Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Walnut Street Theatre's 2021-2022 Season


Beyond My Backyard

By Judy Cohen

The Walnut Street Theatre,Philadelphia’s oldest theatre, is excited to announce its return to the live stage for its 213th season in September. The season starts  with music of the 60’s in BEEHIVE, the 60’s Musical. This musical has over two dozen timeless hits including “It’s My Party,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and “Where the Boys Are.” The show runs from September 28 – October 31, 2021. ‘

Next the Walnut is going “Under the Sea” with the Philadelphia premiere of DISNEY’S THE  LITTLE MERMAID. Based on the beloved Hans Christian Anderson tale and the classic film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid  is a beautiful story of Ariel who challenges her father’s authority  and dreams of finding her own way above the sea.  With irresistible songs like “Kiss the Girl,” Disney’s The Little Mermaid  may  be  one of the most spectacular productions ever staged at the Walnut. It will be presented from November 16, 2021 – January 2, 2022.

A little later in January audiences will be delighted with  NOEL  COWARD’S BLITHE SPIRIT. To gather background for his new book, novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife,
Ruth,  invite a medium to perform a séance. The ghost of his first wife accidently materializes but only  to Charles. She is still in love  with him and doesn’t want a little thing like death to stand in her way. From the hysterical mind of Noel Coward comes Blithe Spirit    where ”’Til  Death Do Us Part ”no longer applies. This mayhem can be seen on the Walnut stage January 11- February 13, 2022

Walnut Street Theatre presents a world premiere adaptation of a play based on a classic Sherlock Holmes tale, THE ADVENTURE OF THE SPECKLED BAND . After her twin sister’s unusual death and afraid that she will be next, she enlists the aid of the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Six talented actors , playing over 30 characters, unravel the mystery. This quick-change adventure can be seen on the stage from February 22, 2022 –  March 27, 2022.

The final show of the season is the inspiring true story about heart, heritage and two people in love who believed in their talent, music and each other to become an international sensation. ON YOUR FEET  is a Broadway musical about Gloria and Emilio Estefan and is one of the most inspiring stories in music history. It will appear on  the Walnut main stage April 12 - May 29, 2022.

Subscriptions are available now for as little as $25 per show,- up to 70% savings off regular ticket prices. For more information or tickets, call 215-574 3550 ext. 6 or visit online at www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org.

Monday, May 10, 2021

The Way I Walk


1812 Productions, Philadelphia’s only All Comedy Theatre, is streaming its latest production, The Way I Walk, through May 23, 2021. Producing Artistic Director Jennifer Childs assembled three other extraordinarily talented Philadelphia actors and over an 8-month long collaborative process, the four women have developed a smash. Set up to be initially engaging  in a zoom conference break-out room, Jennifer Childs, Melanie Cotton, Tanaquil Marquez and Bi Jean Ngo delight the audience with their interactions. An ingenious board game, The Way I Walk, is designed to develop harmony and spirit among co-workers at a retreat. It is  played not only in the zoom room as the characters  choose their game pieces. This innovative game is also played on  a life-sized board with each of the actors dressed as their game pieces. It is absolutely  ingenious how the play is maneuvered back and forth between the real-life board and the zoom room. Characters are given a chance to sing, dance and see what it is like to walk in each other’s shoes. This is a brilliant concept exceptionally well executed. Contact www.1812productions.org  for  more information or tickets.



Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Craftsman

The Lantern Theater Company is streaming Bruce’s Graham’s play The Craftsman through March 28. 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 Dutch leader of the resistance who hates the opulent Han van Meegeren for becoming rich while dealing with the Nazis. Graham does not portray one dimensional characters. The Craftsman is a fascinating group 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 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.  For more information or tickets for this thought-provoking work, visit www.lanterntheater.org.                         

