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.

September & October at the Kimmel

For the first time ever, Philadelphians will have a chance to experience the real estate experts Drew and Jonathon Scott, creators and hosts of the top-rated Property Brothers TV series. .Drew and Jonathon will offer fans an uncensored look into their lives during this one-of-a-kind show featuring audience participation, entrepreneurial do’s and don’ts , behind the scenes bloopers and plenty of laughs. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, in partnership with HGTV Presents, welcomes The Scott Brother’s House Party to the Merriam Theater on Wednesday September 6, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. For years the Scott Brothers have won over the hearts of millions with their sibling rivalry, humor and remarkable ability to transform ordinary houses into extraordinary dream homes.

Great news for PJ Masks Fans! PJ Masks Live! Time To Be A Hero! will be appearing at the Merriam Theatre September 22 & 23, 2017. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in partnership with Entertainment One (eOne) and Round Room Presents are proud to announce PJ Masks Live! Time to Be a Hero! The brand-new, fully immersive musical production, starring the heroic trio from the beloved series PJ Masks, will take the stage at the Merriam Theater from September 22-23 2017, The live show is  based on eOne’s top-rated animated TV series which airs daily on Disney Junior. PJ Masks, the hit series, follows the nighttime adventures of three young friends who transform into their dynamic alter egos, Catboy, Owlette and Gekko when they put on their pajamas at night and activate their animal amulets. Together they embark on action-packed capers, solving mysteries and learning valuable lessons along the way. Shows are on September 22, 2017 at 6:30 PM and September 23, 2017 at 1:00 PM & 5:00 P.M.

The legendary rock band YES, after a 25 year hiatus, is kicking off a global tour with a stop in Philadelphia. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, in association with BRE Presents & LME is proud to announce that the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees will appear on the Verizon Hall stage on October 1, at 7:30 PM. Founded by Jon Anderson in London in 1968, the band has undergone various member formations throughout its history, featuring 19 musicians in all.  In 1983, guitarist Trevor Rabin joined the band bringing forth a more commercial musical orientation, resulting in the highest-selling album to date. Rick Wakeman joined the band in 1997. YES has sold 13.million albums. This past April it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Back by popular demand, Kinky Boots returns to Philadelphia at the Academy of Music on Tuesday, October 3 and runs through Sunday, October 8, 2017. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots has won every major Best Musical Award. Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentleman’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son.  With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.

After more than 60 years in the music business, Herbie Hancock continues to amaze audiences. Fourteen-time Grammy ®Award winner and Academy Award ®winner, Hancock returns to Verizon Hall on Wednesday,October 4, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. to dazzle audiences with his timeless music. He began his career at eleven, shocking audiences as he performed a Mozart piece with the Chicago Symphony orchestra. In high school, he perfected jazz. He then joined the Miles Davis Quintet at age 23. Hancock has recorded over 50 albums . Last year he was awarded  the Lifetime Achievement Grammy® Award for his distinguished career. 

The Kimmel Center, in association with Live Nation, welcomes back comedian, television and movie star Kevin James to the Merriam Theater on Saturday night, October 7, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. for a one night only event that is sure to be full of laughs. Kevin James is currently the star and executive producer of the  sitcom Kevin Can Wait  for Sony Television and CBS. which premiered in September 2016. James began his career as a stand-up comic and then developed his own sitcom, King of Queens, which ran for 9 years on CBS. James was the producer, co-writer and star of several hit comedies, among them Mall Cop 1 & 2, Zookeeper and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. 

Grammy ®Award winning soprano Renée Fleming is making her debut solo recital in Verizon Hall on Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Fleming was a host of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series broadcast in theatres nationwide and PBS’ Live at Lincoln Center. She was also awarded the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2013. A graduate of Julliard, Renée Fleming is celebrated both nationally and internationally. She appeared at the Beijing Olympic Games, at the Brandenburg Gate and at Buckingham Palace. Winner of four Grammy Awards, she is also the recipient of the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal. 

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts welcomes back the famed humorist, writer for The New Yorker and NPR  contributor, David Sedaris for one night only at the Academy of Music on October 16, 2017, at 8:00 p.m.  An Evening With David Sedaris will include the speaker’s satirical observations, in-depth stories, a Q & A session with the audience, as well as a book signing.  In addition to his numerous books, Sedaris has penned pieces for The New Yorker for over two decades.

