‘Wicked’ begins five-week run at the Academy of Music
Have you ever wanted to defy gravity? Or maybe just to be more popular?
‘Having the time of your life’ at ‘Mamma Mia! The Musical’
The cast of “Mamma Mia!” dazzled the audience Dec. 27 at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia. The show is currently on its farewell North American tour, having stopped in Philly for a short time frame during the holiday season — Dec. 27 through Dec. 31.
‘An American in Paris’ comes to Kimmel Center
Feb. 26, 2016
Director makes ‘Beauty and the Beast’ one to treasure
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which ran at the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music Feb. 16-21, can be summarized in one phrase: an exceedingly long tale of how strong women don’t need no frat boys. We are all familiar with the hackneyed plot of this fairytale and also of the moral homely that accompanies it — beauty lies on the inside, and Belle helps Beast find his inner beauty through hers. However, the director, Rob Roth, makes the two-and-a-half-hour long play a feast to the eyes with beautiful sets, vibrant costumes and the exceedingly low necklines of the village “Silly Girls” (actual cast credits in my copy of the “Beauty and the Beast” brochure).
Feb. 19, 2016
‘Almost Maine’ looks at the struggles of love
Drexel University’s Co-op Theater Program celebrated the month of love with its Winter production of “Almost, Maine,” written by playwright and Tony-nominated actor John Cariani. The show opened Feb. 12 in the Black Box Theater to a sold-out house.
Feb. 19, 2016
Dibble delights as lead in Walnut Street Theater’s ‘Harvey’
Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Harvey” is set to dazzle at the Walnut Street Theatre. The two-and-a-half-hour long play, which runs at the Walnut until March 6, is a unique comedy-drama whose protagonist, Elwood P. Dowd (played by the very charming Ben Dibble), has a special story — his best friend is an invisible six-foot-three-inch tall invisible bunny named Harvey.
Jan. 29, 2016
Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ comes to Philly
The national tour of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” will perform in Philadelphia Feb. 16-21 at the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music. As described on the Center’s website, the musical “tells the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress”. This production will star Sam Hartley as the Beast and Brooke Quintana as Belle. Featuring all of the songs from the original movie, fans will also be treated with additional numbers from Alan Menken and Tim Rice.
Jul. 24, 2015
Walnut Street Theatre’s ‘Memphis’ is waste of time
There are Broadway shows that make you want to act, dance and join the cast onstage, that make you understand the joy of a musical, and then there’s “Memphis,” an unnecessary drag of a show that strips you of all hope in the existence of a plotline in a musical. Walnut Street Theatre featured the local production of the Broadway hit musical from May 12 to July 12. If you missed it, don’t worry, you made an excellent decision. Set in the 1950s, “Memphis” contains an unnecessarily complex story that tries to address too many issues at once, all this time having racial relations in the 1950s as the main theme of the story. The story follows the life of Huey Calhoun (Christopher Sutton) who wants to change the world (and by world, we mean racial relations in America) through his radio show on which he features music produced by African-Americans. Apparently, the story is inspired by true events and is based on DJ Dewey Phillips and the music that became known as rock n’ roll.
Feb. 27, 2015
Drexel Co-op Company showcases “Peanuts” adaptation
From Feb. 12 to Feb. 21, the student-run Drexel Co-Op Theatre Company presented the production “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” at the Black Box Theater situated in the URBN Center Annex. The show, originally envisioned by writer Bert V. Royal, took characters from one of America’s most beloved comic strips, “Peanuts,” and imagined them in a modern high school environment, perhaps portraying one of the most disturbing extrapolations mankind has ever witnessed.
Dec. 5, 2014
‘Blood Wedding’ completes month-long run at Mandell
A lover awaits. A bride runs away. And so, Federico Garcia Lorca’s classic tale of passion, deception and vengeance begins. The Philadelphia Artists’ Collective teamed up with Drexel University’s Co-op Theater Company to present “Blood Wedding” at Drexel’s Mandell Theater.
Oct. 24, 2014
Bourse Theater shows classic interactive film
While I personally cannot be so wonderfully described as a “sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania,” I sure wouldn’t mind. Oct. 17 marked the first of three midnight showings of the cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Ritz at the Bourse theater in Old City.
May. 16, 2014
Pulitzer winner Doug Wright speaks at the URBN Annex
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Doug Wright spoke to a group in the URBN Annex Screening Room May 7. Wright is completing a residency at Drexel, in which, he has hosted three drop-in conversations with screenwriting and playwriting students, a “producing” class to discuss arts policy, censorship, funding and advocacy in a class titled “Art, Culture and Society,” all housed in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.
Nov. 6, 2013
‘Once’ redefines typical musical
Broadway is strewn with adaptations from all avenues of pop culture, both successful and unsuccessful. “Once” was adapted for the stage from the 2006 film by the same name, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Sep. 20, 2013
Tony-winning show comes to Philly
College students may not be the largest demographic filling up seats at the Walnut Street Theatre, but for the venue’s run of “In The Heights,” they certainly should be. The musical premiered on Broadway in 2008, racking up four Tony Awards from 13 nominations. It was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and won a Grammy Award for the Best Musical Show Album. These claims to fame might get the die-hard musical lover or theater geek to the show, but the truth is that “In The Heights” is a great musical experience for everyone, especially those who have never seen one or would rather avoid them altogether.
May. 17, 2013
Classic Steinbeck comes to life in Drexel Players’ ‘Grapes of Wrath’
Last week the Drexel community finally got to see the product of the Drexel Players’ last couple months of work as they close the 2012-13 season with “The Grapes of Wrath.” Preceded by two lighter performances, “The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee” and “To Fool the Eye,” the adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic is a much graver production and a powerful closing to a successful season. This particular stage adaptation was created by Frank Galati and enriched by original music from Michael Smith. Having been originally produced on Broadway, the show won a Tony Award in 1990. It is not surprising that such a solid rendition was chosen to create a lasting impression of the company near the end of the season, as well as to be the inaugural production of the brand-new URBN Annex Black Box Theater on 34th and Filbert streets.
Apr. 5, 2013
Shakespeare’s classic work, a riveting night at the ballet
The ballet version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is fortunate to have been created by three of the most ingenious men in each of their respective fields: playwright William Shakespeare, choreographer George Balanchine and composer Felix Mendelssohn. The contributions of these three men work so well together that it’s hard to believe that this is not a collaborative piece. However, the very opposite is true. Shakespeare wrote the play in the 1590s, Mendelssohn wrote the music in 1826, and Balanchine choreographed the ballet in 1964.
Jun. 8, 2012
Apr. 13, 2012
Beloved musical returns from behind the curtain
In a tribute to the musical theater classic, the immensely popular “West Side Story” returned to the stage and captivated audiences at the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music from March 27 to April 8.