Thursday, March 26, 2015

Taming of the Shrew

Joanna Liao & J Hernandez

The Lantern Theater Company, located in St. Stephen’s Church, 10th and Ludlow Sts. is presenting a unique version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Due to popular demand, the production has been extended two weeks past its initial run and will close on Sunday May 3.  Shakespeare uses a technique that is less common in contemporary playwriting; the play within the play. J Hernandez begins the play as a drunkard  staggering onto the stage, only to be fooled into thinking he is a nobleman who has been dreaming. He then thinks he is seated in the second floor of a castle where he can gaze down onto the courtyard to watch a play, wherein he quickly fades out and becomes Petruchio, a man traveling to Padua, determined to marry a rich bride at all costs. K.O DelMarcelle portrays Bianca, the beautiful, demure younger daughter of Baptista, ( portrayed by Nathan Foley). She has no trouble fighting off her many suitors because she knows she cannot marry until her older sister Kate does. And who would want to marry such a churlish, headstrong, boorish young woman as Kate?”  Petruchio volunteers, sight unseen. Described as “possibly mad”, J Hernandez plays the part to perfection. After his marriage to Kate, he tortures her into submission by depriving her of food, sleep, and new clothes, but interspersed with his harshness, he leads her into little dance steps and the tango becomes symbolic of the growth in their relationship. There are many twists and turns, not only for Kate and Petruchio, but for Bianca and the many men with whom she comes in contact. Thanks to set designer Lance Kniskern, actors enter and exit the stage from balconies, steps and multiple doorways as if they were in a typical street in a small town in Italy. You needn’t  look hard to find a laugh in this dark comedy… just sit back and enjoy the dance. For more information or tickets, call 215-829-0395 or visit online at 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dirty Dancing- The Classic Story on Stage

Samuel Pergande &
Gillian Abbott
Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage is appearing at the Academy of Music through April 5 as part of Broadway Philadelphia, presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization. Eleanor Bergstein, screenwriter of the film DIrty Dancing wrote the book for the stage version. There is less dialogue in this interpretation, but the dropped verbal exchanges aren't missed due to the addition of songs and dance routines. With the beginning of Spring, this Philadelphia premiere has hit a homerun! The dancing is superb. Classically trained Samuel Pergande portrays Johnny, dance instructor at a summer resort in 1963.  Jenny Winton, who portrays Penny,  the female dance instructor, has had several years of experience with ballet companies as well.  Gillian Abbott began her career with a Cirque du Soliel troupe. Her transformation from  Baby, awkward teen, to Johnny’s lithe dance partner is amazing to watch. The ensemble is composed of an extraordinarily talented group of young dancers. They give meaning to the title Dirty Dancing as they dance secretly in a "staff only" room at the resort. The music is marvelous. There is no pit orchestra; rather a small instrumental group is on a second story stage and they appear and disappear behind a vertically dropped panel as the occasion demands. Over forty beloved songs ring through the rafters. The additional songs are  added as Ms. Bergstein was able to obtain the rights for some songs that were not available for the movie, such as The Drifters’ “Save The Last Dance For Me.”  Soloists Jennlee Shallow and John Anthony are phenomenal. The sets are incredible. Set Designer Stephen Brimson Lewis, Lighting Designer Tim Mitchell and Video and Project Design Jon Driscoll have created a complex world that is constantly changing. Screens move both horizontally and drop down vertically to create the perception of different depths on the stage.  Projections not only change scenery behind the actors but allow the actors to move through grass, woods and water in a matter of seconds. The total effect is mind-boggling. Run, don’t walk to purchase tickets to see this phenomenon if you have not already done so. Tickets are available by calling 215-731-3333, visiting online at, at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad & Spruce Sts (open daily 10 am to 6 pm) or at the Academy of Music box office, Broad and Locust Sts. (open during performances only).

