can’t kill someone who is already dead). “Blood” frequently squirts into the audience.  To be fair, audience members are warned about the “splash zone” and asked to wear ponchos. Nick is on the stage for almost the entire production and presents himself very well. Roxanne Daneman portrays Linda, his love interest.  She has, far-and-away the strongest voice on the stage.  Whether singing a duet with Ash or in a group, the quality of her voice is wonderful to hear. She also makes a hysterical zombie head when her body is running around and her head is left on the table next to the chainsaw to make outragous faces.  There are some dance routines in the production as well, and Bonita Adams, who portrays Shelly, shines as an accomplished dancer. This show is not to be taken too seriously, but it is very funny and a joy to watch.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Art of Protest

      
                                                 &

                        The Kimmel Center

    ANNOUNCE NEW "ART OF THE PROTEST" SERIES


The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and Mural Arts Philadelphia will co-produce “The Art of the Protest" which will include a panel discussion and free sign-making workshops, exploring how artists and members of the public express themselves in times of political change. The Art of the Protest panel discussion will take place on March 21 and will feature artists and advocates who have been active participants in the current political climate. Artists Olek, Michelle Angela Ortiz and Liza Goodell will share their thoughts and experiences on how art plays a role in protest. The panel will be moderated by Drexel Professor Julie Hawkins and the event will be co-hosted by Conrad Benner of Streets Department and Young Involved Philadelphia. Seating is limited and tickets are required ($15). The panel discussion will take place between 6:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m. in Hamilton Garden in the Kimmel Center (300 S. Broad St) The Art of Protest sign-making workshops will be held in the SEI Innovation Studio and are FREE. On Friday, March 24, 2017, Signs of Solidarity artists Sheldon Abba and Bruno Guerreiro will lead the workshop from 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.  On Saturday. April 8, 2017 Signs of Solidarity artist Martha Rich will lead the workshop from 2:00 p.m.– 4:00 p.m. and on Monday, May 1, 2017, Signs of Solidarity artist Alloyius McIlwaine will conduct the workshop from 6:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m.  Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. Popular mural tours  offer a first-hand glimpse into the inspiring stories behind Mural Arts’ unparalleled  collection, which has earned Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the “City of Murals”. For more information, call 215-685-0750 or visit muralarts.org. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

TORUK- The First Flight

Tipani Clan of Pandora
TORUK- The First Flight, inspired by James Cameron’s movie AVATAR, is presented at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia through March 12, with an additional performance added on Friday, March 10 at 3:30 pm. With 20 scenes of spectacular imagery, this Cirque du Soleil presentation is unlike any of the 36 productions that have preceded it. Although most Cirque du Soleil creations have a theme, this phenomenal performance not only has a theme but an actual story-line as well.  The narrator tells the story throughout the piece and members of the tribe “speak” to each other in a language one can only interpret if not fully understand. In addition, the audience has an opportunity to participate by downloading an app and following directions during specific portions of the show. In order to save their “Tree of Souls” two young members of the Omatikaya clan must collect amulets from each of the five clans of Pandora as well as capture TORUK, the flying monster. Thus goes the storyline of TORUK- The First Flight. This production is so much more than the storyline. The athleticism of the troupe members is astounding. Each of the Na’vi acrobats do similar feats in their respective clans, but with unique apparatus, ranging from ropes, sticks, ribbons, a skeletal fulcrum and scarves on wires. Projections are unbelievably realistic as waterfalls appear to the flood the stage not once but twice and “wipe out” climbers and acrobats on the rocks. The audience gasps as three Na’vi paddle out in a canoe and travel in a circular path around the stage only to climb out and settle on some rocks.  Fire later seems to demolish everything in its path. At times, the audience is immersed in a star-lit sky as twinkling lights surround them 360 degrees. Colors are incredibly brilliant, almost iridescent, against a darkened set. This phenomenal production has one special effect after another; lava flows, an earthquake shakes and swarming wood sprites sprinkle the night sky. It is a feast for the eyes and a balm for the soul as the young Na’vi who fails his first rite of passage saves the entire world of Pandora. Please don’t waste another minute. For more information or tickets for this spectacular show, visit http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/toruk.