Friday, May 22, 2015

Archive: February, 2012

POSTED: Friday, February 10, 2012, 5:53 PM

After 22 years of being the rare American ballet company without a school, Pennsyvlania Ballet is reopening the School of Pennsylvania Ballet "sometime in the fall," says company artistic director Roy Kaiser. It depends on when the new headquarters and studios at 321 N. Broad St. are ready for occupancy.

"For the professional division, it will be all by audition," Kaiser says. "We’ll have open classes for little toddlers, and adult classes. Plans are being made, we’re getting everything arranged to pull the trigger."

Those plans got a kickstart Thursday night at the Merriam Theater, where Pennsylvania Ballet opened its Pushing Boundaries series. There was a sign-up sheet in the lobby for potential students seeking information and a poster announcing former principal dancer William DeGregory as director of the school and current principal dancer Arantxa Ochoa as the principal teacher.

Ellen Dunkel @ 5:53 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, February 9, 2012, 5:44 PM

By Stephan Salisbury
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Dance USA/Philadelphia, an advocacy and service organization, has received a three-year, $950,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation, the philanthropy announced Thursday. In addition, William Penn said it awarded $200,000 to Dance USA grant to help fund its 2013 annual conference, which will bring over 600 dancers and dance professionals to Philadelphia in the summer.

All told, William Penn announced 37 grants totaling about $16 million. Funding was dispensed in several broad areas, including arts and culture, children, youth and families, and environment and communities. Grants were also announced for capital and regranting programs.

In addition to the two Dance USA-related grants, 12 other arts and culture groups, many of them performing-arts organizations, will receive funds.

Stephan Salisbury @ 5:44 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 11:44 PM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Little Gem, Inis Nua Company’s production of a new  play by Elaine Murphy,  is full of charm and sentiment and monologues and accents and working class women who keep on keeping on. In other words, it’s an Irish play.

Toby Zinman @ 11:44 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, February 6, 2012, 1:53 PM

By Wendy Rosenfield
FOR THE INQUIRER

It might be a tough sell, getting audiences out to Souderton’s Montgomery Theater to see Becky Shaw. After all, Gina Gionfriddo’s acerbic, witty Pulitzer-nominated drama collected four Barrymore Awards for the Wilma Theater in 2010, and that production — with its bigger house, budget, and largely imported cast — seems as if it ought to be the definitive one for our region.

But it’s not. The Wilma’s production was excellent; this one is excellent also, but for completely different reasons. First, a play about the nuances in relationships between men and women works best in an intimate setting, and where the Wilma indulged in design gymnastics (its turntable featured several rooms divided by a peek-a-boo hallway), Montgomery presents complex characters first, leaving its simple design in the background.

Wendy Rosenfield @ 1:53 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, February 3, 2012, 2:35 PM

By Wendy Rosenfield
FOR THE INQUIRER

I’m not sure Rain, the touring Beatles revue that has also made its home on Broadway since 2010, meets the standard for theater. A knockoff of a knockoff (all four cast members are Beatlemania vets), it’s more like watching a Fab Four drag show, or a really expensive cover band. It’s a decent cover band, mind you, without lip-syncing, but the only narrative is signaled by the band’s musical development, tracked chronologically, and its members’ hair growth.

But it’s not like the boys need a jukeboxed story to hold their catalog together. Their own long and winding road, its twists deeply ingrained in the hearts of baby boomers everywhere, requires only a costume change from matching Edwardian suits to those candy-colored Sgt. Pepper jackets to evoke the era’s tastes, times, and turmoil, both internecine and international.

Wendy Rosenfield @ 2:35 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, February 3, 2012, 2:13 PM

By Jim Rutter
FOR THE INQUIRER

Architects and writers both begin with a blank page and an idea. Jon Marans’ theatrically ambitious but overwrought A Raw Space, now receiving a stilted world premiere at Bristol Riverside Theatre, started with a solid if unoriginal concept: a woman spurring men to jealous competition for her affection and approval.

While the title refers to one of Richard Meier’s “raw space” Manhattan high-rises, this plot drives many of Shakespeare’s plays. Marans acknowledges his debt by alluding to Macbeth on multiple occasions and quoting Henry IV at length.

Jim Rutter @ 2:13 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, February 3, 2012, 9:32 PM

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Back in the day, when the Dodgers were in Brooklyn and baseball was an all-white game, Branch Rickey hired Jackie Robinson and changed American sports forever. That story—one that would seem a good idea for Black History Month-- is the basis of Branch, now at Society Hill Playhouse. The show began with a startling and weirdly manipulative moment: the national anthem is played on a scratchy record, and everyone in the audience stood up.

Toby Zinman @ 9:32 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, February 3, 2012, 4:39 PM

The scheduled Broadway opening of Bruce Norris' new play, Clybourne Park, which was much anticipated for April in New York but was shelved, is back on again.

The Broadway production had been cancelled earlier this week after Norris --an actor as well as a playwright -- backed out of a role in a pilot for HBO that his Broadway producer, the heavy-hitting Scott Rudin (The Book of Mormon on Broadway, film's No Country for Old Men) was backing. An angry Rudin pulled out of Clybourne Park on Broadway, leaving the production to scramble for new money. 

Early Friday, Jordan Roth, the president of Jujamcyn Theaters -- the owners of the Broadway theater where Clybourne Park had been booked to run --  indicated in an announcement that his company would produce the play, or at least had lined up other producers to do so. Roth sent this concise announcement over the Internet:

howard shapiro @ 4:39 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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