‘The Miser’ at Stagecrafters

 

Lenny Grossman as The Miser at Stagecrafters. Photo by Sara Stewart

French actor and playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (called ‘Molière’), born in 1622, was influenced by the farcical style of the Italian commedia dell’arte in the usage of social satire and lots of broad physicality; but he developed a more accomplished structure and characters of greater depth and variety than his Italian predecessors.  Molière gained great popularity already during his lifetime, enthralling Parisian audiences with such now beloved classics as The School for Wives, The Imaginary Invalid, and Tartuffe (all three of which, by the way, have been produced at The Stagecrafters). The Miser, first performed in 1668, was an immediate ‘hit’, and has continued to be presented worldwide to this day.
Production performance dates are November 24 thru December 10:  Thu, Fri, Sat @ 8 pm, Sun @ 2 pm.  Tickets are available at $21.00 Online (no service charge), $25.00 At-door.  (Thu. & Fri. eve performances 2-for-$32 Online, 2-for-$35 At-door).  Students with valid ID $15.00 At-door; seniors $22.00 At-door.  Groups of 15 or more are offered a reduced rate of $15.00 a ticket, paid in advance.  The box office opens 45 minutes before each performance.  For information call 215-247-8881; for reservations-direct call 215-247-9913.  Stagecrafters Theater is located in the heart of Chestnut Hill at 8130 Germantown Ave.  Visit website for details:  www.thestagecrafters.org.
Special NOTE:  A “Meet the Cast and Director” Q & A session will be held following the performance on Friday, Dec. 1.

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Resident Theatre Company to present ‘A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play’

The Resident Theatre Company is thrilled to announce the cast and production team for A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play. This play with music brings the essential Dickens fable to life as a 1940’s radio play, wherein six actors perform over two-dozen roles. The show makes its West Chester debut Dec. 15

A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play will be directed by award-winning Broadway veteran and RTC’s Founding Artistic Director Kristin McLaughlin Mitchell, who’s work on Broadway’s Lend Me a Tenor was called “Genius” and “True comic delirium” by the New York Times. RTC’s opening production of Monty Python’s Spamalot, also directed by McLaughlin last spring, earned RTC its first four Barrymore Award nominations.

“Staging A Christmas Carol as a live 1940’s radio play makes this timeless story feel immediate and alive,” says McLaughlin. “Watching actors transform themselves into several different characters, create all the sound effects, and even perform the commercial breaks brings us back to a different era of live entertainment. It’s thrilling.”

Mark Woodard returns to the RTC stage as Ebenezer Scrooge, the frigid moneylender whose humanity is displaced by his greed until he’s met by the Ghosts of Christmas. Mr. Woodard starred in RTC’s production of Spamalot as King Arthur, and has been on stage in and around New York for over 20 years. This will mark Mr. Woodard’s seventh time playing Scrooge.

Joining him is an ensemble of five professional actors.  Alex Kunz, a New York actor last seen as Gabe in RTC’s production of Next to Normal; Michaela Shuchman, a veteran of The Walnut Street Theatre; Hanna Gaffney who played Lady of the Lake in RTC’s Spamalot, and Rajeer Alford coming off a successful run at The Delaware Theatre Company. Together they will perform all the classic Dickens characters in this incredible Christmas story. West Chester native Tom Wang will be appearing on stage as the live Sound Effects engineer, and Corey Everly will music direct.

The Resident Theatre Company has put together an award-winning design team to bring a post-war radio studio to life, including set designer Lance Kniskern; lighting designer Lily Fossner; costume designer Sarah Mitchell; and sound designer Damien Figueras.

Tickets for A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play are on sale now at www.rtcwc.org ($25-$53). The show runs December 15 – December 31 at the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center in West Chester.

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Colonial Playhouse to present ‘A Christmas Carol’

Colonial Playhouse will present “A Christmas Carol”, adapted by Peter deLaurier, November 24 – December 9. This heartwarming rendition of the Dickens classic tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge as he is haunted by the ghosts of his late partner, Jacob Marley, Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come.

