Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson Charles Dickens & Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord

Brian McCann, Gregory Isaac &
Andrew Criss
What happens when we die?  Scott Carter gives us something to ponder in The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, &  Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord which is being presented at the Lantern Theater, 10th and Ludlow Streets through July 2, 2017. We are given an opportunity to witness Charles Dickens, Thomas Jefferson & Count Leo Tolstoy, each cleverly dressed in clothes of their own time period, enter and subsequently be locked into a single room after their demise. The world’s greatest thinkers try to determine what they have in common that might have caused them to be sealed in the room together. Andrew Criss portrays Count Leo Tolstoy, Gregory Isaac portrays Thomas Jefferson and Brian McCann portrays Charles Dickens as they have a battle of wits.  All three have written a new Gospel but none of them can agree on the wisdom of the other’s content. They dispute the importance of spirit vs., words, vs. reason. There doesn’t appear to be anything all three can agree on beyond the fact that there will be no escape from the room until there is an agreement. After a period of prolonged pacing and pondering, each sits back down and begins a rewrite, the projected images of which appear on the walls behind them. The individual writings appear to lead to collective epiphanies. While this is billed as a new comedy by Scott Carter, the audience does not find much to make them laugh but  certainly finds much to contemplate . For more information or tickets, call 215-829-0395, visit online at www.lanterntheater.org  or visit the Lantern Box Office at 10th and Ludlow Streets

Saturday, June 3, 2017

PIFA 2018

DETAILS FOR 2018 PIFA

Festival To Take Place June 1-10, 2018

The Kimmel Center Recognized as the only U.S.- Based

Member of European Artist Network In Situ

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts announced that the Biannual Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) will take place June 1-10, 2018. Anne Ewers, Kimmel Center’s President & CEO also announced the Kimmel’s exclusive membership in In Situ – a network of European presenters specializing in art in public spaces. The Kimmel Center is the only U.S. member, and its affiliation allows the Kimmel Center to bring unique European performances to Philadelphia.  The centerpiece of PIFA 2018 will be the return of Transe Express, The French performance troupe that PIFA lovers will remember from their amazing spectacle during the 2011 Festival when more than 200,000 visitors packed the Avenue of the Arts to witness the ‘jaw-dropping sensation’ The group will bring the World Premiere of Crystal Palace- a 30-foot human chandelier with more than 50 live performers and dancers. Crystal Palace will be a full, 90 minute performance that artistically recreates the history of dance – from The Waltz and Tango to the Charleston, the Swing and Disco – through air acrobats and integrated dance groups. There is still time to view The People’s Tower In Situ in Dilworth Park. This 88-foot community built cardboard tower will be on display until Sunday at 7:00 p.m. when the community is invited to come tear it down.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey

James Lecesne
Rarely do you hear cries of “Bravo” ring throughout the theater at the end of a performance. Such accolades were cheered for several minutes after James Lecesne finished performing his one-man show at Philadelphia Theatre’s Company’s Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets. There are only a few more days left to see The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelksey which is scheduled to run through June 4, 2017. If you hadn’t planned on catching this production, perhaps, you should change your plans to include seeing it. James Lecesne not only wrote The Absolute Brightness… but also brilliantly depicts the nearly dozen characters in this piece, from a teenaged girl to her beauty-shop mom to the police detective trying to solve the mystery of what happened to Leonard Pelkey.  At once humorous, inciteful, and sometimes sad, the interviews conducted by the detective Lecesne portrays are unbelievably realistic as he does a quick turn and becomes another persona with a different voice, facial expression and mannerism. His performance is mesmerizing. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-985-0420 or visiting www.philatheatreco.org.  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Motown

Chester Gregory as\
Barry Gordy
After a record-breaking run in 2015, Motown the Musical has come back to the Academy of Music for a two-week return engagement through June 11, 2017. Presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization, Motown the Musical enjoyed the best-selling two week engagement in Kimmel Center history during its 2015 run. Judging by the audience’s reaction on the opening night of this engagement, history might very well repeat itself. When groups portraying The 4 Tops and The Temptations performed, the audience applauded. When Jackie Wilson sang and danced, no one sat still in his seat. By the time Chester Gregory began the first of his many solos as Barry Gordy, the audience was screaming. If this show were only the history of Motown, it would be a success, but it is ever so much more. There is political commentary with a nod to historical happenings told in both song and projections.The visual and sound effects give a very convincing portrayal of the race riots that occurred around the  time of Martin Luther King's death. The projections are phenomenal throughout the production. They vary from psychedelic to historic, from harsh to light, from obscuring to enlightening. The cast is brimming with talent; their rich voices and very fancy footwork are a delight to our senses.  If this weren’t enough, there are several times in the show that the audience is encouraged to participate and everyone happily does so. With over 4 dozen songs  in the score, there is something for everyone. This is a feel good  show and everyone leaves the theatre having had a wonderful time. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, visiting www.kimmelcenter.org. or at the Kimmel Center Box Office. Group sales are available for groups of 10 or more and can be purchased by calling 215-790-5883.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

