Bring Rocky the Musical to Philly

Rocky musical

Andy Karl in Rocky the Musical.

This Sunday, August 17th, the curtain will close for the final time on Rocky the Musical on Broadway.  It opened with such promise, a star-studded opening night and decent reviews. But Rocky had trouble filling seats, meaning it is doubtful we will ever see Clubber Lang or Ivan Drago belt out a tune in Rocky II through V: The Musicals.

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The Boys of The Book of Mormon

Mormon boys JR Bruno and Josh Daniel after a performance at the Forrest Theatre.

Mormon boys JR Bruno (left) and Josh Daniel after a performance at the Forrest Theatre.

They tap-dance in missionary outfits. They sing. They change into really strange costumes and perform a full-on show-stopping routine during a number called the “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” song.

I’m talking about the extraordinarily talented cast of The Book of Mormon, the Tony Award-winning Best Musical playing an extended engagement at Philadelphia’s Forrest Theatre through September 14th. Two of the ensemble members, JR Bruno and “swing” Josh Daniel, are part of the oh-so-wrong musical by the creators of South Park that takes stabs at just about every other musical out there, including The King and IThe Lion King, and Wicked. It’s also pretty damn funny; ironically enough, in the middle of my interview with the cast, a theater manager interrupted us, saying there was an audience complaint: people were laughing too much.

Bruno has been on the tour since it started two years ago and performed on Broadway in West Side Story; Daniel, a fresh graduate of the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, has been on tour for a year. I had the chance to sit down with both cast members after their Thursday evening performance, and we chatted about Philly (this is the first-time visit for both of them), the Forrest Theatre, and what it is like to tour across North America.

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Best Student Discounts at Philadelphia Arts Venues

We’ve done some research to put together this nifty, one-stop-shop of the best ways you can get the most out of that student i.d. card at local arts venues in Philly—everywhere from movie theaters to museums to games at Citizens Bank Park. (Just remember to take said i.d. card.)

Ritz Five in Old City

Ritz Five in Old City

Movie Theaters

Rave Cinemas
Student price: $8.25 weekdays and Sundays, $8.75 Fridays and Saturdays
If this price is still too steep, consider going on $5.50 Tuesdays and use the extra cash to get drinks at the Rave’s bar.

Landmark Theaters (Ritz at the Bourse, Ritz East, and Ritz Five)
Student price: $7.75 except Saturdays and holidays. $7 on “Bargain Wednesdays”
Go for the newest hipster films, stay for the intimate theater experience.

International House
Student Price: $7
Although most screenings are free, take advantage of the cheap ticketed films to watch independent movies from around the world.

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This Week at GayFest!: America’s First Gay Play Gets the Philly Treatment

Philly’s only LGBT theater festival, GayFest!, kicks off tomorrow (August 5th.) Now in its fourth year, Quince Productions founder and GayFest! producer Rich Rubin says the theme of the season is new meets old.

There are a handful of Philadelphia premieres—Next Fall, Some Are People, and You Know My Name—playing alongside old-school favorites. The Haunted Host, for instance, celebrates 50 years on the stage. “It is considered by many to be America’s first full-length gay play,” says Rubin. “I’m excited about combining the new and cutting-edge work with historic work. More than ever, there’s a real range of tone and style in the festival.”

So get out there and support our city’s sole LGBT film festival. Here’s a preview of what’s happening this week during the festival:

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Over 120 Shows Announced for Neighborhood Fringe 2014

Fringe

FringeArts has announced the lineup for the 2014 Neighborhood Fringe: over 120 independently produced productions by both new and established artists to take place in an array of Philadelphia neighborhoods. The shows are in addition to the selection of performances by internationally renowned artists already scheduled for the 18th Annual Fringe Festival, running September 5th through the 21st.

The lineup of over 120 shows will ignite Philadelphia’s neighborhoods with a variety of artistic happenings, encompassing dance, theater, spoken word, visual art, and more. The performances will fill unique venues from West Philadelphia to Northern Liberties, including theaters, row houses, parks, nightclubs, even cemeteries.

Highlights from this year’s Neighborhood Fringe lineup include:

Dance-performance artist Gunnar Montana returns to this year's Fringe in "Resurrection Room."

Dancer-performance artist Gunnar Montana returns to this year’s Fringe in “Resurrection Room.”

Resurrection Room: By Gunnar Montana, the performance “follows a young woman as she stumbles upon a world with no rules, no life, no death. Get lost with her as she encounters everything from hot pink hostels to demon geishas, igniting a world that’s dead set on eating her alive.”

Intimate Exchanges: Presented by 1812 Productions, “Jennifer Childs and Tony Lawton star in Alan Ayckbourn’s sensational comedy of chance where each road taken is dictated by the audience, leading to a world of outrageous outcomes.”

The Ray Charles Experience: Artist Movin’ Melvin Brown presents a “soulful journey exploring the jazz, blues, gospel music of Ray Charles and his contemporaries, Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, and more!”

BalletX at The Porch: BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet, will perform “beside 30th Street Station against the backdrop of the Philadelphia skyline.”

For a full list of Neighborhood Fringe shows, and more details about the upcoming Fringe Festival, head here.

The Fringe Festival will run from September 5th-21st. Tickets are available for purchase online.

 

Theatre Horizon Announces Its 2014-2015 Season Lineup

Steve Pacek, Adam Altman, Geneviève Perrier, and Damon Bonetti in Theatre Horizon's "39 Steps." Photo by Matthew J. Photography.

Steve Pacek, Adam Altman, Geneviève Perrier, and Damon Bonetti in Theatre Horizon’s “39 Steps.” Photo by Matthew J. Photography.

Norristown’s Theatre Horizon has unveiled the lineup for its 10th anniversary season, which Artistic Director Erin Reilly says is all about “giving voice to the voiceless.” Known for producing challenging yet inspirational dramas, Theatre Horizon’s upcoming season will include works by Stephen Sondheim and Suzan-Lori Park, with the stories and actors aiming to reflect the diversity of the local theater community.

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Quince Productions Announces GayFest 2014 Lineup

Steve Fales in "Confessions of a Mormon Boy."

Steve Fales in “Confessions of a Mormon Boy.”

Quince Productions has announced the line up for the fourth annual GayFest, the city’s LGBT theatre extravaganza, which runs at various venues throughout the city from August 5-23, 2014.  This year, the festival includes four main stage plays and a host of special events, one-night-only cabarets, performances, and one-man shows. Read more »

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