Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Color Purple

Carla R. Stewart & Adrianna Hicks
The North American Tour of the Tony Award-winning revival of The Color Purple has returned to Philadelphia as part of Broadway Philadelphia, presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and The Shubert Organization.  It has an interesting minimalistic set comprised of chairs hanging on wooden columns at the back of the stage of the Forrest Theater and steps around the other sides of the stage. Three incomparable women from the 2016 Broadway revival lead the touring company- Adrianna Hicks as Celie, Carla R. Stewart as Shug Avery and Carrie Compere as Sofia. All three have exceptional talent and each has marvelous stage presence. but Adrianna Hicks steals the show in the second act when she finds “her voice” and the audience roars its appreciation. Gavin Gregory does a first-rate job of portraying the “Mister” you’ll love to hate as he abuses Celie, his 14 year old “ugly wife”. There is a dazzling three-woman chorus who appear intermittently, simultaneously singing, gossiping and chattering away. There are many delightful musical numbers with beautiful harmonies throughout the performance. One of the most effective numbers in the entire musical, however, is the rendition of “Hell No!” led by Carrie Compere as Sofia. It is a great motivation to spur the audience to chime in and chant “Hell No” as well, decrying situations where women allow themselves to be victims of abuse. This phenomenal production of The Color Purple runs evenings through Sunday, December 17, 2017, with additional matinee  performances  both Saturday and Sunday. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Peter Pan

Jo Vito Ramirez & Emilie Krause
The Arden’s Children Theater is presenting a fresh and original version of Peter Pan on its F. Otto Haas Stage through January 21, 2018. A very talented 4-member ensemble cast, playing multiple roles, joins Emilie Krause as Wendy and Jo Vito Ramirez as Peter Pan on an amazing journey from a campground to Neverland and back. Lighting Designer Thom Weaver’s brilliant use of lighting has everyone in an uproar as Peter and his shadow are re-connected after Wendy ”sews” it onto his feet. Children and adults alike are filled with wonder as Tinkerbell flits from Peter to one of the lost boys and back again, all the while whispering in Peter’s ear. Tinkerbell’s speech is provided by the violin engagingly played by ensemble member Eliana Fabiyi. The timing of Tinkerbells’ flight is “spot on” and is accompanied by many “ooos” and “ahhs” in the audience.” This is not your ho-hum Neverland. There are ropes to climb; tunnels to conquer, and a Captain Hook who is deathly afraid of a ticking crocodile. Spoiler alert. There IS a crocodile!  This is a fabulous show with a time-honored story in a brand new setting. Children of all ages are going to love it. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Kimmel Events in January

The immensely popular Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE, based on the #1 PBS KIDS TV series, has delighted live audiences on stages across the country for three years. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE: King For A Day! will be at the Merriam Theater Friday, January 5, 2018 and Saturday and January 6, 2018. Daniel and all of his friends invite people of all ages to enjoy a brand new adventure in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe where Daniel learns what it takes to be King. The characters come alive on stage with new songs, teaching valuable lessons about kindness, helping others and being a friend. 

Les Misérables, part of Broadway Philadelphia’s 2017-18 season, presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization, will return to Philadelphia for a two-week engagement January 9-21 at the Academy of Music on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables, the story of broken dreams, unrequited love, sacrifice and redemption, is still the world’s most popular musical, breaking box office records world-wide in its 32nd year. It has been seen by more than 130 million people in 44 countries. 

Comedic genius Paula Poundstone will make her Kimmel Center debut at the Merriam Theater on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. Ms. Poundstone has recently released her new book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, She is known for her sharp spontaneous wit and smart observational humor and can be heard regularly on NPR’s #1 show, the weekly comedy news quiz “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me!”    Paula Poundstone won an American Comedy Award for Best Female Stand-up Comic and has released three performance CD’s. On July 8, 2017, she launched her own weekly podcast - Live from the Poundstone Institute. The podcast is produced in association with NPR station KPCC and is distributed by NPR. 

Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars will bring the sounds of Cuba to the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus’ Merriam Theater on January 12, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. A unique orchestra, devoted to promoting the complete story of Cuban music, it incorporates the full spectrum of Latin dance music including salsa, mambo, cha-cha, bolero, and rumba. Beginning in the 1990’s the group has had several European tours.  The Afro-Cuban All Stars have been the subject of several documentaries and have received four Grammy® nominations. Over time, they have incorporated younger performers into the band and the musicians now range in age from 13 to 81.

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in association with Live Nation welcomes neuroscientist, philosopher, and five-time New York Times best-selling author Sam Harris to the Merriam Theater on Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. Harris will discuss topical and thought-provoking subjects during a live recording of his 2017 Webby Award-winning podcast Waking Up.  Harris’ writings and lectures cover a wide range of topics but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live. Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA. 
  