July's Upcoming Events At The Kimmel



The Buddy Holly Story will come to the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater for previews on June 24, 2017 after it has completed its run at the Bucks County Playhouse. Directed by Tony nominee Hunter Foster with choreography by Lorin Latarro, Buddy:The Buddy Holly Story will have its official opening on June 28, 2017 and run through July 9. Virtually the entire cast from the 2016 record-breaking run at the Bucks County Playhouse is scheduled to return for this production. Leading the talent is John Dewey, reprising his role as Buddy Holly. Also returning to the production are Zach Cossman as Jerry Allison; Andrew Frace as Hipockets Duncan; James David Larson as Joe B. Mauldin; Kent M. Lewis as Norman Petty; Brandi Chavonne Massey as Apollo Performer; Elizabeth Nestlerode as Vi Petty; Karack Osborn as “The Big Bopper” Gilbert Sanchez as Ritchie Valens; and Maximilian Sangerman as Tommy Allsupp. They will be joined by newcomer Natalie Ortega who will appear as Buddy’s wife, Maria Elena. The Buddy Holly Story features more than 20 of Holly’s greatest hits.  Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, visiting online at kimmelcenter.org or at the Kimmel Center Box Office.  Group sales for 10 or more can be purchased by calling 215-790-5883.

After a successful 2016 sold-out tour, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, in association with Mills Entertainment, welcomes back Bring It! Live featuring Miss D and her Dancing Dolls. The stars of Lifetime’s hit series will perform hotter-than-ever-.never-before-seen routines with audience participation. Bring It! Live will be in the Merriam for two shows Sunday July 16, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. V IP packages include an add-on photo opportunity with Miss D and the Dolls or a deluxe option, which includes premium seating, a souvenir tour program, and a photo opportunity. Add-on VIP packages can be purchased if accompanied by a valid ticket to the live performance. Tickets are on sale now. More information is available at kimmelcenter.org. 

In honor of the 10 year anniversary of “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” Tim and Eric are hitting the road this summer for a special “10 Year Anniversary Awesome Tour!” Tim and Eric will have a number of new spoofs, riffs, songs and dances. The comedy duo of Tim Heidecker  and Eric Wareheim have developed a distinct and creative style with a bizarre sense of humor. They will perform on Thursday July 20, 2017 at the Merriam Theater. Tickets may be purchased at the Kimmel Center Box Office, at kimmelcenter.org, at AXS.com or by calling 215-893-1999.

Wicked, Broadway’s biggest blockbuster will return to Philadelphia’s Academy of Music on July 25 through August 27, 2017. Tickets for the return engagement are on sale now at www.kimmelcenter.org., at the Kimmel Center Box Office or by calling 215-893-1999. Wicked looks at what happened in Oz from a different angle. It’s the story of a young woman born with green skin who is smart, talented and misunderstood. Winner of over 100 international awards, including a Grammy Award and Three Tony Awards, Wicked  has been performed in over 100 cities in 14 countries around the world.

Saturday NIght Fever

Lauren Dalal &
Fran Prisco
A new iteration of Saturday Night Fever can be seen on the main stage of the Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street, through July 16, 2017. Put on your dancing shoes for this high energy, non-stop disco-action production. Set in Brooklyn, New York, Saturday Night Fever peers into the lives of young adults who find themselves with few things to anchor their lives outside a sense of community and a love of dancing. Fran Prisco, portraying Tony Manero, longing to be a disco king, is a dancer "par excellence". His moves on the dance floor are phenomenal. The large ensemble cast executes their dancing with precision time-and-time again. The male members can not only dance, they sing in beautiful harmonies as well. Several female ensemble members have beautiful solos, most notably Nicole Colón as Annette, Crystal Joy as Candy, and Laurel Dalal as Maria. This extremely talented cast is an excellent vehicle for the Bee Gees’ songs which comprise the mainstay of Saturday Night Fever.  The sixteen songs have almost a dozen quickly changed and very artfully done scene changes. Everything about this production works. For more information or tickets, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787.  Tickets are also available 24/7 by visiting www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Gypsy

Mary Martello as Mama Rose
Philadelphia theater-goers have a relationship with their favorite actors. When one of their own, the iconic, multiple Barrymore Award® winner Mary Martello was announced as the lead in Arden’s  spring production of Gypsy, tickets sales began to  soar and performances began to “sell out”. The Arden Theatre company, located at 40 N. 2nd StreetOlde City, Philadelphia, soon had to announce an extension of the run through June 25, 2017, before the show even opened! Mary Martello does not disappoint. She brings the house down with her very first rendition of “Some People”.   Every musical number thereafter has a wow factor of 10+. Anthony Heald, as Herbie is her perfect foil as they romanticize, "Small World."  Ms. Martello is not alone in doling out outstanding performances. Caroline Dooner, as Louise, emits a beautifully soulful “Little Lamb” and Rachel Camp, as June, belts out a delightful duet with Louise as they harmonize to “If Momma Was Married”.  Alexa Hunt gives an extraordinary performance as Baby June. We let her entertain us as she sings, dances, and splits across the stage. There is no end to show-stopping moments in this production. Maliki Akil’s solo dance routine is breath-taking. Caroline Dooner's portrayal of "Gypsy Rose Lee" is magnificent. The video and sound designs of Jorge Cousineau and lighting of Thom Weaver are Barrymore-worthy. And did I mention Mary Martello? The perfect pitch of each song, the dancing across the stage,and the incredible acting all point to a sixth Barrymore for Ms. Martello. What a performance! What a show!  What a production! Get your tickets while they are still available. Call 215-922-1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org

Sunday, May 21, 2017

PJ Masks Live!

