Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

JC McCann as Joseph
The national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is being presented by Broadway Philadelphia at Kimmel Center’s Merriam Theater through January 3, 2016. This long-running musical has been popular with audiences for decades and this production is one of the best I’ve seen. Special effects get the audience in the mood for the dream themes as projections are swirled in clouds of smoke above Joseph’s (JC McCann) head while he reclines on a bed as the audience members are filing into their seats. There is so much to enjoy about this show.  Laura Helm is a gifted narrator as she sings Joseph’s story from his early days with his brother in Canaan through his life in slavery, prison, and as Pharaoh’s right hand man in Egypt.  Lighting Designer Howell Binkley is the architect of phenomenal effects using strobe lights throughout the show. Costume Designer Jennifer Caprio has hit a home run with her multiple costume changes for the ensemble and award winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler is responsible for the exciting choreography. Video and projections have come to be almost commonplace in the theatre today but Daniel Brodie, video and projection designer, has made the art fresh and awe-inspiring. The young men portraying Joseph’s brothers are all extremely talented and act with lock-step precision in numbers that have them sitting at a dining table. Their rendition of “Those Canaan Days” is particularly funny. The artistic members of the ensemble not only sing but dance a variety of routines and do acrobatic turns as well. JC McCann is in his first national tour but with a voice as dynamic as his, it certainly won’t be his last. A very engaging ending to the production is almost an overture in reverse; many of the stars return to center stage and do a short remix of the songs they have sung during the show. Tickets for the remaining shows may be purchased by calling (215)893-1999, visiting online at, visiting the Kimmel Center Box Office or the Merriam Theater Box Office (open during performances only).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Three Maries

No Attytude Productions is presenting the World Premiere of composer and lyricist Michael Ogborn’s The Three Maries. This “Philadelphia Phable” is a fictional account of an historical event - the 1926 Philadelphia visit of Romania’s Queen Marie. With a riff on Pygmalion and Cinderella, Little Marie (Rachel Brennan) is remarkably engaging as she first loses her Philadelphia accent in the quest for respect in the workplace and then her shoe as she flees Romanian Royalty(Mary Martello and Jeff Coon) at a ball in their honor. Big Marie (Kathy Deitch) is equally humorous as she tries to get her daughter to stay home and help with the housework and perhaps marry a mummer and give her a grandchild.  From Roaring twenties flair, to jazzy tap routines, to mummers’ struts, this production has it all. Projections of City Hall and William Penn add to the authenticity of this “Philadelphia Phable”, as do the stops on the Broad Street El which are flashed on a backdrop as Little Marie  “takes the train” to work, This show is truly phunny. In between laughs, you will be checking on your own accent as you practice saying, “I want a coke and a hoagie to go.”   You’ll even have a chance to do a little strutting of your own as you join the very talented ensemble in their rendition of the Mummer’s Strut.  For a phun-philled evening, get tickets to see this phabulous new musical by calling 215-422-4580 or  by                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Friday, December 18, 2015

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:The Musical  is premiering on the Merriam stage Dec 17-20 as part of Broadway Philadelphia.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer became a classic after it appeared for the first time on television in 1964.  Bob Penola, producing partner, wrote the adaptation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:The Musical and has kept it true to the original animated film.  A parallel story is told of Hermey the elf (Wesley Edwards) who is different from all the others because he wants to be a dentist instead of making toys and Rudolph (Lexy Baeza) who is different from the other reindeer because of his red nose.  Hermey and Rudolph  meet after they both run away from home and instantly form a friendship. Puppeteers appear throughout the performance working animals, the Abominable Snow Monster, and misfit toys. The children seem mesmerized, but when a huge mechanical dog appears pulling the sleigh carrying Yukon Cornelius (Ben Burch), giggles are heard throughout the entire theater from the younger members of the audience. The special effects on a projection curtain are excellent. My young granddaughter’s favorite part of the show was Rudolph's flying through the air, but the beautiful snow storm projections are hard to beat. The grand finale has the entire audience participating and leaving the theater with smiles from ear to ear. Tickets can be purchased for the eight remaining performances 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 Merriam Theater box office 250 S. Broad St. (open during performances only). 

Thursday, December 17, 2015






January 15-17, 2016

Winner of 8 Tony Awards , including 
                                      Best Musical 
and based on the 2007 Academy Award Winning film.

