THEATER REVIEW: In Fun Home, The Days and Days that Make Up Our Lives

The Cast of Fun Home at the Forrest Theatre. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

A day or two ago, a savvy theater friend and I were debriefing about the Tony Awards. While we both agreed there was plenty to criticize, he made the sage point that the last three winners of Best Musical are an impressive study in the evolution of that form. The first of the them, now on stage at the Forrest Theatre, is Fun Home, with music by Jeanine Tesori, and book and lyrics by Lisa Kron. (The others are, of course, Hamilton, and Dear Evan Hanson, and they can be expected in Philly in due course.)

At first glance, Fun Home might seem the most conventional of the three, dealing as it does with a favorite theme in American theater: the dysfunctional family from which a child arises—successful, if not unscathed—to tell about it. Within minutes, though, you’ll find there’s nothing routine about this altogether extraordinary musical that’s likely to turn you into an emotional puddle. Read more »

Garces Pops Up With Balcony Bar @ The Kimmel

Balcony Bar @ The Kimmel/Photo by Casey Rodger

The Jose Garces empire is growing just a little bit more, albeit temporarily. Balcony Bar @ The Kimmel — which, as you may have guessed, is a bar in the Kimmel Center’s second-floor outdoor balcony — officially pops up for the summer on Wednesday, June 14th.

Read more »

Q&A with Broadway Legend Chita Rivera

Please note that due to a scheduling conflict, Chita Rivera’s appearance at the Merriam Theatre has been cancelled.

Chita Rivera will appear at the Merriam Theatre on June 3. (Photo by Laura Marie Duncan)

Chita Rivera will appear at the Merriam Theatre on June 3. (Photo by Laura Marie Duncan)

Two Tony Awards (and eight additional nominations). Created the roles of Anita (in West Side Story), Velma Kelly (Chicago), and the Spider Woman (Kiss of the…), among many others. A career that began on Broadway in 1953, hit stardom a year or two later, and continues. Especially celebrated for her high-octane dancing—she’s been muse to choreographers including Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, Michael Kidd, and Peter Gennaro—she’s also an actor and a singer.

Chita Rivera is, indeed, a theater legend, but any nerves I had about talking with by phone vanished quickly—she’s charming, funny, and forthright, all of which supports her reputation as a great colleague; she’s also known as an inspiring mentor to a new generation of performers. We talked about this, about what we’ll see when she appears with Seth Rudetsky, her experiences performing in Philadelphia… and (surprise!) how polite the locals are. Read more »

How to Guarantee Yourself Hamilton Tickets When It Comes to Philly

Hamilton Poster

Hamilton is coming to Philadelphia!

Okay, so the smash-hit hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton won’t be here for a while. But you can guarantee you get tickets to it when it comes here for the 2018–19 Broadway Philadelphia season now.

That’s the deal the Kimmel Center is running. If you become a subscriber for 2017–18, you can make sure you get tickets for Hamilton when it’s here the following season. Read more »

THEATER REVIEW: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Adam Langdon and the Cast of Curious Incident of the Dog at the Kimmel Center. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Adam Langdon and the Cast of Curious Incident of the Dog at the Academy of Music. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

In moments of stress, Christopher, the 15-year-old, brilliant but troubled hero of The Curious Incident of the Dog, comforts himself with facts, numbers, and a search for congruity (his behaviour suggests Asperger’s syndrome, though it’s not referred to explicitly). So, let’s start there. This visually brilliant theatrical adaptation (by Simon Stephens, directed by Marianne Elliott) is in Philadelphia through March 5.  Good timing: it’s here at exactly the moment when Mark Haddon’s novel on which the play is based is the centerpiece for this year’s One Book, One Philadelphia event—an initiative which is celebrating its 15th anniversary.  This tour of Curious Incident follows hit runs on Broadway (799 performances), and originally in the U.K. at the National Theatre (it opened in August 2012, and continues to run at London’s Gielgud Theatre). Read more »

THEATER REVIEW: More is More in The Bodyguard

Deborah Cox and Company in The Bodyguard at the Academy of Music.

Deborah Cox and Company in The Bodyguard at the Academy of Music.

Posted at the Academy of Music: Guest Alert! Strobe lighting, loud gun effects and lasers will be used during the performance. But hey, wait—they forgot the holograms, bad ‘90s hair, and big gay stereotypes!

And that’s just the beginning. Read more »

LGBTQ Event of the Week: Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia Leather Contest 2017

The Bike Stop and Philadelphians MC presents the Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia Leather Contest 2017 this Saturday.

The Bike Stop and Philadelphians MC presents the Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia Leather Contest 2017 this Saturday.

For its competitive spirit and edgy dress code, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia Leather Contest 2017. This time around, the Bike Stop and Philadelphians MC are asking you to “strap on your hottest gear, grab all your friends, and don’t forget your cellphone so you can vote online and help decide the winner!” Guests can expect to compete and/or vote for the Bar Wear, Hot Wear, Formal Wear, and Audience Vote categories. There is a cash bar with snacks, with an afterparty following the crowning of the winners. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 7th, at the Bike Stop, 206 South Quince Street. Read more »

5 Comedy Shows to See This Week

The Second City Live: We're All In This Room Together is at the Kimmel Center on Friday and Saturday. Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Second City Live: We’re All In This Room Together is at the Kimmel Center on Friday and Saturday. Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Bob Marley @ Helium Comedy Club | February 1-4
Stand-up comic Bob Marley has performed on pretty much every late-night talk show, including David Letterman and Jay Leno. Here’s your chance to see him live. He’ll be performing six shows at Helium over four days, but the 7:30 p.m. set on Saturday is already sold out.

Jay Pharoah @ Punch Line Philly | February 2-4
You know Jay Pharoah from his years as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, or maybe you’ve just seen a video of his spot-on celebrity impressions. He’ll be doing five shows at Punch Line, starting Thursday night. Read more »

20 Things to Do in Philly This Weekend

Andrea Hornick’s “Unbounded Histories” opens at the Barnes on Friday. Photo from Facebook/Savery Gallery

Andrea Hornick’s “Unbounded Histories” sound installation opens at the Barnes on Friday. Photo from Facebook/Savery Gallery

FRIDAY, JANUARY 6

Tango Night @ The Barnes
Let dancers from the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School show you how it’s done, and then get out on the dance floor and attempt to tango like the pros. Trio de la Plata will provide the live music. Also happening Friday evening, Andrea Hornick’s “Unbounded Histories,” a site-specific sound installation, opens in the Collection Gallery. Hornick will perform and discuss the project with curator Martha Lucy.

Philly Loves Bowie Week @ Various Locations
The nine-day David Bowie celebration kicks off Friday with an opening reception for the Bowie Art Show at Ruckus Gallery and, over at Doobies Bar, the first pour of Round Guys Brewing’s Bowie-inspired Loving The Alien, a BlackStar Saison.

Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls @ African American Museum in Philadelphia
The AAMP is showing the 1982 PBS video of Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, starring Alfre Woodard and Lynn Whitfield. Before the free screening, there will be a guided tour of the museum’s related exhibit, “i found god in myself: The 40th Anniversary of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls,” which closes Sunday. Read more »

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