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Bristol Riverside Theatre

                                                 Jennifer Byrne  &  Timothy C. Goodwin

Bristol Riverside Theatre is live-streaming Singles in Agriculture, a play by Abby Rosebrock, for four nights only. Set on the last night of a yearly convention of single farmers, this production takes place in the bedroom of one of the males who has invited one of the females to his room. It is filmed in the  couples' real-life bedroom. Priscilla, ( Jennifer Byrne ) has come equipped with a bottle of alcohol and a paper cup and is perky, outgoing, and vivacious. Joel ( Timothy C. Goodwin) is quiet, withdrawn, and a fundamentalist Christian. As is discovered two thirds into the play, he is also a virgin. The play is captivating, particularly for its camera angles.  Priscilla and Joel move quite a bit both on and off the bed and the camera frequently changes the view. As Priscilla and Joel reveal more and more about their lives to each other, the play becomes increasingly compelling. The production will be live-streamed through January 30, 2021. Tickets are $30-$35. The tickets are available at www.brtstage.org  or by calling 215-785-0100.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Lantern Theater Company

                                                         Genevieve Perriere as Molly Sweeney

Brian Friel, sometimes referred to as the Irish Chekhov, was one of Ireland’s most beloved playwrights. Molly Sweeney is one of the last plays set in his fictitious small town near Donegal, Ireland.  It is being presented on demand by the Lantern Theater Company and will stream through February 14, 2021. The outstanding ensemble cast of Ian Merrill Peakes  (Frank Sweeney), Geneviève Perriere (Molly Sweeney), and Anthony Lawton (Mr. Rice) was filmed live in Lantern Theater’s home- St. Stephen’s Church theatre in Olde City Philadelphia. Thanks to  actor and playwright Michael P. Toner, who specializes in Irish theatre, the cast had an excellent dialogue coach.

What does it take to produce a play  from an award-winning playwright in this age of COVID-19?   According to Molly Sweeney’s director Peter De Laurier, “…3 weeks on Zoom, 2 weeks with double masks, distancing, transparent barriers, a constant flow of cold outside air and Testing! Testing! Testing!"

 Although blind since infancy, Molly’s life at 41 was a meaningful one. She had learned as a young girl how to navigate the world of the blind through touch and she was very adept. Her new husband was a bit of a drifter, unemployed, and eager to have Molly undergo surgery as his pet project and a way to give meaning to his life. The doctor, Mr. Rice, a washed up alcoholic, saw the surgery as a chance to revive his once formidable career. Molly Sweeney is in effect many monologues. At the end of each a fade out occurs before a new character’s monologue begins. The lighting on each character -  Molly, Mr. Rice and. Frank- is unique, causing the set behind to change color. The colors are matched to the characters’ clothes; the clothes are matched to their moods. Additional darker clothing is added near the finish. This is a stunning cooperative effort of Scenic Designer Nick Embree, Lighting Designer Janet Embree, and the Costume Designer Leigh Ivory Clark Paradise. Tickets for this supremely well-acted and thought-provoking production are only $20 per household and are available at www.lanterntheater.org or by calling 215-829-0395. Ticket buyers will receive an email with a private access link.



Friday, January 22, 2021

Villlanova Theatre


Villanova Theatre is presenting its first filmed musical, Songs for a New World, with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown directed by alumna Kara Scaramazza. It will stream on demand January 28 – February 7 on Music International’s new platform,ShowTx4U. Rentals are available for 48 hours for $10.The actors have performed in isolation for all but the final number. Each of the songs in the revue-style Songs for a New World tells a self-contained story. Each one explores the central themes of freedom
, change and adaptation in the face of fear. The musical speaks ultimately of resilience and how people can do the hard things working together. Villanova University is located on the Villanova University campus in the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing  Arts (Lancaster and Ithan Ave.) The performance will be seen on-line only. To purchase tickets, visit www.villanovatheatre.org or https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/4328.   Questions about ticketing can be answered by Margo Raube , Performing Arts Coordinator at margo.raube@villanova.edu or 610-518-5006.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Paper Doll Ensemble


#SaveThe Dolls

On January 12, 2021, The Paper Doll Ensemble’s business page on Facebook was wrongfully disabled without any prospect of appeal. Paper Doll Ensemble, a local feminist  theatre collective, suspects this misunderstanding was fueled by the topic of their most recent Clubhouse discussion dealing with racism, The Cult of Trump, and how to combat the mindset of Qanon supporters.  They believe Facebook’s algorithm thought they were in support of these things when in fact they were in a dialogue to dismantle them. Their discussion group was created as part of their anti-racism plan. PDE External Relational Manager, Grace Hoffman says, “Theatre is our way to enact social change, but if we are censored in this way, we face a MAJOR hurdle in continuing to do so.”

Co-Founder Amanda Jensen comments, “If our content is deemed as breaking their code of conduct, we would be happy to remove it, but we are simply asking for that chance.”

The Paper Doll Ensemble was established in 2017 and redefines traditional stories of the female experience combining dance and visual art. For more visit https://paperdollensemble.com/