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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A bit of shocking news from South Broad Street. Just a couple of blocks and a couple of weeks away from the street’s biggest development in a while — the opening of Jose Garces’ jaw-droppingly expensive Volver inside the Kimmel Center — comes news that the bank is foreclosing on Suzanne Roberts Theatre, home to Philadelphia Theatre Company and the legacy of Suzanne Roberts, wife of Comcast founder Ralph Roberts. Read more »
Kirk Wendell Brown and Peter DeLaurier in Lantern’s current production, “The Train Driver.” Photo by Mark Garvin.
Lantern Theater Company released its 2014/15 lineup and, true to form, it’s full of classics, modern faves, and its signature revisions of both. Expect fresh takes on Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and mark your calendars for a Tom Stoppard masterpiece, and John Patrick Stanley’s award-studded Doubt.
For planning-ahead purposes, we offer capsule reviews of each show below:
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If you regularly attend theatrical productions in Philadelphia, then you have probably seen two-time Barrymore-winning actress Amanda Schoonover on stage. But you’ve probably never seen her quite like this. Read more »
Our guide to the best of what’s opening on Philly stages in April.
Sharing your diary can be an embarrassing experience. However, Philly playwright Ellie Brown is doing exactly that in Dear Diary, Bye, except it won’t be her reading the pre-adolescent content of the diary. A 22-year old man will be performing the dialogue of said content. Prepare to have your thoughts about gender identity challenged … as well as your thoughts about the knowledge of 9-year-old girls. April 4-13, $15-$20, Plays and Players Theater, 1714 Delancey Place.
Take a journey with award-winning writer and entertainer Mark Nadler in I’m a Stranger Here Myself, as he guides audiences through the world of underground German cabaret. Utilizing songs written or sung by Jewish and/or gay people, Nadler walks audiences through the history leading up to the eventual rise of Hitler. The New York Times calls it “Compelling! Broadly historical and deeply personal.” April 2-12, $39.50-$55, Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street.
Edgy romantic comedy meets surrealism meets a one-night stand meets a Japanese rope bondage parlor in Midsummer. The play focuses on “divorce lawyer Helena and a small time crook Bob” after a steamy one-night affair. The adventure that ensues leads to many unexpected twists and turns. The play features songs, has been produced worldwide (including England, Canada, and Australia) and was applauded by The Guardian. “Fragile and funny, but never just cute, Midsummer is that rare beast: a romantic comedy that has a good head on its shoulders as well as a huge heart at its centre.” April 9 through 27, $25-$30, Inis Nua Theatre Company, 1636 Sansom Street
Andrew Lloyd Webber presents Sunset Boulevard, a play based on the 1950s film of the same name. Think, “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille,” if the name alone doesn’t jog any memories. The play stars Tony Award-nominated actress Ann Crumb, leading man Sean Thompson, Elisa Matthews, and the golden-voiced Nicholas Saverine. The story follows a past-her-prime movie star, Norma, who encounters a young, down-on-his luck and out-of-work screenwriter. Norma sees this as her opportunity to get back into the biz. This is golden age Hollywood at its finest, folks. April 16 through May 18, $42 for adults, $35 for seniors, $25 for children, The Media Theatre, 104 East State Street.
Divided into two decades, GayFest! producer Quince Productions' Three Days of Rain tells the story of Walker, Nan, and their old friend Pip. The tale in 1995 starts with Walker and Nan as they attend the reading of their father’s will. The audience is then blasted to the past, 1960, where the same three actors play their parents at the same age. The play reveals the truths and falsities that lie in their children’s views of them, and explores family, the relationship between parents and children, art, love, and more — all with a dash of humor. Three Days of Rain is Quince's first production of 2014. LGBT + Friends Preview, April 9th, runs through April 26, $20-$25, Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5, 825 Walnut Street. —Jayson Flores
Emerging Broadway playwright Sharr White presents Annapurna at Theatre Exile. The play centers on Ulysses, who is surprised to find his wife, Emma, at his trailer door after their 20-year marriage was torn to shreds by “a horrific event that Ulysses can’t remember and Emma can’t forget.” Annapurna examines the ideas of hope and reconciliation. Exile’s Founding Artistic Director Joe Canuso asks, “This idea of reconciliation for love or family — no matter how broken — is still an ideal. Why do we risk our lives to love each other?” The Huffington Post praised Sharr White for "creating two fine and ferociously damaged people caught in the emotional whirlpool of not being able to live with or without each other.” Tear jerker, anyone? April 17-May 11, $10-$50, Theatre Exile Studio X, 1340 S. 13th 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.
