Saturday, January 28, 2017

Driving Miss Daisy

Lucy Martin & Marvin Bell
This heartwarming, if somewhat disturbing one act drama, Driving Miss Daisy, is appearing at Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol Pa, through February 12. Set designer Charles Morgan and Projections designer Stivo Aronczy have created a brilliant background for this tale of the strong bond of friendship and interdependence which develops between Daisy Werthan, (Lucy Martin) and her chauffeur Hoke Colburn (Marvin Bell). After Daisy totals a brand-new car, her son Boolie (Michael Samuel Kaplan) decides that no insurance company will insure her; thus he hires Hoke to drive his mother wherever she wants to go.  The fiercely independent Daisy initially resists, but Hoke doesn’t go away and she finally relents. As the play progresses and the two learn about each other’s lives, the projections on the screen above and around them detail scenes from current events and headlines from the daily news. Troubles erupt for Jews and blacks alike and are almost mirror images. As excellent as the acting is (and the performances are incredible as the actors age and mature over a 25 year time span), the sound designer Amy Altadonna deserves special mention for the outstanding effects that are put into this piece. For more information or tickets for this wonderful production, call 215-785-0100, visit online at, or walk up to the box office at Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe Street.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Upcoming Events in March at the Kimmel

The first-ever live tour of the hit Nickelodeon show Paw Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue”, coming to the Merriam theater on March 3-5, 2017, is presented by the Kimmel Center for the Preforming Arts in association with VStar Entertainment. Based on the hit animated TV series on Nickelodeon that airs weekdays at 12:p.m., Paw Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue" brings the pups to the stage for an action-packed, high energy, musical adventure. These favorite characters teach children to use teamwork to solve everyday problems. Children of all ages learn lessons about citizenship, social skills and problem solving as the characters use their unique skills.

World-renowned vocal trio IL Volo will have a one night only performance of Une Notte Magica- A Tribute to Three Tenors at Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. The three young Italian tenors, Piero Barone, Ignazio Boshetto and Gianluca Ginoble will provide a night of music that fuses classical and pop influences with traditional Italian, Spanish and English songs complemented by a full orchestra. The trio has won numerous awards and returns to America following their time at #1 on the Billboard Classical chart. 

Drumline Live's World Tour is bringing a brand new production to the Merriam Theater March 9-10, 2017.  Drumline Live exemplifies the soulful, high-stepping style of the Historically Black College and University HBCU marching band experience with rhythms, beats and high energy all set to classic music and top 40 hits. Drumline Live is an international tour with content based on HBCU marching band tradition, incorporating original composition and soul-infused interpretations of today’s top songs.

Shaping Sound, America’s hottest dance company will perform a new show entitled After the Curtain at the Kimmel Center’s Merriam Theater on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Founded in 2012 by Emmy Award winning choreographer Travis Wall, the company is a collaboration of diverse artists who describe themselves as “visual musicians.” After the Curtain is the second show for this dance company. Travis Wall will be dancing in the show and will be joined in various cities by Kyle Robinson and Nick Lazzarini.

Philadelphia’s favorite Drag Queen, Martha Graham Cracker, is returning to the Kimmel Center’s SEI Innovation Studio in a brand new musical Lashed but Not Leashed. Martha Graham Cracker is Dito van Reigersberg’s alter ego and will perform March 16-18. The musical was written for and stars Martha Graham Cracker where she belts out a bevy of original and eccentric songs. Directed by Joanna Settle, the show is a collaboration between van Reigersberg and David Sweeny, Vince Federici and Eliza Hardy Jones. Dito van Reigersberg is an alumnus of the Kimmel Center’s Theater Residency Program which annually invites world-class performing artists to join their program to create new works.

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in partnership with Sun and Sky Entertainment, welcomes back 16-year old piano prodigy and philanthropist Ethan Bortnick to the Perelman Theater on Friday March 17 at 8:00 p.m. Recognized by Guinness World Record as “The World’s Youngest Solo Musician to Headline His Own Concert Tour.” Ethan raised more than $40 million for charity. Ethan’s performance will include a performance from cover artists, great classical artists, and original works.

