Tuesday, December 30, 2014

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL

Julius Thomas III

Original Broadway Cast Member

JULIUS Thomas III

Joins First National Tour of
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL

As Berry Gordy


Will Star in the Philadelphia Engagement Jan 6-18

Julius Thomas III, original Broadway cast member of Broadway’s MOTOWN THE MUSICAL, has joined the First National Tour for a limited time in the leading role of Berry Gordy and will appear at the Academy of Music as part of Broadway Philadelphia, presented by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization. In addition to portraying Berry Gordy in MOTOWN THE MUSICAL on Broadway, Thomas has also appeared as Roy in The Scottsboro Boys and has been an understudy in The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Additionally he has appeared as Terpsicore in Zanadu, and has had roles in numerous regional theatres. The First National Tour of MOTOWN THE MUSICAL  opened to critical acclaim on May 8 in Chicago and has subsequently been seen by over half a million people. After leaving Philadelphia, the tour is scheduled to visit 15 more cities.to share the stories behind the hits of such musical greats as Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson.  Tickets are available by calling 215-7113-3333, visiting online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway, at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad and Locust Sts.,(open daily 10 am to 6 pm) or at the Academy of Music box office, Broad and Locust Sts.,(open during performances only). Orders for groups of 10 or more may be placed by calling 2215-790-5883 or 866-276-2947.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

STOMP

stomping feet and juggling cans

On a scale of 1-10, STOMP, the international percussion sensation appearing at the Merriam Theater through Dec 30, has a WOW factor of 10+. Its return engagement is part of Broadway Philadelphia and is presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization. STOMP has been performing to sell-out audiences for 20 years with a company at New York’s Orpheum Theatre, a permanent London company and North American and European tours. STOMP has been the proud recipient of numerous awards; including an Olivier Award for Best Choreography (London’s Tony Award) a New York Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatre Experience and a Special Citation from Best Plays.
Brooms are not to be brushed off when seen in conjunction with an incredible stomping routine. Jousting sticks are not merely used for jousting but become an indelible part of a percussive dance routine as well. Lighters clicking on and off in the dark make configurations that astound both the eyes and the ears. An astounding train simulation must be seen to be believed….and this is just the tip of the iceberg. A percussion sensation? YES!  An energetic group? AN 8 MEMBER TROUPE WITH THE VITALITY OF 80!  A comic group? LISTEN TO THE LAUGHTER! An engaging group? AUDIENCE IS 100% ENGAGED!

STOMP is so much more than advertised. It is engaging, energizing, invigorating, and refreshing. It is powerful entertainment being catapulted through the air non-stop. The show continually changes, adding new pieces to its performances.  Performances for this limited holiday appearance are scheduled for Saturday at 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm; Sunday at 1:00 pm & 6:30 pm with special performances on Monday at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm and a Tuesday matinee at 2:00 pm. For information or tickets call 215-731-3333, visit online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway, visit the Kimmel Center box office, Broad and Spruce Sts. (open daily 10 am-6 pm) or visit the Merriam Theater box office, 250 S. Broad Street ( open during performances only). Orders for groups of 10 or more may be placed by calling 215-790-5883 or 866-276-2947.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

STOMP Event

STOMP's Hands and Feet Routine
STOMP CAST INVITES SCHOOL YOUNGSTERS
AND STOMP “WANNABES” TO LEARN THE
POPULAR ‘HANDS AND FEET’ NUMBER
FROM THE SHOW

On Friday, December 26, doors will open at 12 noon at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Sts. for this 12:15 PM event.  Currently performing in Philadelphia for a holiday engagement, cast members from STOMP will lend their expertise to students from the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School  and to  any other interested fans inside the Kimmel Center for a special lesson on the singular technique of performing the ‘Hands and Feet’ number from the show.
The cast is requesting that anyone who would like to participate bring a canned item to be donated to Philabundance, the benefactor of the show’s ‘Stomp Out Hunger’ campaign.  Dunkin’ Donuts will be giving out free samples to all Stompers at the front entrance of the building.
Now in its 20th year, STOMP performers make rhythmic music by playing everything from supermarket carts and kitchen sinks to trash cans and hub caps. Their performance continues at the Merriam Theater through Tuesday, December 30.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Beauty and The Beast

Matteo Scammell     &
Brian Anthony Wilson
Beauty and The Beast will be playing on the F. Otto Haas Stage of the Arden Theatre, 40. N. 2nd Street, in Philadelphia through Feb 1.  Although Beauty and the Beast is a classic children’s tale of courage, kindness, and honor, its audience should not be relegated to children and their families alone. Children will surely be mesmerized by Matteo Scammell’s portrayal of the beast. (One child in the audience opening night wanted to know why the beast ate so funny). Others might want to know (as my granddaughter did) "If Belle (portrayed by Emilie Krause) wasn’t really asleep on the stage, how did she stay so still?” There is no doubt that the acting is first-rate. E Ashley Izard plays The Housekeeper you love to hate.  Kevin Meehan shocks many when he discloses he has been masquerading as another character, so well does he play both roles. What brings this production beyond its denotation of children’s theatre is the superb work of its creative team: Sebastienne Mundheim/White Box Theatre, Designer of Shadows and Shadow Objects; Rob Kaplowitz, Sound Designer; Brian Sidney Bembridge, Lighting Designer; Richard St. Clair, Costume Designer and David P. Gordon, Scenic Designer. The special effects that this team has created are incredible. With great attention to detail, every aspect of design is noteworthy.  Even if you are not a huge fan of the storyline of Beauty and the Beast, you must come to see   this presentation for both the complexity and the simplicity of the production.  For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at ardentheatre.org. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

