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Philadelphia Spotlight: March 2009

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Darren Michael Hengst, Marco Verna, and Kate Fahrner
in Born Yesterday
(© Mark Garvin)
The Walnut Street Theatre's 200th anniversary season continues with the company's staging of Born Yesterday (March 10-April 26). A masterful satire about the business of politics from the pen of Garson Kanin, the production stars the reliable Greg Wood as an unscrupulous senator and Kate Fahrner as Billie Dawn, a blonde bombshell who turns out to be a lot smarter than she looks.

One of the most popular TV shows of all time comes to the stage at the Academy of Music as part of the Kimmel Center's Broadway Series. Happy Days-A New Musical (March 24-29) features a book by the sitcom's original producer Garry Marshal and a score by pop composer Paul Williams (who penned The Carpenters' hit "We've only just Begun") the show reunites such familiar characters as Potsie, Richie, and Fonzie in 1959 Milwaukee.

The Philadelphia Theatre Company continues their winning season with the local debut of Edward Albee's acclaimed At Home at the Zoo (March 20-April 19). The full length play (formerly titled Peter and Jerry) pairs Albee's 1959 one-act masterpiece The Zoo Story with a newly penned prequel, Homelife. The new production is directed by Mary B. Robinson, and stars T. Scott Cunningham, Susan McKey, and Andrew Polk.

At People's Light & Theatre Company you'll find the east coast premiere of Dwayne Hartford's A Tale of Two Cities (March 11-May 3), adapted from Charles Dickens' classic novel. The new two-hour, streamlined version of Dickens' epic tale of justice and revenge is intended to be accessible for young audiences.

Act II Playhouse treats theatergoers to James Still's wonderful family drama Iron Kisses (March 13-April 5). A unique and insightful look at the relationship between parents and their children, Kisses focuses on a gay son striving to be perfect and a daughter who is horrified to discover that she is suddenly behaving like her mother. Funny, warm and insightful, the production stars popular comic actor Tony Braithwaite in a rare dramatic role.

The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre (which previously went by the name The Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival) returns for its 12th season with the popular comedy Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (March 27-May 10). Covering all 37 of the Bard's works (including an in-reverse version of Hamlet) in a hilariously hectic 97 minutes, the production stars the flamboyant actor Brian McCann under the direction of Domenick Scudera.

Five years ago the Arden Theatre Company's splendid production of Robert and Willie Reale's appealing musical A Year with Frog and Toad broke box office records and charmed both adults and kids alike. This month the show's original director Whit MacLaughlin is remounting the production (March 4-April 19) to delight a new generation of youngsters. The production's original stars Jeffrey Coon (Frog) and Ben Dibble (Toad) return to play the two fast friends.


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