‘PJ MASKS LIVE! TIME TO BE A HERO’

IS COMING TO PHILADELPHIA

SEPTEMBER 22 AND 23, 2017

Entertainment One (eOne) and Round Room Presents are proud to announce that “PJ Masks Live! Time To Be a Hero’, a brand-new fully immersive musical production, will take to the stage at the Kimmel Center’s Merriam Theatre September 22 & 23 2017.  The live show is based on eOne’s top-rated animated TV series, which airs daily on Disney Junior. Catboy, Owlette, Gekko and the Baddies will amuse fans of all ages with live performances featuring world-class production, familiar and original music, acrobatics and immersive interactivity. PJMasks, the hit series follows the thrilling nighttime adventures of three young friends who transform into their 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. 

Show Info:
Dates – September 22 & 23, 2017
Times – September 22- 6:30 p.m. September 23 at 1:00 p.m. & 5:00 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at www.kimmelcenter.org

PIFA Preview Celebration Week


KIMMEL CENTER ANNOUNCES
PIFA PREVIEW CELEBRATION WEEK
WITH COMMUNITY ART PROJECT AT DILWORTH
PARK

THE PEOPLE’S TOWER
MAY 30--JUNE 4, 2017

Community Invited to Help Construct and Tear Down 8-Story Cardboard Tower

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts has announced a PIFA preview celebration week taking place May 30 through June 4, 2017.  The week of activities will celebrate the 2018 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) through free, interactive experiences, a star-studded public art panel, and a spirit of community. Details about the upcoming Festival will be announced at a press conference to be held on June 3 at Dilworth Park.  Serving as the centerpiece of the weekend’s activities, the public is invited to help build The People’s Tower –an 88-foot cardboard structure designed by French artist Olivier Grossetête and inspired by the architecture of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.  This will be the American Premiere of Grossetête’s work, presented in partnership with European artist network In Sutu. Free workshops will be held May 30 – June 2 to create the 1,400 building blocks of cardboard (registration required) and the weekend will conclude with the ceremonial topping of the tower on Sunday, June 4 at 7:00 p.m.
BUILDING BLOCKS WORKSHOP (Registration Required)
Wilma Theatre- June 3- any time between 9:30 am. -  6:00 p.m. The public will help- build the epic, temporary People’s Tower, and watch it soar over Dilworth Park. The People’s Tower will stand overnight and be demolished at 7:00 p.m. the following evening.
ART IN PUBLIC PLACES PANEL DISCUSSION
Kimmel Center’s Hamilton Garden- June 4,   2:00 p.m. A panel of star-studded public artists, place-makers and arts administrators will discuss what it means to discuss art within public spaces. Learn how public art is different from art presented in a traditional theatre.
TOPPLE THE TOWER
Dilworth Park, June 4, 7:00 p.m.  Community is invited to come and topple the tower that was created the previous day.







Thursday, May 18, 2017

Witness For The Prosecution

Keith Baker &
Eleanor Handley
Bristol Riverside Theatre, located at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, Pa, is presenting Agatha Christie’s crime drama Witness For the Prosecution through May 28. This classic work features an ensemble of professional actors alongside Bucks County community members, several of whom have appeared on stage at BRT previously. Kudos to Jason Simms for a mesmerizing scenic design. The chambers of Sir Wilfrid Robarts, Q.C in London are magnificent, befitting a knighted barrister. Even more impressive is the set’s turn-around to become a paneled courtroom. Veteran actor Keith Baker is excellent in his role as Sir Wilfred Roberts, Q.C. Many witnesses appear on the stand. The most outstanding by far is Sharon Alexander, portraying Janet Mackenzie, the housekeeper. To enhance the illusion of a real trial, a sound track is added in the background with voices murmuring after each witness testifies. Eleanor Handley plays a very convincing role as Romaine Vole, the defendant’s wife. Matt Leisy plays Leonard Vole, the prosecuted husband. Watch out for the twists at the end.  There is more than one surprise ending!  This is Agatha Christie at her best and a delightful performance to watch. For more information or tickets, call 215-785-0100 or visit online at brtstage.org. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Happy Birthday

Greg Wood & Jennifer Childs
1812 Productions, Philadelphia’s All-Comedy Theatre Company, is presenting Happy Birthday through May 21 at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place in Center City. Because the troupe produces only comedic works, the audience can expect to find any given performance humorous. Because both Jennifer Childs  and Scott Greer are in the cast, expectations might  be raised even higher. What no one would ever imagine is that 20 years of hilarious comedy could be surpassed by the presentation of one uproarious  British farce. Perhaps  the success lies in the wit of the material written by Marc Camoletti and adapted by Beverly Cross. Possibly it lies in the spot-on direction of Trev Lyford. Conceivably the director and the five actors, who are  married in reality, bring a certain magic to the stage. The cause is of no import. The end result is a smashing success. This is a marvelous  production, certainly one of 1812's best.  You will laugh until you cry as the characters try to sort out cases of mistaken identities and loyalties. Avoid the last minute rush and get your tickets now at (215) 592-9560 or online at www.1812productions.org

