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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: October, 2011

POSTED: Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 11:17 PM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Philadelphia stages are currently awash in big ideas. Adding to the heady tumult is Philadelphia Theatre Company’s production of ‘Red’, John Logan’s engrossing play about the 20th century titan of Abstract Expressionism, the  painter Mark Rothko. In the course of 100 minutes, we will learn a good deal about art and art history and creative passion and the crass spectre of commerce that looms over the high-end art market. (The program tellingly points out that a Rothko painting recently sold at auction for $73 million.)

Toby Zinman @ 11:17 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, October 17, 2011, 2:44 PM
Blog Image
The cast of "Motherhood the Musical":From left, Donnie Hammond, Ilona Ahearn, Ashley Turba and Ellie Mooney. Turba, an understudy, leaves the role this week. Photo by Scott Weiner.

By Howard Shapiro

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

I can’t think of a mother, present and probably future, who wouldn’t get a good laugh out of the new and polished musical revue called Motherhood the Musical, the touring show that Society Hill Playhouse opened over the weekend.

howard shapiro @ 2:44 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, October 17, 2011, 12:02 PM

By Wendy Rosenfield

For the Inquirer

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Wendy Rosenfield @ 12:02 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, October 17, 2011, 12:01 PM

By Wendy Rosenfield

For the Inquirer

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Wendy Rosenfield @ 12:01 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Sunday, October 16, 2011, 11:48 AM

By Wendy Rosenfield

For the Inquirer

It’s curious that Curio Theatre wasn’t too intimidated by the Wilma Theater’s 2008 production of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice to produce it themselves. That earlier version, with its Barrymore-winning original music, sunbleached set, and stylized direction, set a standard that this small, new-ish, low-budget West Philly company would have a rough time matching.

Wendy Rosenfield @ 11:48 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Friday, October 14, 2011, 12:41 PM

In Bristol Riverside Theatre’s production of William Luce’s Barrymore, we meet Philly’s own John Barrymore, “The Great Profile”--grandfather of Drew, sibling of Ethel and Lionel--one month before his death at age 60. He staggers toward the final curtain of a prolific career whose impact on stage and both silent and talking films (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Grand Hotel) was rivaled only by the self-destructive zeal with which he pursued women and alcohol. 

Luce’s conceit, Barrymore’s hopes to reprise his role as Richard III, and rents a theater for the evening to run lines in front of an audience, begs a certain amount of forgiveness. It’s a flimsy premise, sure, but ultimately worth suspending one’s disbelief. Keith Baker might not have Barrymore’s “Plantagenet nose,” but he can channel the actor’s spirit. 

It’s a plum role for Baker, who can swing between quippy, hammy and overwrought, and still get at the mortar in Barrymore’s grand facade: his genuine, deep misery. Behind the man’s struggles to get through a single iambic line hangs Brakenbury’s observation in Richard III that the difference between princes and paupers is an “outward fame”; for both, an “inward toil” remains. Baker’s command of Shakespeare’s linguistic power offers a fine tribute to the legend at his best, and underscores the tragedy of the man’s fall from grace, trembling, delusional, and embittered.


Wendy Rosenfield @ 12:41 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Friday, October 14, 2011, 7:31 PM

By Jim Rutter
For the Inquirer

The explosive growth of Philadelphia’s theater scene has coincided with a rise in local new play development. Internationally produced playwrights Michael Hollinger and Bruce Graham and InterAct’s participation in the National New Play Network only represent our city’s more-publicized contributions to the genre’s future.

Since 2009, B. Someday Productions and Hella Fresh Theatre have brought new voices to the local scene with Hella Fresh Fish, an annual festival of short plays. This year’s lineup consists of 12 works selected from 500 submissions; Walking Fish Theatre’s program featured eight of these 10-to-15 minute shorts.

Jim Rutter @ 7:31 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, October 13, 2011, 10:39 PM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Toby Zinman @ 10:39 PM  Permalink | 0
About this blog
Toby Zinman's night job since 2006 is theater critic for the Inquirer. She also is a contributing writer for Variety and American Theatre magazine. Her day job: Prize-winning prof at UArts, author of four books about four playwrights (Rabe, McNally, Miller, Albee), and doer of scholarly deeds (winner of five NEH grants, Fulbright lecturer at Tel Aviv University, visiting professor in China). Her 'weekend' job as a travel writer provides adventure: dogsledding in the Yukon, ziplining in Belize, walking coast-to-coast across England, and cowboying in the Australian Outback.


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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