April 11, 2016 |
Broad Street has been yarn-bombed! Perfect timing! With unseasonable snow in the forecast, the big concrete planters in front of the Merriam Theater are wearing sweaters, and the orange tulips are looking cozy as well as very pretty. It's a lovely installation created by University of the Arts students in conjunction with Knitting Peace , the first show of PIFA (Philadelphia Festival of the Arts) playing through Sunday at the Merriam Theater. The yarn-bombing UArts students are part of a remarkable interdisciplinary course.
April 3, 2016 |
After taking over the town in 2011 and again in 2013, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) is back April 8-23. Comprising more than 60 events, it kicks off with Article 13 , a huge multimedia, multigenre installation, and it closes with a big street fair, on Broad Street between Chestnut and South Streets, with art, food, vendors, and entertainment. Curated by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the festival takes as its theme "We Are What We Make. " A massive installation on that theme by MacArthur Award-winner Mimi Lien will take over the Kimmel lobby.
March 2, 2016 |
Tony Award-winning actor and star of TV Land's hit comedy Younger , Sutton Foster just flew in from Australia, and, boy, are her arms tired. "It was a really long flight and a long, but happy night," says Foster, who performed the music of composer Stephen Schwartz ( Wicked , Pippin ) in Sydney right before this interview from her home in Brooklyn. "What he does that no one else does is 'I want' and 'I can get' songs," she says, pointing out theater staples such as "Corner of the Sky" and "Defying Gravity.
February 14, 2016
Lobby Hero (Theatre Horizon). Kenneth Lonergan's depiction of four lives that collide one night in the lobby of an upscale apartment building. Race, gender, romance, moral dilemmas, comedy, seriousness. Opens Thursday, through March 13. Reviewed by Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), Jim Rutter (J.R.), David Patrick Stearns (D.P.S.), and Toby Zinman (T.Z.). Assassins (Eagle). Nine people who tried to murder a president and leave their mark. This revival of the Sondheim musical has startling relevance to our current political plight.
February 7, 2016 |
The program is called Strength and Longing, but Strength and Lengthening might have been a better name. The Pennsylvania Ballet opened its February season Thursday night with four dances that were all long limbs, rippling muscles, bravado, and control. Three of the pieces presented at the Merriam Theater were company premieres, as artistic director Ángel Corella continues his plan to introduce new work to Philadelphia audiences. The evening opened with "Without Words," a Nacho Duato premiere of chiseled bodies in minimal costumes performing duets and trios that flowed from position to position.
January 1, 2016
Through Jan. 3. Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. Tickets: $45-95. Information: 215-731-3333 or kimmelcenter.org/broadway.
January 1, 2016 |
You just can't beat the Old Testament for family drama. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat , at the Merriam Theater, takes its plot from Genesis 37-50. It's about 12 brothers (it's always brothers, isn't it?), 11 of whom are envious of the youngest, Joseph, their father's favorite, who has a fancy coat of many colors; they sell him into slavery and tell their father he's dead. While in prison in Egypt, he becomes famous for being able to interpret dreams, and when he warns Pharaoh that his mystifying dream foretells seven years of feast followed by seven years of famine, he saves the kingdom by preparing for the worst.
November 13, 2015 |
The news release for Tyler Perry's Madea on the Run claims "the title says it all," but that's not exactly true. Aside from entrances and exits, Madea remains in her friend Aunt Bam's daughter's living room, dispensing hard truths, breaking the fourth wall, and occasionally bursting into song. Bam (played by longtime Perry collaborator and House of Payne star Cassi Davis) is a grandmother here, not an aunt, and after 2 1/2 hours, I'm still not sure what Madea did to end up on the streets.
November 4, 2015 |
'Another opening, another show . . . Our Philly comp'nies are all aglow. . .. " So went the song from Kiss Me Kate , modified to open Theatre Philadelphia's 2015 Barrymore Awards on Monday at the Merriam Theater. The equal-opportunity Barrymore nominations turned into near-equal-opportunity wins at Theatre Philadelphia's celebration of itself. The most wins were four each, going to Theater Exile's The Whale , a play about a morbidly obese gay man, and to Norristown's Theatre Horizon production of the Stephen Sondheim fairy tale musical Into the Woods.