Martha Graham Cracker’s Newest Gig: Kimmel Center Leading Lady

Martha Crop

My chat with Dito started a few minutes early because he feared he’d face a long commute going to his gig at People’s Light: It was the day that a man shot at a police offer on 676, and then proceeded to ram his car into a school bus.

“This is why we need art,” I said.

“Exactly,” he replied. “There’s a Leonard Bernstein quote about this.”

I believe I found the quote after a little searching: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Ironically enough, that’s exactly what van Reigersberg will be doing during his new show playing the Kimmel Center’s SEI Studio in December. Read more »

Want Naming Rights to the Kimmel Center? That’ll be $25 Million

From Property: Orchestra performances, the Pennsylvania Ballet, Thinkfest, whatever your reason for going to the Kimmel Center, we bet you haven’t enjoyed the venue from this angle: a free Arts & Architecture tour will be given at the Kimmel this Saturday, as they are every Saturday for if you weren’t in the know. The tour includes a highlight of the Kimmel’s architectural details, displayed artwork (including the Moore Galleries and Percent for Art Collection) and an exterior examination of the building in context with the Philadelphia cityscape. Tours are given on a first-come, first served basis and are limited to 20 guests. More details here.

Your name here.

The Philadelphia Inquirer offered some insight this morning into what the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts hopes to gain by selling its naming rights. Yes, like a professional sports team, the organization hopes to see a windfall of profits for the right to place a corporate or private name on the building.

Here’s how it breaks down:

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REVIEW: Bullets Over Broadway at Academy of Music

Michael Williams and Emma Stratton (Photo by Matthew Murphy).

Michael Williams and Emma Stratton | Photo by Matthew Murphy

Olive, a stripper who wants to be a serious actress, says this of her previous stage experience in the musical Bullets Over Broadway: “I call it interpretive dance: The audience interpreted it one way and the Catholic Church interpreted it another.”

That’s the kind of zany gag that fills the nearly three-hour Woody Allen/Susan Stroman musical which kicked off the Broadway Philadelphia season last evening. The original Broadway production, which opened in April 2014 and closed five months later, earned a half-dozen Tony nominations. This touring show, which recreates Stroman’s signature choreography, highlights some emerging musical theater talent, although the play itself isn’t terribly well-crafted or thoughtful. Read more »

Opera Philadelphia Takes Multi-Million-Dollar Risk On O17 Urban Opera Festival

O17's Festival Artist, Sondra Radvanovsky

O17’s Festival Artist, Sondra Radvanovsky

Any opera company that says it’s trying to emulate Netflix is taking a risk, and that’s exactly what Opera Philadelphia announced last evening during a much-publicized press event.

The organization is launching a 12-day urban opera festival, O17, that has a signature catch phrase: Opera is now open. The goal is to essentially break down the perceived barriers associated with the art form, and to draw large audiences throughout the city to “binge watch” opera for two weeks at the Academy of Music, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Wilma Theater, amongst other locations.  Read more »

Penn State Alum Lands Lead Role in Broadway Philadelphia Season Opener

Emma Stratton in "Bullets Over Broadway."

Emma Stratton in “Bullets Over Broadway.”

When the big Broadway touring shows come to town, it’s always great to find some sort of a local connection, and with the Kimmel Center’s Broadway Philadelphia season opener, Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway, there’s quite a homecoming for Emma Stratton. The Penn State alumnus plays the lead role of Helen Sinclair in the zany musical comedy. She took some time out of her busy schedule of opening the tour in Cleveland to chat with us about her Penn State education and how it prepared her for a life on the stage.

I have to ask if you’re from Pennsylvania since you went to Penn State. Funny enough, no. I grew up in San Diego, but I loved going to Penn State. It’s what I called the sort-of East Coast.

What kind of theatre department does Penn State have? It seems pretty comprehensive. When I was going into auditions for schools, I had no idea about Penn State. I actually wanted to study abroad, and I hadn’t really researched a ton of schools. I then found out that the BFA program at Penn State was one of the top in the country, yet not a lot of people know about it because its not in a big city. The more I started researching, the more people came out of the woodwork about Penn State: It was like it a had a cult following. It was an amazing school with an incredible program that shaped me so much. Thank goodness lots of friends from Penn State will be coming to Philly to see the show. Read more »

PIFA 2016 Details Revealed

A scene from "Knitting Peace."

A scene from “Knitting Peace.”

An interactive fire and sand performance, a circus made of yarn, and a traveling symphony played in water fountains are just some of the strangely wondrous acts that have been revealed as part of the Kimmel Center’s PIFA 2016 cycle, returning to the city this April.

The theme for this Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts is “We Are What We Make,” and will feature over 60 unique events that highlight a variety of genres and forms from both local artists and performers from around the world.

“The works were meant to challenge not only the artists but those who appreciate art to look deeper and get something unique from this experience, which will last long after the Festival is over,” according to Jay Wahl, Artistic Director for the Kimmel. Read more »

Some of Broadway’s Biggest Belters Coming to Mini Series at the Kimmel

Kelli O'Hara

Kelli O’Hara

Last week’s remarkable concert with Audra McDonald and Seth Rudetsky at the Merriam Theater caused the Kimmel Center folks to announce that two additional Tony Award-winning divas will be heading to town with Mr. Rudetsky this season. They’ll be joining the already announced Megan Hilty in a mini-series of Broadway ladies invading the city. Read more »

REVIEW: Philadelphia Orchestra’s Opening Night

Philadelphia Orchestra

Before the last number of Wednesday’s season-opening concert, the Philadelphia Orchestra‘s incomparable music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, told the audience assembled in Kimmel’s Verizon Hall that it was more important now than ever to spread the word about the excellence of the ensemble.

Alas, it was a not-so-subtle sub-theme that filled the evening, that the Orchestra’s musicians were back in negotiations and that they were currently working without a contract. Several members of the organization, ranging from musicians to administration, spoke of these negotiations after the opening number, which was a ravishing interpretation of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor.” In retrospect, the tune was an eerie prelude to talks about the Orchestra’s future. Read more »

PHOTOS: Mark Wahlberg Attends Screening of Invincible at Kimmel Center

The gossip mills were right on the money last night. Mark Wahlberg did show up on the red carpet for the screening of Eagles-inspired flick Invincible at the Kimmel Center. The film closed out the weeklong Festival of Families Film Festival hosted by Greater Philadelphia Film Office. Local paparazzo HughE Dillon got this great shot of him with former Eagle Vince Papale (left, whom Wahlberg portrays in the film) and comedian Michael Blackson.

Mark Wahlberg

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