Author Archive | Neal Newman

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Review: ‘The Carols’ at 1812 Productions

Review: ‘The Carols’ at 1812 Productions by Neal Newman on December 10, 2016 Close harmony, the singing style popularized in World War II by the Andrews Sisters, is formidably difficult to do well. Did you ever wonder why great close harmony teams frequently had the name “brothers” or “sisters” attached? You literally had to be […]

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Review: ‘Black Nativity’ at New Freedom Theatre

Fifty years is a very long time for an arts group to exist in this changing world and economy, but Freedom Theatre is celebrating its golden anniversary with a reconceived production of its traditional favorite Black Nativity. I first saw Black Nativity in a tiny theater in the Broad and Master complex in a production […]

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Review: ‘Clybourne Park’ at The Stagecrafters Theater

Every city has a Clybourne Park. “It starts one house at a time,” as one of the characters states. In act one (1959) it is a neighborhood that will soon have its first “colored” family moving in. Act two (2009) finds the same house in the same neighborhood, which is now entirely black, subject to […]

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Review: ‘Pericles’ at Delaware Shakespeare Festival

Thousands of years ago, people gathered in the great hall of a palace to hear a bard, like Homer, tell a magical tale of heroes undergoing a journey.  Accompanied by a simple lyre, and a poem filled with powerful language and extraordinary deeds, this pre-media crowd would listen and experience the story.  Such an event […]

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Review: ‘Marat/Sade’ at Temple University

The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade is perhaps the world’s longest title for a play, but it tells exactly what it is about. The Marquis de Sade, the sex driven author for whom “sadism” is named, […]

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Review: ‘Rizzo’ at The Philadelphia Theatre Company

A thunderbolt hit Philadelphia last night in the form of the play Rizzo. The quake was made memorable not only by the superb playwriting of Bruce Graham and the multi- megaton production by Philadelphia Theatre Company and Theatre Exile, but by the exquisite timing. Opening just after the first presidential debate and running through the […]

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Review: ‘Electra’ at Villanova University, in Villanova, PA

The mists of ancient history paint the birth of theater as religious ritual that gradually transmuted into drama.The Ancient Greeks always considered attending a play festival as a religious act and Villanova’s version of Sophocles’ Electra captures the ancient and the modern in a pleasing synthesis. Directed with a powerful hand by Reverend David Cregan, […]

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Review: ‘Electile Dysfunction’ at Act II Playhouse in Ambler, PA

Electile Dysfunction is a very funny show. Act II Playhouse is performing quite a community service, since the current election news ranges from ridiculous to terrifying. Laughter is certainly called for and three comedians and a pianist (Owen Robbins) have written and perform a revue to tremendous opening night response. The title refers to audience members who […]

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Review: ‘Detroit’ at Theater With a View, in Pottstown, PA

Do you know your neighbors? Even their names? Years ago, (before the internet, video games, and cable TV), people routinely visited their neighbors, to share cups of sugar and companionship. Today, we are so ensconced in our private worlds, we resent anyone even ringing the doorbell. And sending the children out to play? Impossible. Lisa D’Amour powerfully […]

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Review: ‘If/Then’ at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia

Broadway today is the era of musical/cartoon/film/remakes. We should, therefore, be grateful for anything that attempts a reasonably adult theme: in this case, how our decisions will create our future. If only the musical was better. “Best Worst Mistake”, “Some Other Me”, “You Never Know”, and “What Would You Do?” are some of the songs […]

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