Faced with his own mortality and the evil results of his misanthropic and miserly ways, Scrooge is at last reconciled with his family and his neighbors, and becomes a second father to his assistant’s son, Tiny Tim

 

Cast:
Scrooge – Bill Murray

Bob Cratchit – Sean Wiley

Mrs. Cratchit – Jess Kohn

Fred, 3rd Spirit – Mike Winterode

Belle’s Husband, 2nd Cockney, Undertakers Man – Pat O’Neill

Soliciter, 1st Cockney, Old Joe – John Vicente

Marley,  2nd Spirit – Jim Hulme

Topper, Young Scrooge, 2nd Gent – Benjamin Kerr

Dick Williams, Peter Cratchit – Anne Marie Bruce

Mr. Fezziwig, 1st Gent, Caroline’s Husband, Poulterer – Bill Haburcak

1st Spirit, Party Guest A, Laundress – Brooke Wheeler

Mrs. Fezziwig, Guest B, Charwoman – Eileen Wiley

Martha Cratchit, Fred’s Sister-in-law –  Molly Gray

Belle, Fred’s Wife – Gabby O’Neill

Will Cratchit, Boy Scrooge, Turkey Boy – Kayla Teplica

Tiny Tim, Belle’s son, Ignorance – Fred Cubler

Fan, Bellee’s Child – Violet Wiley

Belinda, Belle’s Child, Want – Eliana DiPasquale

Proprietress, Caroline – Bonnie Cubler

The show will be performed November 24 – December 9
Fridays & Saturdays: 8 pm ($15)
Sunday Matinees: 2 pm ($13)

Colonial Playhouse is at 522 W. Magnolia Ave., Aldan, PA. For more information, visit colonialplayhouse.net.

Curio Theatre Company Opens Mainstage Season with Beth Henley’s ‘Crimes of the Heart’

Colleen Hughes, Tessa Kuhn and Rachel Gluck in “Crimes of the Heart” at Curio Theatre. Photo by Rebecca Gudelunas

Curio Theatre Company follows its Fringe hit staged at the Woodlands and opens its Mainstage Season with Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Crimes of the Heart. This smart and surprisingly funny portrait of a dysfunctional family is directed by Gay Carducci and runs Nov. 15-Dec. 9.

In Crimes of the Heart, the Magrath sisters, Lenny, Meg, and Babe, are reunited at their family home in Hazlehurst Mississippi after Babe shoots her husband. Each one is facing down her own demons, past and present. Lenny cares for the grandfather who raised her as he dies, Meg grapples with dreams that didn’t come true, and Babe squares off against an abusive spouse. It’s a portrait of a dysfunctional family, but Beth Henley’s Pulitzer prize winning play finds laughter within tragedy.

Crimes of the Heart won the 1981 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play and the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  In the Curio Production, Lenny is played by Rachel Gluck, Meg is played by Colleen Hughes, and Babe is played by Tessa Kuhn. Lesley Berkowitz is Chick. Harry Slack is Doc. Chase Byrd is Barnett.  Curio Artistic Director Paul Kuhn is the Set Designer. Tim Martin is the Lighting Designer. Damien Figueras is the Sound Designer. Aetna Gallagher is the Costume Designer.

The show’s director Gay Carducci said, “Crimes of the Heart touches on so many complexities of human behavior — vulnerability, insecurity, love, passion, and dedication. The two that stand out to me are hope and hopelessness. One causes some people to surrender. The other encourages a fight to continue. We watch the Magrath sisters weave through these throughout the play. It also challenges the audience (and the actors) to love characters that are flawed, dysfunctional, and commit crimes both large and small. I love them all. They are us!”