The exceptionally funny The Second City improv troupe returns to the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater for performances on Friday, January 19, 2018 and Saturday, January 20, 2018, Their new show, Look Both Ways Before Talking will feature The Second City’s signature improv comedy, audience interaction, and original of-the-moment sketches and songs. The Second City has launched careers of generations of the brightest and funniest comics. Alumni include Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray. The company now has training centers in Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles as well as four international touring companies.

Philadelphia rocker David Sweeny creates fun for the whole family with The Johnny Shortcake Show in the SEI Innovation Studio on Saturday, January 27, 2018 and Sunday, 28, 2018. This family-friendly performance is a dance party featuring songs for the young and old alike with original music. Themed around celebrating silliness, the show features soul music for children, teaches important life lessons and is like a big disco party. Johnny Shortcake is the captivating kid-centric personality of David Sweeny, who made a name for himself in the Philadelphia music and arts scene under his other persona – Johnny Showcase. This is a designated BBYO performance.

Philadelphia’s favorite radio DJ, Jerry Blavat, is back for his annual star-studded performance in Verizon Hall, Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. entitled Disco, Soul, and Doo Wop. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts partners with Jerry Blavat every season for a variety show featuring special guests and beloved tunes. Attendees are invited to the Commonwealth Plaza for cocktails and dancing before and after every performance. This year’s show will feature performances by Philly’s Blue Magic; The Intruders; Ray Goodman & Brown; The Moments; The Clovers; Norman Fox & The Rob Roys; Eddie Holman; The Vogues; a special tribute to Jackie Wilson by his son, Bobby Wilson; and more.

International tango superstar German Cornejo and his world-renowned dance troupe, The Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires will return to the Merriam theater in Tango Fire on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. Choreographer and tango star German Cornejo will be joined by his senuous and passionate partner Gisela Galeassi. An amazing cast will join them, featuring World Champion Tango champions and dancing greats from tango houses in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Conceived in 2005, Tango Fire premiered in Singapore and then toured extensively.







Saturday, November 18, 2017

Annie

Paul Schoeffler &
Tahlia Ellie
The charming musical Annie is appearing on Walnut Street Theatre’s mainstage through January 7th. Due to the children’s ages, all of the orphans are double cast including Annie. I saw Tahlia Ellie in the title role and she is proving to be an outstanding Annie. Her voice is phenomenal and her poise on the stage is equally remarkable. I imagine that Jenna Seasholtz’s performance as Annie is equally stellar. Tahlia is not the only star of this performance. Ellie Biron, making her theatrical debut as young Molly, makes a huge impression on the audience. The entire orphan ensemble brought down the house with their rendition of “You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile.” Mary Martello leaves her mark on every stage she graces.  As Mrs. Hannigan, the mean and nasty head of the orphanage, she is the character you love to hate. With great aplomb she keeps her charges in line with a whistle as she imagines herself dancing off “to easy street”. There are multiple set changes that take place very seamlessly and fantastic special effects for lighting both in Oliver Warbucks' mansion and in President Roosevelt’s cabinet meeting. Annie is a feel-good musical that is perfect for children of all ages.  This production is exquisitely done and will leave a smile on your face long after you have left the theater.  For more information or tickets, call 215-574-3555 or visit online at www.walnutstreettheatre.org

Friday, November 17, 2017

Every Brilliant Thing

Scott Greer
Scott Greer kicks off the inaugural production in the Bob and Selma Horan Studio Theatre at the Hamilton Family Arts Center, 62 N. 2nd Street with Every Brilliant Thing and he does so brilliantly. In the small intimate theatre in the round (square, actually), Scott speaks to each audience member before the show begins and asks if they’d mind reading a word or two from an index card when their number is called. Who can say "no" to Scott Greer ? Audience members are given cards and Scott begins his tale from the viewpoint of a 7 year old who has learned that his mom is in the hospital and is very sad. To alleviate her sadness he decides to make a list of all the brilliant things there are in the world wanting to give her hope. Scott calls out a number and an audience member who has that number on his card must read the word on it. As he gets older, his persona alternately puts the list away and takes it out to add to it. The first word on the list is ice cream; the audience member with card #1 is called on numerous times to say his word. The show is not just about reading words on a list.  Scott is ingenious and has the audience laughing throughout the performance. He enjoins audience members to become characters in his narrative and has an outstanding rapport with each of them as well as the rest of the audience who are completely engaged in each account he puts forth. This is a delightful engagement. Every Brilliant Thing is performed by a truly brilliant Scott Greer. For more tickets or information, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at www.ardentheatre.org

