Thursday, January 29, 2015

Under The Skin

Lou  Ziegler with Raina & Jarrell
Michael Hollinger has done it again!

Local playwright Michael Hollinger has given us, in collaboration with Arden’s artistic director Terrence J. Nolan, a spectacular World Premiere.  Hollinger’s Under the Skin can be seen on the Arcadia stage of the Arden Theatre, 40 N. 2nd Street, in Old City, through March 15, 2015.  The last time Michael and Terrence worked together, Hollinger’s Opus left the Arden stage to be produced off-Broadway and in 47 subsequent productions, making it one of the most produced plays in the country for the 2011-12 theatre season.  Under the Skin promises to be another such production.  While the purported theme of this work revolves around quite a serious topic, kidney donation, Hollinger has the audience chuckling away, in a manner few playwrights can achieve. Julianna Zinkel portrays Lou Ziegler’s estranged daughter, Raina. She has an unwelcomed surprise visit from her father who proclaims the need of a kidney. She is young, belligerent, and justifiably angry….or is she?  Bilko Eisen-Martin portrays Jarrell, a kind soul Raina meets while visiting in the hospital. Being tested as possible kidney donors for relatives gives them a common ground.  Alice M. Gatling has multiple roles; the one of Jarrell’s mother certainly the most challenging.  Douglas Rees is marvelous in Craig Spidle’s role of Lou Zeigler, the man with the failing kidney.  When Craig became hospitalized, Douglas Rees was called upon to play his role. Reeves gives a splendid performance with script in hand, having to refer to it only occasionally.  Part of his incredible success is due to his consummate career as an actor, and part with the familiarity of the nuances of Hollinger’s work, having appeared at the Arden in Opus, An Empty Plate at the Café du Grand Boeuf, and in Ghost Writer. No matter who is portraying Lou Ziegler, Under the Skin remains an epic piece, at once both gut-wrenching and incredibly funny. It should definitely be your next go-to show to see in Philadelphia. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at 

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Aimé Donna Kelly
InterAct Theatre Company’s world premiere of The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane can be seen on the main stage of The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, through February 8. Aimé Donna Kelly is nothing short of mesmerizing in her spellbinding performance of Noxolo, a young South African woman who escaped horrors in South Africa with a  football (soccer) scholarship to  London, only to return to her native land when her activist ex-lover is reputed missing.  Young lesbian women have been raped throughout South Africa in an effort to “set them straight.” Noxolo’s brother Sicelo, convincingly portrayed by Akeem Davis, is blinded by bigotry and the age-old customs and beliefs of his country.  Pretty Mbane, portrayed by Lynnette R. Freeman, is the activist who Noxolo hopes to find when she returns to South Africa.  Freeman's rhythmic speech and fluid movements are hypnotic. No eyes leave the stage during this performance! The themes of Jen Silverman’s award winning play are unsettling and may be disturbing to some but no one can sit through  a performance and be unmoved   by them. The play is dark; the performances are raw; the end result is outstanding!  For more information or tickets to see this production, call 215-566-8077 or visit online at

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Stairs To The Roof

EgoPo Classic Theatre’s American Giants Festival continues with the Philadelphia premiere of Tennessee Williams’ rarely seen early play, Stairs to the Roof.   It will be running February 11-March 1 at the Latvian Society, 531 N 7th St. Taking place in 1940’s, the play highlights the mind of an average working man, Ben Murphy, struggling to find freedom in the oppressive regiment of his 9-5 job. This production is presented in conjunction with Rowan University’s College of Performing Arts, featuring generations of alums from their theater program.  This will be EgoPo’s first production produced in partnership with Rowan University‘s College of Preforming Arts, but Ego Po and Rowan have been working together for years to develop in-depth actor training program focused on physical and psychological techniques. EgoPo is happy to introduce a powerful ensemble of young professionals. The piece will be directed by EgoPo Artistic Director Lane Savadove.  Recent graduate Dane Eissler will be Lane’s Associate Director and will bring to life Ben’s extraordinary adventure with the help of a 15 person cast. For more information or tickets, call 267-273-1414 or visit online at

Beauty and the Beast

One Week Extension for
Beauty and the Beast

Due to popular demand the Arden Theatre Company has announced a one week extension of Beauty and the Beast based on the book by Charles Way and directed by Whit MacLaughlin. It will  appear on the Arden’s F. Otto Haas Stage, 40 N. 2nd Street through February 8, 2015.  Four of the added shows are 10 am student group performances.  Arden group sales Manager Sam Congdon says, “10 am student shows are a great way to introduce young audiences to live theatre.  Teachers receive a study guide ahead of time that they can review with their students and students get a Q & A and Meet and Greet with the cast following the performance."  Single tickets discounts are available for students, seniors, military and educators.  This production is NOT just for children.  It is an excellent performance and the creative team is top notch. For more information or tickets, call 212-922-1122, visit online at, or walk up to the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.


Seven Masters of Illusion


At the Academy of Music


THE ILLUSIONISTS-WITNESS THE IMPOSSIBLE, the world’s best-selling touring magic show is part of the Broadway Philadelphia season presented by the Kimmel Center for the performing Arts in collaboration with the Shubert Organization. It has shattered box office records around the world and showcases electrifying tricks and death-defying stunts of seven master showmen, each with his own specialty. Bearing such nom-de-plumes as “The Manipulator”, The Trickster,” “The Escapologist,” and “The Inventor,” these formidable performers present  the most non-stop and powerful mix of outrageous and astonishing acts ever to be seen on a live stage. Tickets are available by calling 215-731-3333, visiting online at, at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad and Spruce Sts. ( open10 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 215-790-5883 or 866-276-2947.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


The Jackson Five
Broadway Philadelphia, in collaboration with the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and The Shubert Organization is not only presenting MOTOWN THE MUSICAL at the Academy of Music through January 18, it is transmitting a total Motown Experience to its elated audiences. Everyone is not only mesmerized by the electrifying projections on the stage but also totally immersed in the music.  The production is brilliant! This is the legendary tale of Berry Gordy’s dream of writing songs, producing artists who sang his songs the way he wanted, and publishing the songs to protect his royalties. The road he traveled, leading to the founding  and success of the Motown recording industry, is  vividly expressed over a span of 25 years. This foot-tapping, hand-clapping, seat-rocking explosion of musical hits from our younger years is exhilarating. No one can sit still or keep lips from moving to the lyrics made beloved by Dianna Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smoky Robinson, the Jackson Five and ever-so many more Motown groups. Original Broadway cast member Julian Thomas III has joined the First National Tour for a limited engagement.  How fortunate we are in the Philadelphia area to have a chance to see his dazzling performance. No actor gives a performance lacking in voice, dance skills or charm but take particular note of the youngster who plays the role of Michael Jackson in the Jackson Five.  Two boys alternate roles and it doesn’t matter whether you see Leon Outlaw Jr. or Reed. L. Shannon… will be blown away by the talent.  Berry Gordy fought to have his music accepted not only by Black radio stations but by everyone. He felt that people’s similarities were more powerful than their differences and believed, ”It’s what’s in the grooves that counts.”  MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is Berry Gordy's story.. Tickets are available by calling 215-731-333, visiting online at, at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad and Spruce Sts. (open daily 10am to 6 pm) or at the Academy of Music box office, Broad and Locusts Sts., (open during performances only).  Throughout your life there will be certain things you can’t sit still for……This performance is one of them.