Opening Night is Friday, November 17 at 8 p.m. Most performances are ThursdaySaturday at 8 p.m. There is no show on Thanksgiving. Industry Night is Monday, November 20 at 8 p.m. and there is an added show Wednesday, December 6 at 8 p.m. All performances are held at Curio’s home in the Calvary Center for Culture and Community at 4740 Baltimore Ave. Tickets cost $15-$30 and are available online www.curioutheatre.org or by phone at 215-921-8243

 

‘Aladdin: A Musical Panto’ is People’s Light holiday show

People’s Light will present Aladdin: A Musical Panto, an adventure story infused with the adrenaline of video gaming. The holiday show follows a young ne’er-do-well and his animal pals as they discover a mysterious lamp, rescue a princess, pilot a magic carpet, and save their village from an evil villain. Written by Samantha Reading and Pete Pryor, with music and lyrics by Michael Ogborn, Aladdin conquers the Leonard C. Haas Stage in Malvern from November 15, 2017-January 7, 2018. People’s Light is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355. For tickets, call 610.644.3500 or visit peopleslight.org.
“We had so much fun letting this genie out of the bottle!” says director Pete Pryor. “This season’s Aladdin is sure to delight with new adventures, fresh faces, and those company stalwarts who have made our own brand of holiday hilarity a family tradition.”

‘Annie’ at Walnut Street Theatre

Walnut Street Theatre continues its landmark 209th season with Broadway’s classic musical, perfect for the entire family, ANNIE. Directed by Glenn Casale, with choreography by Michelle Gaudette, ANNIE begins previews on November 7, opens on November 15  and runs through January 7  on the Walnut’s Mainstage.

Celebrate the holiday season with one of the world’s best-loved musicals. ANNIE is a spunky orphan in 1930s New York City determined to find her parents. In one fun-filled adventure after another, ANNIE foils Miss Hannigan’s evil schemes, befriends President Roosevelt and finds a new home with billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace and a lovable mutt named Sandy. This Tony Award-winning Best Musical for the entire family features some of the greatest musical theatre hits ever written including “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” plus the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”

Based on the Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, musical ANNIE with book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin had its Broadway debut in 1977.  The show was a great success, receiving seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score; the New York Drama Critics Award for Best Musical; and seven Drama Desk Awards, including Best Musical. The show also received a Grammy Award for Best Cast Show Album. There have since been two Broadway revivals, four National Tours and numerous International productions. In 1982 Columbia Pictures release a film adaptation with a cast including Carol Burnett, Albert Finney, Ann Reinking, Tim Curry and Bernadette Peters. Walt Disney produced a movie version in 1999 with Kathy Bates, Victor Garber, Audra McDonald, Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth. A third film was released in 2014 by Columbia Pictures with a cast including Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne and Cameron Diaz. The show remains wildly popular and continues to be produced by regional theatres across the country.

The title role of Annie will be shared by Tahlia Ellie of Short Hills, NJ and Jenna Seasholtz of Coopersburg, PA. Ellie was recently seen as an orphan in Annie at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. This production marks her Walnut debut. Seasholtz returns to the Walnut after her performance as a munchkin in last season’s production of Wizard of Oz. Joining Ellie and Seasholtz on their adventure to find a family are Ellie Biron of Philadelphia, PA and Ivy Cordle of Princeton, NJ sharing the role of Molly; Tyrah Skye Odoms of Maple Shade, NJ and Portia Murphy of Newtown, PA sharing the role of Pepper; Samantha Marley of Gladwyne, PA (Wizard of Oz) and Anna Shea Safran (Wizard of Oz) of Doylestown, PA sharing the role of Duffy; Olivia Reitz of Pottstown, PA (Wizard of Oz) and Courtney Chu (South Pacific) of Mount Laurel, NJ sharing the role of July; Sadie Lock of Wenonah, NJ (Wizard of Oz) and Alanna Stein (A Christmas Story) of Voorhees, NJ sharing the role of Tessie ; and Annabelle Corigliano (Wizard of Oz) of Washington Township, NJ and Camiel Warren-Taylor (Wizard of Oz) of Sharon Hill, PA sharing the role of Kate.

