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Archive | Philadelphia

Dito van Reigersberg. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Review: ‘Buyer & Cellar’ at 1812 Productions

Jonathan Tolins’ captivating one-man play Buyer & Cellar is partly factual (or part truth, or partly true), in that there is indeed a mall of shops in the basement of one of Barbra Streisand’s Malibu homes to house her personal possessions in a tasteful environment. (Streisand wrote a book in 2010, My Passion for Design, […]

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Belén Maya. Photo courtesy belenmaya.com.

Review: ‘Belén Maya: Romnia’ at URBN Black Box Theater

The life of a Gypsy is hard. For centuries the Romany people, who are commonly referred to as Gypsies, have been persecuted across Europe. They have been discriminated against and have been subjected to forced sterilizations and ethnic cleansings. In her one-woman show Romnia (which means “women” in the Romany language), Belén Maya interprets the […]

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200x200 act of god

Review: ‘An Act of God’ at Signature Theatre

I was healed. Aches and pains of the day disappeared. Headaches from paying too close attention to Presidential tweets vanished. I might have been saved too. Not sure of that just yet. Will have to wait and see. How were these things possible for an older Jewish guy, a member of the original Chosen People […]

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Leah Walton. Photo by Matthew J Photography.

Review: ‘2.5 Minute Ride’ at Theatre Horizon

There’s a lot going on in Lisa Kron’s life. There’s her brother’s upcoming marriage, a ceremony that’s being held at a Jewish community center with “a wonderful design out of a 1972 James Bond movie.” There’s her family’s annual trip to Cedar Point, the Ohio amusement park famous for having over a dozen roller coasters. […]

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Sage DeAgro-Ruopp. Photo courtesy Curtis Institute of Music.

Review: ‘Impressions of Pelléas’ at the Curtis Institute of Music

Claude Debussy’s only opera, Pelléas et Mélisande, is a unique masterpiece. But it’s very long: five acts, around four hours. So director and playwright Peter Brook in 1992 devised an adaptation called Impressions of Pelléas which runs 95 minutes, and which the Curtis Opera Theater presented last weekend. What sets Pelléas et Mélisande apart is its […]

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Jessica M. Johnson and Walter DeShields. Photo by Kathryn Raines, Plate | 3 Photography.

Review: ‘The Swallowing Dark’ at Inis Nua Theatre Company

“Your status has expired.” For Canaan Muponda, these are the most fearsome words imaginable. A refugee from Zimbabwe, Canaan has spent the last five years living in Liverpool with his young son. Now, in order to avoid deportation back to Africa, he has to prove to Martha Sullivan, a government caseworker, that staying in Britain […]

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Michael Fuchs, Jared Reed, Jennifer Summerfield, and Stacy Skinner. Photo by Wide Eyed Studios.

Review: ‘Blithe Spirit’ at Hedgerow Theatre

Universal button-perfect delivery of delicious Noël Coward lines takes Carly L. Bodnar’s production of Blithe Spirit at Hedgerow Theatre miles into gratifying comic territory, but rollicking payoffs come from the cast’s physical antics and Goldilocks-right facial reactions. The maid, played by the redoubtable Susan Wefel, responds to an admonition to moderate her “on the double” […]

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OKTOBERFEST feature image

Celebrate Fall with Brauhaus Schmitz’ ‘Oktoberfest’ at the Armory

Enter the 23rd Street Armory this Columbus Day weekend and be transported to a Munich-style beer hall for the 2nd annual celebration of Oktoberfest, presented by Philadelphia’s own Brauhaus Schmitz. Born in the historic Bavarian town of Aschaffenburg, owner Doug Hager guarantees a fun time and a genuine German experience, with authentic décor, food, drinks, […]

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Nikki Van Cassele and Alex Kunz. Photo by ClintonBphotography.

Review: ‘Next to Normal’ at Resident Theatre Company

Next to Normal isn’t your standard Broadway musical. But this offbeat Pulitzer Prize-winner, now receiving a solid production at West Chester’s Resident Theatre Company, shines a light on a condition that, unexpectedly, turns out to be a perfect fit for a musical drama. Its central character, Diana, suffers from bipolar disorder – she’s a model […]

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Leigha Kato (top row), Phebe Taylor, Joshua Morgan, Will Carlyon, Brooke Wetterhahn (middle row) , and T.J. Wagner (bottom row). Photo by Mark Garvin.

Review: ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ at Bristol Riverside Theatre

“We are the slightest bit bizarre” may be quite an understatement when describing some of the delightfully strange tweens competing in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, now playing at Bristol Riverside Theatre. With all the drama and quirkiness one can expect from a spelling competition, these six young spellers have fantasies of grandeur […]

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John Jarboe and Ensemble. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Review: ‘Cabaret’ at Arden Theatre Company

“Why do we continue to allow destructive powers to gain control?” – Matthew Decker, Director of Cabaret This is the question that runs through Arden Theatre Company’s production of the musical Cabaret. At first this sentiment only simmers under the playfully erotic dances and jokes, until the Act One finale, “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.” Suddenly, […]

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Mina Kawahara. Photo by Paola Nogueras.

Review: ‘Godspell’ at Villanova Theatre

Godspell has always been a show filled with spirit. Ever since its New York debut in 1971, it’s been a vehicle for a lot more than a religious message. Its loose structure – John-Michael Tebelak’s book recounts of Jesus’ life and teachings through a modern lens – allows for lots of improvisation and invention. Villanova […]

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We Shall Not Be Moved, Wilma Theater, Opera Philadelphia

Review: ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’ by Opera Philadelphia

The sole Philadelphia-based offering in Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival is We Shall Not Be Moved. Its powerful message is that the city’s children, and particularly its black children, are deprived of decent education, housing and safety. The message is delivered with stirring music, impressive direction and excellent performances. This message is linked to the tragic […]

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War Stories, Opera Philadelphia

Review: ‘War Stories’ by Opera Philadelphia

War Stories is a clever pairing of two music dramas dealing with battles, presented by Opera Philadelphia as part of its O17 Festival. The two separate compositions are staged in adjacent areas of the Philadelphia Museum of Art — its stone cloisters and its Great Stair Hall — next to displays of medieval military armaments. Adding […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Kink Haüs’ by Gunnar Montana at The Latvian Society

Sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll have long been the rallying cry of post-modern youth, and Gunnar Montana takes that hedonistic call to its most emphatic, explicit, and artistic extremes in Kink Haüs. Inspired by the underground nightclubs of Berlin (one of which had denied him entry), the unabashed multi-disciplinary artist/devisor/dancer/choreographer (who also serves as producer and […]

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Beada Briglia. Photo by Greg Carroccio.

Review: ‘Carousel’ at The Media Theatre

Musical Heaven. Is there a better way to describe the production of Carousel at the Media Theatre? It would be hard to find a better-sung production than that given by the surpassingly youthful professional company assembled by director Jesse Cline. The evening allows us to savor again Richard Rodgers’ amazing ability to deliver compositions that are […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘A Period of Animate Existence’ by Pig Iron Theatre Company

If you open the dictionary and look up the word ‘life,’ one entry reads: ‘a period of animate existence.’ Composer Troy Herion gives this explanation for the title of Pig Iron Theatre Company’s newest work. A Period of Animate Existence is the largest project Pig Iron has ever taken on: it has 87 performers, including […]

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