Individual Show tickets for the Walnut Street Theatre’s 2018 -19 Season will go on sale to the public online on August 12. Patrons will be able to purchase tickets to any of the Walnut’s mainstage shows - Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors, The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time and Legally Blonde: The Musical. The Box office will open on Monday August 13 for in-person ticket sales. Based on the classic film, Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn features many of Berlin’s standard hits along with laugh-out-loud comedy and dance numbers. The show runs from September 4 - October 21, 2018. The holiday season will be ushered in with Matilda The Musical, winner of over 85 international awards, including 16 for Best Musical. Filled with high energy dance and catchy songs, Roald Dahl’s Matilda proves that despite the odds, you can do anything you set your mind to. This show will run from November 6, 2018 – January 6, 2019. The next show is Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors. When your basic ingredients are one hotel suite. two wives, three girlfriends, four tenors and stadium of screaming fans, there is plenty of room for error, leading to uproarious comedy. The show will run from January 15, 2019 – March 3, 2019. The season will continue with Tony and Oliver Award Winning Best Play The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time. After the untimely death of a neighbor’s dog, the brilliant but unique boy is compelled to investigate the crime. The audience is given an opportunity to see the world through Christopher’s eyes as he embarks on his extraordinary journey. The show can be seen from March 12, 2019 – April 28, 2019. The final mainstage production will be Legally Blonde: The Musical. Based on the smash hit movie, Legally Blonde: The Musical follows the transformation of Ellie Woods from a Southern Cal sorority girl to a Harvard law student, all on her own terms. It will appear on the mainstage from May 14, 2019 – July 14, 2019.
Thursday, August 2, 2018
New York-based dance company and America’s Got Talent finalist iLuminate will present three family-friendly performances on the Kimmel Cultural Campus at the Merriam Theater on September 21 and September 22, 2018. iLuminate was formed in 2009 by Miral Kotb who brought together her passion for dance and software engineering. The patented technology enables performers, choreographers, engineers, technicians, stylists and artistic directors to produce explosive performances with customized wireless lighting programs. The shows focus on stories of adventure and romance expressed through a variety of dance styles and illusions. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. on September 21. On September 22 there will be a matinee performance at 2 p.m. followed by an evening performance at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, visiting online at www.kimmelcenter.org. or visiting the Kimmel Center Box Office. For group sales of 10 or more, call 215-790-5883.
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, in association with Live Nation, welcomes back Hasan Minhaj to the Kimmel Canter’s Merriam Theater on Sunday, September 23, 2018. The popular comedian was the host of the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. His new show, entitled Hasan Minhaj: Before the Storm, tackles the political climate with razor-sharp wit and his signature story-telling style. This fall, Minhaj will become the first Indian-American to host his own weekly comedy show for Netflix that has been picked up for 32 episodes. Earlier this year, Minhaj won a Peabody Award for his critically acclaimed special Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King. Due to a high demand for tickets, there will be two shows on September 23 – one at 7:00 p.m. and one at 10:00 p.m. No cellphones, cameras or recording devices will be allowed at this show. Upon arrival, all phones and smart watches will be secured in a Yondr pouch that will be unlocked at the end of the show. Guests are encouraged to print their tickets in advance to ensure a smooth entry process.
The Kimmel Canter for the Performing Arts, in association with Larry Magid Entertainment, welcomes back acclaimed artist and activist Joan Baez as she embarks on her final North American tour. Following 50 UK and European dates, Ms. Baez’s Fare Thee Well Tour is her final formal North American tour. It includes a stop at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall on September 26, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. As a special offer to fans purchasing tickets, a CD or digital download of her forthcoming album, Whistle Down the Wind, is included with every ticket purchased. This new music marks the first release from Baez since the 2008’s Grammy® nominated album, Day After Tomorrow. Baez’ musical influence has been incalculable. Likewise, she has been in the forefront of public causes. She marched with Martin Luther King Jr. on the front line of the civil rights movement, shined a spotlight on the Free Speech Movement, organized resistance to the Vietnam War, stood with Nelson Mandela, and to this day continues to stand passionately on behalf of causes that she embraces.
