Broadway Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center Announces 2015-2016 Season

The Broadway League estimated that the 2013-14 Broadway Philadelphia season brought $100 million in revenue for local businesses. That’s no chump change, and speaks to the importance of Broadway touring productions on Philadelphia’s economy. Lucky enough for the city, the 2015-16 Broadway Philadelphia season features 11 productions, many of which are making their Philadelphia touring debuts, plus the epic return of the smash Philly hit The Book of Mormon. Read more »

Meet the Man Who Trained the Four-Legged Star of Annie

William Berloni

William Berloni

“I’ve seen more young actresses who play Annie pee on stage than dogs who pee on stage.”

That’s William Berloni‘s answer when I ask him the question everyone wants to know: How does the Tony Award-winning theatrical animal trainer control his loving, furry crew from having an accident while performing on Broadway?

“Honestly, if [Annie] hasn’t taken a break to pee, that poor thing will explode when she’s in that red dress at the end of the show.” Read more »

Last Chance For Tickets To Brewer’s Plate

From Foobooz: The Brewer’s Plate is set for Sunday, March 8th at the Kimmel Center. Brewer’s Plate is always one of the best beer events of the year. In its eleventh year, the event pairs local restaurants with local beers and it benefits Fair Food. More than forty restaurants have already signed up including newbies to Brewer’s Plate like; Olde Bar, High Street on Market, 2nd Story Brewing and Wynridge Farms. More here.

The Brewer’s Plate is this Sunday, March 8 at the Kimmel Center so if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you should probably hurry up. Not only does it feature local restaurants and local beer to benefit Fair Food, but this year it will also showcase a new brewery collaboration.

Victory Brewing Company and Michigan’s Brewery Vivant have teamed up to produce “Bon Vivant,” a saison-style beer with a medium to light body. The beer will be exclusively sampled at this year’s Brewer’s Plate and after Sunday, leaves the East Coast to return to Michigan, so this could be your only chance.

Read more »

Kimmel’s SEI Innovation Studio Showcases Exciting Future of Performing Arts in Philly

Jazz singer Venissa Santi taking a photo of the 8 year-old drummer during her Wednesday night set at the Kimmel's SEI Studio.

Jazz singer Venissa Santi taking a photo of the 8 year-old drummer during her Wednesday night set at the Kimmel’s SEI Studio.

It was a nasty few days of weather in the Philadelphia region, but the energy inside SEI Innovation Studio, the small, intimate black-box type theater in the basement of the Kimmel Center, was hot as hell. For two nights in a row, the performing arts organization presented a series of seemingly unrelated events—a jazz residency program by soulful singer Venissa Santi and a technology-driven rendition of Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale lead by the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble—that were utterly affordable (the first was free, the second was only $10 and that included a cocktail) and beyond exciting for anyone who sees Philly as the future for the performing arts. Read more »

Curtis 20/21 Ensemble Breaking Classical Musical Stereotypes at SEI Innovation Studio

Curtis 20:21

Imagine listening to classical music in a club-like setting while you interact via your cell phone on a giant LED screen. Well, that’s happening tonight at the Kimmel Center.

The Curtis 20/21 Ensemble, which has played Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, created quite a buzz this past December when they presented a collaborate performance of Terry Riley’s In C at the Kimmel Center. Now, the ensemble will return this evening, March 5, for another night of genre-breaking music. Read more »

Our Q&A With Adam Trent, the Justin Timberlake of Magic

Adam Trent

Adam Trent

Imagine taking David Copperfield and fusing him with a boy band member who can jump through huge LED screens without shattering them (or himself). That’s pretty much Adam Trent, the 29-year-old entertainer who was once named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Youth in America.” Trent, who has been performing since he was nine, joined the cast of The Illusionists, the hit sophisticated magic show coming to Philly, at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. He was such a hit, that the producers have since asked him to take the show to Dubai, Broadway, and now across the country. We sat down with the multi-talented Trent to discuss his special brand of magic and what drew him to show business.

I know you started performing as a kid. Did you always do magic or were you into other things?
I was always kinda doing everything. I started out wanting to being a musician after seeing Michael Jackson videos, so I did impressions of him and other singers. Then, I moved on to drums and instruments. Then I started magic, and that was it for me. I actually sold my drum set for my first illusion kit. I needed $500 for something, so the drums had to go! This is my twentieth year in entertainment: I started when I was 9 and now I’m now 29.

How was your experience performing on Broadway?
Amazing. It’s the thing that we performers always aspire to do, right? We were there for six weeks.

The promos for the show say you “shatter stereotypes and bring a new generation of magic to fans fusing technology illusions, dancing and comedy with classic techniques.” Break all that down for us … 
It’s a cocktail of different art forms: there’s dance in it and some of my illusions use technology. One of my acts uses giant LED walls—I clone myself and smash myself into it. Then, there’s a whole act I do with a camera hat on my head, so the audience gets to see what the magician sees. It’s a totally new perspective in a fun, fresh way.

What performers have inspired your brand of magic?
David Copperfield has been one of the big ones for me. I saw him when I was 8 years old and it changed my life. I also really admire Penn and Teller and how fast they create original material and how thought provoking it always is. Music wise, there’s Justin Timerlake—and Michael Jackson was one of the first pop performers who I saw who shook my world up. I watch The Kings of Comedy all the time. Any artist can go watch any art form and think, “Wow, this is so great,” and there’s always inspiration that you can incorporate into your own work.

Why do you think The Illusionists has been such a success?
Magic is something that had a market but there hasn’t been anyone who could put together a large-scale touring show that is high-end evening entertainment. This isn’t some little $5 show where you get popcorn before it starts. It also helps that the show has been presented as part of a Broadway series at theaters across the country. Sometimes when presenters or promoters think of magic shows, they want to automatically include it as family theater or children’s theater, but this show isn’t that. When ticket prices start hovering around $100, it isn’t a show totally aimed at kids anymore. Don’t get me wrong. We see kids all the time, and kids love it! David Copperfield was a “real deal” show, and my parents brought me to see him. I have a feeling that this show will have the same impact on our younger audiences that Cooperfield had on me.

The Illusionists runs February 24 through March 1, 2015 at the Academy of Music. For ticket information, click here. Adam also loves Twitter followers: check him out @AdamTrentMagic.

Philly’s Magic Moment


Archive Photos/Stringer/Getty Images

I love magic. My late father was a magician — he went by the name “The Great Shandor” — and when he was a teenager back in the ’60s, he would perform on Atlantic City’s Steel Pier. Much of my childhood was filled with magic shows, magical construction projects like the Sword Suspension Trick in our South Jersey garage, and trips into the city to see all the street magicians who used to perform at NewMarket, a once-thriving mall in Society Hill. Back then, going to a magic show was something that people seemed to actually enjoy.

In more recent years, though, magic fell by the wayside. I’m not talking about TV magic, with those sporadic David Blaine specials and that canceled Criss Angel series on cable. Television magic never impressed me — or my dad — because, well, you can’t believe anything you see on TV. And I’m not talking about that masked guy on Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed who shows you how tricks are done — that guy and guys like him all over YouTube are the mortal enemies of working magicians everywhere. Read more »

11 Things to Do in Philly This Week

10 Things to Do in Philly if You Hate Valentine’s Day

If the sight of those heart-shaped boxes of chocolate at CVS makes you ill or you can’t bare to think about waiting for three hours to get a table at some crappy Olive Garden, then this list is for you. For those who can’t stand the thought of Valentine’s Day, we rounded up a host of events that celebrate an anti-cupid spirit. Just make sure you don’t mistakenly leave your house wearing any red or, God forbid, pink.

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