Mary Martello will play the infamous matron of the orphanage, Miss Hannigan. Walnut audiences will remember Martello from her performances in shows including Forum, 9 to 5 and Arsenic and Old Lace. Paul Schoeffler returns to the Walnut, having recently performed in Broadway’s revival of Sunset Boulevard. Schoeffler will join the cast as the confident millionaire Oliver Warbucks. His Walnut credits include South Pacific, 9 to 5 and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. His sophisticated secretary, Grace Farrell, will be played by Rebecca Robbins. Robbins moves to the Walnut’s Mainstage after performing as the title character in Souvenir, A Fantasia on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins earlier this season in Walnut’s Independence Studio on 3.

Christopher Sutton and his wife Lyn Philistine will play Rooster Hannigan and Lily.

ANNIE runs at the Walnut November 7 through January 7. Open captioning will be available for the Sunday, December 3, 7pm performance. The Tuesday, December 19 performance will be ASL interpreted and Audio Described. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.

‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’ comes to Media, PA for the holiday season!

It’s a tale as old as time, and a perfect way to celebrate the holidays with your family!  “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” comes  to The Media Theatre (104 East State Street, Media, PA), just in time for the holidays.  This professional musical extravaganza will play the historic theatre from Nov. 15, 2017 through Jan. 14, 2018.

The stage version of the classic Disney movie features all of the songs written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, along with a few new songs created specifically for the stage version. The original Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast ran for over thirteen years and was nominated for nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

The story focuses on Belle, a young woman, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. The Beast must learn to love and be loved so that the curse will end. With time running out, if the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for eternity.

This production at The Media Theatre is directed and choreographed by Dann Dunn, with music direction by Ben Kapilow.  It features Alanna J. Smith as Belle, Jarret Jay Yoder as The Beast, Bob Stineman as Gaston, and Stephen Fala as Lefou, as well as JP Dunphy (Lumiere), Kelly Briggs (Cogsworth), Hillary Parker (Mrs. Potts), Charlie Carroccio/ Adrian Henry (Chip), Molly Tower (LaGrande) and Julianna Babb (Babette).  Ensemble members include Dante Brattelli, Ronnie Keller, Kimberly Maxson, Megan McDevitt, Niklaus Miller, Dana Orange, Maddy Pelesh, Christian Ryan, Jacob Schrimpf, Kristin Smith, Cara Treacy, Erika Wasko.

Tickets, which are $30-58, are currently on sale at mediatheatre.org, or by calling 610-891-0100.

‘Quartet’ at Bristol Riverside Theatre

Learning to age gracefully is the theme of Bristol Riverside Theatre’s next Mainstage production, Quartet by Ron Harwood running October 31-November 19.  Directed by Susan D. Atkinson, the ensemble cast features Keith Baker, Joy FranzLaural Merlington, and Nick Ullett.

Cecily, Reggie and Wilf live in a home for retired opera singers, where they take part in an annual concert to celebrate Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday. When opera great Jean Horton arrives just in time to sing at the concert, she’s asked to perform for the first time in over 20 years, but will the show actually go on? Two friends and her ex-husband will do anything to make sure Jean takes the stage. This funny and poignant play is a sweet ode to the art of growing old gracefully, culminating in a rousing, glorious finale.

Previews begin Tuesday, October 31 with opening night on Thursday, November 2.  Performances run Tuesday through Sunday until November 19.  Tickets start at $33, with discounts for students, groups and military personnel.  Tickets are available by visiting brtstage.org or calling the BRT Box Office at 215-785-0100.  Bristol Riverside Theatre is located at 120 Radcliffe Street in Bristol, PA.

 

‘Broken Stones’ at InterAct

If you believe in a story, does that make it true? British playwright Fin Kennedy’s exhilarating play, BROKEN STONES, presented by InterAct Theatre Company, is based on a true story, but “based on” is relative. BROKEN STONES starts with the world’s first recorded story, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and folds in the investigation of the looting of the Baghdad Museum of Antiquities by the U.S. military in 2003, to examine the hypocrisy of “entertainment news,” how myth becomes fact, and why sometimes stories are all we have.