This Is The Week That Is

Witty, whimsical, wildly entertaining and wickedly droll …. just about sums up 1812 Productions’ ninth annual presentation of its smash political comedy, This Is The Week That Is, playing through December 31 at Plays and Players Theatre,  1714 Delancey Streets.  Written and performed by Scott Greer, Dave Jadico, Aimé Donna Kelly, Susan Riley Stevens, Don Montrey and Tabitha Allen, with additional writing by Greg Nix, this comic masterpiece is directed by 1812’s artistic director, Jennifer Childs. While some similarities exist between this production and previous iterations, in many ways the show is brand new. Tribute is paid to the Ebola frenzy. With a nod to Mad Men and the advertising business, much of the political satire presented has an underlying running joke about branding.  Even the segment that involves participation from an audience member requires him to have a brand for himself for the next mayoral race. Corporations such as Google, BP, Facebook and Starbucks are hysterically personified at a News Years Party in a ploy to examine basic human rights.  Women’s Rights are visited by the Supremes- female Court Justices that is - who magically have the talent and moves of Dianna Ross and her cohorts. Can Pluto regain its status as a planet?  Can it keep up with the bigger masses?  You’ll just have to come to this presentation and see. As headlines change daily, so too does the script for each performance.  Always up-to-date with the latest in the news front, this production evolves throughout its run. No matter what the headline of the day is, you’ll find it ensconced in the show in a manner that will have you roaring with laughter. For more information or tickets, call 215-592-9560 or visit online at www.1812productions.org

Monday, December 1, 2014

Moo Shu Jew Show


The Gershman Y brings back comedy and Chinese food, the perfect Jewish combination for Christmas Eve with The Moo Shu Jew Show on Wednesday December 24 at 6:00PM. This show features some of the country’s best comedians and a multi-course Chinese meal at Ocean Harbor Restaurant (1023 Race Street). Tickets to the show are $69 in advance and $80 at the door. The menu isn’t kosher but vegetarian options are available. The array of comedians is varied as well.
Jon Fisch is a regular member of the New York club scene, appearing regularly at Gotham Comedy Club and Comedy Cellar. He gained national attention when he was voted “Audience Favorite” during season 4 of Last Comic Standing. Comedienne Robin Fox’s 17 years as a stay-at home mom have given her plenty of fodder for her 10 years on the comedy scene. She has become a favorite at clubs all over the Northeast, including The Laugh Factory, Caroline’s and Gotham Comedy Club where she was declared Grand Champion of the “Ladies of Laughter" competition. Dave Konig is a New York-based actor, TV host and comedian. He has won three Emmy awards and has hosted his own parody talk show on USA network. Brooklyn native Stewie Stone is a veteran comedian with over 30 years’ experience on the comedy club circuit. He recently starred in the 2013 documentary, When Jews Were Funny. Stone has been Frankie Valli’s opener for three decades and has also opened for Paul Anka, The Temptations and The Four Tops.  He currently serves as Vice President of the Friars Club in New York City and performs around the country.

For tickets to what promises to be a delightful evening, call 215-545-4400 or visit online at GershmanY.org.  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Great Expectations

Due to popular demand, the production of Great Expectations, on the Arcadia stage of the Arden Theatre, 40 N. 2nd Street, will be extended through December 21.  What a phenomenal production it is!  With Josh Carpenter leading the cast as Pip, 5 other cast members portray 40 characters.  With a quick flick of a hat, a new coat, scarf or jacket, additional characters are born. Dialogue flows at a swift speed between the characters, at times head to head, at times as a Greek chorus. Gale Childs Daly has done an incredible job of adapting the book Great Expectations written by Charles Dickens. This show is quick paced. An extraordinarily long and complex tale is brought to life within the confines of a single set.  The stage is transformed solely by changing props in order to change the scenes to visit 30 locations. Act now to follow Pip and his great expectations from 1812 – 1840.  For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at www.ardentheatre.org

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

CINDERELLA

Andy Jones and Paige Faure
Broadway Philadelphia, presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization, is proud to present the 2013 Tony Award Winning Broadway Musical Rodgers and Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA through November 30. Direct from playing the title role on Broadway, Paige Faure has taken her golden voice on the road as she continues to wow audiences with her performances. An exceptional talent, Paige not only has a resounding voice but she scurries back and forth across the stage with a grace that few young actresses can maintain. Andy Jones, portraying Prince Topher, was a member of the original Broadway Company. His rich voice is a prefect compliment for Ms. Faure’s.  As he sweeps her off her feet, the audience is mesmerized by the waltz at the ball. There is outstanding choreography throughout the production. Whether in the town, through the woods, or in the ballroom, the dance routines are remarkably well executed. This production of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA is a far cry from a two-star show with a cast to back them up. Ashley Park, as step-sister Gabrielle, has some tender moments that she shares onstage with Cinderella and a delightful duet that she shares with boyfriend Jean-Michel, played by David Andino.  Aymee Garcia’s performance as stepsister Charlotte is riotous as she leads the Ladies of the Court in the “Stepsisters’ Lament.” The deep, rich voice of Antoine L. Smith, portraying Lord Pinkleton, resonates throughout the Academy of Music every time he opens his mouth. The work of the creative team is brilliant. Tony Award nominee Anna Louizos is responsible for the intricate scene changes, most of which revolve around the forest. Cinderella’s cottage is in the woods and even the palace has the theme brought into it with silver covered branches serving as an archway.  Six-time Tony Award-winner William Ivey Long designed the magnificent costumes, some of which are resplendent with fairy-tale magic. When asked how to create a magical world for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Long, who won an Academy Award for his designs for this production replied, “ You have to think of it as a period piece. It is a fairy tale. In fact, that’s the period: fairy tale.” Tony Award winner Kenneth Posner is responsible for the marvelous lighting in the woods,  the night sky well and the ballroom and Tony Award nominee Nevin Steinberg is responsible for the subtle nuances of sound design. This fresh new take on a classic fairy tale combines the classic elements of glass slippers, pumpkin and a beautiful ball with some fascinating new twists. This Cinderella is more than  a rags-to-riches dream come true tale but also a tale of a young woman who brings kindness, compassion and forgiveness to change the world around her. This is not just a show for children. Come see it and feel the excitement!  Tickets are available by calling 215-731-3333, visiting online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway at the Kimmel Center box office; Broad and Spruce Sts (open daily 10 am to 6 pm or at the Academy of Music box office, Broad and Locust Street (open during performances only. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

CINDERELLA

Rogers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA
BROADWAY PHILADELPHIA AND
FAIRY GODMOTHERS, INC.