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Free Organ Programs

FREE DAY OF ORGAN PROGRAMS

FOR ALL AGES IN

KIMMEL CENTER’S VERIZON HALL

SATURDAY, JUNE 10 FROM 11:00AM - 5:00 PM

Premiere Performance of Works from New Fred J. Cooper Organ Book


The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, in association with the Philadelphia Chapter of the America Guild of Organists  (AGO) presents the 7th Annual Organ Day, a six-hour marathon of FREE organ music performed on The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Day taking place on Saturday, June 10, from 11 a.m.  to 5 p.m. Audiences are invited to see “Fred”, the largest mechanical pipe organ in a concert venue in the United States for any or all portions of the day. This year’s Organ Day will include a special celebration as the premiere  performance of the Fred J. Cooper Organ Book. Under the guidance of Philadelphia’s AGO chapter Dean, David Furniss, five notable Philadelphia area composers were selected to each contribute a brief solo organ piece. There will be various recitals, a performance by Opera Philadelphia, brass and organ pieces, an excerpt from a silent film accompanied by the organ and an opportunity for audience members to lay on the stage and feel the organ’s powerful vibrations.















June Events at the Kimmel



Two-time Tony® Award winner and Broadway legend Chita Rivera will perform at the Merriam Theater  on June 3, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Hosted by Sirius XM RadioStar Seth Rudetsky, Broadway Up Close welcomes Broadway stars to deliver  an evening of song as well as share some of their “behind the scenes” stories. Chita has not only received two Tony® Awards, but eight additional nominations as well. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009.  She received the Kennedy Center Honor in 2002, becoming the first Hispanic to receive the award. In 2015 PBS aired a retrospective special on her life on Great Performances entitled Chita Rivera: A Lot of Living’ To Do.  In November of 2016 Chita headlined at Carnegie Hall. Her current solo CD is entitled And Now I Swing.

Presented in partnership with BRE  Presents, Grammy® Award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Bank (TTB) led by virtuoso guitarist Derek Trucks and guitarist-singer Susan Tedeschi will play a three-night run at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Merriam Theater Thursday, June 8 through Saturday June 10, 2017. Formed in 2010 after Trucks and Tedeschi recorded and performed for years as solo artists, this 12 piece ensemble is a true collective with every musician featured nightly.  The tour follows the recent release of Live from the Fox Oakland.

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and WHYY will host a special live recording of Fresh Air with Terry Gross on Friday, June 9, 2017 at 8:30 p.m. at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. Fresh Air’s longtime host will sit down with comedian and namesake host of Late Night With Seth Meyers for an interview that will be broadcast nationally on Fresh Air the following week.  The evening serves as a special celebration of Fresh Air’s 30th Anniversary and will include a question and answer session with the audience. Terry began her affiliation with Fresh Air in 1975 when the show was only broadcast in Philadelphia. Since May 11, 1987, NPR has carried a daily one-hour national edition of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Terry was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame and most recently was awarded the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by calling (215) 893-1999, visiting online at kimmelcenter.org  or at the Kimmel Center Box Office. Group sales for 10 for more can be purchased at (215) 790-5883.

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts announces a partnership with Guggenheim Fellow and PEW Fellowship recipient Raphael Xavier to present Here & Now Hip Hop Forum, a full day of free programming on Saturday June 10 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. in the SEI Innovation Studio June 10, 2017. The day includes three workshops taught by renowned hip hop instructors and performers, a panel discussion bringing together scholars, artists, choreographers and organizational leaders to discuss the future of the art form and an open jam session. The schedule for the day follows: 
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Street Dance Composition Class- Instructor Teena Marie Custer   12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Funkamentals Class Instructor D. Sabela Grimes  5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The Long Game: Optimizing Opportunities for Dancers and Artists Alike  Panel Discussion Moderation Raphael Xavier   8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. DJ Blaak The Ninth Man  Open jam session open for all in attendance.  Advance registration  is recommended as classes will fill up quickly and will be limited to 25 per class. For reservations, call (215) 893- 1993, visit online at kimmelcenter.org, or at the Kimmel Center Box Office.   

 The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP) returns to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts for its second program of the 2016-17 season entitled  A Night in Havana. The performance will take place in the Perelman Theater on Saturday June 10, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. and will feature music of jazz legends including Dizzy  Gillespie. Special guests will include trumpeter Jon Faddis and pianist  Elio VillaFranca. The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia is a non-profit organization affiliated with Culture Trust Greater Philadelphia. It is dedicated to presenting the highest quality of jazz to the greatest number of people. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (215) 893-1999, visiting online at kimmelcenter.org or at the Kimmel Center Box Office.

Broadway Philadelphia, in collaboration with The Kimmel Center For the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization  presents the 2015 Tony-Award®-winning Best Musical Fun Home at the Forrest Theatre June 13-18, 2017. Robert Petkoff will play Bruce; Susan Moniz will play Helen and Kate Shindle will play Alison. Fun Home  won   five  Tony Awards ® in 2015 and made history as the first show written exclusively by women to  win the theater’s highest awards.   Tony Award®-winning director Sam Gold staged both the Off-Broadway and the Broadway productions of Fun Home, and restaged the national tour. The Grammy nominated Original Broadway Cast Recording of Fun Home is now available on PS Classics, www.psclassicsa.com. Tickets are available online at www. telecharge.com, by phone at 800-447-7400 or at the Forrest Theatre Box Office (1114 Walnut Street) Groups of 15 or more are available  online at www.broadwayinbound.com  or by phone at 866-302-0995.   

