Jesse Nager (second to left) and cast in Motown: The Musical.
I’m chatting with Jesse Nager on the phone: it’s a week before Christmas and he’s in Minneapolis with Motown: The Musical until after the holidays. When I asked him what that’s like, to be away for Christmas, he quickly responds, “I’ve got my husband with me, and that’s all I need.”
Surely, that isn’t the only thing that has made Nager a success, both on Broadway and across the states. An alumni of the famed LaGuardia Performing Arts High School in New York City and a graduate of University of Michigan, Nager took to heart what one of his former professors at college once told him about show business: “If there’s anything else you can do and you can be happy doing it, do that.” Not very encouraging words, for sure, but Nager has added on a bit of an upbeat aside to those words of advice. Read more »
Bob Dylan performed at the Academy of Music last month, but before the audience piled in one lucky fan had the opportunity to get a private show from the legendary singer-songwriter.
Experiment Ensam convinced Dylan to play a show for Fredrik Wikingsson, who sat alone in the immense Academy of Music and listened to Dylan perform a set that, according to SPIN, included Buddy Holly’s “Heartbeat” and Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill.”
Wilkingsson said the experience left him feeling a “flood of emotions,” and that he “wasn’t far from crying.”
How he wasn’t bawling his eyes you I’ll never know. Check out Wikingsson’s experience in the video above.
Kecia Lewis and Paige Faure in Cinderella.
It’s the first day of the cold spell that rocked Philly, and I’m on the phone with Broadway’s Kecia Lewis as she is sitting under an umbrella and staring at a palm tree in Florida. Lewis, who will be heading to the Academy of Music to star as the Fairy Godmother in the iconic Rogers and Hammerstein musical Cinderella, is literally taking the show on the road: she’s driving, with her son, Simon, and her dog, from city to city on her own for the duration of the show’s national tour. Riding cross-country was always one of her dreams, but, as she’s finding out, it isn’t a cakewalk. Read more »
If waiting in line at Best Buy for a $100 flat screen television is your idea of a nightmare, don’t fear. We’ve rounded up some of the best events for everyone in the Philadelphia region on Black Friday that don’t involve a single shopping bag or cash register line.
A Philadelphia Nutcracker
This unique production of the holiday dance classic by the Philadelphia Dance Theatre takes the action and moves it to areas throughout 19th century Philadelphia, including Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill. The Gothic-style Thomas Mansion on Wissahickon Avenue is the setting for the Act I party scene that everyone has come to know and love. You'll have to prance over David Kurtz Center to see the rest! (7:00PM, David Kurtz Center, 3000 W. Schoolhouse Lane, Philadelphia)
Polaris and Radiator Hospital at Johnny Brendas
Polaris, the house band lead by Mark Mulcahy, rose to fame in the 90's when they were featured on the now defunct The Adventures of Pete and Pete. They are teaming up with Radiator Hospital for a one-night only concert at Philly's notorious Johnny Brenda's. Tickets are going fast for what is sure to be a great night of fun and music. (8:00PM, Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., Philadelphia)
Black Friday Comedy Marathon
After you had to deal with all of your lovely in-laws the night before, you may need to laugh…a lot. No worries: Philly Improv Theatre is presenting a 24-hour series of comedy acts that run all day on Black Friday and into Saturday. Aptly called the Black Friday Comedy Marathon, the festival has something for just about everyone, including stand-up, variety shows, and sketch acts. With late-night sessions called "Porn: The Musical," this is one marathon that isn't for the faint of heart! (Starts at 10:00AM, Philly Improv Theatre, 2030 Sansom St., Philadelphia)
Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella: Kids' Night
The national tour of the Broadway hit Cinderella has two performances on Friday at the Academy of Music, but here's a deal that's just as good as a pair of glass slippers: the 8:00PM show has a special Kids' Night discount where young theatre goers can attend for up to 50% off. Don't miss the sweeping music, the award-winning costumes, and all of the tunes that you know from the multiple made-for-television versions of this classic musical. (2:00PM and 8:00PM, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., Philadelphia)
Morris Arboretum Holiday Garden Railway
The return of the Morris Arboretum's most popular attraction starts Friday. Guests will be wowed by replicas of Philadelphia landmarks made out of all-natural materials, including barks, leaves, and twigs. Of course, there's the quarter mile of toy railroad track that weaves throughout the arboretum's winter gardens. (10:00AM, Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave., Philadelphia)
Say Anything and Saves The Day Concert
It's one of the hottest tickets in town: bands Say Anything and Saves The Day are teaming up for a remarkable concert that celebrates the 10th anniversary release of Say Anything’s …is a Real Boy and the 15th anniversary of Saves The Day’s Through Being Cool. Reggie and the Full Effect will be joining them on stage as all three bands perform their albums in full for concert goers. Tickets are going extremely fast for the evening at the TLA. (7:00PM, Theater of the Living Arts, 334 South St., Philadelphia)
