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Archive | 2017-2018 Theater Season

Morning's at Seven, People's Light

Review: ‘Morning’s at Seven’ at People’s Light

Morning’s at Seven fits the definition of “quaint.” With its elderly characters and its winsome setting – a Midwestern town in the 1930s, where everybody knows each other’s problems a little too well – Paul Osborn’s genial 1939 comedy is practically a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. But look closer at those houses onstage […]

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Brian Weiser and Teresa Nutter. Photo by Mariangela Saavedra.

Review: ‘Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol’ at Casabuena Cultural Productions

Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol proves that damnation can be funnier than hell. Casabuena Cultural Productions’ irreverent take on the beloved Charles Dickens classic follows Marley on a redemptive quest to save his wretched soul. Directed by Mariangela Saavedra, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol feels akin to the 1988 Bill Murray film Scrooged (a classic in its […]

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Michael Fegley and Winslow Fegley. Photo by Johanna Austin.

Review: ‘A Billion Nights on Earth’ at FringeArts

Thaddeus Phillips’ and Steven Dufala’s spectacularly enjoyable, glowing world of far out, fantastical adventure unfolds and forms like theatrical origami within the FringeArts black box theater. Stemming from a simple story line where a boy named Winslow (Winslow Fegley) cannot get to sleep, scenes progress surreally as from a child’s imagination, or a dream state, […]

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Karen Peakes. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Review: ‘Bad Dates’ at Act II Playhouse

Bad Dates, by Theresa Rebeck, is the third one-person play I’ve seen in the past two months. The others were 2.5 Minute Ride, an autobiographical drama by Lisa Kron which was produced at Theatre Horizon, and Buyer & Cellar, a satirical comedy by Jonathan Tollins staged by 1812 Productions. Compared to them, Bad Dates is […]

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Don Stephenson. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Review: ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG Playhouse Christmas Show’ at Bucks County Playhouse

How many versions of A Christmas Carol have you seen? Probably too many to count. But I can guarantee you’ve never seen one that mentions Doylestown, Lambertville and Peddler’s Village before. They all get shout-outs in Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG Playhouse Christmas Show, this year’s Yuletide offering at Bucks County Playhouse. Yes, it’s an adaptation of […]

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Jason Vieaux. Photo by GMD Three.

Review: LiveConnections Presents Fifth House Ensemble + Jason Vieaux at World Cafe Live

LiveConnections Presents kicked off its new season in rousing fashion with an evening of music from the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble and classical guitarist Jason Vieaux – introduced, in keeping with the educational mission of LiveConnections Presents, by an ensemble of high school students from Play On, Philly! performing Steve Reich’s “Music for Pieces of […]

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Adrianna Hicks and Company. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Review: ‘The Color Purple’ at the Forrest Theatre

It may take place in rural Georgia circa 1909, but because of today’s headlines about the mistreatment of women, The Color Purple is more relevant than ever. The tour of the recent Broadway hit (winner of the Tony Award for Best Revival) has arrived at the Forrest Theatre for a short run that ends this […]

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Hilary Hahn. Photo by Michael Patrick O'Leary.

Review: Hilary Hahn Plays Bernstein with The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Leonard Bernstein Centenary continues with concerts by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Last weekend’s performances featured one of Bernstein’s most interesting (and relatively obscure) compositions — his Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium), for solo violin, strings, harp and percussion. That Plato Symposium, allow me to remind you, was a series of dissertations in ancient […]

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Greg Wood. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

Review: ‘A Christmas Carol’ at McCarter Theatre Center

A snowy Princeton afternoon may be the most festive of conditions in which to see the great McCarter Theatre holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol. Add to that a host of Dickensian characters greeting you as step through the threshold and the lobby, and you have an undeniably charming Yuletide experience. Despite Ebenezer Scrooge’s hatred […]

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David Ingram and Charlotte Northeast. Photo by Plate 3 Photography.