Joey Alexander, the world’s youngest Grammy nominee makes his Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts debut at the Perelman Theater March 18-19, 2017. He will perform music from his recording debut album My Favorite Things and his upcoming album, Countdown. Fresh off his performances at the GRAMMY Awards and ABC’s CMA Country Christmas Special, Alexander will appear with his Trio for these performances, a group that has performed in major festivals and well-known venues across the United States and all over the world. His 2015 debut album My Favorite Things won two Grammy nominations for “Best Jazz Instrumental Album and “Best Improvised Solo.”

Tony® and Emmy Award®-winning comedian, actor, producer, writer and director, Billy Crystal, has added two shows to his Spend the Night with Billy Crystal Tour. It will be in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center on March 20 and 21. A stand-up comic turned television star, Crystal hosted the Academy Awards nine times, starred in movies, such as “When Harry Met Sally”, and has written best-selling books.

The 2016-17 Broadway Philadelphia Season, presented in collaboration between the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and The Shubert Organization continues with the national tour of the Lincoln Center Theater Production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s The King & I, which will play at the Academy of Music March 22-April 2, 2017. The King and I won four 2015 Tony Awards® including Best Revival of a Musical. The creative team has many awards to their credit as well.

tenThing, the internationally acclaimed Norwegian brass ensemble, makes its Kimmel Center debut in a program that combines original works for brass with pieces that feature Verizon Hall’s Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ. The program, which takes place on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 8:00 p.m., will feature the 10 member all-female group alongside organist Jeffrey Brillhart, to perform non-traditional and original works. Formed in 2007 by Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth, tenThing is rapidly establishing itself on the international music scene.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Laughter on the 23rd Floor

Frank Ferrante
Laughter occurs not just on the 23rd floor but throughout the audience of Walnut Street Theatre’s mainstage as it presents Laughter on the 23rd Floor through March 5. An outstanding ensemble cast headed by Frank Ferrrante as Max Prince and Philadelphia favorites Anthony Lawton as Brian and Scott Greer as Ira, has everyone in stitches with Neil Simon’s comic one-line-ers, slapstick, and physical comedy. The cast does not rely on the written word alone to captivate. Much of the humor comes from exaggerated facial expressions and impeccable timing. Scott Greer’s sketch of the hypochondriacal Ira having a stroke which is resolved with gas has the audience nearly falling out of their seats. Dave Raphaely as Lucas does a very clever mirroring act with Ferrante’s Max Prince.  Lucas acts as the narrator of the piece, informing all what life is like on the 23rd floor, based on Neil Simon’s experiences when he was a writer for Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows. The show was a humorous variety show on TV in the fifties and this brief glimpse of Laughter on the 23rd Floor lets us know why the show was so entertaining. This isn’t just a witty production.  It’s an inside look at The Writer’s Room where all the writers are hilarious. Your sides might hurt from rib-tickling laughter, but you'll leave the theatre with a smile on your face. For tickets or more information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787.  Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting  or Ticketmaster. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Informed Consent

Lindsay Smiling, Kittson O'Neil &
Samantha Bowling
Lantern Theater Company, located at 10th and Ludlow Streets in St. Stephen’s Church Theater, is presenting multi-award winning playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Informed Consent through February 12, 2017. Based on true events, Laufer’s drama begins with a high energy cast against a high tech projection background. Kittson O’Neill portrays Jillian, a genetic anthropologist who is charged with determining the cause of the high incidence of diabetes in a remote Indian village at the base of the Grand Canyon. With her life on the line, and possibly her daughter’s, due to a genetic glitch, Jillian has no time for protocol or respect for the tribal members. Her frenetic performance as a self-serving scientist who “only wants to help” is both dynamic and disturbing. Trying to rein her in is Ken, portrayed by Justin Jain, the social anthropologist who recommends her for the diabetes study. Samantha Bowling gives a commanding performance as Arella, the spokesperson for the Havasupai tribe.  Through her we learn that the tribe’s oral history, passed down through the ages, tells of their beginnings at the base of the Grand Canyon. When Jillian discovers migratory patterns that establish the tribe has once lived elsewhere, mass devastation ensues. Lindsay Smiling and Maria Konstantinidis round out this remarkable ensemble cast. Most cast members play several roles and the projections change to denote a change in mood or venue. Characters move across the stage at a feverish pace and sometimes yell out a narration as they are passing through. This insightful production that pits knowledge and modern technology against sacred human values is both fast-paced and thought-provoking. Make plans to see it while seats are still available. For more information or tickets, call 215-829-0395, visit online at or visit the box office at 10th & Ludlow Streets, Philadelphia, Pa.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Black History Month at the Kimmel




