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Philadelphia Spotlight: April 2007

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Sherry Kramer
After a March that featured a host of strong productions, Philadelphia's theaters look to continue their winning streak with a spate of new shows on tap this April.

Straight from the prestigious Humana Festival of New American Plays comes the Interact Theatre Company and Actors Theatre's co-production of Sherry Kramer's one-woman play When Something Wonderful Ends (April 6-May 6). Broadway veteran Lori Wilner stars in the show, which blends a mother's death, a childhood Barbie doll collection, and America's dependency on oil to explore the effects of the nation's long-term involvement in the Middle East.

The Wilma Theater's upcoming production of Bertolt Brecht's The Life of Galileo (April 11-May 13) is one of the spring's most anticipated events. Director Blanka Zizka's staging of David Edgar's translation transports the play's action to the beginning of the 20th century. Considered by many to be Brecht's most autobiographical work, Life of Galileo investigates the separation between church and state and the ethical and moral responsibilities associated with scientific discovery.

Local audiences had the opportunity to sample the talents of young librettists and lyricists Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner when the pair's new musical Nerds: A Musical Software Satire had its world premiere earlier this season at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. If you missed the exuberant production or just can't get enough of the writing duo's irreverent humor, the 11th Hour Theatre Company is staging the pair's first musical The Bomb-iity of Errors (April 12-29), a slyly funny hip-hop adaptation of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors.

The Walnut Street Theatre Studio 3's season continues with Morris Panych's black comedy The Dishwashers (April 17-May 6). A humorous ode to the working man, the story focuses on an elderly dishwasher (Bill Van Horn) and his young co-worker (Jared Michael Delaney) as the pair engage in a war of words in the bowels of a four star restaurant.

In the past several decades, gay men have been the focus of numerous acclaimed dramas, however plays featuring lesbian characters remain relatively few. Now comes the Philadelphia Theatre Workshop's world premiere production of Kathy Anderson's bizarre comedy Incoming (April 14-29). A humorous exploration of parenthood, the play features a plethora of eccentric characters including one woman who passes the time hanging upside down on a rack.

As the finale to the theater's 20th anniversary season, Bristol Riverside Theatre remounts its production of Forever Plaid (April 17-May 13), which was a hit in 2001 and remains the most memorable of the numerous companies in the area that have produced the popular musical. Chris Zelno and Richard Rowan will reprise their roles as members of the doo-wop quartet The Plaids in Stuart Ross' entertaining tribute to the boy bands of the 1950s.

Theatre Exile hopes to finish its strong season on a high note when the company presents David Mamet's ensemble-driven drama Glengarry Glen Ross (April 20-May 13 at the Christ Church Neighborhood House), featuring a talented cast including acclaimed local actors William Zielinski, Harry Philibosian, and Exile artistic director Joe Canuso.

For family fare, you can't do better than the Arden Theatre Company's Children's Theatre production of the Flamenco-flavored musical Ferdinand the Bull (April 11-May 27), based on the popular book by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson about the very different bull who'd rather take care of his flowers than fight like his friends.

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