Invite the people of Philadelphia
To be a “Fairy Godmother”
And donate a dress to girls in need!


Broadway Philadelphia, Fairy Godmothers. Inc. and the company of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA  are pleased to announce that donations of girls’ princess dresses, teen prom dresses, costume jewelry and accessories will be accepted for girls in need during the evening performances of CINDERELLA playing at the Academy of Music Nov. 25-30.  Broadway Philadelphia is presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the performing Arts and by the Shubert Organization.
Dresses will be collected at the 7:30 performance on Wednesday, Nov. 26, Friday Nov 28 at 8:00 pm; Saturday November 29 at 8:00pm and Sunday November 30 at the 6:30 pm performance. Cast member Danielle Jordon has spearheaded this campaign in several tour markets.  Ms. Jordon explains, “The message of CINDERELLA is…. full of hope and possibilities  ...and sharing Ella’s spirit of kindness and generosity with the country is a dream come true. With this partnership, our goal is to spread the show’s message in a more tangible way by providing items of beauty to girls who may not otherwise be able to afford them.”

Additional performances will be held on Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm along with matinees on Friday and Saturday at 2:00 pm and Sunday at 1:00 pm. Fairy Godmothers Inc. is a non-profit organization that helps qualified junior and senior high school students to attend their prom who might not otherwise be financially able to do so.  Tickets for the performances are available by calling 215-731-3333, visiting online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway, and at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad and Locust Sts. (open during performances only) Orders for groups of 10 or more may be placed by calling 215-790-5883 or 866-276-2947. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

QED

Peter Parnell’s limited return engagement of QED is being produced by the Lantern Theater Company in St. Stephen’s Church, 10th and Ludlow Streets, through December 14. As Barrymore Award-winner Peter DeLaurier reprises his role of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, the entire audience is spellbound. In addition to being a physicist, Feynman was also a beloved professor with a great zest for life and DeLaurier captivates everyone in the room with his portrayal of the genius who seamlessly flits from one topic to another yet constantly returns to the common theme of “what we know” and its derivatives in the microcosms of nature. The writing is brilliant; the acting even more so. This overwhelming performance leads to a riveting experience in the theater. Seven years ago these performances were entirely sold out. Don’t miss an opportunity to treat yourself now to a performance of this outstanding production. For more information or tickets, call 215-829-9002 or visit online at www.lanterntheater.org

Friday, November 21, 2014

MARY POPPINS The Musical

Lindsey Bliven & David Elder
MARY POPPINS The Musical will be playing through January 4th at the Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street, on its mainstage. This production is a pure delight from start to finish. David Elder, portraying Bert, the Chimney Sweep, begins the show with his enthusiastic rendition of Chim Chim Cher-ee and the fairy-tale wonder just snowballs from its inception point. Elder lights up the stage every time he appears, whether it’s waltzing Mary Poppins around the room, (Jolly Holiday) leading the sweeps in a dramatic tap routine, (Step in Time), or having a discussion with George Banks (Jeffrey Coon), Elder is the ”shooting star” of the show.  Lindsey Bliven, portraying Mary Poppins, is Practically Perfect. Her numerous musical numbers are well delivered both as solos and in harmonies. Her dance routines are well executed. The precision with which an entire ensemble performs the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious piece with her is astounding. Set Designer J. Branson has outdone himself with this set. Enabling the audience to see both the inside and the outside of the Banks’ London home at one time is an incredible feat. Later walls slide to provide a bedroom and later still, a starlit rooftop. The ease at which the set constantly changes, from home, to outside a gated park to inside the  park and back gives the magical moments of the production credibility. For more information or tickets to this enchanting experience, call 215-574-3550, 800-982-2787 or visit online at www.walnutstreettheatre.org or ticketmaster.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

STOMP


Tickets on Sale now For Holiday Gift Giving!

STOMP, the International Percussion Sensation, returns to Philadelphia for a holiday engagement at the Merriam Theater Dec 26-30 as part of Broadway Philadelphia, presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization. From its beginnings as a street performance in the UK, STOMP has grown into an international sensation over the past 20 years, having performed in more than 50 countries and in front of more than 24 million people. Created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, STOMP continues its extraordinary run with four global productions: the on-going sell-out productions at New York’s Orpheum Theatre, a permanent London Company, and the North American and European tours.  Winner of London’s Olivier Award for Best Choreography, a New York Obie Award, A Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatre Experience and a Special Citation from Best Plays, STOMP will soon be performing in Philadelphia.  Tickets are available by calling 215-7311-3333, online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway, at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad and Spruce Sts (open daily 10am to 6 pm) or at the Merriam Theater box office, 250 S. Broad St. (open during performances only).  Orders for groups of 10 or more may be placed by calling 215-790-5883 or 866-276-2947.  Performances will be held on Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 2:00pm and 8:00 pm; Sunday at 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm with special holiday performances on Monday at 2:00 pm and 8::00 pm and a Tuesday matinee at 2:00 pm.

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL

                          Purchase your tickets now!