Kennedy’s stunning play runs October 27 – November 19, 2017 at InterAct and features a dynamic cast including Barrymore Award winners Charlotte Northeast and Joe Guzman, as well as Rand Gurrero, Peter Bisgaier, Daniel Barland, Najla Said, Nazli Sarpkaya and Steven Wright.  Opening Night is Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. Performances take place in the Proscenium Theatre at The Drake, located at 302 S. Hicks Street in Center City Philadelphia.  Tickets cost between $25-$40 and are available online at interacttheatre.org, at the box office at boxoffice@interacttheatre.org, or by phone at 215-568-8079.

“We’ve been hoping to premiere BROKEN STONES for several years, but the scale and scope of the play made it prohibitive to produce until we were able to secure project support from the Independence Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts” says Director and InterAct’s Producing Artistic Director, Seth Rozin. “As it happens, the play’s themes have only become increasingly relevant, particularly in the world of “fake news,” ancient artifacts being stolen by American corporations, and the general oversaturation of story over substance. BROKEN STONES asks us to question the veracity of everything we hear.”

Fact: priceless artifacts were looted from The Baghdad Museum in 2003 during the Iraq War. Fact: A U.S. Marine went in to investigate who was responsible. Everything else is open for interpretation. Marine Reservist Alejandro Ramirez (Rand Guerrero) is on a quest to tell the world what he witnessed while investigating the violent looting of the Baghdad Museum during the Iraq WarBut when he meets his new Ghostwriter (Charlotte Northeast), mythologies mix, reality turns to quicksand, and his tale becomes an epic adventure across Iraq, London, New York City, and Hollywood.  Kennedy’s world premiere is an intense, cinematic thriller that examines the appropriation of narrative and just what it means to print the legend.

Limited “INTER-HALF” half-price tickets are available after previews, purchased same day and in-person at the box office (credit card fees apply).

InterAct is committed to connecting stories on stage with issues facing our world today, and will celebrate that commitment this season through InterConnections, an audience engagement program presented by PNC Arts Alive. Consistent with the themes of BROKEN STONES, InterAct is partnering with The Penn Museum of Antiquities, in connection with their exhibit Cultures in the Crossfire which speaks to threats leveled toward antiquities in the Middle East. In addition, InterAct is proud to work with Warrior Writers, a national non-profit created to promote a culture that articulates veterans’ experiences, build a collaborative community for artistic expression, and bear witness to war and the full range of military experiences.

Reproductions of ancient artifacts provided by The Penn Museum, as well as artwork created by veterans connected to Warrior Writers, will adorn the Arcadia Foundation Lobby of The Proscenium Theatre through the run of BROKEN STONES.

InterAct will host community-based Social Action Happy Hours on Fridays during the run to support local social causes. Collaborators in the past have include HIAS PA and New Sanctuary Movement. InterAct proudly welcomes Warrior Writers for this on Friday, November 17. Attendees to these events will receive half-price tickets to that evening’s performance (as available) as well as discounts on wine and beer.

During the run, InterAct will also present post-show audience conversations. Coffee Conversations occur on Tuesday and Wednesdaynights, featuring informal discussions with the artists and complimentary coffee from Rival Bros. Coffee and treats from Insomnia Cookies. Speaker Sundays, which follow Sunday matinee performances, are curated conversations led by invited scholars, community leaders, and experts in the themes of the play. Sunday, November 5, InterAct is proud to welcome Professor C. Brian Rose, who works with military officers on protocol surrounding antiquities found in the field, and prominent psychoanalyst Salman Akhtar on November 12.

Other evenings feature Audience Discussions after every other performance during the run (beginning November 3). These will be facilitated by local community members to foster conversation after the show, connecting the themes and events of the play to our larger community.

To engage the community further, InterAct will be offering an open captioned performance on Sunday, November 12 and a Spanish captioned performance on Friday, November 17.