Friday, March 20, 2015

Broadway Philadelphia 2015-2016 Season

Academy of Music
Tickets on Sale Now


The 2015-2106 Season of

Broadway Philadelphia

Presented by The Kimmel Center For Performing Arts

                              and The Shubert Organization

Broadway Philadelphia’s upcoming 2015-2016 season brings the best of touring Broadway to Philadelphia with something   for everyone to enjoy. Opening  the season is Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway, appearing at the Academy of Music October 27 - Nov 1, 2015. Matilda The Musical, based on the novel by Roald Dahl, continues to delight audiences of all ages on Broadway and in London. It will appear at the Academy of  Music from November 17 - 29, 2015.  Pippin, winner of four 2013 Tony Awards, is filled with acrobatics, magical feats and enchanting songs. It will be appearing at The Academy of Music from February 23 - 28, 2016.   A  brand new production of The Sound of Music will be appearing at The Academy of Music from March 15 - 20, 2016.   Beautiful: The Carole King Musical  tells the Tony and Grammy Award-winning  inspiring true story of Carol King’s incredible  rise to stardom. The production will appear at the Academy of Music from March 22 - April 3, 2016.  If/Then is a contemporary Broadway musical about living in New York today, simultaneously following one woman’s two possible life paths, painting a portrait of the lives we lead as well as the lives we might have led. This musical will appear at The Academy of Music from June 21 - 26, 2016. Additionally, there will be  several Season Add-On shows. The Book of Morman is returning by popular demand with an appearance at the Forrest Theatre November 24 - December 27, 2015.  Winner of 9 Tony Awards, this production played in Philadelphia to sold-out audiences for seven weeks in 2014.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical teaches us that which makes us different  makes us special.  It will appear at the Merriam Theater December 15  - 20, 2015.  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his brothers and the coat of many colors, will be at the Merriam Theater from December 29, 2015 - January 3, 2016.  NETworks Presents Disney’s Beauty and The Beast will be at the Academy of Music  from February 16 -21, 2016.  The international dance phenomenon is back by popular demand in Riverdance- The 20th Anniversary World Tour .  It will appear at the Merriam Theater June 14 - 19, 2016.

 Broadway Philadelphia subscribers save up to 25% off single ticket prices and are offered a variety of exclusive privileges, including the first opportunity to select the best seats in the house and the option to renew their seats every year.  Subscribers also enjoy many other benefits, including free exchanges, priority ticket access and payment plan options. Subscription packages are available online at or by calling 215-893-1955. For tickets for groups of 20 or more, call 215-790-5883-or 866-267-2947, or visit online at or Single tickets for individual productions will go on  sale at a later date.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


guests trying to solve the mystery
The Walnut Street Theatre, located at 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, is presenting Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE on its mainstage through April 26th.  Formerly known as Ten Little Indians, this best-selling story is based upon the world’s best-selling mystery, spawning adaptations for stage, film, radio, television, a video game and a board game. AND THEN THERE NONE tells the story of ten strangers who are enticed by an unknown host to enjoy a relaxing weekend at a remote island resort.  Once all the guests have arrived there is a suspicious death. A hidden recording of the host accuses each one of having escaped justice for a past murder. Each visitor denies any complicity in a murder, but one by one, the guests disappear. As they do so, a wooden Indian figurine disappears from the mantle. Set off the coast of Devon, England, this mystery is very, very British. At the onset of the tale, each actor of the 10 member cast has a heavy British accent, making some of the dialogue a little difficult to understand.  As the tale unfolds, however,  the accents become less pronounced. Scenic Designer Andrew Thompson has created a perfect set for this mysterious weekend - a warm English lodge that not only opens onto a porch overlooking the sea, but has several exits, giving numerous opportunities for guests to leave the stage and discover a new murder.  Lighting and Projection Designer Kendall Smith and Video Designer Dan Roach have greatly enhanced the production with their contributions which appear on the curtain between scenes.  Don’t miss this intriguing mystery which will keep you guessing until the final few minutes. Tickets are available by calling 215-574-3550, 800-982-2787, visiting online at or ticketmaster.