Producers Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris and Berry Gordy and Broadway Philadelphia proudly announce single tickets for MOTOWN THE MUSICAL, presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization are now on sale for a two week engagement at the Academy of Music.  Performances will be held January 6-18. Tickets are available by calling 215-731-3333, visiting online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway, at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad and Spruce Streets (open daily 10 am to 6 pm) or at the Academy of Music box office, Broad & Locust Sts, (open during performances only). Performances will be held Tuesday through Thursday evenings at 7:30pm; Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm; Sunday evenings at 6:30 pm with matinees Saturday at 2:00 pm and Sundays at 1:00 pm.

Directed by Charles Randolph-WrIght, MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is the story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye among others. Clifton Oliver and Allison Semmes will star in the leading roles of Berry Gordy and Diana Ross.  Jesse Nager will portray ground-breaking Motown artist Smokey Robinson and Jarran Muse will play Marvin Gaye.  Leon Outlaw Jr. and Reed L. Shannon will portray Berry Gordan’s boyhood counterpart and the roles of young stars Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. MOTOWN THE MUSICAL will also feature an ensemble cast of 27.

Til Divorce Do Us Part: The Musical

Til Divorce Do Us Part: The Musical, the new musical comedy about the end of marriage, has moved from the main stage to the Red Room Cabaret on the first floor of the Society Hill Playhouse. Written by Ruthe Ponturo with music by John Thomas Fischer, the all-Philadelphia area cast features Donna Dougherty as Kate, Cassandra Nary as Audrey, and Michelle Pauls as Suzy along with the only male member of the cast, Trevor Cahill. Loosely based on a ‘get even’ story for writer Ponturo’s ex-husband, the musical is inspired by a true story of love and loss in which a woman  turns to her close knit group of friends to help her sing, laugh and dance their way through the end of a relationship and on to the beginning of a new life. Recently having had its Philadelphia premiere, Til Divorce Do Us Part: The Musical will continue through December 7 at the Society Hill Playhouse, 507 S. Eighth Street (on Eighth Street between Lombard and South). Performances will be held Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm with Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm. For tickets call 215-923-0210 or 215-923-0211 for group reservations. Tickets may also be obtained online at www.societyhillplayhouse.org

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Detroit

cast of Detroit
The Philadelphia Theatre Company, at home in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets, is presenting the Pulitzer Prize nominated Detroit to inaugurate its 40th Anniversary season. The play will be performed through November 9. The all-star cast of Geneviève Perrier (Mary), Steven Rishard (Ben), K.O. DelMarcelle (Sharon), Matteo J. Scammell (Kenny) and Tom McCarthy (Frank) present a study of dysfunction in middle class suburbia.  Ben and Mary befriend new neighbors who move into the vacant house next door. It does not take long for the thin veneer of respectability that is within each one’s grasp to slowly peel away. It does so, however, in unexpected ways, both disconcerting and unsettling.  Your vision of a perfect backyard barbecue may never be the same.  There are a series of special events scheduled during October.  If you are planning to attend on Tuesday October 21, you will have a chance to hear a panel discussion immediately following the performance with leaders who will discuss the ideas and issues raised by the production.  Audience members attending the Saturday October 25 matinee will have an opportunity for a post-matinee backstage tour of the set to learn how this very effective set was conceived by Set Designer Vince Mountain and Lighting Designer Nicole Pearce as well as how the crew runs the show.  On Thursday, October 30, following the evening performance, join the members of the cast and creative team for a post-show discussion. For more information or tickets, call 215-985-0420 or visit online at PhiladelphiaTheatreCompany.org.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bad Jews

Sofie Yavorsky and Greg Follick
Walnut Street Theatre’s Independence Studio on 3 is presenting the hysterical Bad Jews through November 30th. Cousins forced to share a studio apartment for a night following their grandfather’s funeral become embroiled in a family’s side-splitting tug-of-war for familial rights and their rights of identity.  Sofie Yavorsky portrays an impassioned young Jew who is critical of her cousins for not sharing her devotion to Judaism. Nor does she believe they share her loss over their recently departed Poppi. Her early monologues are poignant and her later ones are vitriolic but she is always an incredible presence on the stage. The barbs flung back and forth between her and Greg Fallick, portraying Jonah Haber and Davy Raphaely playing his brother Liam are outrageously funny and astonishingly witty. Only Melody, Liam’s non-Jewish girlfriend, tries to present the voice of reason, but when her voice is actually heard…you can barely recognize Melody.(beautifully portrayed by Laura Giknis) Tempers flare; hilarity breaks out; somber refection seeps in….This exceptionally talented young cast takes the audience on a wild ride through the many phases of comedy. For more information or tickets, call 215-574-3550 or 315-336-1234.  Tickets are also available at WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.com.

Friday, October 3, 2014

THE 39 STEPS

Adam Sowers, Dan Hodge
Karen Peakes
Bristol Riverside Theatre, located at 120 Radcliffe Street in Bristol, Pa, is opening its 28th season with a bang. The 4 member ensemble cast of Dan Hodge, Matt Leisy, Karen Peakes and Adam Sowers play over 150 roles in an uproarious adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s murder mystery, The 39 Steps. A red armchair might be considered a fifth cast member as it has a recurring role. Breathtakingly handsome Richard Hannay, portrayed by Matt Leisy, is falsely accused of murder and goes to any length to prove his innocence and the existence of a mysterious plot. Other cast members change persona at the drop of a hat…literally. This zany madcap farce has more hat changes, costume changes and wig changes than you can count. The story-line is preposterous. To call this production silly would trivialize the work of this outstanding cast. It is hilarious and provides an evening of non-stop fun. For more information or tickets call 215-785-0100 or visit online at www.BRTstage.org.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