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Craftsman

 Ian Merrill Peakes, Dan Hodge
Paul L.Nolan & Anthony Lawton
Any time a new work by playwright Bruce Graham hits the Philadelphia stage, it’s time to head for the theater, and Lantern Theater Company’s presentation of the world premiere of The Craftsman is no exception. When Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon commissioned Bruce Graham to write a play under the auspices of the company’s New Works Initiative, the story of World War II Dutch art dealer Han van Meegeren became the basis of the phenomenal fictionalized drama that Graham has produced. Anthony Lawton is a craftsman in the truest sense. In Act I, he aptly portrays the wealthy, smug, brash art dealer accused of selling Vermeer’s, considered national treasures, to the Nazis. In Act II he demonstrates that he is also an artist with considerable talent, defying noted art critic Abraham Bredius, portrayed by Paul L. Nolan.  Ian Merril Peakes portrays a long-suffering Dutch leader of the resistance who hates the opulent van Meegeren for becoming rich while dealing with the Nazis. Graham does not portray one dimensional characters. The Craftsman is a fascinating mélange of character studies that reflect the after-effects of World War II in Amsterdam and the six-member ensemble cast does an excellent job of fleshing out each individual. Bruce Graham’s latest work is a brilliant portrayal of the damage that hate can do to the psyche, the high value that we place on art in our culture, and the lengths a person might go to fulfill an innate craving for recognition. The Craftsman will be playing at the Lantern Theater, 10th and Ludlow Streets, until December 10, 2017. For more information or tickets, call 215-820-0395, visit online at www. lanterntheater.org or visit the box office in person.                         

Sunday, November 5, 2017

December Events at the Kimmel

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, in association with Live Nation, welcomes John Mulaney to the Academy of Music on Friday, December 1, 2017 and Saturday December 2, 2017. Best-known for his work on Saturday Night Live, Mulaney’s much anticipated new tour Kid Gorgeous reached capacity, causing a second and third performance to be added. Mulaney recently starred in the Broadway hit, Oh Hello  and released his third stand-up special, a Netflix original entitled The Comeback Kid.


The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia returns to the Perelman Theater on the Cultural Kimmel Center Campus Saturday, December 2, at 8:00 p.m. The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia led by Terell Stafford and joined by special guest pianist Orrin Evans and Eric Reed will celebrate the music of renowned jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk in Monk’s Dream. Stafford is also the Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at the Boyer College of Music at Temple University. The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting the highest quality of jazz to the greatest number of people.

The National will be appearing in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center on December 4th. Their appearance will be part of a world tour in support of their 7th studio album, Sleep Well Beast. The album was recorded in Hudson Valley, New York; Berlin; Paris and Los Angeles. They are debuting their track “The System Only dreams in Total Darkness,” which was released in a Cases Reas-directed video.

American Gospel Singer Lady Tremaine Hawkins will be honored at the Philadelphia holiday tradition, A Soulful Christmas, in Verizon Hall on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. This event returns for its fifth year with a communal gathering of regional singers performing holiday spiritual, gospel and classic favorites. This year’s performance will also feature special guest Marvin Mills on the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ. Lady Tremaine Hawkins was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1999. Audiences will be invited to sing along with some of the songs during the concert. There will also be performances from the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale Youth Choir, Philadelphia A.M.E Mass Choir, Citywide Praise Dance Collaborative and several others.

The North American Tour of the Tony Award-winning revival of The Color Purple returns to Philadelphia December 12-17, 2017 as part of Broadway Philadelphia, presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization. The Color Purple is the tale of 40 years in the life of a family in rural Georgia. It celebrates the healing power of love and the importance of a zest for life. Cast members from the 2016 Broadway revival lead the touring company. The Color Purple won two 2016 Tony Awards and the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album


Kimmel Center’s resident dance company PHILADANCO will perform its fall program at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Perelman Theater December 15-17, 2017. H_I_S_T_O_R_Y will feature Walking with Pearl about historic choreographer and dancer Pearl Primus; the world premiere of Pieces of My Heart, choreographed by Sonia Hawkins and a piece performed by special guest artist and Kennedy Center Honors Award winner, Carmen de Lavallade. The Philadelphia Dance Company presents the highest quality of professional dance  performance and improves the skills of emerging and professional dancers and choreographers. PHILADANCO is celebrated across the nation and around the world for its innovation, creativity and preservation of predominately African-American traditions in dance

Brian Reed, co-creator and host of ground-breaking podcast S-Town, will appear at the Merriam Theater on Sunday, December 17 at 7:00 p.m. In An Evening with Brian Reed:Creating S-Town: A New Way to Tell a Story,  Reed will give fans an opportunity to hear how this podcast was created.  He will let his audience know how this innovative podcast was created and how he and his collaborators developed an entirely innovative type of storytelling. S-Town recently reached a new industry high with downloads of 16 million within the first week. Reed spent more than three years collating content for S-Town which has won critical acclaim for elevating audio storytelling into the realm of great literary works.