The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts celebrates the heritage, accomplishments and culture of African-Americans in February by shining a spotlight on some of these creative accomplishments. Black History comes to life on the Kimmel Center Campus in February. The world renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater kicks things off with performances on February 3-4, featuring Hope Boykin’s r-Evolution, Dream, inspired by speeches and sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the three-part work Untitled America about the impact of the prison system on African American families. In addition, audiences will experience Ailey’s master work, Revelations, dance movements to traditional African American spirituals now seen in 70 countries. On February 8, 2017 there is a STUDENT EVENT which must be booked by an educator. In a matinee performance, Philadanco features a tribute to jazz icons Prince and Earth, Wind and Fire, with choreography by Tally Beatty. A  Q & A session will follow the program.  To register, please email or call 215-790-5896.  Brazil’s premiere folkloric dance company Balé Folcórico da Bahía is bringing Carnival to Philadelphia on February 17th. This 38-member troupe of dancers, singers and musicians perform “Bahían” dances of African origin including samba, slave dances,and capoeira- a form of martial arts designed to look like dance that was once performed by enslaved Africans. There will also be two free community Carnival events. On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 12:00 p.m. there will be free capoeira dance lessons in Hamilton Garden led by Philadelphia based dance company Project Capoeira, a Philadelphia non-profit.  On Friday, February 17, 2017, 6:00 p.m. the entire community is invited to “Carnival at the Kimmel Center,” a free dance party that will parade down Broad Street to The Merriam Theater in time for the 7:30 p.m. performance of Balé Folclórico da Bahía. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Carla Belver, Kevin Meehan
& Nancy Boykin
The Arden Theatre Company, located at 40 N. 2nd Street, is presenting The Philadelphia Premiere of John by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker through February 26, 2017 on its Arcadia stage. This three act play, set in a B & B in Gettysburg, Pa., explores relationships between people, inanimate objects and silence. B & B proprietor Mertis Katherine Graven …You can call me Kitty… (Nancy Boykin) is the linchpin of the drama. Ever-so gently interacting with her guests without seeming to pry into their affairs; she offers hospitality, advice and a willing ear. Ms. Boykin demonstrates both perseverance and patience as she caters to her blind friend Genevieve (Carla Belver) and cares for an ailing husband who is never seen on-stage. Elias (Kevin Meehan) and Jenny (Jing Xu) are guests at the establishment. Elias has a strong bond with the Civil War and Jenny has a strong bond with a childhood doll, a replica of which is in the B & B. Can they maintain a strong relationship between themselves and not engage in a civil war of their own? This is one of many questions which must be answered while watching John. The four-member ensemble cast is excellent.  For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122, visit, or walk-up at the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street.

Monday, January 9, 2017

New Partnership





The partnership of the Bucks County Playhouse and Kimmel Center will debut this summer with a restaging of the popular Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story which will run first at the Bucks County Playhouse from May 27 through June 17 and then at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater. The official opening at the Kimmel Center will be on June 28 and the show will run through July 9.  Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is one of the most popular rock musicals in history and marks the beginning of a cultural exchange between the two established organizations. It features more than 20 of Buddy Holly’s greatest hits, including “That’ll Be The Day” and “Peggy Sue.” The production is led by director Tony nominee Hunter Foster and choreographer Lorin Latarro. Tickets for the Bucks County Playhouse performances are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 215-862-2121, visiting online at, or the Bucks County Playhouse Box Office. Tickets for the Kimmel Center performances will go on sale on January 23, 2017.  These tickets can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, visiting online at 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. Leadership from both organizations are in talks about programs that can reach new audiences  through shared presentations.  More information can be found at