Raquel Salas Rivera has a vision of Philly, a vision of color, identity, ethnicity, those formerly unincluded who now cry out, through the spoken word, to be heard. Rivera has curated a summer reading festival, We (Too) Are Philly, bringing spoken-word readings to different neighborhoods on Phillycentric themes. The next three are July 12, July 26, and Aug. 11 (the grand finale).
Bucks County's rendition of "42nd Street," through Aug. 4, is one of the foundational warhorses of the stage musical. The Dubin/Warren songs for the original movie are so good, still, today, that it's as if the musical always existed first. It's a fun night, with songs you can't help whistling as you go out - partly because you've heard them all your life.
Roger Bennett and Michael Davies are Men in Blazers, the TV/podcast stars who talk about soccer (or as they would have you say it, "football") while wearing authoritative blazers. They're very funny, very popular, and touring America. They come to the TLA on July 6 for a sold-out show.
Princeton Festival's rendition of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" rises above the constraints of budget and location to give an enjoyable account of this sturdy farce. Michael Caizzi as Pseudolus leads a cast of singer-actors who play the slapstick for all it's worth and then some.
"Big Red Sun" by John Jiler and Georgia Stitt is a new musical world-premiering through June 17 at 11th Hour Theatre Company. Stitt's songs often shine, but Jiler's book and the production as a whole has some dramatic awkwardnesses. Much is redeemed by a blaze of uplift at the end.
Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Sweat" will enjoy major productions at two theaters in the 2018-19 season: at Philadelphia Theatre Company (Oct. 12-Nov. 4) and at People's Light in Malvern (Jan. 16-Feb. 10).
John Timpane is the books/fine arts editor/writer for the Inquirer. His beat includes books, social media, dance, theater, art, museums, and classical music. From 1997 to 2008 he was the Commentary page editor.