Grammy® Award-winning jazz pianist and world renowned singer, Diana Krall,  returns to the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music on Friday, June 23, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. for the first time since 2013 Krall will be performing standards as well as songs from her new album Turn Up the Quiet, where she collaborated with Tommy LiPuma, the late Grammy® Award-winning producer. Her latest album combines the Great American Songbook and her jazz roots. Krall has released a combined 19 gold, platinum and multi-platinum records, earning eight Juno® Awards and five Grammy® Awards. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM EXTENDED

Arden Theatre Company Announces

One-Week Extension for

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

Show now runs through April 15, 2017

The Arden Theatre Company will extend the run of William Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM through April 15, 2017.  The show was originally scheduled to close on Sunday, April 9th. Three 10:00 a.m. student performances and four public performances have been added.  A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM is  Shakespeare’s most beloved comedy, with an enchanted forest and fairies, humans and amateur actors putting on a play. Additional performances  include Tuesday, April 11 – 10 a.m, Wednesday, April 12 – 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Thursday April 13-10 a.m., Friday April 14 – 8 p.m., Saturday April 15 – 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. For tickets, call 215-922-1122, visit www.ardentheatre.org, or walk up at the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.

Jesus Christ Superstar

A fantastic rock opera like no other, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR is being performed at the Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe Street, through April 16, 2017, Told from Judas’s perspective, this 1971 Broadway hit, which has been updated with selfie sticks and remarkable projections, is truly a delight. The amazing stairway, on which cast members, sing, dance and climb up and down, is periodically transformed into clouds, ocean waves, a small fire, and frequently series of words to describe the action or locale The multi-member ensemble is incredible. Bursting with energy, their dance routines are  full of pizazz and their singing, often in the form of repetitive choral chanting has beautiful harmonies and is very effective in moving the story along. Adam Kemmerer (Judas) has a very strong voice as do Darren Ritchie (Pontius Pilate) Steve Steiner (Caiaphas), Robert Farruggia (Annas) and Danny Rutigliano (King Herod)), all of whom have many shows to their credit. Ciji Prosser (Mary Magdalene) has a voice that is so rich it seems to have been heaven sent. It is no exaggeration to say that that the superstar of the show is Patrick H. Dunn who portrays Jesus of Nazareth. His voice is astounding and  his acting is awe-inspiring. For more information or tickets, call 215-785-0100, visit online at brtstage.org or visit the box office at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, Pa.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

You For Me For You

Justin Jain & Bi Jean Ngo
Mia Chung’s You For Me For You is presented by InterAct Theatre Company and will be performed in the Proscenium Theatre at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street, through April 16, 2017. This one-act play is brilliant in both its writing and its staging. Minhee ( Bi Jean Ngo) and Junhee ( Mina Kawahara) are two sisters in a quandary about escaping the horrors that await them in North Korea. The writing is  extraordinarily powerful and poignant. The acting is even more so. To hear Minhee’s torment as she cries out that she is hungry is to feel your own stomach rumble. Liz (Hillary Parker) has the difficult task of being both an American patient and later a nurse that Junhee works with. To demonstrate what the English language might sound like to a foreigner, Ms. Parker has to speak a convincing pidgin  which is barely intelligible, but draws laughs from the audience  When Junhee encounters her later as her nursing supervisor, her English is still broken, but not unintelligible.  The last time that the two meet their conversation is perfectly normal - a very ingenious piece of writing.  This fine ensemble cast is rounded out with outstanding performances by Justin Jain, who plays multiple roles, and Dwayne Thomas who plays a Man from the South. For more information or tickets, call 215-568-8079 or visit online at http://interacttheatre.org or boxoffice@interacttheatre.org. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

May Events at the Kimmel

Lea Michele, best known for her performance as “Rachel Barry” on the critically acclaimed Golden Globe, Grammy and SAG award-winning Fox television series Glee, is kicking off a limited North American tour May 1 at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia. She will reprise her successful Intimate Evening With series with music from her upcoming album, ‘Places’. Lea debuted her first album, ‘Louder’, in March of 2014; it was  no. 1 on itunes and in the top 5 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums. Tickets are on sale now at KimmelCenter.org, 215-893-1999 and at the Kimmel Center box office.  Every pair of tickets purchased online for Lea Michele’s tour includes a copy of her forthcoming album 'Places'. Visit www.leamichelemusic.com for all details. 
Jomama Jones will make her Kimmel Center debut in Black Light at the SEI Innovation Studio, Thursday May 4-6, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.  The show was developed as part of the Kimmel Center’s Theatre Residency program in partnership with Joe’s Pub at The Public. Portrayed by the versatile Daniel Alexander Jones,  Jomama will sing original songs from her album Flowering as well as brand new compositions. Accompanied by an exciting band, vocalists and some special guests, Jomama will explore those signs found in the darkest parts of the night. Daniel Alexander Jones is an accomplished actor, singer and creator of performance art.  His alter-ego Jomama Jones returned to the stage in 2010 following a 15 year hiatus. This is a designated BYOB performance, with a limit of one six-pack of beer and/or one 750 ml bottle of wine per two patrons.

