March 27, 2015 |
Though few corners of the classical music world have the cultivated dignity of song recitals, they're also places where a singer's emotions of the moment can't hide behind characters, plots, or costumes. Only an hour or so before singing his all-Schubert joint recital with soprano Susanna Phillips, bass-baritone Eric Owens learned that Tuesday's Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps had killed his fellow Metropolitan Opera Wagnerite contralto Maria Radner, who sang Erda to his Alberich in Das Rheingold . Not until after intermission did he mention it and explain he was so tearful - by way of explaining his need to use a music stand to stay better focused on the program at hand.
February 11, 2015 |
IT'S NOT UNUSUAL to see someone reading a book while chowing down at Reading Terminal Market. Now, two is a whole different story - Milton Barham's story. Just as he does most every day at lunch, Barham recently sat at a table inside the bustling market reading two books at once. In his right hand, Barham held John Piper's What Jesus Demands From the World . In his left, Joyce Meyer's Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind . If the two-fisted reader felt the judgmental stares of passers-by, he didn't let on. Same with the snickering and drive-by psychological assessments.
January 21, 2015 |
"Without it, we're animals. " In Patrick Marber's 1997 play Closer , you can take your pick of the qualities his four characters lack: honesty, conscientiousness, or any semblance of kindness as the quartet swap partners in an evening-long daisy chain of lies, betrayal and humiliation. By contrast, Luna Theater's intense, brutal production leaves little to be desired theatrically. The simmering chemistry between Gina Martino and Sam Henderson (as Alice and Dan) is at first adorable, complicated later by Dan's infatuation with Anna (Kirsten Quinn)
December 19, 2014 |
* THE COLBERT REPORT. 11:30 tonight, Comedy Central. I'LL MISS Stephen Colbert. Not the smart, funny guy who'll be taking over CBS' "Late Show" from David Letterman next year, but the gleefully obtuse persona who's entertained Comedy Central viewers for nine seasons of "The Colbert Report. " That Stephen Colbert's run ends tonight. The character who in his first show coined the word "truthiness" to describe a certainty stronger than facts or logic leaves a gap I wouldn't then have imagined could exist.
December 6, 2014 |
John Patrick Shanley's Outside Mullingar is a lovable play about love. The Philadelphia Theatre Company production is lovable, too - full of quirky charm and tasty dialogue and, well, lovable characters. The cast is superb; they create rich accents and meticulously craft personalities. Shanley, best known for his New York voice in both the tough-minded play Doubt and the romantic screenplay for Moonstruck , here returns to his Irish roots. Outside Mullingar is set on two farms in rural Ireland, and although we're told the events begin in December 2008 and continue to 2013, it feels long ago and far away.
October 18, 2014 |
There's a strange sort of bookending between Philadelphia Theatre Company's 40th-season opener, Lisa D'Amour's Detroit , and last season's production of Christopher Durang's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike . Where Durang's characters examined contemporary America through the eyes of an elder generation filled with nostalgia and disdain for today's careless youth, D'Amour brings us up to date, in real time, with the American Dream's death...
October 18, 2014 |
Rapture, Blister, Burn may go down in history as the first feminist play to end with brainy female characters toasting Phyllis Schlafly, that bête noire of the Equal Rights Amendment, without sarcasm. It's no gimmick. Gina Gionfriddo's intellectually ambitious comedy, reopening the question of women choosing between career and family, allows that all choices are valid, even mediocre ones. A bit dour, perhaps? No. Rapture , which opened Wednesday at the Wilma Theater, is part of a growing genre that might be called war-of-the-brain-cells plays, such as Yasmina Reza's 2008 God of Carnage , with intelligent urbanites talking, drinking, and destroying each other's pretensions.
August 15, 2014 |
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT - Taney Dragons player Joe Richardson Jr. said there's one ritual he will perform before stepping onto the field for the team's first game in the Little League World Series today: He must eat a bag of Skittles. "I didn't know that was a ritual," his father, Joe Richardson Sr., of Francisville, said. "I just thought he wanted to eat candy. " As the first of the Taney Dragons players' families arrived at the Little League World Series complex in South Williamsport yesterday, they gathered around the batting cages and got their first look at their children in days.
August 8, 2014 |
"INTO THE STORM" is a "Sharknado" movie with a troubling lack of sharks. But there is a whale of sorts - an EF5 (big) tornado pursued o'er the amber waves by the Ahabian storm chaser (Matt Walsh), whose obsessive zeal to find and film a gigantic tornado endangers his overworked and fearful crew. They track a super cell to a town in Oklahoma where a high school principal (right-sized Richard Armitage, from the "Hobbit" movies) watches nervously as clouds approach a packed graduation service.
August 7, 2014 |
"IF YOU have a character who is smelling and tasting green onions and also has a hand on their bottom, your audience understands them better," said Diana Gabaldon , the mega-best-selling author of the Outlander series. Gabaldon was explaining why she needed to travel to Philadelphia in order to write the most recent entry in the series, Written in My Own Heart's Blood , which takes place during the Revolutionary War. If she imbues her characters with more sensory details - from bad breath to some backside-related flirting - her faraway characters become real for her readers, who have gobbled up 17 million copies of her books in print.