NEWSIES:the Musical

Casting has been announced for Philadelphia’s limited engagement (Oct 28-Nov 2) of Disney’s NEWSIES which will introduce the 2014-2015 Broadway Philadelphia season, presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and The Shubert Organization.  Featured performers are Dan DeLucca as “Jack Kelly”, Steve Blanchard as “Joseph Pulitzer,” Stephanie Styles.” as “Katharine,” Angela Grovey as “Medda Larkin,” Jacob Kemp as “Davey," Zachary Sayle as “Crutchie” and Vincent Crocilla and Anthony Rosenthal alternating the role of “Les.” Completing the cast are twenty-five talented ensemble members. NEWSIES is inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899’ when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against publishing giants Joseph Pulitzer, and other powerful publishers.  Set in New York City at the turn of the century, NEWSIES is the inspiring tale of Jack Kelly, a captivating newsboy and leader of a rag-tag band of teenaged “newsies” who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship he meets on the streets.  When publishing giants Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise their distribution prices at the boys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right. While on Broadway, NEWSIES became the highest grossing show of the 2011-2012 season.  In Philadelphia, it will play at the Academy of Music from October 28 through November 2 Tuesday through Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm; Sunday evening at 6:30 pm with a Saturday matinee at 2:00 pm and a Sunday matinee at 1:00 pm. Tickets are available by calling 215-731-3333; visiting online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway; at the Kimmel Center Box Office, Broad and Spruce Sts or at the Academy of Music box office, Broad and Locust Sts (during performances only). Orders for groups of 10 or more may be placed by calling 215-790-5883 or 866-276-2947.

The Jost Project

Tony Miceli, Paul Yost,
Kevin MacConnelol
“Good Vibrations” will fill the air on Thursday, October 9, 2014 when The Jost Project performs in Chris’ Jazz Café, 1421 Sansom Street in Philadelphia. The cover charge is $15 and can be purchased at www.chris-jazz-cafe.seatengine.com.  For more information, call 215-568-3131. The Jost Project is composed of Philadelphia area musicians including internationally renowned vibraphonist Toni Miceli, singer Paul Jost and bassist Kevin MacConnell. Drummer Anwar Marshall will be performing with them at Chris’.   Performing classic rock in a classic jazz format, The Jost Project will be adding a whole new repertoire of music to their show.  Songs like “Come Together” and “Good Vibrations” will be added to such favorites as “Walk This Way” and “Kasmir.” Their CD, ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ has been released by dot records and is available at dottimerecords.com, iTunes, Amazon.com and in retail stores.  For more information, contact SFPR Music, Sharla Feldscher, 215-627-0801#101 or Sharla@sf-pr.com.



Arcadia

Kittson O'Neil, Maxwell Eddy and
Alex Boyle
Lantern Theatre Company, located in St. Stephen’s Church, 10th and Ludlow Streets, is producing Tom Stoppard’s masterpiece, Arcadia, through November 2. Stoppard gives us a unique glimpse of life in the time of Lord Byron and his contemporaries at the turn of the 19th century as well as an in-depth peek at present-day scholars who try to glean information about that time period from journals, papers and artistic renditions that they have been found. Interestingly enough, things are not always what they seem. A hermit sketched on a landscape as a whim takes on great significance when it is discovered and studied centuries later. An assignation in the gazebo may be attributed to the wrong personage.   Sometimes research of the past is incomplete and conclusions are based on conjecture. And so Stoppard poses the hypothesis…”It is the wanting to know that makes us human. Failure is inevitable.”  With a stellar cast of 12, Lantern’s rendition of Stoppard’s Arcadia is as fascinating as it is spell-blinding. The audience is transported effortlessly between centuries and, at times, is able to become involved in the happenings of both centuries simultaneously. Humor abounds in both, although 19th Century  Thomasina (Alex Boyle) her mother Lady Croom (Charlotte Northeast) and her tutor Septimus (Maxwell Eddy put on a very serious front as do researchers Hannah Jarvis (Kittson O’Neil) and Bernard Nightingale (Joe Guzman) two centuries later.  Be intrigued. Be captivated. But by all means, be in the audience for at least one performance of Arcadia. To coincide with this production Lantern Theater is presenting a four day festival of special events from October 23-26.  For more information about the festival or tickets to the production, phone 215-829-0395 or visit online at www.lanterntheater.org

Monday, September 22, 2014

Alice in Wonderland Jr

Alice in Wonderland Jr was performed on the main stage of the Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street on September 20 and 21 and can be seen again on September 27 and September 28.  Based on Lewis Carroll’s book and subsequent movies, the show abounds with teen-aged talent from 21 students of the Walnut Street Theatre School.  Keelin  Kelly begins the production as he  portrays the Cheshire Cat and narrates the tale.  The three Alices, Emily Gallagher, Alexis Gwynn (small Alice) and Gabriela Barrett (large Alice) crawl in and out of a rabbit hole after eating a cookie… a very clever on-stage device. Equally clever  is  the flower garden with an attitude…Alexa Liss portraying Rose, Madi Resnic  portraying Lily, Maggie McPherson portraying Petunia, Skylar Raye Noyes portraying Violet and Dominque Swift portraying Daisy.  Morgan Snowden portrays the Queen of Hearts with a very regal bearing but she proves no match for the astute  Alice. This captivating young cast performs over sixteen songs during the one hour performance. It is truly a delight to watch these young performers.  For more information or tickets, call 215-574-3550, 800-982-2787 or visit online at www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org

Thursday, September 18, 2014

La Bête

Scott Greer and Ian Merrill Peakes


The Arden Theater Company, located at 40 N. 2nd Street, is beginning its 2014-2015 Season with La Bête, (The Beast). It will run on the Arden's F. Otto Haas stage through October 12. Ian Merill Peakes portrays Elomire, leader of an acting troupe in Prince Conti’s court.  Scott Greer is Valere, a troubadour that the Prince (Dito van Reigersberg) wants to bring to court to join the troupe. Elomire finds Valere bombastic beyond belief and wants no part of him. In French, bête not only means “beast,” but also, “stupid or idiot”.  “Etre bête" (to be stupid) is to believe in something so much that you cannot see anything else and therefore miss the point. Thus the foundation is set for this ludicrous farce.  Scott Greer is a comic genius. He is outrageously funny. Never before have so many words conveying so little meaning been uttered so exquisitely. Non-stop laughter fills the theatre while at the same time audience members are shaking their heads in disbelief at the utter nonsense of it all. Ian Merrill Peakes gives an outstanding performance as a principled troupe leader who takes a firm stand for the integrity of his craft. Despite the Prince’s wishes, such opposing views cannot peacefully co-exist. Someone’s, perhaps everyone’s, world must collapse in the aftermath. For more information or tickets to this intriguing show which is done completely in verse, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at ardentheatre.org. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Til Divorce Do Us Part: The Musical

created and lyrics by
Ruthe Ponturo
A new musical comedy will be opening the 55th Season of The Society Hill Playhouse.