Last Chance To See Full Circle: Works by Richard Pousette-Dart
It is your final chance to see the work of the twentieth century's most create draftsmen, Richard Pousette-Dart, at The Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibit, Full Circle: Works on Paper, features 60 of Pousette-Dart's most iconic works, including 6 of his notebooks. The exhibit closes on Sunday after a nearly three month run. (Opens at 10:00AM, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia)
A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place
Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street, or, more specifically, Sesame Place? This family-friendly holiday celebration features everyone's favorite characters from the television show in special Christmas shows and at Santa's Furry Workshop. Don't forget to bring your own little monsters to Cookie's Monster Land and stick around for the Christmas Light Show. (Opens at 1:00PM, Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne)
Mary Poppins at Walnut Street Theatre
Everyone's favorite magical nanny has flown into Philly. Based on the beloved Disney film, the Broadway treatment of Mary Poppins is playing the Walnut Street Theatre. A great family affair that has two Black Friday performances, the musical features everyone's favorite songs, including "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Feed the Birds," and my favorite tongue twister of all-time, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!" Tickets can be purchased here. (2:00PM and 8:00PM, Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St., Philadelphia)
If you’re a vegetarian, like me, you don’t really look forward to the centerpiece on the big ole’ Turkey Day meal (but, I’d be willing to bet that you do overload on mashed potatoes and that green bean casserole thingie). Instead, you’re plotting out your Thanksgiving week, which is notorious for parties, events, and festivities that you simply can’t pass up (just like that cranberry sauce in a can). We here at G Philly came up with our best bets of everything going on in gay Philly during the week of Thanksgiving, broken up in a day-by-day, easy to follow guide. Consider it your recipe for a holiday well-done. Read more »
The legendary Bob Dylan will come rolling into town this weekend to perform three shows at the Academy of Music—the first time, The Inquirer reports, he’s played Center City since 1963. What’s he been doing all those years? It’s likely you’re well aware, but an in-depth exhibit on Dylan at LaSalle University will succeed in filling any gaps you may have missed in the famed songwriter’s life. In short, it’s the perfect complement to seeing him live this week.
The Inquirer has more on what you’ll find in the exhibit, called “Life and Work of Bob Dylan Collection,” which comprises everything from rare bootleg recordings, T-shirts, concert posters and more.
Read more »
Corrina Burns | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou
The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence
Off-Broad Street Theater
Time and time again, we’ve heard that there’s a dearth of roles for actresses of a certain age. “But I think that might be changing,” says Corinna Burns, the female lead in Azuka Theatre’s The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, a 2014 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Last season, the 42-year-old Swarthmore grad was cast in just one show. This season? “I have five shows,” she says, including Revolution Shakespeare’s just-wrapped Macbeth and a Fringe play that won accolades from the New York Times. “I feel very lucky. It’s an embarrassment of riches.”
More November must-dos after the jump
The Young Friends of the Academy of Music held their fourth annual Monsters Ball on Thursday night at Delfrisco’s. Proceeds from the event go to the Academy of Music Restoration Fund. This year the Academy’s 158th Anniversary Ball and concert will be held on Saturday, January 24, 2015 , with the Philadelphia Orchestra and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
The Young Friends’ co-chairs Christie Honigman and Brian Lipstein welcomed nearly 100 guests who were encouraged to wear masks for the annual soiree. Guests dined on lite bites and enjoyed specialty cocktails, and danced the night away to the tunes of Eddie Tully and songstress Jessy Kyle.
More photos from Monsters Ball after the jump »
Jacob Kemp is having a full-circle moment: When he was a boy, his mother, a Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, native, sat him down to watch the movie Newsies.
“There were boys dancing, huge bunches of boys dancing, in an athletic way, through story and through action,” he recalled. “It kept me in dance class for a long time.” Read more »
October 8th and 9th
Academy of Music
The gritty Canadian singer and guitarist has always had a huge Philadelphia fan base, and his shows here are the stuff of legend. He performed a solo set and one with Crosby, Stills and Nash at Live Aid, he headlined a special 2008 concert to commemorate the end of the Spectrum, and his 2007 Tower shows were memorialized by filmmaker Jonathan Demme in the documentary Neil Young Trunk Show. If you don’t catch at least one of his two performances here this month, you’ll be missing out.
Read more »