The Jost Project

The Jost Project Trio is planning a return trip to Hong Kong Fusion at 1998 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, N.J. on Saturday, March 28 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.  The evening combines fusion cuisine and jazz for a special jazz banquet. The Jost Project Trio, comprised of vibraphonist Tony Miceli, vocalist Paul Jost and bassist Kevin MacConnell, presents groundbreaking arrangements of classic rock performed in a jazz format.  Their goal is to reach new audiences for jazz.  Their CD – Can’t Find My Way Home – was released by Dot Time Records and is available at, iTunes, and in stores. This talented group is bringing jazz to the “baby boomer” and subsequent generations that came of age with rock and roll, the Beatles, hard rock, and other genres which are rarely played by jazz groups. Performing regularly throughout the region, The Jost Project has received rave  reviews from reviewers and music industry experts alike. For more information, visit or friend them on jostproject. Contact their management office for further information SFPR Music, Sharla Feldscher, 215-627-0801 #101, Sharla@sf-pr-com.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Gilgumesh Taggett and Issie Swickle as
 Oliver Warbucks and Annie
The U.S. National Tour of ANNIE will play through March 22 at the Academy of Music as part of the Broadway Philadelphia series. Although directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin for the 19th time, this production of ANNIE is a brand new physical incarnation of the Tony Award winning original.  There is nothing timeworn about it. Every scene, every musical number, every dance routine screams fresh and innovative. Broadway Philadelphia is presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization.  Nine-year-old Issie Swickle is making her National tour debut in the title role of Annie. This extraordinary young lady has the talent and poise of many actresses twice her age. She belts out song after song that resounds throughout the theatre with an astonishing purity. Orphans Angelina Carballo, Adia Dant, LillyBea Ireland, Sydney Shuck, Lilly Mae Stewart and Isabel Wallach demonstrate a great deal of talent as well.  Thanks to choreographer Liza Gennaro, the girls not only sing but dance their way around the orphanage. Lynn Andrews is a comic genius.  She steals every scene she is in with her portrayal of the harsh and devious Miss Hannigan, proprietor of the orphanage. Gilgamesh Taggett is a very convincing Oliver Warbucks, clueless billionaire transformed by Annie’s presence in his household. Annie, likewise, becomes endeared to the very proper household staff who uncharacteristically break out in song and dance..  Beowulf Boritt has outdone himself with the set designs. The complexity of the sets and the multitude of set changes  enrich this already phenomenally vibrant production Tickets are available by calling 215-731-333, visiting online at, 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 & Locust Sts. (open during performances only).

Thursday, March 12, 2015


one of many fight scenes
You might think you are ready for such classic utterances as “Double, double, toil and trouble”, “Out, damn spot” or “Lay on, McDuff” but nothing can quite prepare you for the production of Macbeth which is appearing at the Arden Theatre, 40 N. 2nd Street. One of William Shakespeare’s most well-known plays, Macbeth is being performed on the F. Otto Haas Stage through April 19. This is drama that leaps off the page under the direction of Alexander Burns with the help of an exceptional design team. If you tend to snooze through your Shakespeare, forget it; those 40 winks won’t be gotten during this production, thanks to the brilliant work of Sound Designer James Sugg, Lighting Designer Solomon Weisbard and Scenic Designer Brian Sidney Bembridge. Cauldrons open and close on the stage floor as a witches’ brew floats through the air. Lights flash; sounds clash and the total effect is spectacular. Fight Director Paul Dennhardt has choreographed a stunning ballet of fight scenes, complete with sword, shield, and a beheading.  Ian Merrill Peakes plays the title role of Macbeth and the role couldn’t have been better cast. He is superb in his performance of an ambitious Scot who wishes to be king and then, once crowned, will stop at nothing to ensure unfavorable prophesies do not come to pass. Judith Lightfoot Clark, portraying an equally treacherous Lady Macbeth, gives an excellent performance in her well-known sleep-walking scene. The Three Weird Sisters, E. Ashley Izard, Aimé Donna Kelly and Mary Tuomanen are extremely light on their feet and limber as they writhe around the stage and each other while chanting their prophesies. This incarnation of Macbeth has a large cast and each and every member contributes to what which will surely be one of the smash hits of the season. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 , visit online at or walk-up at the box office, 40 N. 2nd Street.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015