Broadway Philadelphia announces the return of ONCE – winner of eight 2012 Academy Awards, including Best Musical. The show will have a limited engagement at the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music, January 15-17, 2016.  Broadway Philadelphia is presented collaboratively by The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and The Shubert Organization. Once is a distinguished musical based on the Academy Award-winning film. It tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their love of music. The film was written and directed by John Carney. It starred Glen Howard and Markéta Irglova and had original music written by both actors. Once features the same award winning music. Performances include Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm; Sunday evening at 6:30 pm, and matinees Saturday at 2:00 pm and Sunday at 1:00 pm.  For more information, visit

Monday, December 14, 2015





STARTING MAY 11, 2016 


                         IN ATLANTIC CITY

                STARTING JUNE 22, 2016

 The wildly popular Cirque du Soleil, OVO, which elated over 4.5 million people world-wide since its inception in 2009 in Montreal, is coming to Philadelphia in May, 2016. The production will be presented at the Liacouras Center from May 11 to May 15. OVO will also be performed in Atlantic City N.J. starting June 22, 2016 at the Boardwalk City Hall. There will be seven performances only at each venue. Both shows will be presented by Visa Signature. Advance tickets for  the OVO production in Philadelphia are now available online exclusively to Cirque Club members through December 17. Cirque Club membership is free and benefits includes access to advance tickets, special offers and special behind the scenes information.  To join, go to  Tickets will be available to Cirque Club members for the Atlantic City show on December 14, 2015. Tickets for the general public for both shows will be available starting Friday, December 18, 2015. Buy early for the best tickets. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Arden

Cabaret series

Jeff Coon

The Arden Theatre is excited to present a new concept - a four part cabaret series - in its new intimate 100 seat Hamilton Family Arts Center Studio Theatre located at 62 N. 2nd Street. The cabarets will feature local artists. The first is Jeff Coon who will be followed by Joilet Harriet,  Kristine Fraelich and another artist to be named at a future date.  The series is directed by Associated Artistic Director Matthew Decker and the Music is supervised by Amanda Morton. Jeff Coon, accompanied on the piano by Amanda Morton and on the cello by Justin Yoder, used the intimate setting to tell his story through song and anecdotes. His performance was extraordinary, giving the close audience members an inside look at the individual behind the persona of the actor and singer Jeff Coon. His routine was raw, emotional and unbelievably gratifying…80 minutes of non-stop remarkable performance. If the upcoming Cabaret performances are half as stirring, they will be an absolute must to put on your calendar. This new concept has all the earmarks of an unqualified success for the Arden Theatre Company.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery

Adam Green, Matt Zambrano,
 Crystal Finn, Henry Clarke  &
Ron Menzel
The Philadelphia Theatre Company is presenting the McCarter Theatre/Arena Stage production of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes’s Mystery through December 27. The production can be seen at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets. The ensemble cast of Henry Clark, Crystal Finn, Adam Green, Ron Menzel and Matt Zambrano constantly skirt on and off the stage as different persona.  Their costume changes are lightning quick and nothing short of remarkable. The special effects are spell-binding. Lighting Designers Philip S. Rosenberg and Joel Shier have outdone themselves, using over 100 strobe lights to create the mood of the mysterious moor. Sound Designer Joshua Horvath has the audience members shrinking in their seats in fear of the hounds and set designer Daniel Ostling has made excellent use of the openings on the stage floor which allow people and props to appear and disappear almost magically. The plot in first act is a bit confusing, but enjoy the speed with which everything is done and be assured that everything will be tied up neatly in the second act. For more information or tickets, call 215-985-0429 or visit online at 
insects around the egg
OVO- A Cirque du Soleil Show

will be coming to the

Philadelphia and Atlantic City

areas in 2016

OVO, which premiered in Montreal in 2009 and has been seen by more than 4.5 million people worldwide, will soon be performing in cities across North America.  Among the scheduled stops for 2016 are Philadelphia, Pa. and Atlantic City, N.J. It will be presented by Visa Signature. OVO, which means egg in Portuguese, mysteriously arrives in the midst of brilliantly colorful and curious insects that juggle, tumble and soar through the air. The cast of OVO is comprised of 50 performing artists from 12 countries specializing in many acrobatic acts. Cirque du Soleil has appeared in front of audiences in over 600 cities.  The company has 1300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries. For more information about Cirque du Soleil visit Be on the lookout!  Information about tickets and show dates will be issued soon.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Menopause The Musical

