Sunday, March 29, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, March 12, 2015, 6:48 AM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Sometimes Macbeth is a medieval warrior, sometimes he's a modern tycoon; his "fiend-like queen" is sometimes a brilliant harridan, sometimes a sexy trophy wife.  The Macbeths are the ultimate power couple, making House of Cards look like child's play, and Shakespeare's fierce study of ruthless ambition has tempted directors and actors for more than 400 years.

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POSTED: Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 8:51 AM

By Wendy Rosenfield

for the Inquirer

If I could change anything about 11th Hour Theatre Company's world premiere of Michael Ogborn's Field Hockey Hot, I'd have opened it a month ago, in the depths of this winter's merciless ice and cold. Never mind the heat in its title - the musical's sunny, neon-hued, retro-'80s theme paired with the gung-ho cast's calorie-torching exertions alone might have raised the mercury at least a few notches.

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POSTED: Sunday, March 8, 2015, 9:21 AM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Azuka Theatre has given the playwright, Douglas Williams, his first professional production with Moon Cave, and although Williams has an intriguing idea, the thin script feels stretched to its hour and a half playing time. The sound design (by Nick Kourtides) -- composed of loud music and muffled, frantic whispers of "I'm sorry"-- fills the long breaks between scenes,  taking up almost as much time as the dialogue. Kevin Glaccum directs an excellent cast, but they can't provide narrative substance. 

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POSTED: Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 1:25 PM

By Wendy Rosenfield

for the Inquirer

The Illusionists: Witness the Impossible, brings a motley Vegas-style assortment of magicians (and one escape artist) from a six-week residency on Broadway to the Academy of Music. They’ve got fireworks, lasers, indoor snow, interactive video screens and dancer/assistants dressed in the ragged Victorian hooker/dandy style seen sauntering across many a steampunk conference floor. But do they make the magic happen? 

Wendy Rosenfield @ 1:25 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, February 23, 2015, 8:45 AM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Nick Jones' new play, Verité, has a terrific premise: a young, dull, New Jersey housewife submits  the manuscript of a fantasy novel to a small publishing firm. They offer her $50,000, not for the dragons-and-dungeons book, but to write her memoirs. The trick is that her life has to be interesting  enough for people to want to read about it. They offer to help make things interesting, in ways that seem at first just weird, and then seem slightly sinister, and then seem downright threatening: "We don't publish romances, we publish ordeals."

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POSTED: Saturday, February 21, 2015, 11:43 PM

By Jim Rutter

For THE INQUIRER

Sometimes I wish that Theatre Horizon still performed their musicals in a high school auditorium rather than the cozy, 120-seat space they built in Norristown. I especially longed for a different venue every time Kristine Fraelich's (as the Witch) belted out one of the songs from Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods that Bernadette Peters originally made famous and that Fraelich makes no less her own here.

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POSTED: Saturday, February 21, 2015, 5:37 PM

By Wendy Rosenfield

for the Inquirer

I will never, ever stop being amazed by the endless directorial interpretations of Othello. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve seen, but Curio Theatre’s new production, directed by Dan Hodge, is the latest, and once again, it teases out new (to me) angles in Shakespeare’s 400-year-old script. 

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POSTED: Sunday, February 15, 2015, 7:27 PM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Simpatico Theatre Project presents Obie-Award winning, Milk Like Sugar by Kirsten Greenidge; it's an engrossing  drama that is both a cautionary tale and an societal indictment, and the cast is superb. Greenidge can write what sounded to me to be pitch-perfect dialogue, and Alan Radway directs the ensemble with respect and a clever use of the Skybox's space.

Toby Zinman @ 7:27 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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