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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: November, 2012

POSTED: Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 11:29 PM

By Toby Zinman

Toby Zinman @ 11:29 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, November 8, 2012, 1:51 PM

[/BYCREDIT][DROP3]W[KERN-0]ednesday night’s BalletX season opener at the Wilma Theater began as dark and stormy onstage as it was outside. But the program grew progressively lighter and more serene, and ended with its loveliest and most upbeat work, the Philadelphia premiere of [/KERN-0][/DROP3][ITALIC]Switch Phase[/ITALIC], by BalletX<NO1>cq<NO> co-artistic director Matthew Neenan. 
The evening also featured world premieres by two guest choreographers. Mauro Astolfi’s [ITALIC]Instant God[/ITALIC], for the full company, posits that people would like to have a personal “god” to fix everything in life — in a snap. He expressed this through confrontation, tensions, movement phrases frustrated by awkward endings, all underpinned by Notfromearth’s<NO1>cq<NO> soundscape of rain and dissonant noise. 
The women were all in Martha Chamberlain’s little dark sheaths, the men in street clothes, and all wore socks, the better to slide when pushed along by another dancer. Struggling entanglements of small to large groups and oppositional moves filled much of the dance. Astolfi’s sensuous, offbeat use of musicality and William Cannon’s solo — all about off-center backward falls and lunges — were the spine of this dance.
Philadelphian Kate Watson-Wallace, known for small site-specific works, made [ITALIC]I Was at a Party and My Mind Wandered Off. …[/ITALIC] In the second work of hers for the stage I’ve reviewed in two years, she once again created a scene, this one a party winding down. Colby Damon and Jared Brunson lean into each other like boxers in the ring in the 10th round. [KERN-1]Three women in white, their hair hanging over their eyes, rotate their shoulders. And all harmonize a song as they circle into and out of the larger group, ending with a wild last dance. 
[/KERN-1]Neenan’s [ITALIC]Switch Phase[/ITALIC] was the most accomplished piece on the program, but the company had had time to absorb it fully since premiering it last summer in Vail. To music recorded by the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, the dancers oscillate around each other like celestial bodies moving through space. Allison Walsh straddles Cannon’s prone body as he snaps his torso up to her. <NO1>Neenan’s choreography leaves no detail undone.<NO>When Walsh later slices her arm up the side of Cannon’s neck, he grasps her hand before she can pull it away. 
[KERN+3]The most poignant section was a tango with newcomer Richard Villaverde and retiring Tara Keating. If you’ve loved watching this adorable vamp-next-door dancer over the last 15 years, first at Pennsylvania Ballet and then with BalletX, you’ll be as sad to see her leave the stage as I am.[/KERN+3]
[SHIRTTAIL][10PTLEAD]Additional performances:[/10PTLEAD] 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St. Tickets: $22-$35. 215-546-7824 or tickets@wilmatheater.org[/SHIRTTAIL].

By Merilyn Jackson

FOR THE INQUIRER

Merilyn Jackson @ 1:51 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, November 8, 2012, 1:44 AM

By Jim Rutter

FOR THE INQUIRER

If you believe the story in Jay Berkow’s What a Glorious Feeling, mammoth egos and a treacherous love triangle almost derailed the production of Singin’ in the Rain. At Bristol Riverside Theatre, you do believe it.

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POSTED: Wednesday, November 7, 2012, 11:23 PM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Toby Zinman @ 11:23 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, November 4, 2012, 10:45 AM
Blog Image
Cathy Simpson in 'Pretty Fire' ( photo credit: www.plate3photography.com)

By Jim Rutter

FOR THE INQUIRER

Charlayne Woodard began her autobiographical narrative Pretty Fire with a fight for life. Born several months premature, the doctors told her parents that she probably “wouldn’t last the night.” 

@ 10:45 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, November 1, 2012, 11:11 PM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Mark St. Germain’s  two character play, Freud’s Last Session, ran for two years Off-Broadway and has made the rounds of regional theatres, winning prize after prize.  The Arden’s admirable production, directed by Ian Merrill Peakes,  adds yet another debate drama about religion to the ever-lengthening roster so far this season. (Since the six showsI listed for my review of The Runner Stumbles,  we can add two more.)

Toby Zinman @ 11:11 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
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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