new friendships forged in dept store
The international hit show Menopause the Musical, is currently playing at Penn’s Landing Playhouse with a run that has been extended through December 22 due to popular demand. It is easy to see why this production has been extended on so many occasions. A professional woman (Cecelia Ann Birt ), A Soap Star (Beth Buczkowski),  an Earth Mother (Barbara Pinolini and an Iowa Housewife (Karen Gedissman) meet while fighting over a black lace bra  that is on sale in a department store. The show is brimming with parodies of pop songs from the ‘60’s – ‘80’s as the women discover their commonalities and lament the problems they endure with “the change.” “I’m having a hot flash,” sung to the tune of  “A Tropical Heat Wave” is sung more than once and the accompanying dance and body language makes the audience roar. To the tune of “In the Jungle” from The Lion King, all are involved in a fantastic routine of “On the sofa or in the guest room, my husband sleeps tonight.” Scenes change from  floor to floor of the department store, but each floor has ladies’ rooms (which are frequently needed), and props for more parodies. After a discussion in which all four discover that they need a little something to take the “edge” off (Prozac, Zoloft, Xanax) they burst out with a song and dance routine of “Thank you doctor, thank, thank you doctor…”  Menopause The Musical is in its 14th year of production but this hysterical show will only be seen in Philadelphia for three more weeks. If you have not seen it yet, don't miss your opportunity to have the laugh of a lifetime. Tickets may be purchased by calling 855-HIT_SHOW (855-448-7469) visiting online at or at the Penn’s Landing Playhouse box office. Penn’s Landing Playhouse is located at 211 S. Columbus Blvd. (at Walnut St.). The theatre is inside the Independence Seaport Museum.

Hans Brinker And The Silver Skates

girls race for the silver skates
The Arden Theatre Company, located at 40 N 2nd Street, is presenting the electrifying World Premiere of HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES on the F. Otto Haas stage through January 31, 2016. Upon entering the theatre and finding their seats, both adult members of the audience and children seeing this presentation of the Arden Children’s Theatre are mesmerized first by the striking sight of five whirling windmills and second by a stage that appears to be a sheet of ice.  Scenic Designer Davis P. Gordon has done an incredible job of recreating a set of the frozen canals of 19th century Holland, replete with falling snowflakes. Hans Brinker (Brian Ratcliffe) and Gretel Brinker (Lauren Hirte), two poor teenagers who have only hand carved wooden skates, are ridiculed by most of the neighborhood teens until Heidi van Gleck (Ciji Prosser) and Peter van Holp (Matteo Scammell) befriend them. Hans and Gretyl join local boys and  girls as they enter a skating contest to win a pair of silver skates. The race is nerve-racking as first the girls, then the boys skate around the stage, exit, re-enter, and circle again .When skaters change the lead in each lap, the uncertainty has the audience cheering on their favorites. Make sure you see this incomparable world premiere by Laura Eason. Children and adults alike are exhilarated by this astounding production. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at

Friday, December 4, 2015

This Is The Week That Is

1812 Productions is presenting the 10th Anniversary Production of This Is The Week That Is at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Street. The show can be seen through December 31.  Political satire is never funnier than when performed by the 1812 troupe of Aimé Donna Kelly, Dave Jadico, Alex Bechtel, Jennifer Childs, Sean Close and Justin Jain along with head news writer Don Montrey. The evening starts with each actor giving a campaign pledge and asking audience members to give similar pledges to the theatre in envelopes enclosed in their playbills. Hot topics of immigration reform and same sex marriage are only slightly veiled with Star Wars characters such as Chewbacca immigrating and the long awaited marriage of C3P0 and R2D2  celebrated.  Let us not forget the ever-important interview from the lobby, in which an audience member is dragged from his seat to be interviewed. Is it a set up?  I’ve seen this this show for years and can’t be sure.  The audience participant is certainly a good sport  and always seems surprised. Do you have a favorite presidential candidate?  Donald Trump? Ted Cruz? Bernie Sanders?  Hillary Clinton?  Don’t worry. No one has been neglected.  No presidential candidate gets away unscathed.   All are hysterically skewered. This extraordinarily talented cast jokes, sings, plays instruments and most of all, makes you double up with laughter, holding your belly ‘til it hurts. This production is fresh every night; as new events occur, the writers are busy rewriting the next show. Plan to see This Is The Week That Is.  You won’t be disappointed.  For more information or tickets, call 2215-592-9560 or visit online at ..