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Author Archive | Celeste Mann

Sunny (as Sandy) and Tahlia Ellie. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Review: ‘Annie’ at the Walnut Street Theatre

The sun’ll come out tomorrow Bet your bottom dollar that Tomorrow there’ll be sun…. Those familiar lyrics seem fresher than ever in Walnut Street Theatre’s new production of Annie. With its book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, Annie is a musical full of optimism, hope and humor. Brimming […]

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Rand Gurrero and Steven Wright. Photo by Kate Raines/Plate 3 Photography.

Review: ‘Broken Stones’ at InterAct Theatre Company

Just because someone says it doesn’t make it true. What exactly are truth and reality? Both are subjective and depend on one’s perspective. In the news, there are often many sides to a story. These days in the United States, where business reigns, news must sell, whether it is on paper or online. Books must […]

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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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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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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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Emma Gibson. Photo by Kate Raines/Plate 3 Photography.

Review: ‘Perfect Blue’ at Tiny Dynamite

Something new and cutting-edge is happening at Christ Church Neighborhood House this summer – the U.S. premiere of Perfect Blue, by G.S. Watson. Perfect Blue, produced by Philadelphia-based theatre company Tiny Dynamite in association with UK theatre company Pursued By a Bear, is an example of “transmedia storytelling.” According to their website, “transmedia storytelling utilizes […]

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Terry Brennan. Photo by Nick Mazzuca.

Review: ‘School Play’ at Tribe of Fools

What is education? Just because you attend school and sit in a desk doesn’t mean you learn something. In addition, learning can happen beyond the traditional classroom. In School Play, Terry Brennan plays himself at nine years old in the fourth grade. This one-man show, written by Brennan and Jack Tamburri, depicts a typical day […]

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Chris Davis and Stephanie N. Walters. Photo by Plate 3 Photography.

Review: ‘Peaceable Kingdom’ at Orbiter 3

I attended Peaceable Kingdom, a new play by Mary Tuomanen, last night at Christ Church Neighborhood House. I am already checking my calendar for a day when I can see this unique and riveting production again! Peaceable Kingdom was developed by Orbiter 3, which bills itself as “Philadelphia’s first producing playwright’s collective.” It is one […]

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Felicia Leicht (bottom) and Corinna Burns. Photo by Katie Reing.

Review: ‘Swallow’ at Inis Nua Theatre Company

Swallow, by Scottish playwright Stef Smith, was first seen at the Edinburgh Festival in 2015. This American premiere is produced by Inis Nua Theatre Company (which specializes in works from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland) and dazzles in its simplicity. The convincing acting, streamlined set. and compelling script make for a refreshing evening of theatre. […]

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Tania Isaac. Photo by Lindsay Browning.

Review: ‘crazy beautiful’ at FringeArts

How are dances created? What might inspire a choreographer? Specifically, how does Tania Isaac develop a dance? What role does the viewer have in it all? These are some of the questions that come to mind and are answered in Tania Isaac’s performance piece, crazy beautiful. FringeArts presents this interactive dance event for just three […]

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Aneta Kernová and Krista Apple. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

Review: ‘Adapt!’ At The Wilma Theater

Adapt! is a new play that tells the story of Lenka, an immigrant from Communist-era Czechoslovakia who dreams of living in New York City. It’s a world premiere production, written and directed by Blanka Zizka, the Wilma Theater’s longtime Artistic Director. Zizka’s play is autobiographical, ambitious, and has much potential. The production values are high, with […]

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Colleen Corcoran and Andrew Carroll. Photo by Dave Sarrafian.

Review: ‘Anna’ at EgoPo Classic Theater

EgoPo Classic Theater presents the world premiere of Anna as the final work in its Russian Masters Festival. Anna adapts the story of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina with lots of humor and physicality. The cast of actors is splendid and the set dazzles with its realism. A very long narrative is condensed into about 105 minutes […]

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Julianna Zinkel and Mitchell Bloom. Photo by David Fertik.

Review: ‘Ironbound’ at Simpatico Theatre

Her face is banged up and she lights a small votive candle before saying a prayer. Although it is freezing, she has created a makeshift bed outside using her white parka as a mattress and an old spare tire as a pillow. She settles down to sleep and is soon awoken by a young African-American […]

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Review: ‘Our Town’ at Temple Theaters

Temple University Department of Theater’s production of the Pulitzer Prize winner Our Town would have pleased its author, Thornton Wilder. This American classic was written in the early 20th century to be performed with minimal sets and few props. Directed by Douglas C. Wager, Temple’s production stays true to the source and is poignant and thought-provoking. The […]

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Samba de Roda. Photo by Mariza Viana.

Review: Balé Folclórico da Bahia at the Merriam Theater

They say “music is the universal language.” Balé Folclórico da Bahia definitely proved that in their one-night-only performance in Philadelphia at the Merriam Theater. The show, Bahia of All Colors, was nearly two hours of non-stop exuberant sound, movement and energy. Considered by Brazil’s Ministry of Culture as the “best dance company in Brazil,” Balé […]

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Review: ‘Jerry Blavat’s Gospel, Soul and Doo Wop Reunion’ at The Kimmel Center

Jerry Blavat, “a Philadelphia borne dancer, radio and television disc jockey, performer, entertainer, producer and nightclub owner” (according to the program insert), produced his 38th show at The Kimmel Center, called Jerry Blavat’s Gospel, Soul and Doo Wop Reunion, on Saturday night. Blavat has worked in the music business for more than fifty years, and is […]

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