STOMP, the international percussion sensation, will be returning to the Merriam Theater from Tuesday, December 26 through Sunday, December 31, 2017. STOMP, which started as a group of street performers 25 years ago in the UK, has performed in more than 50 countries and has received numerous prestigious awards worldwide. Playing to enthusiastic audiences and rave reviews, Stomp creates rhythmic sounds from everyday household and industrial objects including brooms, hubcaps, radiators and shopping carts as they dance their way across the stage. Eight zippo lighters create a mesmerizing light and sound show. STOMP creates an exciting journey through sound.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Finding Neverland & TD Book Drive

Billy Harrington & Tom Hewitt
The Kimmel Center and Finding Neverland
Broadway Philadelphia Tour
Partner with TD Bank for Citywide Book Drive

PROCEED BENEFIT PHILADELPHIA READS AND THE
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA


The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts will be partnering with TD Bank  for a city-wide book drive to benefit Philadelphia Reads and the School District of Philadelphia.  Finding Neverland will make its Philadelphia debut at the Academy of Music from November 21-November 26 and the book drive will be taking place across four center city TD Bank locations until November 26. The public is encouraged to participate by donating new or gently used books. Those who participate will receive a 10% discount ticket code for Finding Neverland’s run. The story of Finding Neverland follows the relationship  between playwright J.M.Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. For more information, visit www.kimmelcenter.org.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Touchtones

Alex Keiper & Michael Doherty
The Arden Theatre, located at 40 N. 2nd Street in Olde City is presenting the premiere of Touchtones, a collaboration by Michael Hollinger and Robert Maggio. This edgy musical will appear on the Arcadia stage through December 3, 2017. When the promise of chastity made as 17 year old teens wears a little thin, two people in a five-year relationship find different ways to cope. The first act of Touchtones serves as a setup for Act 2. While there are some clever musical numbers in the first act and the audience is introduced to all of the characters and the rotating sets, there is neither enough humor nor drama.  Act 2 is musically incredible. Alex Kieper (Christine, Kathy, Dalila) performs some strong solos and the ensemble has some challenging refrains. Additionally Act 2 is knock-your-socks-off funny. In a room where the reality of chastity and the fantasy of role play meet, Michael Doherty (Justin, Zane) is the perfect straight man. Come see Touchtones and let April Ortiz, Darick Pead, Joilet F. Harris, Kevin R. Free and Jessa Conda give you a hysterical sneak peek at the fantasy behind phone sex. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Buyer & Cellar

Dito van Reigersberg
An evening of non-stop laughter can be found in… (Who knew?)... the mall in Barbra Streisand’s basement. 1812 Productions, located at Plays and & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, is presenting  Jonathan Tolin’s Buyer & Cellar through October 29. Dito van Reigersberg stars in this one-man one-act comedy and he is superb. He chats to the audience, has conversations with his boyfriend, with Barbra’s housekeeper, and with Barbra herself among others. His sense of comic timing is exceptional. If a laugh is not immediately forthcoming, he will wait for it with a tilt of the head or the slightest raise of an eyebrow and the audience roars. If you are not a season ticket holder, you might want to check out this very funny play and extremely talented performer. Discover why Barbra hired this unemployed actor and how he becomes the premiere seller in the cellar. For more information or tickets, call 215-592-9560 or visit www.1812productions.org.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Cabaret

Charissa Hogeland

The F. Otto Haas Stage of the Arden Theatre, located at 40 N. 2nd Street, Olde City, had been magnificently transformed into a two-level Cabaret through October 22, 2017. Blink and you are transported to the lavish  gay night life of decadent 1929 –30 Berlin. The Kit Kat Club  comes to life before the show even starts as actors interact with audience members. The very talented and flamboyant emcee John Jarboe  makes dramatic entrances and perches on the laps of smiling audience members. His articulation in the fast-paced “Money"  defies description. The choreography throughout the show is excellent.  The timing is superb  with the dancers' many minute steps and movements working like clockwork. It is even more impressive to note that in some of the numbers not all of the dancers are women dressed in the stockings and heels. The staging has a wow factor of ten!  Cabaret tables are set up on the floor near the stage with phones on each. The emcee comes up and down the aisles and sometimes starts to sing  from the back of the theatre. Charissa  Hogeland,  with her commanding voice as Sally Bowles, sings on the main floor of the Kit Kat club or on the balcony.  She not only can sing a seductive melody, but can also belt out cries of anguish. Mary Elizabeth Scallen’s performance as Fräulein Schneider.is exceptional. Her renditions of  “So What?” and “What Would You Do?” are rendered with as much emotion through her eyes as through her voice. Kenny Morris as Herr Shulz is her perfect foil. The show ends with great drama and emotion…  a fitting ending to a phenomenal work of art. For more information or tickets,  call 215-922-1122 or visit online at www.ardentheatre.org

