Archive | 2016-2017 Theater Season Schedule

Madeleine Rogers as Desdemona and Faran Tahir as Othello in Shakespeare Theatre Company's Free For All production of Othello. Photo: Jennifer Reiley.

Review: Free For All ‘Othello’ at the Shakespeare Theatre Company

Every great play by Shakespeare takes on altered shades of meanings depending on a production’s directing, design, and acting. That’s a theater truism. Also well-known to practitioners is that audience reaction can influence actors’ performances. But less recognized is how an audience’s response can shift a play’s thematic focus, making the play their own, by […]

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Review: ‘The Mark of Cain’ at Synetic Theater

Fans of Synetic Theater’s music-and movement-based works derived from classic texts will find a surprise twist in the company’s latest offering. Typically, a Synetic extravaganza creates a vivid other world, someplace unto itself, visually voluptuous, aurally luscious, always a trip to somewhere fantabulous. But with The Mark of Cain, Synetic’s first wholly original devised work […]

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Review: ‘Wig Out!’ at Studio Theatre

The world of  Wig Out! is a glittering fantasia on house ballroom culture. Tarell Alvin McCraney’s ingeniously metatheatrical 2006 script sets this play with music in the urban underground that came to mainstream attention with the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning. It’s a subculture that offers safe space where refugees from white cis heteronormativity—mostly black […]

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Damon Bonetti. Photo by Christopher Kadish.

Romping Around the Globe: An Interview with Damon Bonetti, Director of Hedgerow Theatre’s ‘Around the World in 80 Days’

Damon Bonetti, a popular Philadelphia actor and director at various theaters and Co-Founding Artistic Director of The Philadelphia Artists’ Collective (The PAC), is directing a new production of Around the World in 80 Days at Hedgerow Theatre, America’s oldest resident repertory theatre, founded in 1923. In this interview, Damon talks about the international aspect, the […]

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Review: ‘The Man Who’ at Spooky Action Theater

Curious questions tease the brain during this peculiarly provocative production. One is: Is this theater? Another is: What are we to make of it? The Man Who, just opened at the estimably idiosyncratic Spooky Action Theater, is about how the mind can be glitchy. It takes the form of a succession of 17 scenes depicting […]

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Laura_Bush_Killed_Starring_Lisa_Hodsoll_Photo by Chelsea Bland square

Magic Time!: ‘Laura Bush Killed a Guy’ at The Klunch

Who’da thunk that our current administration’s dysfunction would prompt nostalgia for our eight years worth of W.? But that indeed is the curious takeaway from watching Lisa Hodsoll’s poignant impersonation of Laura Bush in a surprisingly touching comedy by Ian Allen, now playing in a world premiere production by The Klunch at Caos on F. […]

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Review: ‘Building the Wall’ at Forum Theatre

The dystopia delineated in Building the Wall is predicted by the playwright, Robert Schenkkan, to happen in America very soon.  By the time the play is set, in the year 2019, the two characters are already looking back at it, a fait accompli, the barbaric consequence of an anti-immigrant animus fueled by a president who […]

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Review: ‘Forgotten Kingdoms’ at Rorschach Theatre

There are mysteries of belief and faith beneath this fascinating parable of a play, roiling like the seawater that churns below the wooden house where its action takes place. This house is built on stilts on the coast of a small island in Indonesia. The sounds of water lapping and surf breaking and the liquid […]

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Nate Shelton and Jane Petkofsky

Review: ‘The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington’ at Ally Theatre Company

“I do believe you darkies are trying to kill me,” says Martha Washington to her house slaves in this fantastical-historical play, just opened in a sensationally cheeky production at the new Ally Theatre Company. Martha has reason to be concerned. Philadelphia Playwright James Ijames, a 2017 Whiting Award recipient, made up the script’s surreal story: […]

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Review: ‘Church & State’ at New World Stages

Religion, gun control, and the impact of social media are the hot-button issues addressed by playwright Jason Odell Williams in Church & State, a political dramedy now making its New York premiere at New World Stages. Directed at a rapid-fire pace by Markus Potter, the play’s mood instantly shifts from ridiculous to sobering, as its […]

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Brian McCann and Paul Kuhn. Photo by Rebecca Gudelunas.

Review: ‘Waiting for Godot’ at Curio Theatre Company

Waiting for Godot is generally considered a comedy. Samuel Beckett himself called this, his most famous play, a “tragicomedy.” But its reputation as an important, monumental piece of art can have a way of choking off the laughs. I’ve seen tedious productions that left me scratching my head and asking “What’s so funny?” If the […]

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Robert Cuccioli and Danielle Leneé. Photo by Matt Urban, Mobius New Media, Inc.

Review: ‘White Guy on the Bus’ at Delaware Theatre Company

White Guy on the Bus, at Wilmington’s Delaware Theatre Company through Sunday, February 19, is easily the prolific Bruce Graham’s most important and most accomplished play, even more than Coyote on a Fence or Funnyman. It shrewdly and bravely depicts American attitudes toward race, showing the casual and fairly harmless way racial matters creep into […]

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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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Puppets by Mark Williams. Photo by Johanna Austin.

Review: ‘The Enchanted’ at Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium

A colorful clearing outside a provincial French village is visited by the spirit of a murderer who enthralls Isabel, an innocent young schoolteacher obsessed with the enigma of death. Aided by the wise local Doctor, opposed by the hard-nosed Government Inspector, and courted by a handsome enamored Supervisor, will she forsake the supernatural, succumb to […]

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Samantha Rosentrater. Photo by Matthew J. Photography.

Review: ‘Grand Concourse’ at Theatre Horizon

Heidi Schreck’s fascinating play Grand Concourse is set in a church soup kitchen, among people who need a hand and those who help them. The play deals with poverty, but its biggest concern is the people who work in this field, devoting their lives to helping others and giving of themselves. What happens to the […]

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Geoff Sobelle.

Review: ‘The Object Lesson’ at New York Theatre Workshop

As an avid collector of art, antiques, and memorabilia, with a PhD in Art History, I have spent a lot of time around objects, studying, explaining, and appreciating them. And I’ve always known that it’s not the monetary value or the conspicuous consumption of the things we accumulate that matter; it’s the sense of beauty, […]

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Anna Zaida Szapiro. Photo by Dave Sarrafian.

Review: ‘The Seagull’ at EgoPo Classic Theater

Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull is one of the most durable of all 19th century plays. But it’s a play that producers, directors, and playwrights love to tinker with. In the last few years, audiences in Philadelphia and New York have been presented with updated rewrites of the work (including a musical version) rather than the original. EgoPo […]

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