Weekly Entertainment Guide – Spring in to theater

     The Philadelphia premiere of

    The Philadelphia premiere of "Peter and the Starcatcher," the prequel to Peter Pan, is onstage at Walnut Street Theatre through May 1. Photo by Mark Garvin.

    Get “wrapped up” in a selection of spring theater offerings and much more to do this week.  Robin Bloom shares 14 picks.


    “Peter and the Starcatcher” at Walnut Street Theatre

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    Find out how a boy named Peter became the boy who never grew up in the Philadelphia premiere of the Tony Award-winning Broadway play Peter and the Starcatcher, onstage at Walnut Street Theatre through May 1. The prequel to Peter Pan will take you on a fun and comical journey through Neverland as a dozen actors play 100 characters. Bill Van Horn directs a cast that includes Brandon O’Rourke (Boy/Peter), Michaela Shuchman (Molly), and Ian Merrill Peakes (Pirate chief Black Stache), with Aaron Cromie, Dan Hodge, David Bardeen, Dave Jadico, Davy Raphaely, Matthew Mastronardi, Nichalas L. Parker, Jered McLenigan, Lindsay Smiling, and Alex Bechtel, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Based on the book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, adapted by Rick Elice. Photo by Mark Garvin.

    “As You Like It” at Lantern Theater Company

    Escape with Rosalind into the Forest of Arden with Lantern Theater Company’s annual Shakespeare production, As You Like It, onstage through April 17. Veteran actor Liz Filios makes her Lantern debut in her first Shakespearean role in Philadelphia as a girl who, disguised as a boy, creates a world of her own in the woods. The comedy is directed by Lantern’s Artistic Director Charles McMahon with Lantern veteran Jake Blouch as Orlando, and Chris Anthony, Kirk Wendell Brown, Frank X, Adam Altman, Ruby Wolf, and Meghan Winch, St. Stephen’s Theater, 10th and Ludlow Streets, Philadelphia. Related programs and events include Scholars in Conversation: Rosalind’s Escape and Why We Should Unplug, Artists in Conversation, Young Friends Night, open captioned performances and more. Photo by Mark Garvin.

    “An Octoroon” at Wilma Theater

    Wilma Theater asks the questions that no one wants to answer and approaches race head-on with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon. The pre-Civil War tale, set in the Deep South, is based on the plot of Dion Boucicault’s 1859 antebellum melodrama, The Octoroon, and tells the story of a slave owner’s affections for a woman whose blood is one-eighth black. Presented through the eyes of the onstage fourth-wall-breaking black playwright BJJ, played by James Ijames. Directed by Joanna Settle and featuring Aaron Bell, Taysha Canales, Jaylene Clark Owens, James Ijames, Justin Jain, Alina John, Maggie Johnson, Campbell Meaghan O’Hare, and Ed Swidey, with original live music performed onstage by ILL DOOTS, through April 10, 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia. Related programs and events include post-show chats, Young Friends Night, Coffee Chat, open captioning, and more. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

    InterAct Theatre Company’s “The Nether”

    InterAct Theatre Company takes on The Nether with the Philadelphia premiere of Jennifer Haley’s futuristic cyber-ethical sci-fi thriller. The thought-provoking dystopian story of a young female detective investigating crimes in the virtual universe opens March 25 at InterAct’s new space at The Drake, 15th and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia through April 17. The emotionally charged drama is directed by Producing Artistic Director Seth Rozin and stars local actors Bi Jean Ngo, Greg Wood, Tom Moyer, Griffin Stanton-Amiesen, and Emily Branes-Huff. The playwright will be in attendance on April 12 for a post-show discussion. Dr. Jane LeClair, Chief Operating Officer at the National Cybersecurity Institute will lead a discussion on April 10. Psychoanalyst Salmon Akhtar shares insights on April 17. Photo courtesy of InterAct Theatre Company.

    Quintessence Theatre Group’s Devil and Saints Repertory

    Quintessence Theatre Group, known for adapting epic works of classic literature and drama for the contemporary stage, continues its season with the Devil and Saints Repertory: George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, performed in rotating repertory with Christopher Marlowe’s dark comedy Doctor Faustus. Directed by Rebecca Wright, Leigha Kato makes her Quintessence debut as Saint Joan in a play based on the life and trial of Joan of Arc. Gregory Isaac portrays Faustus, who sells his soul to the devil, directed by Artistic Director Alexander Burns. The repertory ensemble includes John Basiulis, Andrew Betz, Alan Brincks, Tom Carman, Josh Carpenter, Sean Close, Ife Foy, Anita Holland, and Aaron Kirkpatrick, through April 24 at the Sedgwick Theater in Mt. Airy, 7137 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia. Related programs and events include a Pay What You Can performance, post-show talkbacks, and special matinees to see both performances. Photo by Shawn May.

    “Rumors” at Bristol Riverside Theatre

    Neil Simon’s Rumors takes to the stage at Bristol Riverside Theatre, through April 17. Keith Baker directs this light comedy, the only farce by the prolific playwright and screenwriter, which takes the audience on a path of miscommunication as characters fall into one hilarious misfortune after another. The show features an ensemble cast including Bruce Graham, Leonard Haas, Eleanor Handley, Valerie Leonard, Sean Thompson, Jo Twiss, Danny Vaccaro, Jessica Wagner, and Paul Weagraff, 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, Pennsylvania. Special events include a Friday Festival on March 25, 7pm, Wine Down Wednesday, March 30, Thirsty Thursday, April 7, and Theatre Theology, April 10. Photo by Mark Garvin.

