April 20, 2016 |
The long: Sometimes, you and your kid just need a buncha big, goofy belly laughs. This kooky musical version of the irreverent, Caldecott-winning storybook The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Fairy Tales, by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, mashes up the original title character with narrator Jack (as in, and the Beanstalk), Cinderella, the Ugly Duckling, and the Cow Patty Boy (another new invention). It also lets audience members in on every silly joke. The short: Like a wacky, G-rated version of Into the Woods.
March 16, 2016 |
Playwright Nicky Silver has grown up. His 2014 play, Too Much Sun , is a mature expression of his signature tragic view, retaining his barbed wit, quirkily motivated characters, and near-poetic style. You won't catch all these elements, however, in the current uneven staging by Isis Productions. Silver's play opens on aging actress Audrey (Renée Richman-Weisband) rehearsing Medea in Chicago. Her garish costume (courtesy of designer Bobby Fabulous) and debilitating red stage lights (Bill McKinlay)
February 10, 2016
ISSUE | AN APPRECIATION Bob Elliott made my father laugh My father was a serious man. He worked hard as a lawyer at a time when clients paid him with seafood and produce. He had a hard life. He buried a beloved son at 13 and had a troubled 25-year marriage before he died on his 55th birthday. The only time I remember hearing him laugh was when he was sitting in front of the radio listening to the comedy team of Bob and Ray ("Bob Elliott of comedy duo, 92," Thursday). Rest in peace, Bob Elliott; your smart and clever humor brought smiles to a generation.
November 28, 2015 |
Almost certainly, the brains behind Victor Frankenstein - set first in 1860s London, then in a jagged castle on the rocky Scottish coast - were out to mimic the steampunk vibe of Robert Downey Jr.'s hit Sherlock Holmes pics. The cogs and gears and smokestacks of the Industrial Revolution grind and clang and hiss, a Scotland Yard inspector furrows his brow in forensic disdain, and an eccentric genius dashes to and fro, occasionally resorting to gunplay and pyrotechnics to elude his pursuers.
November 20, 2015 |
In "The Night Before," Seth Rogen attempts the first bros before ho, ho, hos comedy. He plays Isaac, who tries, along with high-school buddies Chris (Anthony Mackie) and Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), to maintain a fraying tradition of spending Christmas Eve together, though Isaac now has a family and Chris is a famous pro athlete. The odd dude out is Ethan, who has a botched music career and works on the fringes of the catering business, when he's not alone in his apartment moping about his breakup with Diana (Lizzy Kaplan)
September 21, 2015 |
More than three years have passed since Archbishop Charles J. Chaput held a little press briefing in the rectory of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul to tell a few reporters - me among them - that Pope Benedict XVI had chosen Philadelphia to host the 2015 World Meeting of Families. I sometimes liken that moment to a soccer ball kicked at me from across a whole soccer field. It just got bigger and bigger and finally, this week, has thumped me in the head. In July, I had learned that I'd be among the journalists traveling with Pope Francis on his trip to Cuba and the United States that ends next weekend in Philadelphia.
September 9, 2015 |
Winter is coming, so instead of sulking about impending hibernation, perhaps time is best spent going for the laugh. The Oddball Festival will kick off the fall season with its murderer's row of comedians who would usually play anything from a large theater or a club like Helium, Philly's go-to venue for on-the-road funny folk. The big guns will still hit Atlantic City, but there are hidden gems to be found at smaller, non-traditional venues like Underground Arts. PHIT's Super Free Sundays Every Sunday, Adrienne Theater Looking for some local comedy?
September 5, 2015 |
The exit referred to in the title of Exit the King is the Big Exit, and this play by Eugène Ionesco is a 90-minute meditation on dying. The central metaphor is that the King's death is echoed by the crumbling of his kingdom, and given recent news of buildings falling into sinkholes, Alaska melting, uncontrolled wildfires, and general ecological mayhem, Exit the King seems to be what is called "ripped from the headlines. " Berenger (Robb Hutter) is the 400-year-old king, but unlike Rhinoceros , Ionesco's earlier play about Berenger, where the controlling metaphor was political, this one is existential.
August 14, 2015
THIS IS ABOUT YOU, even though it appears to be about me and the Stu Bykofsky Candidates' Comedy Night. Tuesday's finale took in more than ever - $40,000, for a 25-year total in excess of $550,000. The show benefits Variety, the Children's Charity. That we broke the $33,000 previous high was due in large part to the title sponsorship of Comcast and a substantial gift from ThermOmegaTech in Warminster. This suggests that corporations are not always, nor all, villains. The show flew for 25 years on the wings of the charitable spirit of the politicians who participated, leaving their comfort zone for charity, and I'll get back to that in a minute.