November Events at the Kimmel

Following a hugely successful two-and-a-half year revival on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera begins its North American tour with a remarkable new production. It will return to Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music for a 12-day engagement beginning Wednesday, November 1 through Sunday, November 12. With newly reinvented staging this new version of Phantom is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this one of the largest productions on tour in North America. The Phantom of the Opera tells the tale of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House and terrorizes all who come in contact with him.  He falls in love with a young soprano and devotes himself to turning her into a star.

Progressive rock icons King Crimson have announced a two-night visit to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Merriam Theater on November 2 and 3, 2017. King Crimson was officially formed in 1969 in London and came to prominence after supporting the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park. The current 8-piece line-up, the ninth iteration of King Crimson,  has been touring since 2014, honoring the band’s strong reputation with three albums and sold-out shows across the globe.


The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, in association with Live Nation, welcomes back Nick Offerman to the Kimmel Center’s Merriam Theater on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. for his new solo comedy show Full Bush. Nick excels in many areas. He is the star of hit    television series and films, author of New York Times best sellers and a passionate woodworker. He got his start in the Chicago theater community where he was the founding member of the Defiant Theatre. In his spare time, he can be found at his workshop in Los Angeles building hand-crafted items ranging from fine furniture to canoes to ukuleles.

Alton Brown takes recommendations for top Philadelphia eating spots during his “Eat Your Science” tour at the Kimmel Center, November 5, 2017. Television personality, author and Food Network star Alton Brown launched his #ABRoad Eats initiative to discover culinary treasures and connect them with millions of followers while Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science tours the country, stopping at the Kimmel Center on Sunday November 5, 2017. Fans in Philadelphia can submit recommendations for local coffee houses, breakfast spots, lunch joints and late night spots on his website, Facebook, and Twitter using #ABRoadEatsPhilly. Everyone is encouraged to take to social media to recommend their favorite eatery. Brown will tabulate votes each day and make picks from the submissions. “I do not eat a bite of food that does not come from the hashtag,” he says. After his visit, Alton posts photos or videos and write-ups on his social media platforms. Brown created a new form of entertainment – the live culinary variety show with his “Edible Inevitable Tour. “which played in over 100 cities. The Eat Your Science Tour has  sold    more than 200,000 tickets in over 80 cities.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will appear at the Academy of Music on Wednesday November 15, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. as he embarks on a multi-city tour to promote his new book, Promise Me Dad: A Year of Hope. All Price Level One VIP tickets will include a meet and greet and photo opportunity. Joseph Biden served as the 47th Vice President of the United States alongside President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. Beginning his career as an attorney and becoming a member of the senate in 1972 he became the sixth youngest senator in U.S. history. He is now a professor at the Penn Biden Center for diplomacy, foreign policy and national security as the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice professor at the University of Pennsylvania. His new memoir, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, available November 14th, focuses on Biden’s life, including his time in office and the recent loss of his son, Beau Biden.

Critically acclaimed electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling is releasing her first ever holiday album entitled Warmer in the Winter. Lindsey will tour in support of her album and will appear at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Academy of Music stage on Thursday, November 16, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. Lindsey Stirling is one of the biggest artist breakthrough stories in recent years.  An acclaimed violinist from Gilbert, Arizona, she has entered a futuristic world of electronic big beats and animation. She has almost 10 million YouTube subscribers, over 1.9 billion views on her YouTube channel, 2 Billboard Music Awards and sold out tours world-wide. She’s created a world where modern classical meets the infectious energy of dance and electronica.  On stage, Stirling moves with the grace of a ballerina then works the crowd into a  frenzy.

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and Sirius Radio Presents  welcome The Brian Seltzer Orchestra’s  14th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour to the Academy of Music, Friday November 17, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. The orchestra will perform seasonal hits from their Christmas-themed albums including Boogie-Woogie Christmas, Dig that Crazy Christmas, and Rockin’ Rudolph. Brian Seltzer’s 19 piece orchestra has sold over 13 million records since 1994. Seltzer received the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement award for his celebrated career and iconic line of Gretsch guitars. A replica of one of them was donated to the Smithsonian institute’s collection.

