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Philadelphia Spotlight: April 2008

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Dawn Falato, Jennifer Childs, and Dave Jadico
in Suburban Love Songs
(© Jacques-Jean Tiziou)
In the past decade, artists like performer/choreographer Karen Getz have made Philadelphia a center for dance-theater. 1812 Productions highlights dance-theater with the company's remounting of Getz's Suburban Love Songs (April 4-27). First presented at the 2006 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, this unique piece looks at the tumultuous year of 1968 from the backyard of a typical suburban family.

Best known for his captivating backstage drama The Dresser, Ronald Harwood's comedy Quartet (through April 13) concerns three aging opera performers and their plans to celebrate the birthday of Giuseppe Verdi. Director Malcolm Black's production stars Wendy Scharfman (who gave an impeccable performance in the Walnut's 2007 staging of Enchanted April) as an eccentric opera diva.

Hip-Hop performance artist D'Lo communicates her experiences growing up in a Hindu Sri Lankan family in the solo show Ramble-Ations (April 11 & 12). Investigating identity, D'Lo portrays a host of characters struggling to maintain their ethnic, cultural or sexual identity in America's melting pot.

The InterAct Theatre Company presents Bryony Lavery's 2004 Tony Award nominated play Frozen (April 4-May 4), which tells the story of a bereaved mother and the man convicted of murdering her long-lost daughter. Lavery's tale of revenge and forgiveness stars Jeb Kreager and Catharine Slusar.

Villanova Theatre stages Tony Kushner's adaptation of Pierre Corneille's 17th century play The Illusion (April 15-27). Focusing on a lawyer who enlists a sorcerer to help locate the barrister's missing son, Kushner's script is a mesmerizing celebration of theater's transformative power.

Temple Theaters continues its impressive season with Alan Ball's comedy Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (April 16-26). Best known as the Academy Award winning author of American Beauty, Ball's hilarious play concerns a group of bridesmaids debating the lot of women in contemporary America.

The tiny Luna Theater Company presents Israel Horovitz's 1968 play Line (April 18-May 18), an artful satire of America's win-at-all-costs approach. The ambitious Azuka Theatre presents John Cameron Mitchell's sensational rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch (April 18-May 11). Featuring an infectious score by Mitchell and Stephen Trask's penetrating lyrics, the concert-musical concerns an East German punk rock band and the group's transgender lead vocalist Hedwig.

Theatre Exile returns to the work of Tracy Letts (author of the scintillating Broadway smash August: Osage County) with the playwright's Bug (April 24-May 18). Exile had great success with Letts' earlier play Killer Joe, and the company's production of the creepy Bug is destined to be one of the spring's hottest tickets.

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