‘Take A Bow’ Part 1 in Philadelphia: Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances

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Here is Part 1 of the Philadelphia staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ favorite performances in Spring and Summer of 2016. To all our honorees – TAKE A BOW!

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J Hernandez as Ricardo Lopez in The Best of Me at SoLow Fest.

 Hernandez in a promo image for 'The Best of Me.' Photo by Chris Welti.
J Hernandez in a promo image for ‘The Best of Me.’ Photo by Chris Welti.

Chilling, dark, and devastating, this 45-minute solo piece made a vitally important statement about gun violence and psychopathy. Adapted by the actor from the videotapes of Bjork-stalker Ricardo Lopez., who recorded his own mental deterioration, his attempt to disfigure the Icelandic artist/singer, and his own suicide, J Hernandez gave a brilliantly unsettling performance of a horrifying and mesmerizing true story, reminiscent of his highly acclaimed portrayal of Iago in The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre’s 2013 production of Othello (the role that first brought him to Philly)-Deb Miller.

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Ian Merrill Peakes as Charles Condomine in Blithe Spirit at The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.

Ian Merrill Peakes with Karen Peakes in 'Blithe Spirit.' Photo by Lee A. Butz.
Ian Merrill Peakes (Charles Condomine) with Karen Peakes (Ruth) in ‘Blithe Spirit.’ Photo by Lee A. Butz.

The always superb Ian Merrill Peakes embodied to perfection all of the wit and sophistication we expect in a vintage play by Noël Coward, maintaining his clever fast-paced humor and razor-sharp dialogue without missing a beat. Peakes’ every mannerism, from nonchalantly/neurotically wagging his feet, to covering his face in exasperation, to closing his eyes, clenching his jaw, and rubbing his forehead in distress, unerringly expressed Charles’ likeable and laughable hauteur and flippancy, and displayed his increasingly “unhinged” demeanor-Deb Miller.

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Joey Quaile as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family at Ritz Theatre Company.

Joey Quaile (Uncle Fester) in 'The Addams Family.' Photo by Chris Miller.
Joey Quaile (Uncle Fester) in ‘The Addams Family.’ Photo by Chris Miller.

Joey Quaile stole our hearts, and the show, as a kind and gentle Uncle Fester, smitten with the moon and determined that love should triumph. Along with his running commentary on the events of the story, he sang sweetly and strummed his ukulele, turned in some terrific soft-shoe steps, and made hilarious appearances in surprising video segments. His performance was absolutely irresistible!-Deb Miller.

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Ryan Walter as Richard in Richard III at The Mechanical Theater.

Ryan Walter (Richard) in 'Richard III.' Photo by Emma Stern.
Ryan Walter (Richard) in ‘Richard III.’ Photo by Emma Stern.

Ryan Walter turned in an impassioned performance as the titular monarch, capturing the disturbed psyche of a violent man amused by his own duplicity, enraged by the slightest threat of resistance to his will, but also self-loathing in his deformed body and the vicious epithets it elicits (“that foul bunch-back’d toad”). Fully believable in his diabolical treachery, remorseless in his murders and executions, guilt-ridden in his sleep, and desperate in his attempt to escape his own mortality on the battlefield, Walter delivered Richard’s final plea (“A horse! A horse! my kingdom for a horse!”) with an unsurpassed combination of hope and hopelessness, intensity and exhaustion.-Deb Miller.

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Sean Close as Dromio in The Comedy of Errors at Delaware Shakespeare Festival.

Sean Close ( ) in 'The Comedy of Errors.' Photo by Alessandra Nicole.
Danielle Leneé (Adriana) and Sean Close (Dromio). Photo by Alessandra Nicole.

Perfectly cast in his side-splitting show-stealing role, Sean Close gave the best performance of his career this summer as the maltreated servant Dromio. The comic actor impeccably delivered all the verbal and physical “merry jests” inherent in the part, with double takes, mouth agape, and an attitude that never quit. The audience could clearly read every thought and emotion on his expressive face, in his vocal tone, and in his uproarious body language; Close played this colorful animated character to the hilt-Deb Miller.

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Tom Teti as Tommy McDonald in Tommy and Me at Theatre Exile.

Tom Teti (right) in 'Tommy and Me.' Photo by Paola Nogueras.
Simon Canuso Kiley (Young Ray), Matt Pfeiffer (Ray Didinger), and Tom Teti (Tommy McDonald). Photo by Paola Nogueras.

Tom Teti gave a mature and beautifully balanced performance of football Hall-of-Famer Tommy McDonald’s personality, capturing both the public bravado and clowning, and his more sensitive private side. He kept the audience alternating between tears of joy and laughter, and revealed the deep three-dimensional humanity of his real-life character, through highs and lows, triumphs and disappointments, and sincere gratitude for the lifelong support of writer Ray Didinger-Deb Miller.

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NOTE:
These choice are not inclusive of shows that were Barrymore eligible during Deb Miller’s tenure as A Barrymore judge.

LINKS:
‘Take A Bow’ Part 1: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances in DC/MD/VA.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 2: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances in DC/MD/VA.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 3: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances in DC/MD/VA.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 4: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances in DC/MD/VA.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 5: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances in DC/MD/VA.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 1 in Philadelphia: Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances.

1 COMMENT

  1. Gotta agree with the reviewer on Joey Quaile as Uncle Fester and Tom Teti as Tommy. Brilliant performances which made some for great summer theatre!!!!

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