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in association with Live Nation is presenting Mike Birbiglia at the Merriam Theater on Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.  Mike Birbiglia is a comedian and storyteller who has performed in front of audiences worldwide, from the Sydney Opera House to Carnegie Hall. His most recent shows, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and Thank God for Jokes were both filmed for Netflix.  His book, Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories was a New York Times best seller and a finalist for the Thurber Prize For American Humor. Birbiglia has also appeared in films and on several TV series. 

The new show Brain Candy Live! starring Adam Savage, editor–in-chief of Tested.com and Michael Stevens, creator of the award-winning YouTube channel “Vsauce” will appear at the Academy of Music on Sunday, November 19, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. They will unleash their collective  sense of fun, wonder and curiosity with the audience and deliver an explosive batch of magical Brain Candy to every mind in the audience. They are inviting everyone to join in and get their minds messy.


American rock band Dream Theater will appear at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Merriam Theater on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. as part of their “Images, Words, & Beyond 25 Anniversary Tour.” Music from the album will be played in its entirety as well as a few of Dream Theater’s latest tunes and some of their rare material.




The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts  presents Finding Neverland  at the Academy of Music on Tuesday November 21 through Sunday, November 26, 2017.  The story follows the relationship between playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up  It is packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs, and plenty of laughs. It is a timeless story about the power of imagination and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up. It is produced by Weinstein Live Entertainment and NETworks Presentations.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is touring 8 cities this fall to discuss her new memoir, What Happened. She will be in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Academy of Music on November 30, 2017.  Secretary Clinton will bring a highly personal perspective on what happened during the election and what’s next. What you will see is her story of resilience, how to get back up after a loss and how we can all look ahead. Hillary discusses her experiences as a woman in politics and other topics in a way that she has never done before.











Sunday, September 24, 2017

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Bristol Riverside Theatre, located at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, Pa, is presenting the  multiple Tony Award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee  through October 15. With 6 quirky tweens vying for the top prize of $200, a trophy, bragging rights and self-esteem,  4 other audience members are added as last minute additions. It’s not always easy to discern how much they have been coached.  The show has a few basic themes which it reiterates throughout: “The best spellers don’t necessarily win.” along with “Winning isn’t everything and losing doesn’t make you a loser.” To prove the point, a 'comfort officer' is on stage to walk the losing contestants off stage and offer them a box of juice as he consoles them on their loss. The very talented ensemble cast sings their way through 18 numbers in a 95 minute performance, with several of them demonstrating strong solo voices. All have quite a litany of theatre  works to their credit and hopefully we can look forward to seeing each cast member in many more shows in our region. For more information or tickets, call 215 785-0100 or visit online at brtstage.org. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

Mary Martello & Scott Greer
Walnut Street Theatre, located at 825 Walnut Street, is presenting the Tony Award winning musical A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum through October  22nd.  A Funny Thing…  premiered 55 years ago and some of its jokes are a little dated; however, there is still an abundant amount of material  to appeal to anyone in the audience. As the opening number so aptly states, “something for everyone, a comedy tonight.” Those who enjoy physical comedy will not be disappointed and it’s almost impossible to keep track of the number of times there are instances of mistaken identity. Those who enjoy seeing beautiful women will delight in the parade of courtesans as they try to win a potential client’s favor.(Surprise. They are not just pretty faces.  They can all sing as well!) The set is simple which allows the audience to concentrate on the characters and their whimsy. The ensemble cast reads like a who’s who of Philadelphia actors. Each and every one plays his  part to the hilt but it is Scott Greer who steals the show as Hysterium, slave to Senex (Ron Wisniski) and Domina (Mary Martello). Greer is a one-man comedy show and his expressions are priceless. For more information or tickets, call (215) 574-3550 or visit www.walnutstreettheatre.org or ticketmaster.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Red Velvet

Ensemble cast of  Red Velvet 
The Philadelphia Premiere of Lolita Chakrabarti’s  Red Velvet will be presented by the Lantern Theater Company, 10th and Ludlow Streets, through October 8, 2017. It is based on a true story of 19th century actor Ira Aldridge, who made history playing the first African American actor  to portray Othello in 1833 London. Riots on the streets protesting the Slavery Abolition Act mirrored the critic’s reviews of Ira Aldridge’s performance. The show closed after two nights. Although he went on to become a very successful actor throughout Europe and Russia, Ira Aldridge never again acted on the London stage  Red Velvet begins with a young Polish reporter asking an aging Aldridge why he never returned to Covent Gardens. The play is so skillfully written and the production so skillfully staged that the audience almost forgets that they are watching a flashback. Scene changes are  done  in an instant with a flick of a curtain. The sound and lighting effects are first-rate. Although the subject matter is serious, there are many humorous moments. The ensemble cast is outstanding and Forrest McClendon lets us feel every ounce of Ira Aldridge’s rage upon learning that the show is closing after two performances. Lantern Theater Company is well known for producing good theater. This production is not only good; it is exceptional. For more information or tickets, call (215) 829-0395 or visit www.lanterntheater.org.               
            
