Spring Arts - Theater: Works are old, new, borrowed, and blue
Forget T.S. Eliot, what with his dire pronouncements such as "April is the cruelest month." Not this spring, pal. No wasteland here. Only consider the richness of our theater scene!
Here are some of the shows I'm looking forward to, a nice selection of comedy and tragedy, musicals and not, big companies and small. These include brand-new plays by rising playwrights as well as a chance to see the newest work from revered writers. There's something old (Friedrich Schiller), something new (Paula Vogel), something borrowed (Christopher Durang), something blue (Sam Shepard).
See you at the theater!
- Toby Zinman, theater reviewer for The Inquirer
Other Desert Cities (Jan. 14 to March 2 at the Walnut Street Theatre). Walnut's mainstage production of the Broadway hit about family secrets and politics. Major cast of local faves. (Information: 215-574-3550, www.walnutstreettheatre.org.)
Snowglobe (Jan. 23 to Feb. 9 at the Shubin Theatre). Nicholas Wardigo, Philly's local science playwright, offers his new one: Two women (Amanda Schoonover and Charlotte Northeast) live inside one of those globes that you shake to make it snow. (Information: 347-644.7577, http://macknight.yapsody.com.)
True West (Jan. 30 to Feb. 23 at Theatre Exile). Sam Shepard's fierce and funny play about the Old West, the New West, and the Nowhere West, as two brothers duke it out. (Information: 215-218-4022, www.theatreexile.org.)
Ondine (Feb. 5 to March 2 at the Walnut Street Theatre). This IRC production of Jean Giraudoux's French fairy tale is a rare chance to see this play. (Information: 215- 285-0472, http://ondine.brownpapertickets.com.)
The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess (Feb. 18-23 at the Academy of Music). This touring production of the musical that won the 2012 Tony for best musical revival is a chance to hear those gorgeous songs again ("Summertime," "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," "It Ain't Necessarily So"). (Information: 215-893-1955, www.kimmelcenter.org/BWY1314.)
Skin and Bone (March 5-24 at the Azuka Theatre). If you liked Azuka's the terrible girls a few years ago, you'll want to see the girls again in Jacqueline Goldfinger's sequel, especially with its tip-top cast: Amanda Schoonover, Maureen Torsney-Weir, and Drucie McDaniel. (Information: 215-563-1100, www.azukatheatre.org.)
Don Juan Comes Back from Iraq (March 19 to April 20 at the Wilma Theater). A major theatrical event: The Wilma Theater premieres Paula Vogel's latest, a play so new it only has a working title, but it's a great title. (Information: 215-546-7824, www.wilmatheater.org.)
Three Sisters (March 20 to April 30 at the Arden Theatre). Chekhov's masterwork, in yet another new translation. Maybe they'll get to Moscow this time. (Information: 215-922-1122, www.ardentheatre.org.)
This makes a great pairing with:
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (March 21 to April 20 at the Philadelphia Theatre Company). Christopher Durang's smart and hilarious Chekhov mash-up. (Information: 215-985-0420, www.philadelphiatheatrecompany.org.)
Mary Stuart (April 2-19, by the Philadelphia Artist's Collective, at the Broad Street Ministry). Schiller's rarely performed drama about the battle to the death between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots, from the always-interesting PAC. (Information: 215-551-1543, www.philartistscollective.org.)
Down Past Passyunk (April 4-27, by the InterAct Theatre Company at the Adrienne Theatre). InterAct Theatre premieres A. Zell Williams' local-color drama about speaking English to order steak sandwiches in South Philly. (Information: 215-568-8079, www.interacttheatre.org.)
The Train Driver (April 10 to May 4 at the Lantern Theater). The mighty Athol Fugard's newest play gets its local premiere. With an unbeatable cast (Peter DeLaurier and Frank X) directed by Mat Pfeiffer, this is definitely worth a look. (Information: 215-829-0395, www.lanterntheater.org.)
Altar Boyz (May 15 to June 1 at the Arts Bank, University of the Arts). The lively 11th Hour Theatre Company's only show this spring is about the unlikely combination of teen heartthrobs and old-time religion. (Information: 267-987-9865, www.11thhourtheatrecompany.org.)
For expanded coverage, go to www.inquirer.com/springtheater