Friday, June 15, 2018
|Isabelle McCalla & Clinton Greenspan|
Disney Theatrical Productions and Broadway Philadelphia are presenting Aladdin through Sunday, July 1 at the Academy of Music. How many superlatives are too many? Six-time Tony-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz is responsible for lights changing on the curtains during the overture causing the appearance of a variety of magnificent Arabian tapestries hanging from the ceiling. There are many examples of her talent throughout, but never more so than the phenominal lighting in the big production number, "Friend. Like Me." Later she can be credited for the gorgeous moonlit sky that serves as a backdrop for a breathless magic carpet ride. Seven-time Tony winning scenic designer Bob Crowley designed the extraordinary sets. My nine year old granddaughter was captivated by buildings that Aladdin climbs. The hanging tapestries in the marketplace are spectacular and lend an air of authenticity to the set. The cave that Aladdin enters is indescribably lavish and exquisite. Two-time Tony winning costume designer Gregg Barnes designed the multitude of costumes that are worn throughout the show. The use of colors and fluidity of design that enhances the dancing of the ensemble members is brilliant. The vocal arrangements are also exceptional, thanks to music director Michael Kosarin. Aladdin (Clinton Greenspan) and Jasmine (Isabelle McCalla) have lovely voices on their own but it is when their voices blend together in arranged duets that something magical truly happens. The Genie (Michael James Scott) is a gem. He takes command of the role as if it were written solely for him. He can sing, dance, and speak three times faster than anyone else on stage. There is no weak spot in this production. Aladdin’s friends Omar (Philippe Arroyo) Kassim (Jed Feder) and Babbak (Zack Bencal) all sing and dance very admirably in their routines. The ensemble is excellent, dancing a variety a styles including tap and soft shoe. The singing is first rate. For more information, visit AladdinTheMusical.com/tour.Facebook.com/Aladdin and Twitter.com/Aladdin. Bring your children, bring your parents, bring your spouse or best friend. There is no age limit set to enjoy this marvelous production.
Monday, June 4, 2018
|Karen Peakes & Jessica Bedford|
The Lantern Theater Company, located in St Stephen’s Church, 10th and Ludlow Streets, is presenting the Philadelphia Premiere of Don’t Dress for Dinner through June 24, 2018. This absolutely uproarious French farce will have you doubled over with laughter as soon as the production begins and the side splitting humor continues until the end of the second act. The six member ensemble cast utters their double entendres (sometimes unknowingly) without batting an eye. When Jacqueline (Karen Peakes) learns that her husband Bernard has invited his best friend Robert (Mark LeVasseur) for the weekend, she cancels plans to visit her mother. When Bernard (William Zileinski) learns of this, he utters “Oh good Oh God Oh good“ for he had been planning a weekend with his mistress with Robert as a cover story. Farces must have more than one complication. Enter the cook….Suzette (Lee Minora) aka Susi confused with Robert’s mistress and Suzanne (Jessica Bedford) confused with the cook….a delightful romp ensues and the entire household is brought to near hysteria. It takes the appearance of George, Suzette’s husband, (Chris Anthony) to straighten things out. For more information or tickets to this delightful experience, call 215-829-0395 or visit online at www.lanterntheater.org.
Sunday, May 27, 2018
|Charis Leos, Anne Brummel &|
Walnut Street Theatre, located at 825 Walnut Street, is presenting the delightful musical Mamma Mia! on its main stage through June 21, 2018. Whether you have no experience with this show with over 20 of ABBA's greatest hits or you have seen it in many times, this production is guaranteed to make you want to get out of your seat and dance. Unbelievably, the appearances of three of the main actors are performed by understudies in the beginning of the run. The result is dazzling. Lyn Philistine portrays Donna Sheridan as if she were born to the role, singing and dancing her way across the stage. Not far behind her are Tara Tagliaferro portraying Tanya and Kimberly Mason portraying Ali. Laura Giknis is adorable in her portrayal of Sophie Sheridan. She belts out song after song and flits across the stage with the ease of a butterfly. No matter how many times you might have seen Mamma Mia! (and I have seen it several times before) you will enjoy Walnut Street’s new presentation. There is a large dancing ensemble with original choreography. The dancers begin even as the overture starts. The men’s ensemble in swimwear and snorkel equipment is clever into the depths of the ocean. Another unique twist to this production is the use of choral backup off stage. Whether you are enjoying a feast for your ears, or your eyes or your feet, you will certain enjoy Mamma Mia! For more information or tickets, call 215-574-3550, 800-982-2787, or visit online at www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.
