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Archive | Philadelphia Theatre Reviews

Patrick Romano and Eileen Cella. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Review: ‘Red Herring’ at Act II Playhouse

Red Herring is a parody of the tough film noir mysteries of the forties and fifties. But playwright Michael Hollinger has more on his mind than mere nostalgia: his play is also a romance, a spy thriller, and a sharp satire of the anti-Communist hysteria of the fifties. (That title, you see, has two meanings […]

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James Davis and Josh Carpenter. Photo by Shawn May.

Troubled Men: Talking with the ‘Father and Sons’ of Quintessence Theatre’s ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night’

Eugene O’Neill, the only American playwright to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature (1936), a man who struggled with alcoholism but who had the courage to address problematic, taboo subjects, shocked his contemporaries with his Long Day’s Journey into Night. Given the financially troubled times in the U.S. today and the often short attention span […]

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Ritz, Pippin feature image

Review: ‘Pippin’ at Ritz Theatre Company

One of the most imaginative musicals ever to hit the Broadway stage, the Tony Award-winning Pippin, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson, is now dazzling audiences in a high-energy production at the Ritz Theatre Company. Directed and choreographed by Brian Rivell, with vocal and music direction by Marc […]

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Mechanical, DRACULA, feature image

Review: ‘Dracula’ at The Mechanical Theater

Adapted, designed, and directed by Loretta Vasile, The Mechanical Theater’s immersive site-specific production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, performed at the solemn Neo-Classical Receiving Vault of Laurel Hill Cemetery, provides the quintessential blood-curdling theme and spine-chilling location for the Halloween season. Founded in 1836, the historic burial ground, filled with 19th-century tombs and funerary monuments, couldn’t […]

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Alex Keiper and Michael Doherty. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Review: ‘TouchTones’ at Arden Theatre Company

TouchTones is a new musical by playwright/lyricist Michael Hollinger and composer Robert Maggio. Directed by Emmanuelle Delpech, it delves into the romantic relationship between Christine and Justin, two young people who have vowed to abstain from sex until they are married. When Christine discovers that Justin has been spending his free time dialing up a phone […]

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THING OF EVIL feature image

Review: ‘Thing of Evil: Fantastic Tales of Terror’ at the Painted Bride Art Center

Long-time collaborators Phoebe Schaub and Emily R. Johnson, known to Philadelphia audiences for their haunting and transportive style as former members of Found Theater Company, have teamed up again as Co-Creators of Thing of Evil: Fantastic Tales of Terror – a spooky two-part series of Halloween-time treats performed every Tuesday in October at the Painted […]

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Sondra Radvanovsky. Photo courtesy The Metropolitan Opera.

Review: ‘Norma’ at The Metropolitan Opera and Live in HD

The new Metropolitan Opera production of Norma, which opened the company’s season, is the most intimate presentation of Vincenzo Bellini’s classic that I’ve ever seen. Norma is an impressive monument and has been called “the Mount Everest of operas.” Yet director David McVicar sees it as a family story, and conductor Carlo Rizzi conducts it […]

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Ideation, featured image

Review: ‘Ideation’ at Theatre Exile

Ethics, morality, self-interest, and accountability are the big issues addressed in Theatre Exile’s smashing production of Aaron Loeb’s Ideation, in a sardonic send-up of over-the-top ambition, greed, expectations, and machinations in corporate America. Directed with no-holds-barred humor and razor-sharp insight by company Founder Joe Canuso, the provocative show uses shock value to examine our core […]

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The ensemble and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Photo courtesy The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Review: ‘West Side Story’ staged by The Philadelphia Orchestra

West Side Story has never sounded as good as in last weekend’s performances by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra. It even surpassed Leonard Bernstein’s own recording, which sounds sluggish in comparison. Never once did Yannick and the Philadelphians sound like a symphony orchestra performing a pops concert. Rather, the 42-year-old led a jazzy performance […]

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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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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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