Thursday, May 28, 2015

POSTED: Sunday, May 10, 2015, 9:20 AM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

The saddest line in this funny play by Steven Karamabout misfit teenagers struggling with all the stuff misfit teenagers struggle with is: "I don't want to talk about it."

Toby Zinman @ 9:20 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, May 8, 2015, 8:35 AM

By Wendy Rosenfield

for the Inquirer

Even under the best circumstances, there's so much effort, so much heartbreak and anxiety that goes into raising, educating, and preparing a child for college and adulthood. Kimber Lee's brownsville song (b-side for tray), in a coproduction between Philadelphia Theatre Company and New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre, examines the tail end of those efforts when, despite all odds, everything starts to come together for Tray, a promising African American high school senior and aspiring boxer.

Wendy Rosenfield @ 8:35 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, May 4, 2015, 9:07 AM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

This ravishing revival of Rogers and Hammerstein's The King and I begins with one of those thrilling theatrical moments: a life-size wooden ship glides toward us, out over the orchestra pit—and what an orchestra this is!-- and it seems to intend to sail right into the audience. It stops in time for intrepid Anna, arriving in Siam from Singapore, to "Whistle a Happy Tune," and the show has captured us, already misty-eyed, and will keep us enthralled for the next three hours.

Toby Zinman @ 9:07 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 11:51 PM

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde's wry and excellent advice speaks the spirit of Kinky Boots, especially when Lola, drag queen extraordinaire, delivers the wisdom. This sweet, high-energy musical is about tolerance and fabulous shoes, so no wonder it won six Tony awards in 2013, including Best Musical, with a score by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein. 

The plot is based on a true story which then became a charming movie, before it was transformed in a big Broadway musical: Charlie Price's (Steven Booth) shoe factory in the north of England is about to fold since nobody wants brogues that will last a lifetime. But when he meets Lola (Kyle Taylor Parker), he discovers the niche market that will save his business: gorgeous, outrageous boots (Gregg Barnes designed the costumes) for drag queens. 

There are love interest subplots—Charlie's snooty fiancé (Grace Stockdale) and his cutie employee (Lindsay Nicole Chambers)--but they take back seat to the story of the two very different men who, in a lovely duet, "Not My Father's Son" discover they share the fate of many men who are not what their fathers wanted them to be. Similarly, the big cast of factory workers takes a back seat to the Angels, Lola's backup crew, whose spectacular production numbers are the highlight of the show.

Toby Zinman @ 11:51 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 23, 2015, 7:35 AM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

"Truth and illusion. Who knows the difference, eh, toots?"

Toby Zinman @ 7:35 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 7:09 PM
Blog Image
"Big Bang", Adryan Moorefield, Janine Beckles, Philadanco (Credit: Lois Greenfield)

Review: Philadanco spans four generations

Merilyn Jackson, For The Inquirer

Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 3:01 AM

Merilyn Jackson @ 7:09 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, April 20, 2015, 1:35 PM

By Wendy Rosenfield

for the Inquirer

Lots of regional theaters enter dogs in the fight to get productions from their stages to Broadway, but Delaware Theatre Company’s Because of Winn-Dixie might be the only one featuring an actual canine. Based on the beloved children’s novel by Kate DiCamillo, with book and lyrics by Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde) and music by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), this might also be one of the few shows featuring dogs and children in which cuteness, though present in abundance, doesn’t take center stage.

Wendy Rosenfield @ 1:35 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, April 19, 2015, 12:25 PM

By Wendy Rosenfield

for the Inquirer

What is it about The Three Musketeers that still captures our imagination? Quintessence Theatre Group’s new adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ sprawling adventure novel makes some excellent arguments for its continued good health and longevity. The rallying cry, “All for one and one for all,” surely resonates at a time when our nation is nearly as fragmented as Dumas’ pre-revolutionary France. It also helps that the manner in which Dumas depicts serious conflicts between the church, monarchy and citizens occurs between or (better still) enables much swashbuckling and romance. 

Wendy Rosenfield @ 12:25 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
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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