Thursday, May 24, 2018
The Arden Theatre Company, located at 40 N. 2nd Street, is presenting the unique theatrical experience of Fun Home on its F. Otto Haas main stage through June 17. Winner of 5 Tony Awards, Fun Home explores the memories of cartoonist Allison Bechdel as she reminisces upon the painful and joyful moments in her family history. Mary Tuomanen takes the audience on a journey through her life’s memories. She is sometimes on the sidelines observing as an artist; other times she treats the audience to her powerful voice. Izzy Castaldi portrays college-aged Allison. Her first sexual encounter after she discovers that she is gay is childlike in its amazement; fantastic with wonder and hysterical with the joy of it all. Her comic timing is superb! Lily Lexer and Kate Bove will alternate in the role of Allison as a young child. This is perhaps the largest role of all. Lily was on stage opening night. Remember the name because this little package is a bundle of talent. She is brimming with poise and her singing voice got stronger as the show progressed. There are intriguing moments when all three Allisons are on stage singing in three part harmonies. The effect is stunning. Ben Dibble gives a very strong performance as Bruce Bechdel, tormented, closeted homosexual and father of Allison and her two siblings. This is a brilliant musical and the Arden does a magnificent job with its production. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org.
Friday, May 4, 2018
|David Ingram, Sean Close|
& Jessica Johnson
1812 Productions, Philadelphia’s all Comedy Theatre Company, is presenting Michael Hollinger’s Hope and Gravity at the Plays and Players Theater, 17th and Delancey Streets, through May 20, 2018. A series of nine vignettes, it features an ensemble cast sensitively playing dual roles. Jorge Cousineau has designed a set that is nothing short of exquisite. Moving geometric projections imitate the schemes of an elevator shaft; each time the projections stop moving, curtains partially open and a new set is revealed on another elevator floor. One would expect a play that is being presented by 1812 Productions to be witty and it certainly is. The skits become increasing more humorous as the show progresses. The vignette with the two grad students and their college professor is hilarious. Whether this is in recognition that some of the characters’ story lines intersect or it is inherent in the writing, it is difficult to say. What is not difficult to determine, is a recommendation to get tickets to see Hope and Gravity before tickets are sold out. For more information or tickets call 215- 592-9560 or visit online at www.1812productions.org.
