5 Comedy Shows to See This Week

The Second City Live: We're All In This Room Together is at the Kimmel Center on Friday and Saturday. Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Second City Live: We’re All In This Room Together is at the Kimmel Center on Friday and Saturday. Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Bob Marley @ Helium Comedy Club | February 1-4
Stand-up comic Bob Marley has performed on pretty much every late-night talk show, including David Letterman and Jay Leno. Here’s your chance to see him live. He’ll be performing six shows at Helium over four days, but the 7:30 p.m. set on Saturday is already sold out.

Jay Pharoah @ Punch Line Philly | February 2-4
You know Jay Pharoah from his years as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, or maybe you’ve just seen a video of his spot-on celebrity impressions. He’ll be doing five shows at Punch Line, starting Thursday night. Read more »

THEATER REVIEW: Hamlet & Saint Joan Make Strange But Fascinating Bed(lam) Fellows

Tom O'Keefe, Edmund Lewis, Eric Tucker, and Andrus Nichols in Hamlet at Bedlam. (Photo by Jenny Anderson)

Tom O’Keefe, Edmund Lewis, Eric Tucker, and Andrus Nichols in Hamlet at Bedlam. (Photo by Jenny Anderson)

Is there a unifying theme that brings together Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Shaw’s Saint Joan?  I didn’t find a rationale in the press materials for Bedlam’s idiosyncratic, energetic, and often illuminating repertory pairing, now on stage at McCarter Theatre. Not that there needs to be—these are two of the greatest plays in the English language, justification enough for doing them.

Having seen them together, I think there is an inspired logic. The two plays focus on central characters who exist simultaneously inside and outside the action—through their insightful, distrusting eyes, we recognize the elaborate conflicts that plague both regimes. Read more »

THEATER REVIEW: In Marcus/Emma, History Seen Through a Lens, Hiply

Susan Riley Stevens and Akeem Davis is Marcus/Emma at Interact Theatre Company. (Photo by Kathryn Raines / Plate 3)

Susan Riley Stevens and Akeem Davis in Marcus/Emma at Interact Theatre Company. (Photo by Kathryn Raines / Plate 3)

It was the moment when legendary anarchist Emma Goldman yells, “I just figured out how to turn my labia into a hand puppet!” that I realized Marcus/Emma would not be an easy play to review.

Mary Tuomanen’s 90-minute historical fantasia imagines an encounter between Goldman and another celebrated, charismatic activist, Marcus Garvey.  Tuomanen is best known as a Philadelphia actor, and much admired (often by me) for her intriguingly off-center, hip theatrical persona.  She brings similar quirks to her writing, with far more mixed results.  Read more »

18 Things to Do in Philly This Weekend

The Bearded Ladies will be at the PMA for the new Friday Nights series. Photo provided

The Bearded Ladies will be at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the new Friday Nights series. Photo provided

FRIDAY, JANUARY 27

Divas & Queens @ Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Bearded Ladies pay tribute to Barbra Streisand in the PMA’s first installment of Friday Nights, which replaces the Art After 5 series. The cabaret troupe will be performing Color Me Bearded, which looks back at Streisand’s 1966 TV special Color Me Barbra, recorded at the museum. Also on the bill: Burlesque performer Kate Nyx will lead a gallery tour and Red 40 & The Last Groovement will entertain with their funky disco sound.

Philadelphia Auto Show @ Pennsylvania Convention Center
The Philadelphia Auto Show kicks off Friday with the Black Tie Tailgate, benefiting the Division of Neurology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. On Sunday, stop by the Honda display to meet Mo’ne Davis, the star pitcher who helped bring her team, the Taney Dragons, to the Little League World Series. The Auto Show runs through February 5th.

Todd Glass @ Helium Comedy Club
You’ve seen comedian Todd Glass pop up on several funny shows, including Louie, Tosh.0 and The Daily Show. He’ll be at Helium all weekend, but both sets on Saturday are sold out.

Hello! Sadness! @ FringeArts
Mary Tuomanen’s dark comedy examines social justice activism throughout history, from Joan of Arc to “misogynist stand-up.” There’s also a performance on Saturday.  Read more »

Wrestling’s Royal Rumble Coming to Philadelphia in 2018

Roman Reigns and The Rock

Roman Reigns and The Rock at the Royal Rumble in Philadelphia in 2014 | Image via WWE

The greatest wrestling match in the world is coming back to Philadelphia.

That’s basically the lede I wrote in October 2014, when WWE announced the 2015 Royal Rumble would be held at the Wells Fargo Center.

Now it’s coming back again: WWE and Wells Fargo Center announced today the Rumble will be back in Philadelphia on Sunday, January 28, 2018. But it gets better for wrestling fans: NXT, essentially WWE’s minor league, will be at the WFC on Saturday. Raw, the WWE’s flagship weekly TV show, will be there on Monday. Smackdown, the secondary show, will also be here. Read more »

THEATER REVIEW: At Walnut Street, Maybe Too Much Laughter on the 23rd Floor

The Cast of Laughter on the 23rd Floor at Walnut Street Theatre. (Photo by Mark Garvin)

Frank Ferrante, Tony Lawton, Davy Raphaely, Tony Freeman and Jesse Bernstein in Laughter on the 23rd Floor at Walnut Street Theatre. (Photo by Mark Garvin)

In the mid-1980s, Neil Simon, whose meteoric career as the King of Broadway had dimmed a decade earlier, got a reboot.  With his Brighton Beach trilogy, the playwright’s stock rose again. He also seemed to be trying out a new voice. These new plays featured a narrator-character based on Simon himself, and the tone was more sentimental and elegiac. They were still comedies, for sure—but significantly less jokey than the Borscht-Belt-inflected stuff that had been his bread and butter. Critics who had previously dismissed Simon were more respectful; the final Brighton play won a Pulitzer. Read more »

Martha Graham Cracker Headlines Pig Iron Benefit on Friday

Martha Graham Cracker at a Pig Iron Theatre Company benefit cabaret and auction. Photo provided

Martha Graham Cracker at a Pig Iron Theatre Company benefit cabaret and auction. Photo provided

The annual benefit bash for the always-inventive Pig Iron Theatre Company is happening this Friday, January 27th, at the Trocadero. This year the theme is a Western-y “This Town Ain’t Pig Enough for the Both of Us.” Drag queen Martha Graham Cracker, also known as Pig Iron co-founder Dito van Reigersberg, will headline the evening, with Quinn Bauriedel, the company’s co-artistic director, playing host. Read more »

5 Chinese New Year Celebrations in Philly

International House is hosting a Lunar New Year Celebration on Friday.

International House is hosting a Lunar New Year Celebration on Friday.

Lunar New Year Celebration @ International House Philadelphia | Friday, January 27
The open-to-the-public celebration at I-House starts off with samples of Chinese cuisine in the Galleria, followed by a show in the Ibrahim Theater featuring traditional Chinese music, dance and martial arts performances. It’s $15, or $10 if you’re a member or alum. Read more »

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