The Kimmel Center, in partnership with Team Never Quits and Mills Entertainment, presents The Patriot Tour featuring retired  Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, Taya Kyle, retired U.S. Army Capt. Chad Fleming and retired Navy SEAL David Goggins at the Merriam Theater on Friday, October 20, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.. This evening will highlight the incredible stories of perseverance of four remarkable patriots who have had their lives profoundly changed by their service and their sacrifice. Featured speaker Marcus Luttrell is the recipient of the Navy Cross for combat heroism and  founder of the Lone Survivor Foundation Taya Kyle is the author of the The New York Times best-selling book American Wife, Executive Director of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation and the wife of the late U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Chris Kyle. Captain Fleming has been deployed overseas six times with the U.S. Army’s elite 75th Ranger Regiment in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was wounded in combat three times and has undergone 23 surgeries. Chief Petty Officer David Goggins is a former Navy Seal and is the only member of the U.S, armed forces to have completed  SEAL training, U.S. Army Ranger School, and Air Force tactical air controller training. He is now considered to be one of the greatest endurance athletes in the country.

Grammy® and Latin Grammy® Award-winning singer Lisa Downs will appear at the Merriam Theater on Sunday, October 22, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. following the release of her latest album Salón Lágrimas y DeseoDowns’ album bridges a variety of genres as she blends sounds she learned during her upbringing in the American Midwest and Mexico. Her music  mixes jazz, hip-hop, blues and folk with South American and Mexican roots. Her lyrics focus on the human condition and the fights of many for civil liberties. Downs’ cross cultural success and human rights work has made her a voice for people everywhere.

2017 AFROPUNK BATTLE OF THE BANDS WINNER & Kimmel Center Theater Resident Alum Courtnee Roze Presents The Culture in SEI INNOVATION STUDIO October 26-28,2017. She will be performing the music she created in Philadelphia during her Kimmel Center Theater Residency. Roze is a percussionist, lyricist, writer and bandleader based out of New York. She will take audiences on a musical journey through her life, highlighting various influences that have inspired her sound - hitting on issues such as racism and love. The Culture will not only feature a diverse musical soundtrack but will also include non-traditional vocal patterns, dance and tactical staging. These will be designated BYO performances. Acceptable forms  of BYO are a 6-pack of beer or a 750ml bottle of wine per two patrons. No corkscrews or rolling coolers permitted.  Ice, cups and corking services are available at no costs. 

Five-time Grammy Award winner Michael McDonald brings his new album and greatest hits to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, along with special guest Marc Cohn. Wide Open is his first new studio album since 2008 and his first original material in more than 17 years. Presented in association with BRE Presents, Michael McDonald and Marc Cohn will appear on October 27, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. at the Merriam Theater. Michael McDonald’s musical career began  in the 1970’s  when he joined the Doobie Brothers. He was largely responsible for evolving the group’s boogie rock sound into a combination of jazz and soul. After multiple award-winning songs with The Doobie Brothers, McDonald moved on to a solo career. He recently co-founded a record label and is touring along with other artists. Marc Cohn has a distinctive soulful croon. He is best known for his Grammy Award-wining hit “Walking in Memphis.”

Appreciated around the world  for his concerts, famous sound tracks and record career, Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi will have a one night only performance at the Merriam Theater on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. His performance will integrate an array of musical genres as well as songs from his latest album Elements. A native of Turin Italy, Ludovico Einaudi was introduced to the piano at an early age by his mother. He graduated as a composer from the Conservatorio Verdi in Milan. Called “a classical artist for the YouTube age” Einaudi has composed music for some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Tickets for all above mentioned performances are on sale now. They can be purchased by calling 215-893-1993, visiting online at or visiting the Kimmel Center Box Office. Group sales for groups of 10 or more can be purchased by calling 215-790-5883. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Highlights of Kimmel's 2017-18 early season


The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts kicks off  the 2017-18 season with internationally acclaimed superstars of rock, dance and comedy, returning favorites and the best of touring Broadway. Tickets for a select number of 2017-18 performances listed below go on sale July 14 with many performances already on sale.



