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Opera Innovator: An Interview with David Devan ahead of the O17 Festival

What can opera companies do to remain relevant? That question has been around almost as long as the art form itself, but it’s taken on a new sense of urgency in the 21st century. Costs are up, attendance is down, and the old-guard audience continues to die off, with no ready replacement waiting. David Devan may hold the answer. At a time when other companies have doubled down on the safe and familiar repertory war horses that tend to put butts in seats, Devan—Opera Philadelphia’s general direct
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Anthony Heald in GYPSY: Journeyman actor makes his way to Philadelphia

The name Anthony Heald may not be immediately familiar, but most people will certainly recognize this venerable character actor’s face. Perhaps you know Heald from his role as Dr. Fredrick Chilton, one of Hannibal Lector’s many adversaries, in The Silence of the Lambs. Or maybe you watched him as Scott Guber, the beleaguered assistant principal who presided over David E. Kelley’s Boston Public for four seasons. Heald’s 40-year screen career spans more than sixty film and television appearances,
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WHITE (Theatre Horizon): Representation matters

I thought I had WHITE figured out. Much of James Ijames’ new play, receiving its world premiere at Theatre Horizon in Norristown, unspools as a sharp examination of white privilege, especially as it pertains to creation, representation, and exhibition in the art world. But thanks to skillful writing and one of the most perfectly executed red herrings I’ve ever seen, WHITE morphs into possibly the strongest theatrical statement on the commodification of black bodies since Suzan-Lori Parks’ Venus.
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LA RONDINE (Curtis Opera Theatre): Puccini’s elusive swallows flies to Philly

Puccini’s 1917 opera LA RONDINE (The Swallow) is a meltingly beautiful love story that contains some of his catchiest music. It notably introduced the famous aria “Chi il bel sogno di Doretta,” which every soprano from Maria Callas to Anna Netrebko has recorded at one point or another. So why has it remained one of the least produced titles in this famous composer’s catalogue? Stephanie Havey’s occasionally lovely but often maddening production for Curtis Opera Theatre offers a few explanations.
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Marriages of Figaro: Opera Philadelphia stars are partners on and off stage

Count Almaviva spends much of THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO trying to bed Susanna, the loyal fiancée of his manservant, Figaro. His long-suffering wife, the Countess, teams up with Susanna to expose her husband’s lecherous ways. Although the aristocratic pair reconcile at the conclusion of Mozart’s masterpiece, they surely wouldn’t qualify as anyone’s idea of a traditionally happy couple. So why would a pair about to embark on their own matrimonial journey want to explore their marital dysfunction? Op
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How should Philadelphia Theatre Company rebrand itself?

Philadelphia Theatre Company is in a period of transition. Last summer, Sara Garonzik announced that she would relinquish her post as the company’s executive producing director—a position she’s held since 1982—at the conclusion of the current season. Earlier this year, Paige Price was announced as her replacement. Price comes to Philadelphia after a decade at the helm of Theatre Aspen, which she joined in 2007 after a career acting on Broadway and in regional theater. In an interview with David
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"New York-caliber actors": How NYC-centrism hurts regional theater

On April 14, Philly.com published an article on J.T. Rogers’s OSLO, which recently opened on Broadway at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater. OSLO was developed as part of Philadelphia’s PlayPENN workshop, and is arguably that program’s most successful output to date. The Broadway production — which originated last summer in a sold-out run at Lincoln Center’s Off-Broadway outpost, the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater — stars Tony Award-winners Jefferson Mays and Jennifer Ehle, and is directed by B

Bucks County Playhouse presents Jon Robin Baitz’s ‘Other Desert Cities’ (first review)

In Other Desert Cities, Jon Robin Baitz marries his fractious family drama to an even older conceit: the theatrical dark night of the soul. His Wyeth clan are kin to the Tyrones and the Kellers — a bit more well-heeled, in flashier clothes, but still picking at the same old scabs. Yet where O’Neill and Miller plumbed true emotional depths, Baitz merely scratches the surface. It’s a problem that director Sheryl Kaller’s static production for Bucks County Playhouse only magnifies. The plot reads
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Soloists of the Metropolitan Opera (Philadelphia Chamber Music Society): The cream of the crop

Philadelphia Chamber Music Society imported a deep bench of talent from the Metropolitan Opera for their final Sunday afternoon concert of the 2016-2017 season. Each entry presented on the varied program proved why these artists have firmly earned their positions with arguably the most august classical music organization in the world. If the recital had a unified theme, it was lost on this reviewer. The five vocal selections performed by mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano spanned four language
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Local playwright makes good: An interview with Jacqueline Goldfinger

It’s been a banner month for local playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger. On May 5, judge Nicholas Wright selected Goldfinger’s Bottle Fly as winner of the 2017 Yale Drama Series Prize, which carries an honorarium of $10,000 and a guarantee of publication by Yale University Press. Bottle Fly will further receive a staged reading in London later this year in conjunction with the prize. Days later, Azuka Theatre’s production of Goldfinger’s The Arsonists opened to rapturous reviews. “Haunting and atmos
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THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY (PTC): Just another queer tragedy

Meet Leonard Pelkey, the flamboyant teenager who managed to touch the lives of every person in his small Jersey shore town. He helped the neighborhood widows get their groove back. His presence allowed the old man who runs the clock shop to reconcile his guilt over the gay son he disowned, long dead of AIDS. He even taught a hardboiled detective to—gasp—appreciate Shakespeare. All it cost him was his life. That is the surely unintended but nakedly apparent subtext of THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF
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A Woman Who Dares: Interview with KC MacMillan

Last year, Kathryn “KC” MacMillan left her longtime position as associate artistic director of Lantern Theater Company, intent on cultivating her burgeoning freelance directing career. Work came quickly: In addition to directing Lantern’s productions of Mrs. Warren’s Profession and Informed Consent, her 2016-2017 season included engagements with InterAct Theatre Company (Grounded), Shakespeare in Clark Park (The Two Gentlemen of Verona), Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company (Romeo and Juliet), a
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