The London production of Rimini Protokoll’s “100 Percent.” The Philadelphia version will run during the 2014 FringeArts festival, Sept 19-21.
The Philadelphia Fringe Festival announced the lineup of the “Presented” shows being staged at this fall’s festival, taking place September 5-21.
Out of the 11 theater, interdisciplinary and dance shows falling under the “Presented” category, six are world premieres, including three from our very own Pig Iron Theatre Company, New Paradise Laboratories and the Pennsylvania Ballet. The centerpiece of the festival is German artist collective Rimini Protokoll‘s interactive performance work 100% Philadelphia. The “part-theater, part-data-analysis” piece was cast with 100 Philadelphian non-actors, all chosen according to the city’s 2010 U.S. census data.
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Schaefer stands in front of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in South Lebanon Township.
The United Methodist Church purports to being guided by a simple principle: “All means all.” That sounds absolutely lovely, huh? But where was that ideology last winter when it decided to defrock Lebanon, Pennsylvania Reverend Frank Schaefer for officiating the marriage of his gay son? Are they really practicing what they preach?
That’s the concept being explored in Curio Theatre Company‘s upcoming The Frank Schaefer Project. The three-act show will delve into Schaefer’s story, something that Managing Director Gay Carducci tells me she was embedded in from the beginning. The idea to write it, however, didn’t hit her until, coincidentally, a member from the Calvary United Methodist Church (CUMC) approached her about it. “Our theater is housed in an abandoned sanctuary in CUMC, and one day one of the members approached us and said, ‘I think this would make a great play.’ So the show fell in our laps — not just as a great idea for the theater, but as a story that needs to be told.”
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Our guide to the best of what’s opening on Philly stages in June.
Love is complicated, and that’s probably why it’s so entertaining to watch. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a play about, you guessed it, love. Mix in marriage, lovers, heartbreak, and in-laws and you’ve got yourself a show. Whether you’re happily with someone, the person who falls on their face in the beginning of the relationship, or anything in between, this Walnut Street Theatre show will hit all the right spots. Now through June 29, $41.25, Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street.
Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll is a witty and comedic roast of the American male, performed as a one-man show. The play examines 10 unique characters to explore masculinity, capitalism, and the “great American way.” Philadelphia’s own Eric Scotolati will be the stars, and serves as a guide throughout the history of the American man. The New York Times says of Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, “There is one line after another you will quote to your friends.” Fun! June 5-21, $15-$25, Plays & Players, 1714 Delancey Place.
BrainSpunk Theater will be giving people a two-for-one with an upcoming presentation of two one acts by Michelle T. Johnson. The first of the two plays is Wiccans in the ‘Hood’, which follows three white friends and a cohort attempting a centuries-old ritual in a cemetery located in a predominantly black area. They’re discovered by a local woman and drama ensues. Wiccans will be followed by the equally hilariously named Trading Races: From Rodney King to Paula Deen, a 60-minute play that explores race through one character embodying white culture, and another who portraying African-American culture. June 8-29, $10-$15, BrainSpunk Theater, 825 Walnut Street.
History lessons are usually not something that get people excited, but Colin Quinn Unconstitutional makes it more fun by serving history and comedy hand-in-hand. In 70 minutes, standup comedian and Saturday Night Live alum Colin Quinn will cover 226 years of insanity in American Constitutional history. Topics in the show range from predator drones to the newly married Kim Kardashian. Colin Quinn Unconstitutional has received praise from The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, Broadway World, and many more. June 13-July 6, $17.76-$54, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad Street.
Throw your expectations out the door for this one. Earnestness #2 is a truly unique performance that is different every single time it is performed. Presented as the premiere piece by the [redacted] Theater Company, Earnestness #2 is a bold, experiencial performance. Audience members are given directions from the moment they enter the theater. People will judge one another, see acts of violence, use Facebook, and measure their ability to trust strangers. Earnestness #2 is presented as part of the 2014 Solo SoLow Festival. June 20-21, pay what you wish ($5 recommended), Headlong Studios, 1170 S. Broad Street.
David Bardeen and Jered McLeniga in “Ritu Comes Home.” Photos by Plate 3/Kathryn Raines.
Last night, InterAct Theatre Company world-premiered its latest show, Ritu Comes Home, at the Adrienne Theater. The story follows Brendan and David, an affluent gay couple who live happy, carefree lives in Bryn Mawr, well, until their Bangladeshi “adopt a day” daughter Ritu shows up.
I had a chance to sit down with Brooklyn-via-New Jersey playwright Peter Gil-Sheridan over the weekend to chat about the show, why he set in Philly, where the inspiration comes from, and then we make some funnies about Venture Inn.
