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Philadelphia Spotlight: June 2011

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Colin Quinn in Long Story Short
(© Carol Rosegg)
Comic Colin Quinn invades Philly with his one man comic manifesto Long Story Short at Philadelphia Theatre Company, June 28-July 10. Nothing is safe from Quinn's razor wit in this comic assault on human civilization, as he offers commentary on a host of contemporary issues including the reality show Jersey Shore, the current economic crisis and the seemingly never-ending conflict in the Middle East. Funnyman Jerry Seinfeld directs.

Also arriving in Philadelphia this month is the Broadway hit Next to Normal at the Academy of Music (June 21-26). It's a Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner that some consider to be the greatest musical of the 21st century. But the really good news is that for the show's North American tour, Alice Ripley is reprising her lead performance as the bi-polar spouse and mother. If you want to see one of the great musical theater performances in recent years, Ripley in Next to Normal is not to be missed.

Meanwhile, the city's 11th Hour Theatre Company teams with suburban giant Montgomery Theater to stage the hilarious musical romp The Great American Trailer Park Musical (June 3-19) on the Arcadia Stage of Arden Theatre Company. The story centers on a regular couple whose blissful marriage is threatened when a young stripper invades their trailer park home. 11th Hour previously scored a big hit with the equally irreverent Little Shop of Horrors and Trailer Park would seem to suit the company's many talents perfectly.

People's Light and Theatre Company hopes to tickle your funny bone with their production of David Wiltse's comedy Hatchetman (June 15-July 17). A six-character, four-door farce in the vein of Michael Frayn's Noises Off, the play is set in the offices of the golf magazine Putts. When the company is slated for a corporate takeover, the incompetent staff is forced to rely on their limited wits to hold on to their increasingly tenuous positions. Guest director Steve Umberger steers a cast led by veterans Pete Pryor and Tom Teti.

InterAct Theatre concludes their 2010-2011 season with A. Zell Williams' In a Daughter's Eyes (through June 19). Directed by Rebecca Wright, the play is an intense new drama that was inspired by the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Williams takes an even-handed look at the case through the eyes of two fictional women, one the daughter of an incarcerated Black Panther and the other the daughter of the white police officer who was allegedly gunned down by the Panther convict.

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