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.
Malvern, Pa. brothers Ben and Mike Lebovitz are premiering their TV pilot/short film Welcome to Brownsville this week at PhilaMOCA. The protagonist of the film is a puppet named Weird Larry, ”a registered sex offender who’s taunted into misadventures and epic musical numbers as he tries to escape to Thailand where he can freely be himself.” Before he makes it, though, he needs to get past a bunch of cops, racists, drug addicts and “monster scientists” who want to study his brain. Think Avenue Q, but even less kid-friendly. Catch the trailer here. 7 p.m., PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St.,tehmuppetz.com.
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Local artists Ellie Brown, Seth Reichgott and Arlen Hancock are throwing a party tonight at Quig’s Pub to raise funds for their production of Dear Diary, Bye. The play is based on a journal Brown kept in 1984, so they’re calling the shindig Totally Awesome ’80s Party and planning all kinds of decade-specific shenanigans, like karaoke, dancing and even some ’80s-themed cocktails (Jack and Crystal Pepsi, perhaps?) Hancock will also perform a snippet of the show. 6 p.m.-9 p.m., $15-$20,Quig’s Pub, 1714 Delancey Place.
Four more events after the jump
Bearded Ladies founder John Jarboe is taking a hiatus from the cabaret scene to co-star in Theatre Exile‘s latest, Cock, an intense, Oliver-winning drama written by Mike Bartlett that kicks off the company’s 17th season.
In it, Jarboe plays a man named M who finds out his boyfriend, John, has been sleeping around with a woman named W. Suddenly, caught in somewhat of a cockfight (hence the name), M and W light into John to make a decision between the two of them, but he doesn’t feel like he should have to. Claws come out. M, who Jarboe likens to a housewife from a 1950s movie, uses his expert manipulation tactics, enlisting his persuasive father, F, to help him get back his man. W is sarcastic and vile, belittling John’s manhood by calling him names like “half-ass” when she doesn’t get her way.
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