                          

Sunday, September 3, 2017

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

TO TOUR NORTH AMERICA


Philadelphia is one of 8 cities that have been announced in Hillary Clinton’s fall tour of North America. The tour is produced by Innovation Arts and Entertainment . Hillary Clinton will appear at The Academy of Music on Thursday, November 30, 2017 to discuss her new memoir, What Happened. Hillary Clinton takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president in an election marked by rage, sexism, stranger than fiction twists, Russian interference and an opponent who broke all the rules. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age and appearance and the double standard confronting women in politics. She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on our democracy by a foreign adversary and why Americans need to understand these forces to protect our future. Visit www.HillaryClintonBookTour.com to register and receive an invitation along with a password to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public on September 18.

September & October at the Kimmel



For the first time ever, Philadelphians will have a chance to experience the real estate experts Drew and Jonathon Scott, creators and hosts of the top-rated Property Brothers TV series. .Drew and Jonathon will offer fans an uncensored look into their lives during this one-of-a-kind show featuring audience participation, entrepreneurial do’s and don’ts , behind the scenes bloopers and plenty of laughs. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, in partnership with HGTV Presents, welcomes The Scott Brother’s House Party to the Merriam Theater on Wednesday September 6, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. For years the Scott Brothers have won over the hearts of millions with their sibling rivalry, humor and remarkable ability to transform ordinary houses into extraordinary dream homes.

Great news for PJ Masks Fans! PJ Masks Live! Time To Be A Hero! will be appearing at the Merriam Theatre September 22 & 23, 2017. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in partnership with Entertainment One (eOne) and Round Room Presents are proud to announce PJ Masks Live! Time to Be a Hero! The brand-new, fully immersive musical production, starring the heroic trio from the beloved series PJ Masks, will take the stage at the Merriam Theater from September 22-23 2017, The live show is  based on eOne’s top-rated animated TV series which airs daily on Disney Junior. PJ Masks, the hit series, follows the nighttime adventures of three young friends who transform into their dynamic alter egos, Catboy, Owlette and Gekko when they put on their pajamas at night and activate their animal amulets. Together they embark on action-packed capers, solving mysteries and learning valuable lessons along the way. Shows are on September 22, 2017 at 6:30 PM and September 23, 2017 at 1:00 PM & 5:00 P.M.


The legendary rock band YES, after a 25 year hiatus, is kicking off a global tour with a stop in Philadelphia. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, in association with BRE Presents & LME is proud to announce that the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees will appear on the Verizon Hall stage on October 1, at 7:30 PM. Founded by Jon Anderson in London in 1968, the band has undergone various member formations throughout its history, featuring 19 musicians in all.  In 1983, guitarist Trevor Rabin joined the band bringing forth a more commercial musical orientation, resulting in the highest-selling album to date. Rick Wakeman joined the band in 1997. YES has sold 13.million albums. This past April it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Back by popular demand, Kinky Boots returns to Philadelphia at the Academy of Music on Tuesday, October 3 and runs through Sunday, October 8, 2017. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots has won every major Best Musical Award. Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentleman’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son.  With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.

After more than 60 years in the music business, Herbie Hancock continues to amaze audiences. Fourteen-time Grammy ®Award winner and Academy Award ®winner, Hancock returns to Verizon Hall on Wednesday,October 4, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. to dazzle audiences with his timeless music. He began his career at eleven, shocking audiences as he performed a Mozart piece with the Chicago Symphony orchestra. In high school, he perfected jazz. He then joined the Miles Davis Quintet at age 23. Hancock has recorded over 50 albums . Last year he was awarded  the Lifetime Achievement Grammy® Award for his distinguished career. 

The Kimmel Center, in association with Live Nation, welcomes back comedian, television and movie star Kevin James to the Merriam Theater on Saturday night, October 7, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. for a one night only event that is sure to be full of laughs. Kevin James is currently the star and executive producer of the  sitcom Kevin Can Wait  for Sony Television and CBS. which premiered in September 2016. James began his career as a stand-up comic and then developed his own sitcom, King of Queens, which ran for 9 years on CBS. James was the producer, co-writer and star of several hit comedies, among them Mall Cop 1 & 2, Zookeeper and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. 

