Orbiter 3 Playwrights Collective Offering Burlesque-Themed Indiegogo Fundraiser

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Several weeks ago, we profiled the exciting new Philadelphia-based playwrights collective Orbiter 3. The group, which produces new works to highlight Philly’s rising artistic talent, has essentially sold out of memberships before productions even started, an amazing feat when you think about it. Nevertheless, those who are fans of original theater (or stripping) can still get a piece of the action when the group drops their pants during a burlesque show in April. Read more »

Performance Artist Sebastian on His Kickstarter Campaign That’s Creating Lots of Buzz

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When Philly performance artist Sebastian launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his upcoming project Showbiz: Active Terrorism, he had no idea that it would create such a buzz: Even the Huffington Post picked up the project in a feature story. The actor, musician, and performance artist, who has graced local stages across Philadelphia, sat down with me for a rapid-fire chat about his love for creating new works and the response to his Kickstarter project. Read more »

Pig Iron and UArts Team Up to Offer an MFA in Devised Performance

Photo via Pig Iron Theatre Facebook

Photo via Pig Iron Theatre Facebook

If you’re a theater student or professional theater practitioner, this is pretty big news: Pig Iron Theatre Company, known throughout the region for their unique and one-of-a-kind performance works, has teamed up with the University of the Arts on a program that will provide students with an MFA in Devised Performance.

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In The Wings: Chatting with Into The Woods Star Steven Pacek

Philly actor and 11th Hour Theatre Company co-founder Steve Pacek gabs about his killer pie-making skills, meeting Dolly Parton and the thoughtful trinket that foreshadowed his current performance as The Baker in Theatre Horizon’s Into the Woods.

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My name is … Steven Michael Nicholas Pacek, or Pesos, Peter Paycheck, Esteban, or Sir Stevity for short. However, most people just call me Steve.

I am … About 5’8″, 160, brown hair, hazel eyes, bari-tenor … Oh, wait … I can be more than my resume?! Well, I am also a director, painter, thinker, writer, teacher, student, son, brother, nephew, uncle, boyfriend, animal lover, travel-enthusiast, Weather Channel addict and fun-loving Gemini who enjoys long walks on the beach.

What’s the Theatre Horizon take on Into the Woods? I think Theatre Horizon is doing all it can to celebrate storytelling, creativity and imagination with this production of Into the Woods. There are actors who play multiple characters. There are actors who play multiple instruments. And there is plenty of wood onstage, but its not necessarily trees. That sounds vaguely dirty, but you’ll have to come to the show to see what I mean.

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The 600-Pound Gay Man: How Actor Scott Greer Bares It All in The Whale

Scott Greer in "The Whale."

Scott Greer in “The Whale.”

Imagine eating yourself to death. Sounds dreadful. That’s what Charlie, the protagonist in the darkly humorous and poignant play The Whale, essentially does: After the death of his partner, Charlie balloons to 600 pounds, refusing to leave his house due not only to his depression, but his size. As his estranged daughter attempts to reconcile with Charlie, we get to see how family takes on a variety of meanings.

And, yeah, we get to see that 600-pound costume, too, a custom-made suit that takes an extraordinary amount of time for actor Scott Greer to get in and get out of. Greer stars in the production at Theatre Exile, and took the time to chat with us about what its like to play the monstrous character, and what kind of reaction someone like Charlie would get in the modern gay “community.” Read more »

Bradley Cooper Taking The Elephant Man to London

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After a record-breaking run on Broadway, Jenkintown’s Bradley Cooper is taking The Elephant Man to London. Deadline reports that he and castmates Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivolathe will perform a 12-week run of the show, which begins its first preview on May 19th at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and ends on August 8th.

“Never did we think we would have the privilege to perform this show on Broadway, let alone in London,” Cooper said. “I’m honored that Alessandro, Patricia, the entire company and I have the opportunity to continue to tell his story.”

If you happen to find yourself in London’s West End this summer, you can get tickets here.

IN THE WINGS: Chatting with The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane‘s Aimé Donna Kelly

Philly teaching artist, actor and playwright Aimé Donna Kelly, who you can currently see in InterACT Theatre Company‘s powerful The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane, talks her devotion to green smoothies, being named after her grandmother’s childhood rival and being told by President Obama that she kind of looks like Michele. 

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My name is … Aimé Donna Kelly. My grandmother actually named me after a childhood rival she had back in Cuba. The idea being that she wanted me to be greater. Strong words to live up to. The name also means “to be loved” in French.

I am … an actor. I am also a resident teaching artist with Philadelphia Young Playwrights.

On opening night … a show is born! It starts to live and breathe freely on stage with all our work behind us. It has a life separate from the rehearsal process and we follow it to the end. Its an amazing feeling. I think that’s why we always celebrate it with a party.

If I had to describe The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane in one sentence, I’d say … it is a peek under a veil that we rarely lift and forces us to look into the lives of those who don’t have the freedom to be who they are—and because of that, two brave souls put themselves in danger, simply by living.

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In The Wings: Chatting with The Body of an American star Harry Smith

Philly expat Harry Smith, now starring in The Body of an American at the Wilma Theater, talks about the notorious opening night parties at the Wilma, falling in love with a Bucks County gal, and balancing more than 20 characters in his latest show. 

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My name … is Harry Smith. My mother claims I was named after Shakespeare’s Henry V (“Cry God for Harry etc”) but my father says it was Cockney music hall legend Harry Champion.

I am … an actor, currently appearing in The Body of an American at the Wilma Theater. It’s about war reporter Paul Watson and his relationship with playwright Dan O’Brien. I’m playing Dan.

On opening night … I can be found dancing (badly) to Wham! Thanks to our brilliant front-of-house manager, Javier, the Wilma’s opening night parties are legendary (or possibly notorious).

My favorite moment in The Body of an American is  when the lights come up for the first time. There are two actors in the show (myself and the absurdly talented Ian Merrill Peakes) and we never leave the stage. So it’s like strapping yourself into a roller coaster; there’s no turning back.

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NO WIRE HANGERS: The Bearded Ladies and Dito van Reigersberg to Perform Mommie Dearest Pop-Opera

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Don’t f*ck with me, fellas! This ain’t my first time at the rodeo!

I am willing to take bets that we’ll be hearing this line, plus many others, at the upcoming collaboration between The Bearded Ladies and Dito van Reigersberg. The dynamic duo will be camping it up for a two-performance-only special benefit aptly titled Mommie Queerest, where Bearded Ladies Artistic Director John Jarboe and van Reigersberg will fight to the finish (Bring me the axe!) to see who will star as Joan Crawford in their show within a show. Read more »

Here’s the Brochure for Up-for-Sale Suzanne Roberts Theatre

Suzanne Roberts Theater. Photo | G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Suzanne Roberts Theater. Photo | G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

In an email sent out this morning, CBRE advertised 480 South Broad Street—better known as the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. The bank foreclosed on the home of the Philadelphia Theatre Company last April.

According to a tax return, the Philadelphia Theatre Company had a balance of $11 million on its mortgage when TD Bank foreclosed on the theatre. The theater company, which has been struggling financially due to operating and mortgage costs, received $5 million from the state and $3 million from the city to help construct its theater. The theater attached to Symphony House opened at Broad and Lombard in 2007.

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