Sunday, March 31, 2013

Henry V

Ben Dibble as Henry V

The Lantern Theater Company, located in St. Stephen’s Church at 10th and Ludlow Streets, is presenting Henry V starring Ben Dibble through April 14.  Shakespeare’s opening chorus lines explain that there is little money available to make a big production, which helps the Lantern Theater Company present this work because this story is told as Shakespeare has written it, with the audience’s imagination in mind.  Shakespeare’s contemporaries knew the Elizabethan history; the plays were not written to inform but to entertain.  Two priests, trying to avoid the heavy taxes levied upon the church, hatch a scheme to reduce their taxes by making a contribution to the young King and convincing him to go to war with France. The  play was written as a series of humorous vignettes, with little detail given to the actual war itself. Listening to Ben Dribbel expound encouragement to his beleaguered troops is mesmerizing. The French dialogue between Krista Appe-Hodge and K.O. DelMarcelle is enchanting. The lighting and sound during the war scenes is electrifying. The sparse Elizabethan /cum French set is masterful and every member of the ensemble cast, whether in a comic role or one of a brave heart, gives forth an excellent performance.  This is a show not to be missed. Even if you don’t love Shakespeare, you will love this production. For more information or tickets, call 215-829-0395 or visit online at

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Life (and death) of Harry Houdini

EgoPo Classic Theater Company, located at 17th and Delancey Streets in Plays and Players Theater, is presenting The Life (and death) of Harry Houdini through April 7. With a fascinating production twist, the audience is seated on-stage to get a behind-the-scenes view of Harry Houdini’s routines. Never before have you had an opportunity to see an illusionist so intimately.  If you are puzzled by the very first scene, you will see it again at the end of the performance, as the tale begins and ends with Houdini’s last moments and his meteoric rise to fame flashes before his eyes in-between.  Great performances are given by the ensemble cast of Robert DaPonte, Lee Minora, Griffen Stanton-Ameisen, Tyler Horn and MaryRuth Stine.  Especially effective is the segment of the heavily accented Yiddish-speaking of Rabbi and Mrs. Weiss with son Eric (later to be known as Harry Houdini) pleading, “Speak English, Speak English ! ”  Robert DaPonte, portraying Houdini, mesmerizes audiences with his escape from a straightjacket and handcuffs.  Almost as a joke, the audience is “let in” on the escape from the box illusion. .DaPonte commands quite a presence on the stage.  Learn how Houdini takes life’s punches in stride…until he doesn’t.  Don’t wait to be let in on all the secrets for this show has a short run.  For more information or tickets call 267-273-1414 or visit

Sunday, March 24, 2013


The Philadelphia Theatre Company, located at Broad and Lombard Streets in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, is presenting the Philadelphia premiere of Seminar through April 14.  The award-winning drama was written by Theresa Rebeck, creator of the hit TV series SMASH!   Rebeck has said, “There is something in the human spirit that yearns for and responds to a well-told story…Stories teach us so much.”  The top-notch ensemble cast of Rufus  Collins, Matt Harrington, Teresa Avia Lim, Genevieve Perrier and Luigi Sottile portray story-tellers all.  Sharp, witty and perceptive, Seminar introduces us to four novelists-in-the-making who have chosen to group together and pay a considerable sum to a literary guru for weekly sessions in which he will critique their work. The group’s undercurrents are constantly shifting as the would-be writers seek to curry favor with their instructor and with each other on their way to pursuing a successful literary career.  Seminar is a very interesting study in group dynamics and begs the question, “To what lengths will one go to achieve success?”  For more information or tickets, call 215-985-0420 or visit online at

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Pirates of Penzance

Mabel ordering the policemen

Bristol Riverside Theater, located at 120 Radcliffe Street, is presenting a glorious production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta The Pirates of Penzance through April 28. Set Designer Julia C. Lee has ensured the show begins with a splash.  Before the opening number, the audience is treated to a miniature pirate ship sailing across the stage, after which pirates jump onstage pushing masts, barrels and nets to simulate the interior of a pirate ship.  And that is only the first of many moments of brilliance.  Larry Cahn, portraying the Major General demonstrates that he can sing as fast as “The Flight of the Bumblebee” while clearly spitting out each and every word.  April Woodall, portraying Ruth and Nick Cordero, portraying The Pirate King, give him a run for his money. The six daughters, portrayed by Sarah J. Gafgen, Erika Strasburg, Samantha Kuhl, Lauren Cupples, Jessica Gruver and Victoria Mayo may not sing quite as quickly but their task is just as difficult because they must do everything in unison and they do it beautifully.  Did I say beautifully?  Award winning singer/actor Maria Failla plays Mabel and her portrayal is enthralling.   Julian Alvarez, playing Sergeant of the bumbling police has a brilliant performance not only for his singing but primarily for his athleticism.  The plot is silly but it is meant to be!  Come out and see this performance for a night of rollicking good fun.  There isn’t a moment you’ll want to miss. Oh, and don’t forget the pirates!  For more information or tickets, call 215-785-0100 or visit online at

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Super Pops! Broadway

Peter Nero and the Philly POPS will present their last concert with Nero as conductor.  Featuring Broadway hits and entitled,” Super POPS! Broadway”, the final program of the 34th season will be in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts from May 10-12.  Peter Nero has been the music director of the Philly POPS since its inception on November 25, 1979.  He will perform and conduct the POPS from the piano in a program that promises to be unforgettable. He will likewise conduct the annual July 3 POPS concert at Independence Hall. Don’t miss this opportunity to see a legend’s final performance with his “baby”. For tickets call 215-893-1999 or visit online at