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Destiny’s Child songbird Michelle Williams was set to play Mary in the touring production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” before the show was abruptly canned. Can girlfriend catch a break? Photo by s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
The star-studded North American tour of Jesus Christ Superstar that had punk icon John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon playing King Harold and Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child as Mary Magdalene was unexpectedly cancelled before debuting in New Orleans on June 9th. While details are scarce as to why the show was crucified, there have been some rumors that a rapidly expanding budget played a role. The tour was set to stop in 54 cities, including Philly, at the Wells Fargo Center on August 16th. All ticket holders are expected to receive a full refund.
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Barrymore-winning actor James Ijames.
James Ijames wears a ton of hats: Barrymore-winning actor, director, and now playwright. His play, The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington, has its world premiere staging at Flashpoint Theatre Company in June. The always charming Philadelphia resident took some time to chat with us about his work as a writer, his definition of America’s “original sin,” and why he’s just scandalized by the television series Scandal. Read more »
Our guide to what’s happening on Philly stages in May.
When a play has one of the writers from Fox’s hit show New Girl you know it’s going to be good. Kim Rosenstock's Tigers Be Still is the story of everything gone wrong. Main character Sherry is down in the dumps until she gets a job as a substitute art teacher. While this seems like a turn for the better, things won’t start looking up until her mother, her sister, her first therapy patient, and her new boss get their acts together. Also, there’s an escaped tiger. Variety says, “Rosenstock writes clever comic dialogue in a voice that is too smart to be cute. There’s something both sad and wise, after all, about redefining a ‘mellow’ mood as meaning ‘paralyzed with depression.'” Through May 25th, $20-$25, Azuka Theatre, 1636 Sansom Street.
Jose Rivera presents Brainpeople, a play about Mayannah, a rich young woman with dark intentions. Every year she invites two strangers to join her for a dinner to honor the passing of her parents. If the strangers are able to last until the end of dinner they will receive $20,000. Seems like easy money, right? No, because there’s always a catch, and there’s no such thing as easy money. It stars Amanda Grove, Jessy Gruver, and Barrymore Award winner Amanda Schoonover. Through May 24th, $20-$25, Luna Theater Company, 620 South 8th Street.
Who doesn’t love some Oedipussy? “Rated R for ridiculousness,” Oedipussy is a comedic spin on a Greek tragedy. The performance is like a stew of Barbarella, James Bond, physical comedy, and creative storytelling. This play will be making a stop at the Family Dysfunction junction. The Guardian writes, “Riotous laughter. Funny but shocking.” And Curio’s artistic director says he chose Oedipussy because of "its broad appeal to audiences of all kinds. For those that know the story of Oedipus – it digression from the plot is truly hysterical.” Through May 24th, $20-$25, Curio Theatre Company, 4740 Baltimore Avenue.
The Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training debuted in 2011, and the first class of the groundbreaking two-year program graduated in 2013. Now those students are making names for themselves on the local live-arts scene. Alex Bechtel’s musical The West saw a successful March run. And this month, Jess Conda (left) stars in Brat Productions’ The Future, a prog-rock parable about a time to come when we can’t breathe the air and our body parts are removable, told in the edgy French bouffon cabaret style for which Pig Iron is so well known. If you like your theater safe, go elsewhere. But if you prefer its more dangerous side, seek out The Future. May 16th to 18th, The Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street. —Victor Fiorillo
If vintage is more your flavor, then this is the show for you. The Five Minute Follies features stage variety shows, cabarets, and more vaudeville realness in the Philadelphia area. This upcoming performance will feature Sidetracked, as well as a slew of other performers. European imports, the Sidetracked pair is comprised of Kimberlie Cruse and Shoshanna Hill. Their comedy and participation from the audience will entertain both children and adults alike. Click here for a promo of Sidetracked in action. May 18th, $15 (advance)-$18 (door), Adrienne Theatre, 2030 Sansom Street.
Garett Schiefer and Holly Porch.
This seven-time Tony Award winner is always a crowd-pleaser. Set in the 1960s, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying tells the story of a young window cleaner who uses a guidebook to shoot up the proverbial ladder. On the way he encounters hostile colleagues, and even some sexy secretaries. Me-ow! This blast from the past has achieved so much success for a reason. May 13th-July 13th, Price Varies Per Seat, Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street.
Looking for something else? We’ve compiled a good list of local events happening now through June in our Philadelphia Event Listings. Check it out here.
Nominations for the 68th annual Tony Awards were announced yesterday, and Rocky gets four mentions. Among them is a Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical nod for Andy Karl, who we profiled in the magazine in January. The show is also up for Best Choreography, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, and Best Scenic Design of a Musical.
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Miss Patti LaBelle — who we imagine is still reeling from this week’s Cher and Cyndi show — is set to play a rotating role in the Tony Award-nominated Broadway show After Midnight.
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Heads up friends (and allies) of Dorothy: The Academy of Music just announced that it will stage a touring production of The Wizard of Oz from June 3rd to June 8th.
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