Archive for the ‘The Wilma Theater’ Category

John Jarboe Gets Nostalgic with an Exploration of Mister Rogers

Posted June 19th, 2018

John Jarboe and the Bearded Ladies Cabaret will provide a highlight of the 2018 Fringe Festival with Do You Want A Cookie?, which uses live performance to trace the long history of cabaret, from Weimar Germany to 21st-century drag shows.

Before taking a bite from the poison cookie, don’t miss Jarboe performing as Mx. Rogers, an updated version of the friendly face you remember seeing on your childhood television set. You Can Never Go Down The Drain is a show that honors Rogers’s prolific songwriting career and presents the lessons in these songs—some that stuck with us and others we have long forgotten—in a new format for a grown-up audience. The show, which opens this Wednesday at the Wilma Theater, is a chance for adults to come to terms with their beliefs when confronted by life’s realities.

“Like so many of Bearded Ladies shows, You Can Never Go Down The Drain is a poison cookie of sorts,” says Jarboe, artistic director of the Bearded Ladies. “It uses that nostalgia and power of Mr. Rogers, sing-a-long, and enormous costumes to seduce the performers and the audience into some hard questions about being human.”

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A James Baldwin Reading List

Posted September 7th, 2016

This weekend FringeArts and The Wilma Theater will present Notes of a Native Song, a rollicking “concert novel” from Stew and Heidi Rodewald as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Inspired by the art and life of writer and activist James Baldwin, Stew and Rodewald, along with their musically formidable band, utilize a mix of music, video, and spoken word as they explore and celebrate Baldwin’s lasting and complex legacy. More info and tickets can be found here.

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for that reason I insist on the right to criticize her.”

James Baldwin said this in 1955 in Notes of a Native Son. This quotation resonates today. We are in a critical moment in America. I believe the criticism Baldwin calls us to do is shallow if it is entirely external. Baldwin’s words have fueled my vision and mission since I was first handed Go Tell It on The Mountain by my 9th grade English teacher. Baldwin is a voice that can give clarity and meaning to the beautiful struggle that is existence.


(photo by Earl Dax)

Giovanni’s Room (1956)
The power of this book is its achievement as a novel holding universal themes. I have never lived in Paris or the South of France, but I connected directly with the main character, David. David is white, as are all of the characters in Giovanni’s Room. Baldwin takes you on a journey into the world of France he observed. Baldwin took a bold step by presenting a gay love story between David and Giovanni to the world in the mid-twentieth century. Anyone who reads Giovanni’s Room feels as if the are walking next to each character and taking in every moment. It is a powerful and painful story. The book will make you take on a deep existential and introspective journey. You will be changed forever.

Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953)
Baldwin takes us into the complex world of John Grimes. He is a young man trying to find his way in life. This search is the foundation of much of the Baldwin’s writings. The book is set in Harlem in 1935, with flashbacks to the days of slavery (which we must remember are not so far behind us). When we meet James Grimes, he is desperate for the love of his father. Themes of religion, race, and coming-of-age are all intertwined into the story. John’s need for his Father’s love reveals a story of an empty search that has complications beyond the son’s existence.

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Festival MVP Brett Mapp’s 2016 Schedule

Posted September 7th, 2016

Opening night of the Festival is tomorrow, can you believe it? It will no doubt be an incredible couple weeks of inspired performances, but if you’re like me you haven’t quite locked down your festival schedule yet. I mean, who has times for puzzles these days? It might seem overwhelming to fit all these amazing shows into just little more than two weeks, but thankfully there’s hope. Fringe Festival veteran, Old City District director of operations, general man about town, and self-described “hardcore Fringer” Brett Mapp has been kind enough to share his 2016 Fringe Festival schedule with us. If you’re looking for some guidance on what to see and how to fit it all together, it can’t hurt to start here.

