On today’s podcast, Michael Philip O’Brien stops by to talk about 11th Hour’s production of BIG RED SUN. Originally part of the Next Step Concert Series in the 2015-2016 season, BIG RED SUN is a world premiere in collaboration with writers John Jiler and Georgia Stitt. Stay Tuned!
ABOUT BIG RED SUN
Come get swept away by a thrilling and beautiful score that weaves from Klezmer, to jazz and then on to rock and roll. This exciting, new musical follows a young man named Harry Daimler on his search for the father he never knew, a Jewish-American musician who died in France during World War II. As Harry uncovers the truth about his father, he begins to realize that in order to know who he truly is, he must first understand where he comes from.
ABOUT MICHAEL PHILIP O’BRIEN
Michael is a native Philadelphian and after graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2001, decided to return home and start 11th Hour. As a performer, Michael has worked at numerous theatres throughout the Philadelphia region and around the country including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Milwaukee Rep, TUTS, The Walnut Street Theatre, The Arden Theatre Company, Bristol Riverside Theatre,The Prince Music Theater, Media Theatre, Montgomery Theater and 11th Hour Theatre Company. Michael is a two-time Barrymore Award winner and is a five-time Barrymore nominee. Under his leadership, 11th Hour productions have fifteen Barrymore Awards and garnered 55 Barrymore Award nominations.
On today’s podcast, R. Eric Thomas dials in to talk about the last year and the World Premiere of Mrs Harrison, produced by Azuka Theatre Company. Between his Elle contribution, “Eric Reads The News”, his stint at “The Moth” and member of “The Foundry”, Eric manages to pump out dynamic stories the peak the curiosity of Philadelphia stages with a few commissions along the way. Stay Tuned!
ABOUT MRS. HARRISON
This new play by Barrymore Award-winning playwright R. Eric Thomas, is about two women and one story. At their 10-year college reunion, Aisha and Holly meet by chance. Is this the first time or has it just been a long time? They can’t agree. Aisha is a black, successful playwright; she’s on the cover of the alumni magazine. Holly is a white, struggling stand-up comedian; she’s here for the free drinks. They both have a story that they’ve been telling themselves about what happened all those years ago and they’re both willing to fight for the truth in the present.
On today’s podcast, I return to my annual chat with Blanka Zizka to talk about the 3-part process that is the Wilma Transformation. While our focus is on the season, we touch on the new lobby, educational efforts and the 16 Barrymore Nominations that while, notable, are do not the fuel that drives Wilma’s engine. Stay Tuned!
ABOUT WILMA THEATER 2017-18 SEASON
By Federico García Lorca
Translated by Nahuel Telleria
Directed by Csaba Horváth
October 25, 2017 – November 19, 2017
On the morning of her wedding day, a young Bride is visited by a headstrong former lover, reigniting a family blood feud that has been simmering for years. Their isolated village is a pent-up powder keg of fury and desire, and when they escape together, all that repression is released — to destructive ends. Acclaimed Hungarian director-choreographer Csaba Horváth leads the Wilma’s HotHouse Company of actors in a production combining athletic ensemble theater with Lorca’s fiery language. Magical realism at its richest and most tragic, this reimagining of the Spanish classic is a searing investigation of passion in the Wilma’s signature style.
Book and Lyrics by Stew
Music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald
Created in collaboration with Annie Dorsen
Directed by Tea Alagić
January 10, 2018 – February 18, 2018
In this major revival of Stew and Heidi Rodewald’s Tony Award-winning musical, a rebellious young black man journeys to Europe in search of something “real.” Music takes center stage as we travel from gospel-soaked South Central LA through psychedelic Amsterdam to militant Berlin and back. This incendiary musical is a rowdy salve for turbulent times: a young punk screaming in defiance of the void, with an electric onstage band. See a musical experience ahead of its time, as The Washington Post recently proclaimed: “It’s high time Hamilton lovers and anyone else who cares about weird, smart, highly personal art rediscover Passing Strange.”
A World Premiere by Christopher Chen
Directed by Blanka Zizka
April 18, 2018 – May 13, 2018
Imagine you’re in an exotic new country — occupied by your nation. Now you are a distinguished doctor, but a cab will not stop for you. Now you’re in a cave so dark, so quiet, you lose track of who you are. Suddenly, there’s a sound and —
Welcome to Passage, a fantasia on E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India that uses the theater’s primal evocative powers to examine the most essential questions of our time. Written by Obie Award-winning playwright Christopher Chen, this World Premiere is a perfect vehicle for the Wilma HotHouse Company’s passion and transformative prowess.
The Wilma HotHouse is an incubator for artistic investigation and experimentation, and enables its company of actors to dare and explore under the Wilma’s auspices. HotHouse allows the Wilma to develop new works specifically for our company of actors; to conduct readings, intensive workshops, and other experiments with company members and guest artists; and to hone a unique theatrical aesthetic for the Wilma through rigorous actor training.
On today’s podcast, on a beautiful night in Old City, I caught up with James Ijames, whose star is shining so brightly right now with his latest production of WHITE, onstage at Theatre Horizon. We talk about the production’s journey and what motivates him to create the work he does. Stay Tuned.
Gus is an artist. He’s just not a famousartist. So when a major art museum puts out a call for “new perspectives,” Gus—a white man—decides to seize his opportunity. He hires a black actress to present his work as her own, but as the actress gets more deeply into her role, Gus’s scheme spirals out of his control. Award-winning Philadelphia playwright James Ijames challenges assumptions about race, gender, identity and art in this seriously funny new comedy.