Til Divorce Do Us Part: The Musical is a new musical comedy about the end of a marriage.  Inspired by a true story of love and loss, it is the tale of a woman who turns to her close friends who laugh, sing and dance their way through the end of a relationship and on to a new beginning. This comedy has its Philadelphia premiere Oct 15 and runs through Dec 7. Performances will be held Wednesday through Saturday evenings with matinees on Sundays. Tickets are $45. The Society Hill Playhouse is located at 507 S. Eighth Street (On Eighth Street between Lombard and South).  Parking is free on South Street every Wednesday night.  For more information or tickets call 215-923-0210 or visit online at www.societyhillplayhouse.org. Group rates are available and  group reservations may be made by calling 215-923-0211.


Friday, September 12, 2014

9 to 5: THE MUSICAL

Getting even with the Boss
Walnut Street Theatre, located at 825 Walnut Street, has opened its 206th season with the spirited 9 to 5: THE MUSICAL. This magical musical comedy, featuring music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, will run through October 19th on Walnut Street Theatre's mainstage.  Three co-workers, driven to distraction by their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical boss” devise a plan to remedy their work woes. Paul Schoeffler expertly portrays Franklin Hart Jr., the lecherous, treacherous menace. Spitfire Mary Marcello brilliantly portrays Roz, his no-nonsense Administrative Assistant, who lets her hair down in the number “Heart to Hart”.  Dee Hoty, as Violet, is the backbone of the trio of co-workers. She exudes both strength and panache on the stage, with a voice that is marvelous to hear in a solo, a duet, or as part of a group. Amy Bodner, who portrays Doralee, the misunderstood country girl, has a robust voice as well.  Amanda Rose is Judy, the third of the co-workers who band together. She expertly portrays a woman who matures from a shy brow-beaten wife to a female ensconced in self-confidence. Her gut-wrenching performance of “Get Out and Stay Out” brings the house down. Local favorite Ben Dibble portrays Joe, the persistent love interest for Violet. Unfortunately there is only one opportunity to hear him sing, for he has a fine voice. As there are numerous songs in this production, so too, are there frequent scene changes. Thanks to the phenomenal vision of Scenic Designer Robert Andrew Kovach, these are accomplished with split-second precision whether they involve rolling desks, sliding walls, or moving elevators. For more information or tickets to this extremely humorous and entertaining musical comedy, call 215-547-3550, 800-982-2787 or visit online at www.walnutstreettheatre.org. or Ticketmaster.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CINDERELLA

Dancing at the Ball
Thanksgiving Holiday Treat - Tix On Sale Friday!

Rogers + Hammerstein’s Tony Award-winning musical CINDERELLA will play at the Academy of Music for a limited engagement over the Thanksgiving holidays from Nov 25-30 as part of Broadway Philadelphia, presented collaboratively by The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization. This production has some surprises for fans of the CINDERELLA that was debuted on television in 1957. Roger + Hammerstein’s contemporary Cinderella is not only a pretty face with a one-of-a kind shoe size.  She is a feisty young woman, who, despite her rags and her ill lot in life, follows her quest for kindness, compassion and forgiveness, imagining herself making the world a better place. She not only fights for her dreams but helps the prince to realize his dreams as well.  Tickets for CINDERELLA will go on sale beginning Friday, September 12 at 10:00 am and may be purchased by calling 215-731-3333, visiting online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway, at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad & Spruce Streets (10am to 6pm) or at the Academy of Music box office, Broad and Locust Sts. which is open during performances only. Special phone lines of 215-790-5883 and 866-276-2947 have been made available to place orders for groups of 10 or more. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Intimate Exchanges

Jennifer Childs and Anthony Lawton
A wildly innovative show is being produced by 1812 Productions on the Arcadia Stage of the Arden Theatre, 40 N 2nd Street, through September 21. Alan Ayckbourn’s Intimate Exchanges, with comic geniuses Jennifer Childs and Anthony Lawton, is a sure-fire hit. Opening on an English estate, one of the characters is soon faced with a choice.  A member of the audience is called upon to make the choice and the play continues on a prescribed path until the next choice must be made.  Mr. Lawton and Ms. Childs will play a total of 7 characters during the run and have mastered 16 scenes, which in different combinations, create eight possible plays with eight possible endings. The play is delightful and witty beyond measure. No one can tell a story with facial expressions better than Jennifer Childs.  She doesn’t have to utter a word to have the audience roaring.  Childs seamlessly changes roles in the blink of an eye, and does a costume change almost as quickly. In the opening night piece, she was a headmaster’s wife one minute and her young house maid barely a few seconds later. Anthony Lawton, too, embodies two polar opposites .to perfection. He scarcely has time to leave the stage as one character than he is returning as another, costume set and mind-set reversed. For more information or tickets  to this superb opening of 1812 Production's 2014-2015 season, call 215-592-9560 or visit online at www.1812productions.org

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Yo Philly!

