Author Archive | Neal Newman

Kirsten Quinn, Ian Agnew, and Tyler Brennan. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Review: ‘The Roses in June’ at Seagull Productions

June 1967. What memories does that bring? Sgt. Pepper, The Rolling Stones, bell bottoms, assassinations, the conflict with ’50s conformity, trouble in the Middle East? This is the era summoned by Timothy M. Kolman’s play The Roses in June, which is now receiving its world premiere at Plays and Players Theatre in Philadelphia. If you […]

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Kevin Rodden and Ethan Lipkin. Photo by Carlos Forbes.

Review: ‘Making History’ at The Irish Heritage Theatre

The Confederate statues have been removed from their pedestals. Some people are disappointed. Their rosy vision of the lost genteel South has been taken away. To them, history has been rewritten again. Making History, the 1988 Brian Friel play now on display at the Irish Heritage Theatre, might well be called Inventing History. The truth […]

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Amanda Morrell.

Review: ‘Disney’s The Little Mermaid’ at Steel River Playhouse

Memorial Day Weekend usually means a trip to the shore, but Steel River Playhouse brought the ocean to Pottstown, with its glorious rendition of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. True, the show takes plays underwater (something more easily achieved in the original animated film), but that couldn’t deter a triumphant director/design team. Artistic Director Leena Devlin’s […]

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DJ Gleason and company. Photo by Bill D'Agostino.

Review: ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’ at Act II Playhouse

Are there any award nominators out there? Is so, get down to Act II Playhouse. This superb production of Brighton Beach Memoirs deserves a bundle of them. Much of the production’s success is, of course, due to the brilliance of Neil Simon’s play. Originally premiered in 1983, it now joins the American classics that inspired it, […]

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Review: ‘Betrayal’ at Allens Lane Theater

Adultery, the trespass that has fascinated human beings through the ages, offers many emotional highs and lows. There is the desire that overwhelms all reason. There is the joy of stealing about, narrowly escaping being found out. And there is the sadness and guilt knowing that people you love will soon to be grievously wounded. […]

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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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