Author Archive | Neal Newman

Equus Artwork, courtesy of The Forge Theatre.

Review: ‘Equus’ at The Forge Theatre

Theatergoers of the 1970s will remember Peter Shaffer’s Equus as the ultimate phantasmagorical theater ride. The revolving stage, the omnipresent stage smoke, the blasting music, and the eight-foot-tall dancing horses were all used to thrust us inside the mind of a troubled young stable boy who had blinded six beautiful horses. The production at The Forge […]

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Detroit '67 at The Stagecrafters Theater.

Review: ‘Detroit ’67’ at The Stagecrafters Theater

Two young black men stumble upon an expensively dressed but badly beaten young white woman in the ghetto. What do they do? If it’s Detroit in 1967, you certainly can’t involve yourself with the hospital or the police. Do you just look the other way? But Lank and Sly are basically good people, so they […]

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Jenna Pastuszek and Ashley Sweetman. Photo by Maura McConnell.

Review: ‘Side Show’ at The Media Theatre

Come look at the freaks Come gape at the geeks Come examine their aberrations Is this any way to begin a Broadway musical? Well, if the subject matter is any individual who has been the victim of prejudice, ostracism, or even the feeling of not fitting in or wanting to belong, then yes. Side Show, […]

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Sandra Hartman and Brian Jason Kelly. Photo by Jim Pifer.

Review: ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ at Old Academy Players

What did happen to Sebastian last summer? This sounds like a murder mystery, right? But if Tennessee Williams writes the mystery, one can be certain that it will be highly poetic, and involve questions about the nature and deep desires of mankind. Suddenly Last Summer is one of this author’s less-performed works, but this production […]

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Jessica DalCanton and Jennifer Summerfield. Photo by Ashley Labonde, Wide Eyed Studios.

Review: ‘Uncle Vanya’ at Hedgerow Theatre

A group of people are seated at a dinner table. They discuss the weather. Meanwhile, their lives are falling apart. With the revealing use of subtext like this, Anton Chekhov and others introduced modern theatre to the world. Uncle Vanya is one of Chekhov’s most revered works. The quiet desperation of this group of poor […]

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After Birth of a Nation, at City Theater Company

Review: ‘After Birth of a Nation’ at City Theater Company

Today’s audiences need farce. Wild men chasing beautiful women through many doors, visual running gags, women dressed as men, and vice versa, all enhanced by a desperation throttled performing style to keep the laughs coming. Our crazy world just requires farce!! City Theater’s After Birth of a Nation, a world premiere by David Robson, supplies […]

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Any Given Monday at the Stagecrafters Theater

Review: ‘Any Given Monday’ at the Stagecrafters Theater

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh. Otherwise they’ll kill you. That quote, usually attributed to George Bernard Shaw, aptly describes Any Given Monday, a play by Philadelphia’s very own Shaw, Bruce Graham, that will make you laugh out loud and then stay up all night pondering the author’s moral questions. […]

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Review.’Driving Miss Daisy’ at Bristol Riverside Theatre

Atlanta 1948: “Negro Policemen to Patrol City Streets—They are ordered not to arrest white people” This is an actual headline featured in the multimedia of Bristol Riverside’s Driving Miss Daisy. It is the post-war South. She’s 72, white, rich, annoying and Jewish. She needs a driver. He’s black, but needs a job. Thus begins one […]

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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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