Review: ‘The Brownings’ at Orbiter 3

It’s long been said that in order to be a writer, one must be at least a little crazy. Well, they don’t get any crazier than the great Victorian poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. Their dysfunctional marriage, ruled by bipolar disorder and the constant sense of competition between the two, is put on […]

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Jo Vito Ramirez. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Review: ‘Peter Pan’ at the Arden Theatre

Arden Children’s Theatre opens its 20th Anniversary Season with a delightful production of Peter Pan, adapted for the stage by Douglas Irvine, and based on J.M. Barrie’s books. Whit MacLaughlin directs an agile cast in this new and funny take on a classic favorite. In the Arden’s Peter Pan the children do fly, but this […]

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Colin Doyle. Photo by Don Valentino.

Review: ‘The Sea Cadet’ and ‘A Trip to Africa’ at Concert Operetta Theater

Concert Operetta Theater moved into new artistic territory with its November production of two unfamiliar operettas. Daniel Pantano’s Philadelphia company teamed up with a European organization led by Dario Salvi devoted to the preservation of neglected music. Their similar interests came together with a double bill of operettas not heard in America in a century. […]

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Gregory Isaac and Leigha Kato (front), Lee Cortopassi and Doug Hara (rear). Photo by Shawn May.

Review: ‘My Fair Lady’ at Quintessence Theatre

Quintessence Theatre has built a strong reputation as a home for classic drama. But now they’ve dived into the American Musical Theatre canon in a big way by staging one of the most popular and cherished musicals of all time. And fittingly, it’s My Fair Lady – a show with a storied classical heritage, as […]

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Jen Allegra. Photo courtesy The Stagecrafters Theater.

Review: ‘The Miser’ at The Stagecrafters Theater

A play by Moliere in the Philadelphia area? Be still my heart! I took a quick unscientific survey in the lobby, prior to the performance, and discovered that not many visitors to The Miser, presented by the Stagecrafters of Chestnut Hill, had seen one of the great French author’s works. This company usually presents modern […]

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Matthew Rose. Photo courtesy The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Gives a Haydn Masterpiece a Local Premiere

The programming of music by Haydn is unusual for The Philadelphia Orchestra. The choice is even more surprising coming from conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who is more associated with modern compositions by composers like Mahler, Bruckner and Stravinsky. Yet Nézet-Séguin chose Haydn’s The Seasons to fill the entire program in his concerts of November 16, 17 […]

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Colleen Hughes, Rachel Gluck and Tessa Kuhn. Photo by Rebecca Gudelunas.

Review: ‘Crimes of the Heart’ at Curio Theatre Company

Curio Theatre Company’s production of Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize winning tragicomedy, Crimes of the Heart, is the dark and hilarious tale of the Magraths — as twisted a set of sisters as you will surely ever meet. Crimes of The Heart, directed by Curio founding member Gay Carducci, is set in sleepy Hazlehurst, Mississippi, and […]

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finding-neverland-feature image

Review: ‘Finding Neverland’ at the Academy of Music

I went into Finding Neverland with high hopes. I had been enchanted by the 2004 film from which this musical has been adapted. The story, based on a play by Allan Knee, follows the (highly fictionalized) relationship between J. M. Barrie, the widowed Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, and Llewelyn Davies’ four sons, who inspire Barrie to create […]

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Angie Henderson-Goode and Leah O'Hare. Photo by Scott R. Grumling.

Review: ‘Rasheeda Speaking’ at Allens Lane Theater

The setting is ordinary – an office with two desks side by side. The desks are covered with plants, knickknacks, and piles of paperwork. The sort of thing we see every day in corporate America. But this ordinary office is also a battleground in a struggle over office politics and racial politics. And that’s ordinary […]

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Alyson Cambridge. Photo by Andrew Ousley.

Review: ‘From the Diary of Sally Hemings’ at Unison Media

The New York premiere of William Bolcom’s composition, From the Diary of Sally Hemings, could not be more timely. With so much news focused on racial tensions, as well as the recent uproar over sexual aggression by powerful men, this piece explores the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave with whom he fathered six […]

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