Presented in associated with Mills Entertainment
Merriam Theater 
September 6, 2017
For their millions of fans around the world, twin brothers Jonathon and Drew Scott are masters of transforming ordinary houses into dream homes on their mega hit HGTV show Property Brothers. Now fans can see them in person.  There will be audience participation as they share their do’s and don’ts and reveal hilarious moments that don’t make it into television. There will be door prizes, behind the scenes bloopers and plenty of laughs.


Academy of Music
October 3-8, 2017
 Kinky Boots is Broadway’s huge-hearted, high-heeled hit. With songs by Grammy® and Tony Award® -winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this joyous musical is a celebration about the friendship you discover and the belief you can change the world when you change your mind.


Verizon Hall
October 4, 2017
Now in the sixth decade of his professional career, Herbie Hancock remains at the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music. In addition to being recognized as a legendary pianist and composer, Herbie Hancock has been an integral part of every popular music movement since the 1960’s. In honor of his work, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime achievement Award in February 2016.


Verizon Hall
October 15, 2017
One of the most beloved and celebrated singers of our time, Renée Fleming captivates audiences with her voice. Her career has earned her the title of “the people’s diva”, the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Solo and a National Medal of Arts.  In recent years Ms. Fleming has hosted a wide variety of television and radio broadcasts, including the Metropolitan Opera’ Live in HD for movie series.  This is her Verizon Hall debut.


Part of the Kimmel Center’s Philly En Vivo! Series
October 12, 2017
Global superstar Lila Downs portrays exquisite artistry that bridges traditions across the Americas showcasing influences from folk and ranchera music of Mexico and South America, to North America folk, jazz, blues, and hip-hop. As a devoted human rights activist, Lila includes lyrics in her songs that highlight current issues relating to social justice.  She will be touring on behalf of her current album, Balas y Chocolat which went platinum in Mexico.


Perelman Theater
October 26-29, 2017
Poisoned apples, Glass slippers. Who needs ‘em?  Not Snow White and her posse of disenchanted princesses in the hilarious hit musical that’s anything but Grimm. Forget about the princesses you think you know,- the original storybook heroines have come back to set the story straight After multiple sold-out runs nationwide, these royal renegades return to bring their subversive, not-for-kiddies musical to you.


Academy of Music
November 1-12, 2017
Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera returns to Philadelphia with a brilliant new  scenic design by Paul Brown, Tony Award® winning costume design by Maria Bjornson, lighting design by Tony Award®-winner Paule  Constable, new choreography by Scott Ambler and new staging by director Laurence Conner.


Presented in association with Live Nation
Merriam Theater
November 4, 2017
Humorist Nick Offerman returns with his musings on survival in the wild and the cultivation of body hair.


Monk’s dream- celebrating the Music of Thelonius Monk

Perelman Theater
December 2, 2017
Led by world-renown trumpet player and educator Terell Stafford, Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia is becoming the face of Philadelphia jazz, establishing the city as a national and international destination for music lovers. Helping to celebrate the music of Thelonious Monk will be special guest pianists Orrin Evans and Eric Reed.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson Charles Dickens & Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord

Brian McCann, Gregory Isaac &
Andrew Criss
What happens when we die?  Scott Carter gives us something to ponder in The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, &  Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord which is being presented at the Lantern Theater, 10th and Ludlow Streets through July 2, 2017. We are given an opportunity to witness Charles Dickens, Thomas Jefferson & Count Leo Tolstoy, each cleverly dressed in clothes of their own time period, enter and subsequently be locked into a single room after their demise. The world’s greatest thinkers try to determine what they have in common that might have caused them to be sealed in the room together. Andrew Criss portrays Count Leo Tolstoy, Gregory Isaac portrays Thomas Jefferson and Brian McCann portrays Charles Dickens as they have a battle of wits.  All three have written a new Gospel but none of them can agree on the wisdom of the other’s content. They dispute the importance of spirit vs., words, vs. reason. There doesn’t appear to be anything all three can agree on beyond the fact that there will be no escape from the room until there is an agreement. After a period of prolonged pacing and pondering, each sits back down and begins a rewrite, the projected images of which appear on the walls behind them. The individual writings appear to lead to collective epiphanies. While this is billed as a new comedy by Scott Carter, the audience does not find much to make them laugh but  certainly finds much to contemplate . For more information or tickets, call 215-829-0395, visit online at  or visit the Lantern Box Office at 10th and Ludlow Streets