Grammy ®Award winning soprano Renée Fleming is making her debut solo recital in Verizon Hall on Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Fleming was a host of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series broadcast in theatres nationwide and PBS’ Live at Lincoln Center. She was also awarded the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2013. A graduate of Julliard, Renée Fleming is celebrated both nationally and internationally. She appeared at the Beijing Olympic Games, at the Brandenburg Gate and at Buckingham Palace. Winner of four Grammy Awards, she is also the recipient of the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal. 

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts welcomes back the famed humorist, writer for The New Yorker and NPR  contributor, David Sedaris for one night only at the Academy of Music on October 16, 2017, at 8:00 p.m.  An Evening With David Sedaris will include the speaker’s satirical observations, in-depth stories, a Q & A session with the audience, as well as a book signing.  In addition to his numerous books, Sedaris has penned pieces for The New Yorker for over two decades.


The Kimmel Center, in partnership with Team Never Quits and Mills Entertainment, presents The Patriot Tour featuring retired  Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, Taya Kyle, retired U.S. Army Capt. Chad Fleming and retired Navy SEAL David Goggins at the Merriam Theater on Friday, October 20, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.. This evening will highlight the incredible stories of perseverance of four remarkable patriots who have had their lives profoundly changed by their service and their sacrifice. Featured speaker Marcus Luttrell is the recipient of the Navy Cross for combat heroism and  founder of the Lone Survivor Foundation Taya Kyle is the author of the The New York Times best-selling book American Wife, Executive Director of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation and the wife of the late U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Chris Kyle. Captain Fleming has been deployed overseas six times with the U.S. Army’s elite 75th Ranger Regiment in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was wounded in combat three times and has undergone 23 surgeries. Chief Petty Officer David Goggins is a former Navy Seal and is the only member of the U.S, armed forces to have completed  SEAL training, U.S. Army Ranger School, and Air Force tactical air controller training. He is now considered to be one of the greatest endurance athletes in the country.

Grammy® and Latin Grammy® Award-winning singer Lisa Downs will appear at the Merriam Theater on Sunday, October 22, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. following the release of her latest album Salón Lágrimas y DeseoDowns’ album bridges a variety of genres as she blends sounds she learned during her upbringing in the American Midwest and Mexico. Her music  mixes jazz, hip-hop, blues and folk with South American and Mexican roots. Her lyrics focus on the human condition and the fights of many for civil liberties. Downs’ cross cultural success and human rights work has made her a voice for people everywhere.

2017 AFROPUNK BATTLE OF THE BANDS WINNER & Kimmel Center Theater Resident Alum Courtnee Roze Presents The Culture in SEI INNOVATION STUDIO October 26-28,2017. She will be performing the music she created in Philadelphia during her Kimmel Center Theater Residency. Roze is a percussionist, lyricist, writer and bandleader based out of New York. She will take audiences on a musical journey through her life, highlighting various influences that have inspired her sound - hitting on issues such as racism and love. The Culture will not only feature a diverse musical soundtrack but will also include non-traditional vocal patterns, dance and tactical staging. These will be designated BYO performances. Acceptable forms  of BYO are a 6-pack of beer or a 750ml bottle of wine per two patrons. No corkscrews or rolling coolers permitted.  Ice, cups and corking services are available at no costs. 

Five-time Grammy Award winner Michael McDonald brings his new album and greatest hits to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, along with special guest Marc Cohn. Wide Open is his first new studio album since 2008 and his first original material in more than 17 years. Presented in association with BRE Presents, Michael McDonald and Marc Cohn will appear on October 27, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. at the Merriam Theater. Michael McDonald’s musical career began  in the 1970’s  when he joined the Doobie Brothers. He was largely responsible for evolving the group’s boogie rock sound into a combination of jazz and soul. After multiple award-winning songs with The Doobie Brothers, McDonald moved on to a solo career. He recently co-founded a record label and is touring along with other artists. Marc Cohn has a distinctive soulful croon. He is best known for his Grammy Award-wining hit “Walking in Memphis.”

Appreciated around the world  for his concerts, famous sound tracks and record career, Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi will have a one night only performance at the Merriam Theater on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. His performance will integrate an array of musical genres as well as songs from his latest album Elements. A native of Turin Italy, Ludovico Einaudi was introduced to the piano at an early age by his mother. He graduated as a composer from the Conservatorio Verdi in Milan. Called “a classical artist for the YouTube age” Einaudi has composed music for some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Tickets for all above mentioned performances are on sale now. They can be purchased by calling 215-893-1993, visiting online at kimmelcenter.org. or visiting the Kimmel Center Box Office. Group sales for groups of 10 or more can be purchased by calling 215-790-5883.