VEREKAI
Does this look familiar?  Some Varekai characters landed in Philly recently to visit some of our city's most popular landmarks and historic sites (Liberty Bell, Independence Mall, South Street, Love Park and the Rocky Steps) before their September engagement at the Wells Fargo Center.  Be sure to come check them out when Cirque du Soleil's Varekai invades Philadelphia on September 10-14 @WellsFargoCenter!

EgoPo's American Giants Festival

Following its tradition of year-long themed theater productions, EgoPo has announced its 2014-15 season as the American Giants Festival in which the company will present theatrical giants and their examination of the American dream. The season begins with celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Arthur Miller by producing his iconic Death of a Salesman, and continues with Tennessee Williams’ Stairs to the Roof and Eugene O’Neil’s The Hairy Ape.  EgoPo will examine what the American dream is today and whether class barriers deny the dream for some or for all.  The first production, Death of a Salesman, is set in 1940 in a working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn where audience members will find themselves attending Willy Loman’s Shiva. Willy Loman, portrayed by Ed Swidley, can readily be recognized by last year’s audiences of Gint and Lady from the Sea.  Stairs to the Roof is a rarely seen early play written by Tennessee Williams.  It examines the inner life of an office clerk who dreams of a higher purpose in life. Eugene O’Neil was one of the first writers to focus on characters who live on the fringe of society.  The Hairy Ape takes the audience into the lower regions of a luxury ship where a coal stoker has a chance encounter with a rich heiress and sees himself through her eyes, subsequently destroying his sense of self. All three shows can be seen at The Latvian Society, 531 North 7th Street.  Death of a Salesman will run from October 24-November 9. Stairs to the Roof will run from February 13-March 1 and The Hairy Ape will run from April 10-26. 

NEWSIES

Carpe Diem! Seize an opportunity to see Philadelphia’s one-week limited engagement of Disney’s NEWSIES at the Academy of Music from Tuesday, October 28 through Sunday, November 2. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and The Shubert Organization are collaboratively presenting this Broadway Philadelphia’s Tony Award winning production.  NEWSIES broke all sales records and was the highest grossing show of the 2011-2012 Broadway season.  It not only won Tony Awards but Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Score and Choreography as well, and the original creative team is reuniting for this inception. Inspired by the real-life “Newsboy strike of 1899,” NEWSIES tells the tale of a band of teenaged newspaper boys who strike against Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst after they raise distribution prices at the boys’ expense. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, September 5 at 10:A.M. and can be obtained by calling 215-731-3333, visiting online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway, at the Kimmel Center Box Office, Broad and Spruce Streets,  or the Academy of Music Box Office, Broad and Locust Streets.  Don’t wait until this smash hit is sold out!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Philly Pops


Rajaton- singing with the Philly Pops
The Philly Pops is launching its 2014-2015 season with the ERA of ABBA, conducted by Music Director Michael Krajewski and featuring the internationally renowned vocal ensemble Rajaton from Finland.  Playing the sounds of the ‘70’s and highlighting the music of ABBA which gained fame through the Broadway musical, Mama Mia! the Philly Pops will also feature the disco hits of Carole King, Paul Simon and John Denver.   Performances will be held  on Friday October 17 at 8 PM, Saturday October 18 at 3 PM and Sunday October 19 at 3 PM.  You can be part of what should be a delightful season debut not only of the 36th season of The Philly Pops but also of Finland’s Rajaton in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street. For more information about the Philly Pops and its 2014-2015 season schedule, please visit www.phillypops.org


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Varekai-Cirque du Soleil

Guess who has been visiting some of Philadelphia’s most popular sites!

Some characters from Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai have been enjoying well-known attractions in the city before their September engagement at the Wells Fargo Center. Be sure to come check them out when Varekai conquers Philadelphia on Sept. 10-14@WellsFargoCenter!  
Grab a sneak peek of Cirque du Soleil’s most dazzling show to date!





Friday, August 8, 2014

Book of Morman

Scavenger Hunt!
There is an exciting new opportunity for Philadelphia area residents to win a pair of tickets to see The Book of Morman, w
inner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It is currently playing a limited engagement through September 14, at the Forrest Theatre as part of the Broadway Philadelphia season, presented by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization.  The show is hosting a scavenger hunt in Philadelphia.  The Book of Morman will be announcing clues about the location of hidden doorbells around Philadelphia on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. To play along and have a chance to win a pair of tickets, follow The Book of Morman on Twitter (@BookofMorman), Instagram (TheBookofMorman) or Facebook (TheBookofMormanOnBroadway) and the hashtag #HelloPhilly.  There is only one entry allowed per person. After finding a doorbell, winners must go to the Forrest Theatre box office and show a valid ID to pick up their tickets. For more information, visit www.forrest-theatre.com

Friday, August 1, 2014

One-Minute Play Festival

Get your party hat on to enjoy a season’s worth of local theatre adventure rolled into one spectacular evening. The One-Minute Play Festival (#1MPF) and InterAct Theatre Company are presenting the 2nd Annual One-Minute Play Festival Sunday August 3 through Tuesday August 5 at 8:00PM.  The festival will be held in the home of InterAct Theatre Company, the main stage of the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street.  “We’re incredibly pleased to host the 2nd Annual Philly One-Minute Play Festival featuring a tremendous number of local playwrights, actors and directors,” says Seth Rozin, InterAct Theatre Company’s Producing Artistic Director. “In addition to being a fun, fast-paced evening of theatre, OMPF is a great way to celebrate the vitality of our theatre community.”  The festival will feature over 90 brand new One-Minute Plays by close to 60 playwrights from Philadelphia’s extraordinary contemporary writers; among them some of the most well-known and important voices throughout the country.  At least 39 of the participating playwrights contributed to the #1MPF in Philadelphia last year, among them Seth Rozin, Jacqueline Goldfinger, Sam Henderson and Michael Hollinger. The playwrights have been selected by invitation and are encouraged to write about anything which inspires their passion. As various themes and ideas have become apparent, the plays are grouped together to reflect these themes.  Teams of actors and directors work together to stage each group. The result is over 90 complete plays, all staged with 4 chairs. #1MPF examines the spirit of different communities through dialogue and consensus building.  Its goal is to represent local cultures of playwrights of different ages, genders and races  at various points in their careers. One half of the proceed of this event will benefit The Philadelphia New Play Initiative. This is bound to be an exciting evening.  It was amazing last year and I expect it to be equally remarkable this year as well. Tickets are available online at www.interacttheatre.org  or by calling 215-568-8079.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fiddler on the Roof

