July 15, 2015 |
Can you revisit the magic, and perhaps repair the frustrations, of a childhood at once idyllic and a persistent source of contemporary stress? The folks at Bucks County Playhouse must have thought so when they decided to produce Ernest Thompson's On Golden Pond, which features the finest performances I've seen on stage this season. Thompson's 1979 play portrays a lost slice of Americana in its story of Norman and Ethel Thayer, spending their 48th summer in a secluded cabin on Golden Pond in Maine.
June 2, 2015 |
A funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century: The definition and importance of marriage shifted, gayness came out of the shadows and proliferated in public, pop cultural, and political life, and Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Company turned into a period piece. Bucks County Playhouse's current production brings out the bright side of single-and-searching 35-year-old Bobby-baby-bubi and his well-intentioned married friends. But not even the casting of Bucks County celeb Justin Guarini in that central role can mask the fact that the time may have passed for this version of the show.
June 1, 2015 |
WHEN IT comes to local theater, "summer season" is something of a misnomer. That's because the prior year's "season," in this case the 2014-15 theater season, often wraps by late June as companies and theaters wind down to gear up for the next season's fall presentations. But there are still plenty of noteworthy productions to catch up on - "The Lion King" and "Memphis" are the two big, ongoing musical attractions - and a handful of summer openings ahead. As for star power, the warm weather isn't bringing much our way . . . other than first-season "American Idol" runner-up Justin Guarini.
May 31, 2015 |
The former longtime owner of the historic Bucks County Playhouse was found guilty Friday by a federal jury of claiming more than $200,000 in fraudulent insurance payments after a 2006 flood devastated the property, prosecutors said. Ralph Miller could face up to 30 years in prison for convictions on counts of money laundering and mail fraud, said Assistant U.S. Attorney K.T. Newton. Miller, who for three decades owned the theater along the Delaware River in New Hope, was accused of submitting false invoices for expensive theater lights and emergency repair work after the 2006 flood, Newton said.
May 29, 2015
THE FIRST thing you notice about Justin Guarini is that he looks nothing like he did when he spent several months as a national obsession on the first season of "American Idol. " Gone is the halo of tight, reddish curls that crowned his boyish, clean-shaven face. Today, the 36-year-old Doylestown native sports black hair cut relatively short, a slightly scruffy black beard and a mustache (all of which give him a passing resemblance to 1950s actor Sal Mineo ). And his professional focus, at least for the time being, is no longer mainstream pop music but show tunes from such works as "Wicked" and Stephen Sondheim 's "Company," in which he is starring, tonight through June 21, at New Hope's Bucks County Playhouse.
April 8, 2015 |
NEW HOPE - National Pastime , Bucks County Playhouse's brand new musical about Depression-era baseball, all but promises to be an insufferably inspirational story about big-hearted athletes, America triumphing over economic adversity, and that eternal source of sentimental hero worship, Babe Ruth. And yes, it's all there - but comically contextualized in a different set of all-American values: lies, deceit, and mercantile ethics in small-town Iowa. The plot hangs by a slender thread: A small radio station is about to go belly up, so it invents a local sports team, has it constantly playing games on the road (and in improbable places like Helsinki and Barcelona)
March 27, 2015
THE BASEBALL season doesn't commence in South Philadelphia until April 6, when the Phillies host the Boston Red Sox. But in New Hope, Thursday will be Opening Day as "National Pastime" debuts at the Bucks County Playhouse. "National Pastime," which runs through April 19, is billed as a musical love letter to baseball. The plot of the set-in-Depression-era-Iowa comedy centers on a struggling radio station that broadcasts the "games" of a make-believe team in order to boost ratings.
March 14, 2015 |
The Irish first marched through Philadelphia to honor St. Patrick in 1771, starting a local tradition that goes on to this day. The 245th edition of the Philadelphia St. Patrick's Day Parade will step off at noon Sunday from 16th Street and JFK Boulevard, then head up the Ben Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The parade is a celebration of Irish identity, "a good time for all our people to come together through our faith, our...
February 2, 2015 |
Odette's was once the gateway to New Hope, a lively cabaret bar on the edge of town that for decades epitomized the ebullient spirit of the famously gay-friendly borough. But lately, it's been an eyesore. After being ravaged by floods in 2008, the historic building along the Delaware River has sat vacant with boarded-up windows. A group of local investors is planning to change that. In about two months, they say, work will begin on the Riverhouse at Odette's, a $25 million facility that will bring luxury hotel rooms, a banquet hall, restaurant, and rooftop bar to the 40,000-square-foot property.
December 19, 2014
SO WE HAVEN'T yet sung "Auld Lang Syne. " That doesn't mean we can't do a little future-gazing to check out what lies in store for the local theater scene in 2015: 'Motown the Musical' The new year launches on a high note as the touring version of the Broadway smash boogaloos into town as part of the Kimmel Center's "Broadway Philadelphia" series. The "jukebox" musical surveys the classic pop 'n' soul from the Detroit-based home of such megastars as Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson, the Supremes, the Four Tops and the Temptations.