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Noises Off will be performed on Walnut Street Theatre’s mainstage through April 29. Mary Martello is a comic genius. If you have never seen her perform, you need only see the first 5 minutes of her portrayal of Mrs. Clackett, a housekeeper to a very wealthy couple vacationing in Spain, to be convinced. Ms. Martello is not the only comic actor in the production; there is a very talented ensemble cast of nine who are acting in this play within in a play. This in an absurdly funny farce and things are rarely what they seem in such a scenario. There is the requisite love triangle, the couple on a secret hide-a-way, the not-so-obvious couple, a couple of sheiks, and more rooms than you can keep track of. The script continuously embodies madcap merriment; it is just zany, let-down-your-hair fun. Chuckles and guffaws spew from the audience throughout the entire production. The set is double-sided, with Act 2 beginning back stage. For a sneak peek behind the scenes that you will never forget, get your tickets to Noises Off today. For more information or tickets, call 215-574-3550, 800-982-2787 or visit online at www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
|Ruby Wolf & Peter DeLaurier|
Due to popular demand, The Lantern Theater Company, located at 10th and Ludlow Streets, has extended its run of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest to April 29, 2018. This production is magical. Think beyond the fantasy that Shakespeare has written on the page. In a confluence rarely seen on the stage, the costume, scenic, lighting, sound and set designs all work together to provide two wondrous settings that flesh out Shakespeare’s poetry. The audience is immediately involved in a shipwreck and curious about Prospero (Peter DeLaurier) and his daughter Miranda (Ruby Wolf) on another part of an enchanted island. Other members of this excellent ensemble cast are also making return engagements to the Lantern: Chris Anthony as Ferdinand, J Hernadez as Antonio/Caliban, Dave Johnson as Sebastian/Trinculo, John Lopes as Alonso, and Frank X as Gonzalo/Stephano. Each actor is first rate in his portrayal of a member of the king’s band out to reclaim the island. It is Bi Jean Ngo’s performance as the sprite Ariel; however, that steals the show. She is lithe, nimble on her feet and quick to turn and cast a spell at the behest of her “master”, Prospero. Whether her spells are beautiful acapella chants or a quick flick of her wrist, they work equally well. Perhaps her most amazing time on stage is her crouching off to one side, sitting on her haunches like a frog and moving her mouth as if she is prepared to catch a fly. Shakespeare would have been proud! The Lantern Company is synonymous with outstanding productions of Shakespearean works. Yearly productions surpass prior performances in excellence and this year’s presentation is no exception. For more information or tickets, call 215-829-0395 or visit online at www.lanterntheater.org.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye is appearing on the Arden’s Mainstage at 40 N. 2nd Street in Olde City and its run has been extended to April 8, 2018 due to popular demand. The minimalistic set is impeccable. Locales can be switched with a slide of a screen. The change in seasons can be denoted by the cast members wearing different color smocks and/or flowers sprouting from the “outside”. The ensemble cast is phenomenal. Nicolette Lynch, Renika Williams and Jasmine Ward all give remarkable performances of poor, young, black girls trying to understand why their place in the world is different from that of white girls’. Eliana Fabiyi, Reggie D. White, Damien J. Wallace, Chavez and Soraya Butler round out this outstanding ensemble. Jasmine (Pecola) prays for blue eyes like Shirley Temple or Mary Jane so she, too, can be loved and not ignored. A caveat, issued too late by Soaphead - be careful what you wish for. Toni Morrison’s work is brilliant and raw; alternately filled with moments of humor, shock and horror. You might need to compose yourself at the end of this breath-taking drama, but once you catch your breath you won’t stop talking about it. This is a mind-blowing tale told by a plethora of incredible performers. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at www.ardentheatre.org.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
The Bristol Riverside Theater, located at 120 Radcliffe Street in Bristol, Pa, is presenting Mel Brooks’ irreverent multiple Tony-Award winning musical, The Producers through April 1. Producer Max Bialystock (Danny Rutigliano) finds his Broadway flop much easier to bear when his accountant (Michael Doherty) discovers that he has actually made some money in the process. Thus a scheme is born - Produce the worst play and make a fortune. Find an awful script, hire the worst director, cast the most horrible actors and the show will certainly close on opening night. Ah, the best laid plans… Brooks’ cheeky play is an equal-opportunity offender. The Producers is satire at its most absurd. Boxing gloves are off and everything is fair game. That said, the cast and crew are marvelous. There is no weak link in this chain. The audience is wowed by Nicole Benoit’s rendition of “When You’ve Got it, Flaunt It’”, Fred Inkley’s demonstration of “Der Guten Tag Hop Clop”, and Danny Rutigliano’s lamentations in “Betrayed”. The ensemble acquits itself flawlessly. There are not only many musical numbers to sing but a wide variety of dance numbers to perform as well, not the least of which is a tap routine with walkers. Michael Doherty’s portrayal of a shy, timid accountant who is afraid of his own shadow is a perfect foil for Danny Rutigliano’s blustery producer Max Bialystock. For more information or tickets for this incredible production, call 215-785-0100 or visit online at brtstage.org.
