Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tony Braithwaite to lead Act II Playhouse

One of the region's pre-eminent comic talents, Tony Braitwaite, has been named producing artistic director of Act II Playhouse in Ambler, succeeding Bud Martin. Howard Shapiro reports.

Tony Braithwaite to lead Act II Playhouse

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Tony Braithwaite, the new leader of Ambler's Act II Playhouse. Photo by John Flak.

By Howard Shapiro

Tony Braithwaite, one of the region’s premiere comic actors, will take the helm of Act II Playhouse in Ambler in July.
The board of Act II, among the region’s hottest stages over the past few years, named Braithwaite as the new producting artistic director, replacing Bud Martin.

Martin, also a Broadway and West End producer, will continue to serve on the board and be available to direct, as will Harriet Power, the associate artistic director who will leave that post at the end of the season in May; she will continue on the theater faculty at Villanova.

“It is important for the theatre to have a full-time artistic director who can devote the time that I have not been able to,” said Martin, a producer of last season’s Time Stands Still on Broadway, and director of the current Act II production of that play.

The company, Martin said in a release, “needs someone who ... can be the face of the theater. Our audiences know Tony’s face much better than mine.” Braithwaite has taken roles at Act II since 2003, most recently last month.

Braithwaite said in a statement he would continue Act II’s mix: “well-loved titles, annual musicals, and from time to time a show that stretches us and our audiences a bit.”

Contact staff writer Howard Shapiro at 215-854-5727,

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About this blog

Toby Zinman's night job since 2006 is theater critic for the Inquirer where she reviews New York and London as well as Philadelphia. Her day job: Prize-winning prof at UArts, author of five books about modern and contemporary drama, and doer of scholarly deeds (winner of five NEH grants, Fulbright lecturer at Tel Aviv University, visiting professor in China). She was recently named by American Theatre magazine "one of the twelve most influential critics in America."

Wendy Rosenfield has written freelance features and theater reviews for The Inquirer since 2006. She was theater critic for the Philadelphia Weekly from 1995 to 2001, after which she enjoyed a five-year baby-raising sabbatical. She serves on the board of the American Theatre Critics Association, was a participant in the Bennington Writer's Workshop, a 2008 NEA/USC Fellow in Theater and Musical Theater, and twice was guest critic for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's Region II National Critics Institute. She received her B.A. from Bennington College and her M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also is a fiction writer, was proofreader to a swami, publications editor for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and spends all her free time working out and driving people places. Follow her on Twitter @WendyRosenfield.

Jim Rutter has reviewed theater for The Inquirer since September, 2011. Since 2006, he covered dance, theater and opera for the Broad Street Review, and has also written for many suburban newspapers, including The Main Line Times. In 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a Fellowship in Arts Journalism. Thames & Hudson released his updated and revised version of Ballet and Modern Dance in June, 2012. From 1998 to 2005, he taught philosophy and logic at Drexel, and then Widener University. He also coaches Olympic Weightlifting for Liberty Barbell, and has competed at the national level in that sport since 2001.

Merilyn Jackson regularly writes on dance for The Inquirer and other publications. She specializes in the arts, literature, food, travel, and Eastern European culture and politics. In 2001, she was dance critic in residence at the Festival of Contemporary Dance in Bytom, Poland; in 2005, she received an NEA Critics’ Fellowship to Duke University’s Institute for Dance Criticism. She likes to say that dance was her first love but that when she discovered writing she began to cheat on dance. Now that she writes about dance, she’s made an honest woman of herself, although she also writes poetry.

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