Seen any great theater?
Welcome to my very second column. Once again: Write me if you see anything great on a stage around here. I like passing along reader recommendations.
Louis Greenstein of West Philadelphia writes, "I highly recommend Lost Girls at Theatre Exile's Studio X" through March 12.
A lot of people have liked that play to me on Facebook and by email, mentioning a marvelous rotating stage depicting a working-class New England town.
Speaking of turning tables . . .
Upriver at the Bucks County Playhouse, Buddy, the Buddy Holly musical, will return May 27-June 17. Then it gets packed in a truck and sent down the highway, to play June 24-July 9 at the Kimmel Center.
BCP's Buddy makes splendid use of the stage turntable. But this massive thing - 25 feet in diameter, four tracks, 84 cast aluminum wheels - wasn't always at the playhouse. It was built by the famed designer Norman Bel Geddes for the 1937 production of Irwin Shaw's Siege at Broadway's Longacre Theatre, a stinky white elephant of a show that lasted only six performances.
How and when did that turntable arrive 61 miles southeast, in New Hope (some time before the playhouse opened in 1939)? It's a mystery. Stuck beneath the stage, covered over, the poor thing lay all but unused for a long time. BCP technical director Tom Watson and facilities manager Peter Maloney refurbished and refit the turntable, now computer-operated, in 2015.
When Buddy goes down I-95 to the Kimmel's Perelman Center, will it get the same treatment? Ooooh, yes: A 75-foot-diameter turntable stage is one of the Perelman's celebrated virtues.
Springtime for Shakespeare
You have Midsummer Night's Dream at the Arden (Thursday through April 9), Coriolanus at the Lantern Theater (March 9-April 16), and Love's Labour's Lost at the Quintessence Theatre Group (March 15-April 21).
Why all this good Will? Dan Hodge, who plays Bottom in Midsummer, says, "He's inexhaustible. He speaks immediately to what makes us tick." The actor calls wearing an ass' head for his role "a humbling privilege."
Director Matt Pfeiffer says Midsummer "is Shakespeare at his freest - so free, so fantastical, so much fun letting these characters rip." He says his production will feature "an exposed backstage . . . actors will get into and out of costume right there, so you can see our work. And we'll use music as a common language.
"A live event with music, poetry, and fun - we need that desperately right now," he says. Amen, brother.
We can't wait to see:
Thank You, Places: An Improvised Musical, by PHIT at the Adrienne Theatre. A musical that is wholly improvised, starting with a suggestion from the audience. March 3 and 17.
Tomfoolery, through April 2 at Act II Playhouse in Ambler. A revue based on the brilliant songs of Tom Lehrer!