Sunday, January 28, 2018
|Michael Satow & |
Bristol Riverside Theatre is presenting the Pulitzer-Prize-winning drama Time Stands Still through February 11 This production gives an outstanding glimpse of both the physical and psychological effects of PTSD. Usually attributed to soldiers returning home from a tour of duty, post-traumatic stress can also be suffered by journalists and photo-journalists that cover the events. Award-winning playwright Donald Margulies brings home Sara Goodwin (Eleanor Handley) a photo-journalist who was injured in Kabul. She returns to the home she has shared for 8 years with journalist James Dodd (Michael Satow) Both actors give strong performances, without a hint that they are actually married off-stage. Danny Vaccaro, portraying Richard Ehrlich, Sara’s editor, visits with ingénue Mandy Bloom (Laura Giknis) on his arm. Laura gives a very convincing performance of a young “ditzy” girl who is totally out of her element with this professional group. She gains some inner strength and maturity after she gives birth. A series of blackouts denotes passage of time which enables us to further study the war’s damage to the psyche. Which is worse to bear? The physical damage suffered by Sara when she suffered broken bones and a coma as a result of a bomb being detonated in front of her or the psychological damage suffered by Jamie when body parts were strewn all over his hair and face? This is not necessarily an easy show to watch but it is an excellent one. The ensemble cast is brilliant and the drama is thought-provoking. For more information of tickets, call 215-785-0100 or visit online at brtstage.org.
Thursday, January 25, 2018
|Mainstage set of The Humans|
The Walnut Street Theatre, located at 825 Walnut Street, is presenting the much-acclaimed drama The Humans through March 4th on its main stage. Playwright Stephen Karam set about writing a play that deals with the minutia and the travails of one family during a holiday dinner. The set is ingenious. Urgent visits to the second story bathroom interrupt uncomfortable conversations. An "elevator" transporting a wheelchair conveniently clears the stage of a few characters for minutes at a time. An Eagles Stadium blanket elicits cheers from the entire audience. The spiral staircase connecting the first and second floor is the perfect spot for characters to pause and listen to conversations on the floor above or below them. Everyone is constantly talking about someone else and no one wants to be left out of the loop. You will laugh as you watch this for there are some funny lines; you might squirm as well while peering into this family’s most intimate moments. Sharon Alexander’s portrayal of Momo’s ‘bad day’ is outstanding. Jennie Eisenhower lights up any stage she appears on and Mary Martello is always a delight to see (even if her characters are not). It is Alex Keiper, however, who illustrates her phenomenal sense of timing with the zingers and one-liners that she delivers first to her mother (Mary Martello), and then to her father (Greg Wood) at the dinner table. So effectively are the lines delivered that the audience gasps and then recoups in a moment of silence. This slice of life is offered with a razor sharp blade that is fascinating to observe. For more information or tickets, call 215,574-3550, 800-982-2787, visit online at www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org. or Ticketmaster.
Friday, January 19, 2018
|Nora & Torvald|
The Arden Theatre Company is presenting Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House through February 25, 2018. The Arden’s smaller Arcadia Stage has been reconfigured to bring the audience inside the parlor of the … Doll’s House right alongside all the members of its talented ensemble cast. Although most two-act dramas have the majority of the action in the first act, such is not the case in this piece. Act I sets up the life style and relationships of Torvald (Cody Nickell) and his wife Nora (Katherine Powell) and their friends Dr. Rank (Scott Greer), Kristine (Betty Chong),and nemesis Krogstad (Akeem Davis). Act II is longer and more intense. Nora’s having helped Kristine get a job with Torvald inadvertently opens herself up to blackmail. Krogstad puts pressure on Nora and gives her an ultimatum she feels she can’t possibly meet. Katherine Powell is phenomenal in the role of Nora. If “a look is worth a thousand words”, she crams five thousand into each agonized facial expression in Act II. Dr. Rank has agonizing revelations of his own. Even the staid Kristine has a secret passion which ultimately opens the doll house door. For more information or tickets to this timely centuries’ old drama, call 215-922-1122 or visit online www.ardentheatre.org.