 APRIL 8 - MAY 31


RESPECT: A MUSICAL CELEBRATION OF WOMEN is an exhilarating high energy spectacular musical that celebrates the exciting story of women in the 20th century. It combines excerpts from more than 60  Top 40 songs with women's own stories about finding dreams, lost loves, relationship issues, and entering and staying in the workplace. The show has had success in cities all over the country and has been popular in Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia as well.   With "Stand By Your Man” and “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” among the many favorites, no one will go home without singing out songs from the show. RESPECT will begin an eight week engagement at the PENN's LANDING PLAYHOUSE from April 8 through May 31. The Playhouse is located at 211 S. Columbus Blvd.( at Walnut St ).   The theatre is inside the Independence Seaport Museum. Tickets are available by calling 888-264-1788. For information, visit online at or


         Kinky Boots

                                Is Coming To Philadelphia

   Opening April 28 At The FORREST THEATRE

   TIckets on Sale Now !

Kinky Boots 
opens for a two week engagement at the Forrest Theatre from April 28 - May 10 as part of Broadway Philadelphia, presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization. Tickets ranging in price from $55-$115 are available by calling  800-447-7400 or visiting online at  Premium tickets are also available for purchase. Group orders of 15 or more may be made by calling 866-276-2947 or 215-790-5883. Tickets will be available at the Forrest Theatre box office (1114 Walnut St.) beginning March 30 at 10:am  (open Mon - Sat. 10 am to 6 pm.) For more information, visit www.forrest-theatre.comDirected and choreographed by Tony award winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots   opened on Broadway April 4, 2013  and continues to play  to standing room only crowds. Kinky Boots   was awarded Tony Awards in 2013, the most of any show in the season., including Best Musical, Best Score (Cyndi Lauper), Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell ) Best Orchestrations ( Stephen Oremus) and Best Sound Design (John Shivers)  Additionally, the show received the Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Broadway. Com Awards for Best Musical and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Album. Kinky Boots   follows the tale of Charlie Pride as he tries to revive  the failing shoe factory that he has inherited from his father and  build a  relationship with Lola, an entertainer who is in need of some sturdy new Stilettos.  Save yourself the drive to New York. See this fabulous production in Philadelphia. Don't be disappointed as the best seats disappear. Order your tickets today!




                                      AT 'DIRTY LUNCH'


Tweet It! Stop by the @KimmelCenter Fri 13th - noon for a fun (and FREE) preview of Dirty Dancing onTour! #DirtyLunch

Fans of the hit film
 Dirty Dancing are invited to have the time of their lives when the Kimmel Center opens its doors to  the public with a music filled 'Dirty Lunch,' celebrating the arrival of Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage at the Academy of Music later this month. The festivities are scheduled for Friday, March 13 from 12 noon to 1:00 pm in the Kimmel Center's Commonwealth Plaza (Broad and Spruce Sts.) Attendees are encouraged to bring their best dance moves and learn some of the musical's signature dance moves, courtesy of Society Hill Dance Academy instructors. In addition, a talented group of young dancers from the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts will perform popular numbers from the show. Fans will also have an opportunity to participate in Dirty Dancing trivia contests, an enter-to-win drawing and a watermelon-carrying contest, replicating the scene from the movie! Food and beverages by Garces Events will be available for purchase.Tickets for Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage are still available by calling 215-731-3333, online at, at the Kimmel Center box office (open daily 10 am to 6 pm) or at the Academy of Music box office (Broad & Locust Sts.) during performances only.