A masked Dr. John E. Fryer at the 1972 American Psychiatric Association convention.
Tomorrow night psychiatrist, playwright and Penn graduate Guy Fredrick Glass will see his latest work, Dr. Anonymous, open at L.A.’s Zephyr Theatre. And, despite debuting clear across the country, the thing is bursting with one Philly connection after another.
The play is set in Philadelphia, and inspired by the moment when Temple professor Doctor John E. Fryer (aka Dr. Anonymous) stood in front of the 1972 American Psychiatric Association (APA) convention with a mask on his face and proclaimed that he was gay. His actions are what eventually led to the APA’s decision to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
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Hair's not so controversial nor is it groundbreaking now that, say, any given episode of House of Cards features as much sex and drugs as the once-shocking play, but the me-generation message rings as true as ever. Just replace free love with tinder and bongs with fancier bongs and it's practically a meditation on millenials. Catch Temple's production of the seminal boomer musical starting this Wednesday. Wednesday, March 26th, 7 p.m., Temple Theaters, 1301 West Noris Street.
If you're not hip to it, every month Universal Cave hosts CaveCast, a live podcast taping featuring a DJ playing music he/she loves. For the 15th iteration, Jamie Dillon (aka DJ Bloodfaceman) will play a set of Jamaican tunes. Have a PBR and enjoy the tunes, which organizers are quick to point out will be "much more than just reggae." Listen to previous CaveCasts here. Wednesday, March 26th, 9 p.m., $5, Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 South 18th Street.
Acclaimed choreographer Tere O'Connor brings his latest piece, BLEED, to town, with performances at FringeArts March 27-29. BLEED's Philly arrival has been much-hyped since the dance troupe's triumphant debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Arts in December. O'Conner brings brilliant contemporary choreography in a piece that examines consciousness in motion, collapsing, and expanding in meaning. BLEED is a culmination of a two-year choreography project, combining three of O'Connor's pieces into one brilliant meditation on movement and form. Thursday, March 27th, 7 p.m., FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard.
Alfred Jarry began his loose trilogy of absurdist classics as a boyhood doodle, and the schoolboy snark and snot shine through to this day. Ubu Roi presents imbecilic King Pere Ubu as a conquering colossus, with expansive appetites and a consciousness in a suitcase. Yes, it's weird, but it's this twisted juvenilia and exaggerated monstrousness that's made the Ubu plays an enduring example of modernism and the subject of this month's Philadelphia á la Pataphysique series. As part of the series' film portion, International House presents Ubu Roi, a French film adaptation of the first of the Ubu plays. In this one, we find Pere Ubu shouting muddled obscenities with heavily stylized grotesqueness. Somehow, this is still as cutting a satire of the political status-quo as it was in turn-of-the-century France. Merdre. Thursday, March 27th, 7 p.m., International House, 3701 Chestnut Street.
Starting this Thursday, UArts stages Cole Porter's classic tribute to theater, and its most famous contributor, Kiss Me, Kate. The play modernizes (although Porter's work is somewhat anachronistic at this point) Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew with a self-reflexive, play-within-a-play spin. Antics ensue as a bickering pair work to stage the Elizabethan classic, and get worse as gangsters come to collect a debt (modern, indeed). Thursday, March 27th, 7:30 p.m., Merriam Theater, 250 South Broad Street.
New Jersey songstress Nicole Atkins comes to Johnny Brenda's this Thursday, bringing Orbison-style croo-oooo-ooooning in retro-chic form. Atkins was named Rolling Stone's Artist to Watch and has become a regular musical guest on late-night TV. This is pop music, but with all the whiskey stains and cigarette burns of a skid-row barcalounger. Thursday, March 27th, 8 p.m., Johnny Brenda's, 1201 North Frankford Avenue.
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Check out our Philadelphia Event Listings page for a rundown of local goings-on this week through May.
Playwright Ellie Brown at 9 years old.
For Philly playwright Ellie Brown, having her fourth grade diary not only discovered but read aloud is the stuff of dreams — and I’m not talking the horrifying “showing up to school in your underwear” variety. She’s happily sharing her pre-adolescent secrets with the world in her upcoming play, Dear Diary, Bye. And, as if that doesn’t already sound crazy enough, the dialogue will be performed by a 22-year-old man. Wha?!
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