IN THE WINGS: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Star Jered McLenigan

When Wilma Theater’s Artistic Director Blanka Zizka decided to direct both Hamlet and Tom Stoppard’s dark comedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, she made a radical decision to hire one cast to perform both shows. The lead actors, including Jered McLenigan, began rehearsals for the latter two weeks before Hamlet rehearsals. Now, after the opening of the Shakespeare drama, they are continuing the rehearsal process. McLenigan took our rapid-fire Q&A, where he discusses drinking his bottled tears on opening night, making himself up to look like Morgan Freeman and that time he made eggs for Eddie Vedder. 

Jered McLenigan

My name is … Jered McLenigan. I’m named after my father Gerard, whose name is pronounced like mine. My parents decided to spell my name phonetically and gifted me with a lifetime of misspellings. (Just kidding, mom and dad. Love you.) A lot of my friends and family call me Jerry.

I am … saltwater and stardust. Also I am allergic to shrimp.

On opening night … I wake before dawn, and in the deep blue ultraviolet early morning hues I bathe in dew and plant a seed in the earth with my mouth. I let the First Rays of Our Sun that break over the horizon shine into my eyes as I weep into a glass jar, saving the tears. I spend the next 12 hours wrapped in a coat of Spanish moss, meditating, chanting and purging; I hold a rose of Jericho and watch it bloom. Just before stepping onstage I drink my bottled tears.

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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.

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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.

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