the three Tevyes
The Moorestown Theater Company is presenting Fiddler on the Roof on the 50th anniversary of its Broadway debut. Performances can be seen at the William Allen Middle School, 801 N. Stanwick Road in Moorestown through July 26. The 70 member cast is bursting with non-stop energy and is aptly accompanied by a 10 piece pit orchestra.  Because so many talented actors auditioned for roles in Fiddler, the decision was made to triple-cast the show, with the lead actors becoming members of the ensemble in the performances in which they were not playing their lead roles.  It is easy to understand, therefore, why even the ensemble pieces are so strong.  I was fortunate enough to see the performance with the Black Cast, starring Mark Pinzur as Tevye, Debbie Zimmerman as Golde and Maxine Pinzur as Yente the Matchmaker and was immediately transported back to another lifetime in Anatevka.  The White Cast, starring Bruce Jordan, Andrea  Leibowitz and Dolores  Sattin and the Gold Cast, starring Richard Fischer, Carol Ann Murray and Gina Zegel are sure to be delightful as well as they dance on-stage and sing in the aisles during the Black Cast’s performances.  The choreography is very well executed, which is no easy task with a cast of 70 on the stage. Even the scene changes are artfully done. Fiddler on the Roof is Moorestown Theater Company’s 12th “Main Stage” Musical, and while I have not seen them all, I have seen several, and this one is certainly one of the best.  If you haven’t gotten seen this production yet, be sure to purchase a ticket for one of the remaining performances. Call 609-922-2506.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Xanadu

Sonny and Kira
Mazeppa Productions is a young theatre company founded in 2011 by Rob Henry and Brian Seaman. This is their fourth season of attaining their goal to bring “exciting and vibrant” musical theatre to Philadelphia through inventive productions. Their main production this season is Xanadu which can be seen at Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street, in the Old City section of Philadelphia, through July 26.  Zanadu is a touching musical comedy about following your dreams. The exuberance and exhilaration of the young cast is contagious. The energy that each cast member exudes electrifies the entire audience.  Young Sonny Malone, played by C.J. Celeiro, becomes depressed when he can’t formulate his artistic vision concretely. Kira, a Greek muse portrayed by Erica Nicole Rothman, mysteriously appears to inspire him. Rothman not only inspires. She sings; she skates; she dances; she scats while another taps; and she can act! This young lady is just beginning her studies as a musical theatre major but I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of her in the future. There is a wealth of talent in this production and thanks to Costume Designer Julia Poiesz, the costumes are dazzling.  Zanadu is not just a feast for your eyes, however. It's a font of laughter as well. The audience roars when Sonny, who questions the authenticity of the Greek muses, is treated to a response of “Why do you think we speak in unison?”  The show is 90 minutes of non-stop fun. For tickets or more information, call 215-559-9602 or visit online at www.mazeppa.org.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

EgoPo's 20th Anniversary Gala

Tall Ship Gazela
Ego Po is having an incredible 20th Anniversary Gala aboard the tall ship Gazela from 6:00-9:00 PM on Wednesday July 25. The ship is docked on Penn’s landing south of the Independence Seaport Museum. A gourmet dinner will be catered by Stephen Starr and will include such delicacies as shrimp cocktail, lobster Mac and cheese bites; Peppercorn crusted Filet Mignon, Roasted Salmon, Wild mushroom tart, vegetable lasagna and dessert Tapas. In addition, there will be an open bar with sea-themed cocktails, wine, beer and over-flowing champagne. If this doesn't seem like enough cause for celebration, performers from the last 8 years of EgoPo’s work will be on hand to sing live sea shanties and fireworks will be lit from Penn’s Landing after sunset. During the evening, the 2014-15 season of the Great American Dream Festival will be officially announced. A remarkable silent auction will include items such as tickets to museums, theaters, sporting events and dinner packages.  And that is not all.  The featured item is a live auction of a week’s stay at any luxury Marriot Villa in the US and Caribbean, including Aruba and St. Kitts. Tickets for EgoPo audience members are $150 and $200 for the general public.  You must hurry for they must be purchased by Monday June 23rd. To purchase tickets, visit online at www.egopo.org or contact EgoPo at 267-273-1414 to confirm your reservation for a night you won’t forget. In the event of rain, EgoPo’s Gala will be postponed one day to Thursday, June 26th .

Thursday, June 19, 2014

COLIN QUINN UNCONSTITUTIONAL

The Philadelphia Theatre Company, housed in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre at Broad and Lombard Streets, is presenting Colin Quinn’s uniquely satirical take on the constitution and this country’s founding fathers through July 6. Unlike the 3 R’s we all learned in school,  Unconstitutional  is irreverent, irredeemable, and irreplaceable with another type of history lesson. Quinn’s matchless way of pointing out the foibles of our country and what Washington and Madison envisioned has the theatre filled with laughter as each anecdote brings forth more hilarity. Presidents George Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Obama are thrown into the mix along with the media-popularized Kardashians. Nothing is sacred in Quinn’s inimitable monologue except the constitution itself and the ever present desire to bring unceasing amusement to the audience, which he does with a certain panache.  For more information or tickets, call 215-735-7356 or visit www.PhiladelphiaTheatreCompany.org.