Emmy and Tony Award®-winning actor Hal Holbrook brings his one-man play Mark Twain Tonight! to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts' Merriam Theater for one night only on Thursday May 4, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. Now 92 years old, Holbrook has performed Mark Twain Tonight! more than 2,200 times over 62 years, adjusting the material to stay relevant and topical. Holbrook portrays Mark Twin by reciting excerpts from many works from his career, including favorites like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Hal Holbrook first received critical acclaim for Mark Twain Tonight! in 1954 after developing the show while in college. He won a Tony Award® for his portrayal of Twain in 1966. Mark Twain Tonight! was revived in 1977 and 2005 and continued to tour around the country with Holbrook reciting from his repertoire of over fifteen hours of memorized Twain material.

Following a sold-out show at Carnegie Hall as part of the New York Comedy Festival, his appearance on ‘Joe Swanberg’s acclaimed series Easy, and the announcement of his role on the forthcoming Netflix original GLOW, Marc Maron adds new dates to his current run of THE TOO REAL TOUR including a stop in Philadelphia at the Merriam Theater on Friday, May 12th. Tickets are currently on sale at Kimmelcenter.org, AEGLive.com and the Kimmel Center box office. Maron is best known for his podcast WTF with Marc Maron which averages over 6.5 million downloads on itunes each month. Marc has interviewed such people as President Barack Obama, Julia Louise Dreyfus, Jeff Goldblum and Keith Richards. His new show will include meditations on his family, his cats, relationships, music, the media, grocery stores, fashion and our current political climate.

The staged production of Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage – will play the Kimmel Center’s Merriam Theater May 16-21 2017. The production is part of Broadway Philadelphia, presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization. Christopher Tierney of Broadway’s Spiderman will star as Johnny Castle alongside Bronwyn Reed as Frances “Baby” Houseman. The 26 member company will be belting out 36 numbers of live music and performing sensational dancing accompanied by an eight piece live band on stage.

Philadelphia native and University of Arts alumnus Norman Mackenzie will return to the Kimmel Center for a solo performance on the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in Verizon Hall on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. A music  collaborator, conductor and renowned concert organist, Mackenzie made his first appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of 12 and then again as an organist at the age of 20. He has been Director of Chorus for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra since 2000.  During his tenure with them he has made numerous tours and received several Grammy Awards®, including Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance.
 
International Irish superstar Daniel O’Donnell celebrates the release of his new CD/DVD Back Home Again at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Academy of Music on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. O’Donnell has been featured in 12 PBS specials and has charted at least one new album every year since 1988, becoming the first artist in the history of the UK Artist Album Chart to do so. He has received various Lifetime Achievement and Entertainer of the Year Awards including an honorary MBE from Queen Elizabeth and is involved in philanthropic charitable causes.

Motown the Musical marked the best-selling two week engagement in Kimmel Center history during its 2015 run. Producers Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris, Motown Founder Berry Gordy and Broadway Philadelphia announce the return engagement of Motown the Musical for a two week engagement May 30 - June 11, 2017 at the Academy of Music, presented collaboratively by The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization. Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, Motown the Musical is the true American dream story of Motown founder Barry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye among others.



Friday, March 24, 2017

Coriolanus

Tina Packer &Mary Lee Bednarek
The Lantern Theater Company, located at 10th and Ludlow Streets, next to St. Stephens Church, is presenting William Shakespeare’s Coriolanus through April 16th, 2017. One of Shakespeare’s lesser-known works, this production of Coriolanus is so well done that it should be required viewing for all theater-goers, Shakespeare fans and non-devotées alike. Scenic designer Meghan Jones and lighting designer Drew Billiau have designed an intricate set that surrounds the audience.  Actors, always on the move, are backlit as they move from one arena to the next.  Robert Lyons, an accomplished Shakespearean actor, is outstanding as Coriolanus, the superb warrior and patrician who has little empathy for the common man that elects him to counsel. Tina Packer is brilliant as his mother Volumnia. The depth of anguish she portrays seems to emanate from her toes and ebb throughout her body. In addition to the war scenes, there are several hand-to-hand battles. Fight director J. Alex Cordaro has choreographed the most outstanding combat sequences ever to hit the stage. Shakespeare was thinking of class unrest in England when he wrote this piece about class distinctions in the newly formed Republic near Ancient Rome. Keeping in mind the similarity of the polarization of the poor and rich in our society today, this production has war scenes taking place with contemporary weapons. The Lantern continues to uphold its tradition of producing incomparable Shakespearean productions. For more information or tickets, call 215-829-0495, visit online at www.lanterntheater.org, or visit the box office at 10th and Ludlow Streets, Philadelphia. Pa.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Importance of Being Earnest