    “Heathers the Musical” at Eagle Theatre

    Tickets are going fast for Eagle Theatre’s Heathers the Musical, based on the 1980s cult classic movie Heathers about a smart teenage outcast who breaks into a powerful and ruthless high school clique. Following a successful Off-Broadway run, the dark production makes its South Jersey professional theatrical debut through April 24 featuring mixed media and cutting edge theatrics, 208 Vine Street, Hammonton, NJ. Recommended for ages 14 and over. While there, visit the on-site wine lounge! Free parking. Photo by Chris Miller.

    “Richard III” at People’s Light

    Get inside the head of the charismatic Duke of Gloucester as he tricks, seduces, and murders his way to the throne of England with People’s Light’s powerful production of Richard III by William Shakespeare. Resident artist Samantha Reading directs a cast of nine, with Associate Artistic Director Pete Pryor as the lead, on the intimate Steinbright Stage through April 24, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA. Related programs and events include Scoop on Wednesdays: History, Context, and Gossip, Thursday Talkbacks, open captioned performances and more. Part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Photo courtesy of People’s Light.

    “Angels in America” at Players Club of Swarthmore

    Tony Kushner’s thrilling epic Angels in America Part I: Millennium Approaches is onstage at Players Club of Swarthmore. The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play focuses on the HIV/AIDS epidemic that afflicted the gay community in New York City in the 1980s and depicts the politics and social failures surrounding the disease and its emergence in the United States. Directed by Dave Ebersole with original music by Mick Loro through April 2, 614 Fairview Avenue, Swarthmore, PA. The second production, Angels in America, Part II: Perestroika, takes to the stage in November with Ebersole directing. For mature audiences only with strong language, adult themes and nudity. Photo courtesy of Players Club of Swarthmore.

    Art Appreciation

    “Wrapped Up: Yarnbombing” at Morris Arboretum

    Fiber artist Melissa Maddonni Haims has given a whole new meaning to the phrase “tree hugger” with her new exhibit opening March 26 at Morris Arboretum. Wrapped Up: Yarnbombing brings the worldwide street art phenomenon – where public structures are decorated with colorful knitted and crocheted yarn pieces – to the 92 acre horticultural garden. Twelve strategically selected garden features and plants will display works with primarily recycled textiles, utilizing various hues and stitch techniques to create a unique look for each site. Join the grand opening celebration on Saturday, March 26, 1pm-3pm, 100 East Northwestern Avenue, Chestnut Hill. Photo by Melissa Maddonni Haims.

    “Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia” at Winterthur

    Opening this weekend at Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library is Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia, examining the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. The unprecedented exhibition features objects produced in the Americas from the 17th to the early 19th centuries and demonstrates how craftspeople across North, Central, and South America adapted Asian styles in furniture, silverwork, textiles, ceramics, and painting, March 26 through January 8, 2017, Winterthur, DE. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Related programs and events include guided gallery walks, Hands on History Cart, themed “Pop Up Shop,” “Taste of the Americas,” gastronomic adventure, After Hours Wednesdays, musical performances, and more. Pictured: Portable writing desk, the Hispanic Society of America. Photo courtesy of Winterthur.

    Trenton Film Festival

    The Trenton Film Festival comes to the Mill Hill Playhouse, March 30 through April 3, with 55 films from 16 countries, showcasing emerging filmmakers and offering a mix of narrative and documentary features, and short films as well as animation, music video and new media, 205 East Front Street (at Montgomery Street), Trenton, NJ. The festival opens with the Berlin Film Festival Crystal Bear-nominated animated short “Rosso Papavero” (Slovakia, Martin Smatana), and other films include “Driving While Black” (U.S., Paul Sapiano – pictured), and “The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead & Roundhead” (U.S., Elliot Cowan).

    Free Public Events

    Every ZIP Philadelphia Public Storytelling

    Every ZIP Philadelphia, a community based project aimed at creating a portrait of Philadelphia through the stories of its residents, hosts a live storytelling event on Friday, March 25, 7:30pm (doors open at 6:30pm). A project of WHYY and Finding America, a national initiative produced by AIR, Association of Independents in Radio, the evening’s theme is “boundaries.” Storytellers include Councilwoman Helen Gym, Philadelphia poet laureate Frank Sherlock, Black Tribbles Podcaster Kennedy Allen, poet Kirwyn Sutherland, CeaseFire PA organizer Fred Pinguel, and activist CJ Smith, along with live music by jazz trio Collected Conscious, Art Sanctuary, 628 South 16th Street, Philadelphia. Free and open to the public. Space is limited to share your story. Advance registration recommended. Photo courtesy of Every ZIP Philadelphia.

    Easter Promenade on South Street

    One of Philadelphia’s oldest Easter traditions returns on Sunday, March 27, 12:30pm-2pm. The 85th Annual Easter Promenade is rain or shine, with a parade (5th and South), costume contest, food, live music by the Philadelphia Freedom Band, dancing and more, including a visit by the Easter Bunny, South Street Headhouse District (Passyunk and South Street), Philadelphia. Free. Photo courtesy of South Street Headhouse District.



    Each week, the Entertainment Guide spotlights interesting local arts offerings happening now, including music, dance, theater, museums, special exhibitions and other arts events from across the region.

    To submit an event to be considered, email Robin Bloom at artscalendar@whyy.org.

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