REVIEW: Is Respect the Sleeper Hit of the Philly Spring Theater Season?

Lindsay Roberts, April Woodall, Marissa Barnathan, and Lauren Rooney.

Lindsay Roberts, April Woodall, Marissa Barnathan, and Lauren Rooney.

Appearances can be deceiving.

Everything about Respect: A Musical Journey of Women, currently playing at the Penn’s Landing Playhouse, seems, at first, to be modest at best: The theater, which is tucked away on the second floor of the Independence Seaport Museum, has a minimal set and a lot of Patsy Cline pre-show music. There’s a series of risers that hold a four-piece band and a lamppost, and you can’t help but prepare yourself for the worst: This is, after all, what appears to be in the same vain as Menopause: The Musical or, even worse, Nunsense.

Then the lights dim and the show starts and you’ll be damned if you aren’t totally engrossed. Sure, Respect isn’t going to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama, but it’s insanely smart and wildly entertaining. What makes this particular production so darn good is the four performers who bring so much energy and talent to the stage. Read more »

GIVEAWAY: Win a Pair of Tickets to Kinky Boots Worth $225

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Broadway sensation Kinky Boots is about to clip-clop into town for its big Philadelphia debut starting April 28th, and we’ve got a super-nice pair of tickets to give away.

The six-time Tony winner—featuring several tunes penned by gay icon Cynci Lauper—concerns Charlie Price, a down-on-his luck chap who’s having trouble keeping his inherited family business, a shoe factory called Price & Sons, afloat. Just as the clouds start rolling in, Lola, a sassy cabaret star/drag queen, comes in looking for a new pair of stilettos. The boots they create turn out to be the ticket that saves the business, and things just get all kinds of crazy fabulous from there.

The tickets we’re giving away are a pair worth $225. To win, sign up for our weekly enewsletter in the box below between now and next Thursday, April 23rd. At that point we’ll draw one of those names at random and voila, they’re going to see Kinky Boots. Good luck!

Kinky Boots runs April 28th through May 10th at the Forrest Theater. More information and tickets can be found here.

Tina Fey’s Mean Girls Musical is “60 Percent Written”

Mean-Girls

Tina Fey’s husband Jeff Richmond, who wrote the theme songs to 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, spilled some proverbial beans in a recent interview when he revealed that Fey’s Mean Girls musical is more than half written.

We’ve been writing this [with] Nell Benjamin of Legally Blonde fame—she’s working with us as a lyricist,” he told Yahoo. “We’ve been working for a long time now. I’m going to say it’s like 60 percent written, and it’s being staffed creatively… We are looking to do some actual solid readings coming around this summer. The Kimmy Schmidt thing took a lot more time than we all thought, so it slowed some Mean Girls stuff down.”

When asked to tease a song he dished that there is a number called “Old Blonde Song” that’s sung by Regina’s mother.

(h/t Yahoo)

In the Wings: Our Chat With Moon Cave Star Kevin Meehan

Philadelphia actor Kevin Meehan stars in Azuka Theatre‘s world premiere production of Moon Cave, written by another Philadelphian, Douglas Williams. We sat down with the performer to chat about how he taps into deep, dark secrets to prepare for his role, his crush on Martha Graham Cracker and that time he spooked John Leguizamo. 

Kevin Meehan (left) in 'Moon Cave,' with Taysha Canales.

Kevin Meehan (left) in ‘Moon Cave,’ with Taysha Canales.

My name is… Kevin John Meehan. I feel like most of my friends don’t know my middle name is John, but I got it from my great grandfather John DiFelice. He was fresh off the boat from Italy and had a horseshoeing stable right at 2nd and Delancey for a long while. This was long before the Headhouse area became bougie, of course.

I am… an artist, uncle, brother, son, friend, boyfriend, awesome roommate, one-time skydiver, want-to-be world traveler, hiker, biker, and camp fire-starter. Read more »

Quince Productions to Explore Race, Sexuality and Gay Marriage in Spring Productions

Hilary Asare and Doug Cashell star in Quince's first production of 2015, The Submission.

Hilary Asare and Doug Cashell are two of the stars in Quince’s first production of 2015, The Submission.

Quince Productions, the local theater company that produces GayFest!, Philly’s only LGBT theater festival, has announced its spring show lineup. The itinerary features productions that explore everything from race and sexuality to same-sex marriage.

Read more »

Orbiter 3 Playwrights Collective Offering Burlesque-Themed Indiegogo Fundraiser

Orbiter 3 Header

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

Sebastian Header

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.

Read more »

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.

steve pacek

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.

Read more »

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