the chairs

Tomas Dura, Bob Schmidt, and Tina Brock in Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs (photo by Johanna Austin @ AustinArt.org)

Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs @ 7:30pm


Exile 2588 @ 7pm
Feed @ 8:30pm
Anithero @ 10pm

Raphstravaganza The Kinetic Experience @ 12pm
Levée des conflits @ 8pm

who would be king

Rebecca Lehrhoff, Rachel Wiese, Jesse Garlick, and Veronica Barron in Who Would Be King (photo by Chris McIntosh)

Who Would Be King @ 2pm
They’ll Be Callin Us Witches @ 4:30pm
Notes of a Native Song @ 8pm

The Sincerity Project @ 7pm

Gala @ 8pm

I Fucking Dare You @ 8:30pm

Animal Farm to Table @ 6pm
Wroughtland @ 9pm

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The Method Gun is 100 Percent Sweeeeeet

Posted July 20th, 2011

Austin’s Rude Mechs hit Los Angeles last month for a run of their show The Method Gun at RADAR L.A., and the notices are nice.

Bitter Lemons, a Los Angeles website that does for L.A. theater what Rotten Tomatoes does for movies, pulls together the reviews for The Method Gun. Verdict? 100 percent sweet: phrases like “absurdist delight” and “subtly profound” abount. Lucky for you, the show will be through Philly the first weekend of the 2011 Live Arts Festival.

The Method Gun runs September 2, 3 and 4 at The Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad Street, Center City. Times vary, $25 to $30.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

The Weekender: What You’re Doing and Why

Posted July 7th, 2011

Another weekend is upon us! The Fourth and all its festivities are but a distant memory at this point, so party onward:

>>>All Weekend: It’s that time of year again! The 17th annual Philly QFest opens tonight in celebration of the international queer and LGBT film scene. With talent from all corners of the globe, the festival creates a venue for people to speak to the lived experience of queerness as it exists in Iran, India, Iceland, Chile, the U.S. and beyond. And if filmgoing just isn’t enough for you, the festival also promises nights full of after parties and special events. Check out the website for the full schedule and grab your tickets here.

>>>All Weekend: July 7th marks the kick-off for the first Philly Japan Arts Matsuri (PJAM)—a three-day-long music and film festival put on in support of the victims of Japan’s recent earthquake. Held at the Prince Music Theater, all proceeds will be donated to the Japan Disaster Relief Fund. The festival offers up a diverse range of films; from the story of a punk-rock Buddhist monk (a 2011 Sundance film) to action films about the Yakuza, the schedule has something for everyone’s taste. But wait! There’s more! Friday and Saturday night’s programming are also chock full of musical artists from across the electro-digital-hip-hop board. Tickets start at ten dollars. Check out the schedule for each night and grab your tickets here.

Abraxas, directed by Naoki Katô, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival

>>>All Weekend: Opening tonight and running through next weekend, No Regrets: A Piaf Affair promises to be a thrilling show for lovers of cabaret, Edith Piaf, Paris, and drag shows. Performed by the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, the show originally premiered at PIFA 2011, where it sold out. Now, the Cabaret is back, revisiting the piece at The Wilma Theater. The show runs July 7 -10 and again, next weekend, July 14 – 16. Grab your tickets here. Doors open at 10PM (ID required).

>>>Thursday: Head down to University City for The Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll. Restaurants serve up samples right off their menus. For the price of a dollar, you can enjoy everything from Dahlak’s samosas to Dock Street’s beers. The stroll runs 5:30-8:30PM.

>>>Saturday: If a cabaret performance just isn’t enough for you, hop over to Peek-a-Book Revue’s burlesque show at World Café Live. This self-described “neo-burlesque” troupe promises a night of comedy, musical performance, and, in true burlesque tradition, some entertainment of a more scandalous nature. Saturday night only, the troupe is putting on two shows—one at 6PM and one at 10PM. Get your tickets here!

–Logan Tiberi-Warner