Jesus and Jefferson
In "The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord," at the Lantern Theater through July 2, the three great men, together in the afterlife, discuss the life of Jesus. At 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday, the Lantern brings in historians John C. Van Horne and Charles T. Cullen for a post-show talk on what Jefferson believed.
'Dream' outdoors in Delaware
The Shakespeare Gild performs "Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Frank Stephens Memorial Theater on the Village Green in Arden, Del., through June 24. Check ardenshakes.com for dates and times.
Reality star returns to his improv roots
Philly improv group Tongue and Groove Spontaneous Theater is 10 years old. And it'll throw three birthday parties for itself, on Friday and on June 16 and 17, at the Playground at the Adrienne Theatre, 2030 Sansom St.
June 16 is Founding Members Reunion night, when eight of the original gang will be on hand, including Adam Gertler, who has gone on to be a bigtime chef in both reality TV ("Next Food Network Star"; "Will Work for Food") and actual reality. After the show, there'll be a reunion party, with music, "anniversary cupcakes," and homemade sausages by Gertler, who is now the sausage-maker for the Dog Haus franchise out of Los Angeles.
Founder Bobbi Block says the Tongue and Groove name embodies seamless connection - "within the ensemble, and also between the ensemble and the audience." She started the group in 2007 because, in a town with plenty of improv going on, "we wanted something beyond just the scene and the quick joke."
While 80 percent of their shows may be funny, Block says, "we go for a mixture of tones, the funny and serious."
Gertler, speaking from L.A., says he auditioned for T&G in 2007, after the Philly restaurant he was working at, the Smoked Joint, went up in smoke. He was drawn to Block's approach. "It frees you up because you're not thinking, 'What's the punchline?' You're thinking about a dramatic and emotional throughline." He stayed through July 2008.
He credits Tongue and Groove with giving him good tools for the reality-TV world: "The other contestants thought it was a contest, but I knew it was entertainment. Improv came in handy."
Of the reunion, he says, "I'm a little nervous. Aren't we out of practice?' I'm looking for the rest to carry me."
Kudos from readers
My email tells me that folks like "Brighton Beach Memoirs," through June 25 at Act II Playhouse in Ambler. And Rachel Ginzburg of Philadelphia praises "How to Use a Knife," through June 18 at InterAct Theatre Company: "Great script, great cast, and just generally very well done and thought-provoking." If you see something, say something.
Can't Wait to See:
"The Roses in June," June 14-July 1 at Plays and Players Theatre Company.