Daniel Fredrick,Jake Blouch,
Alanna J. Smith & Lauren Sowa
Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is appearing on Walnut Street’s mainstage through April 30. Calling the settings of the first-act Victorian London flat and second-act Manor House garden magnificent may sound like a hyperbole, but when the curtain arose at the beginning of each act, the audience applauded wildly in appreciation. The audience is fully invested throughout the production. Oscar Wilde’s best known piece, this is a farce of epic proportions and the humor is not lost on the audience. Philadelphia favorites Mary Martello, Jake Blouch, and Ellie Mooney join the rest of the very talented ensemble cast to tell Oscar Wilde’s very funny tale of identity crisis and the powers of true love, albeit with a twist thrown in for good measure. Alanna J. Smith is excellent as the simpering Cecily Cardew, "Uncle Jack's" ward. Daniel Fredrick is every-so-silly as he pretends to be Earnest, "Uncle Jack's" brother while trying to woo Cecily. The Importance of Being Earnest may be a 19th Century piece of outrageousness, but it “holds up” today. Audiences appreciate the latest iteration as much as audiences did when the production was introduced in London in 1895. Don’t be left out.  For tickets or more information, call 215-574-3550, 800-892-2787, visit online at www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Broadway Philadelphia 2017-18 Season

THE KIMMEL CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

AND THE SHUBERT ORGANIZATION PRESENT

BROADWAY PHILADELPHIA

2017-2018 BROADWAY PHILADELPHIA SEASON SHOWCASES

12 BLOCKBUSTER PRODUCTIONS WITH A COMBINED
31 TONY AWARD®WINS

 HAMILTON
ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2018-2019 SEASON

The upcoming season features productions with a combined 31 Tony Awards® and 18 Drama Desk Awards.  In addition, seven brand-new national touring shows will be making their Philadelphia premieres. Subscribers will not only receive priority access to the best seats for the 2017-18 season, but they will also be the first to access tickets when Hamilton arrives in Philadelphia during the following season when they renew their subscription for the 2018-19 season. Season ticket packages for the 2017-18 season are now on sale. The seven productions making their Philadelphia premieres include: Finding Neverland, Waitress, Something Rotten, School of Rock, On your Feet and Disney’s Aladdin. Returning favorites include Kinky Boots, The Color Purple, The Phantom of the Opera, STOMP, Les Miserables, and The Sound of Music.  In order to gain priority access to tickets for Hamilton’s Philadelphia run during Broadway Philadelphia’s 2018-19 Season, patrons must subscribe for the 2017-18 season and renew their tickets for the 2018-19 season. Tickets are available online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway17-18 or by calling 215-893-1955.  Group sales are available for groups of 10 or more and can be purchased by calling (215)790-5883 or 866-276-2947, visiting online at kimmelcenter.com/groupsales or telecharge.com/groups. Single tickets for individual productions will go on sale at a later date.

Lashed but Not Leashed

Martha Graham Cracker
The SEI Innovation Studio in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is presenting its 5th World Premiere through March 18, 2017. Dito Van Reigersberg created LASHED BUT NOT LEASHED for his alter-ego, Martha Graham Cracker with collaboration from songwriters and performers Vince Fererici, Eliza Hardy Jones and David Sweeny. Once everyone  is comfortably seated in the intimate setting of the Innovation Studio, Martha Graham Cracker glides up to the stage in a modest skirt and vest, claiming that she has had it with show business and is on her way to study in the library. Shortly after her announcement to this effect, she receives a “special delivery” from the library - flat shoes  to demark her new life.  Members of the audience groan as she takes off her spiked heels, pleading with her not to change her shoes, but after the shoes change, so do her movements, both on stage and off. Once in flat shoes, this “tallest drag queen in the world” can really move. She even bounces off the stage to make moves on some of the men in the audience. She is joined on the stage by back-up singers Eliza Hardy Jones and David Sweeny, very talented in their own right, and a talented three piece band. Martha Graham Cracker is a consummate entertainer and the audience loves her. In a coquettish manner she admits that she has written all the songs herself. Many are filled with innuendo and the audience roars. The songs are entertaining and varied, from slow ballads to catchy, jovial tunes. Many audience members groove right along to the upbeat rhythms. The performance is more than a plethora of original music. It is filled with quotes (attributed to their source) and quips (attributed to herself…”I wrote that!”) and a myriad of laughter from the audience.The performances are BYOB (limited to a bottle of wine or six-pack per two people) so grab yours and contact www.kimmelcenter.org to see if there are any tickets available for the remaining performances.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Evil Dead The Musical

Roxanne Daneman
Dominion Stage, Theatre on the Run in Arlington, VA is presenting Evil Dead: The Musical through March 25. It is  obvious  that the young ten-member ensemble cast has fun performing this high camp production which  is deliberately outrageous for humorous effect…and it works! Five friends plan to spend a weekend in the woods when the youngest of them gets attacked by trees in the forest. No sooner does she escape and head back to the cabin then she becomes a zombie, and an evil one at that. Colleen Robinson portrays Cheryl, the first demon, and proves to be a very good comedic actor. Nick Stone portrays Ash, the only member of the cast who is not turned into a demon but he is not Mr. goody-two-shoes.  He repeatedly tries to kills the demons with a gun or hacksaw as they become infected by each other, but to no avail. ( You can’t kill someone who is already dead). “Blood” frequently squirts into the audience.  To be fair, audience members are warned about the “splash zone” and asked to wear ponchos. Nick is on the stage for almost the entire production and presents himself very well. Roxanne Daneman portrays Linda, his love interest.  She has, far-and-away the strongest voice on the stage.  Whether singing a duet with Ash or in a group, the quality of her voice is wonderful to hear. She also makes a hysterical zombie head when her body is running around and her head is left on the table next to the chainsaw to make outragous faces.  There are some dance routines in the production as well, and Bonita Adams, who portrays Shelly, shines as an accomplished dancer. This show is not to be taken too seriously, but it is very funny and a joy to watch.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Art of Protest

