April 28, 2008 |
Welcome to the home of Straub beer, Pennsylvania elk, and a book club that has been meeting for 48 years. Once stuck in the double digits, the number of elk in the area is approaching 1,000. Straub just introduced a new lager. And on April 16, the book club closed the cover on its 800th selection, All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy. As it has almost every three weeks since October 1959, the book group gathered around the big cloth-covered table in the dining room of Dick Dornisch, 78, the club's founder.
August 8, 2007 |
Philadelphia playwright Michael Hollinger, classically trained as a violist at Oberlin Conservatory, didn?t really forsake music for the stage he just turned his music into theater. Hollinger?s sixth play, Opus, had its world premiere two seasons back at the Arden Theatre Company, where he?s tantamount to playwright-in-residence, minus the title. Opus, about the dynamics at work within a string quartet both musical and human was an Arden hit. It is clearly poised for the same reception Off-Broadway, where it opened last night in a Primary Stages production.
October 24, 2006 |
The man with the most entrances at the Merriam Theater at last night's Barrymore Awards had to be the Arden Theatre Company's producing artistic director, Terrence J. Nolen. Besides making history at the 12th annual Barrymores for being the first to win two directing awards the same night - one for a play, the other for a musical - his oft-honored shows brought him onstage to accept awards with and for colleagues. The Nolen musical was the Arden's realistic look at small-town America, Winesburg, Ohio - nicknamed "the anti-Music Man" - which won five awards, including best musical, music direction by Thomas Murray, leading actor for Brian Hissong, and original music for Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman.
May 19, 2006 |
The Da Vinci Code opens in theaters today. If it is faithful to Dan Brown's embarrassingly mediocre novel, the movie will advance a host of historical and theological errors, and it will caricature the Catholic group Opus Dei. Since this will be many viewers' introduction to Opus Dei, some facts are in order: Founded in 1928 by a Spanish priest, St. Josemaria Escriva, Opus Dei (which is Latin for "Work of God") has approximately 80,000 members throughout the world. They are priests and laymen and laywomen, married and celibate.
February 7, 2006 |
Critics are often perceived as a way station for outrage, so the arrival of nonmusical complaints in my e-mail inbox is no surprise. Michael Hollinger's new play, Opus, at the Arden Theatre, a piece about the inside life of a string quartet, prompted an articulate protest from one of the community's more seasoned musicians. The play was damned as tawdry, trite and dishonest. The playwright, however, is hardly an interloper, but an Oberlin-trained violist who may have equal claim to knowing this world.
January 30, 2006 |
BEETHOVEN'S FINAL string quartet, the seething Opus 131, is the catalyst in Michael Hollinger's fascinating "Opus," now having its world premiere at the Arden Theatre. The play depicts a famed string quartet's struggle with the departure and replacement of one of its members. The five actors in the cast simulate their playing, but since they are supposed to be world-class musicians, real world-class music was needed. The production turned to a quartet of Curtis Institute students who recorded fragments of four classical pieces - including mistakes - that are woven into the story.
January 19, 2006 |
"Write what you know," authors are often told, and Opus proves how sound this advice is. Playwright Michael Hollinger, trained as a classical violist, gives us an engrossing chamber drama about a chamber music quartet, and Arden Theatre Company has given the play a handsome world premiere. The play is less about music than about the making of music. Four men, the prominent Lazara Quartet, have played together for years, and the tensions, affections and complicated interconnectedness peculiar to a quartet are the focus of the plot.
October 20, 2005 |
Charles Burns doesn't lock his monsters away in the closet. They're out there in plain view in the artist's Northern Liberties living room. On one shelf scores of ghastly figurines look as if they roared straight out of a Godzilla movie, while fearsome Japanese robots stand ready for battle across the way. They're all over Burns' richly detailed drawings, whose woodcut-like precision is familiar not only to alt-comic fans, but also to anyone who's seen his Altoids ads, album covers (Iggy Pop's Brick by Brick, among others)
April 5, 2004 |
Two engaging works by the late Anna Sokolow anchored Dancefusion's new program, continuing its admirable mission of reconstructing early modern dance by Sokolow and others. The company shared this full but not over-long evening at the Painted Bride with Opus 1 Contemporary Dance, a local group making its first appearance in the city. Sokolow's 1974 Quartertones, a solo danced on Saturday by Janet Pilla, seemed at first to recall Martha Graham's solo works - not surprising, given that Sokolow studied and danced with Graham.
February 21, 2004 |
Fifteen minutes into the Philadelphia Orchestra's opening concert to the Mahler's World festival on Thursday - a performance of the two-hour Symphony No. 3 - you could transcend caring what the piece is about. In our hyper-visual, explanation-demanding world, where commodities must be summed up in a charismatic sentence to be viable, the orchestra and music director Christoph Eschenbach superseded all of that - a notable achievement. Mahler himself, after all, played the explaining game in this piece by giving each of the six movements a specific dramatic scenario.