      
                                                 &

                        The Kimmel Center

    ANNOUNCE NEW "ART OF THE PROTEST" SERIES


The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and Mural Arts Philadelphia will co-produce “The Art of the Protest" which will include a panel discussion and free sign-making workshops, exploring how artists and members of the public express themselves in times of political change. The Art of the Protest panel discussion will take place on March 21 and will feature artists and advocates who have been active participants in the current political climate. Artists Olek, Michelle Angela Ortiz and Liza Goodell will share their thoughts and experiences on how art plays a role in protest. The panel will be moderated by Drexel Professor Julie Hawkins and the event will be co-hosted by Conrad Benner of Streets Department and Young Involved Philadelphia. Seating is limited and tickets are required ($15). The panel discussion will take place between 6:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m. in Hamilton Garden in the Kimmel Center (300 S. Broad St) The Art of Protest sign-making workshops will be held in the SEI Innovation Studio and are FREE. On Friday, March 24, 2017, Signs of Solidarity artists Sheldon Abba and Bruno Guerreiro will lead the workshop from 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.  On Saturday. April 8, 2017 Signs of Solidarity artist Martha Rich will lead the workshop from 2:00 p.m.– 4:00 p.m. and on Monday, May 1, 2017, Signs of Solidarity artist Alloyius McIlwaine will conduct the workshop from 6:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m.  Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. Popular mural tours  offer a first-hand glimpse into the inspiring stories behind Mural Arts’ unparalleled  collection, which has earned Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the “City of Murals”. For more information, call 215-685-0750 or visit muralarts.org. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

TORUK- The First Flight

Tipani Clan of Pandora
TORUK- The First Flight, inspired by James Cameron’s movie AVATAR, is presented at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia through March 12, with an additional performance added on Friday, March 10 at 3:30 pm. With 20 scenes of spectacular imagery, this Cirque du Soleil presentation is unlike any of the 36 productions that have preceded it. Although most Cirque du Soleil creations have a theme, this phenomenal performance not only has a theme but an actual story-line as well.  The narrator tells the story throughout the piece and members of the tribe “speak” to each other in a language one can only interpret if not fully understand. In addition, the audience has an opportunity to participate by downloading an app and following directions during specific portions of the show. In order to save their “Tree of Souls” two young members of the Omatikaya clan must collect amulets from each of the five clans of Pandora as well as capture TORUK, the flying monster. Thus goes the storyline of TORUK- The First Flight. This production is so much more than the storyline. The athleticism of the troupe members is astounding. Each of the Na’vi acrobats do similar feats in their respective clans, but with unique apparatus, ranging from ropes, sticks, ribbons, a skeletal fulcrum and scarves on wires. Projections are unbelievably realistic as waterfalls appear to the flood the stage not once but twice and “wipe out” climbers and acrobats on the rocks. The audience gasps as three Na’vi paddle out in a canoe and travel in a circular path around the stage only to climb out and settle on some rocks.  Fire later seems to demolish everything in its path. At times, the audience is immersed in a star-lit sky as twinkling lights surround them 360 degrees. Colors are incredibly brilliant, almost iridescent, against a darkened set. This phenomenal production has one special effect after another; lava flows, an earthquake shakes and swarming wood sprites sprinkle the night sky. It is a feast for the eyes and a balm for the soul as the young Na’vi who fails his first rite of passage saves the entire world of Pandora. Please don’t waste another minute. For more information or tickets for this spectacular show, visit http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/toruk.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sh_theads

Harry Watermeirer &
Charlotte Northeast
Akuka Theatre, performing plays in the Proscenium Theatre of the Drake, 315 S. Hicks Street, is presenting  the world premiere of  Sh_theads through March 12, 2017. The ensemble cast of Akeem Davis, Charlotte Northeast, Harry Watermeier, and David Pica bring a lot of passion to their roles. Akeem, portraying Brandon and Charlotte, portraying Izzy, have “grown up” in the bike shop. Biking is a way of life  for them and sales and repair aren’t just jobs; it’s their passion as evidenced by their performances. Harry Watermeier portrays Bandon, a college-student newbie. His performance is convincing as someone who initially seems out of place  but adapts to the bike shop environment as the seasons pass. David Pica rounds out the cast as Spider, a frequent habitué of the bike shop. Laugh lines are sprinkled throughout the play, but on the whole, the story is a bleak one; workers struggling to keep a business afloat against the odds of a more modern and updated shop across the street. Set Designer Apollo Mark Weaver, in partnership with Fairmount Bicycles, has done an excellent job of creating a down-and-out bike shop. For  reservations or information about Azuka’s “pay-what-you-decide” program, call 215-563-1100 or visit online at azukatheatre.org.