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Philadelphia Spotlight: May 2007

Beyond the Shadow and the Doubt logo
Susan Wilder and Wilbur Edwin Henry in Orson's Shadow
(© Mark Garvin)
Following 25 years in residence at the intimate Plays and Players Theater, the Philadelphia Theatre Company will move next season to its new digs on the Avenue of the Arts. For the company's final show at Plays and Players, it's mounting the Off-Broadway hit Orson's Shadow (May 4-June 16). Austin Pendleton's play dramatizes Orson Welles' efforts to bring Ionesco's masterpiece Rhinoceros to the stage.

The national tour of John Patrick Shanley's award-winning drama Doubt offers 90 minutes of spellbinding theater. Cherry Jones repeats her Tony Award-winning performance as the unyielding Sister Aloysius, who suspects parish priest Father Flynn of inappropriate conduct with one of the school's male students (Merriam, May 15-20).

The Flashpoint Theatre Company presents up-and-coming playwright Gina Gionfriddo's comedy U.S. Drag (May 2-25). A satire of urban life in America, the show focuses on a serial killer who prowls the streets of New York and attacks Good Samaritans who respond to his deceitful pleas for help.

After 20 years in San Francisco, performance artist Sara Felder has relocated to the City of Brotherly Love. Now local audiences can sample her brand of Circus Theater as she presents her one-woman play Out of Sight (May 3-27). Felder mixes circus tricks, shadow puppets, and multimedia projections to investigate such weighty issues as Jewish faith, Israel, and the tribulations of motherhood.

The African-American experience takes center stage this month at People's Light & Theatre Company with the East Coast premiere of Scott Kaiser's Splittin' the Raft (May 9-June 10). Penned in 2005, the play combines the story of Huck Finn and his slave friend Jim with the eloquent speeches of famed abolitionist Frederick Douglas. The four member cast is led by PLTC regulars Cathy Simpson as the Widow Douglas and Susan McKey as Huck.

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II called Carousel their favorite musical, and why not? The 1945 show features one of the finest scores ever written, and the story is pretty compelling, too. Barrymore Award-winning director Bruce Lumpkin's staging (May 15-July 15) stars local favorite Jeff Coon as Billy Bigelow and Broadway songstress Julie Hanson as Julie Jordan.

1812 Productions stages Itamar Moses' The Four of Us (May 18-June 17), which looks at the rising and falling fortunes of struggling playwright David (Matt Pfeiffer) and his best friend Benjamin (Jeb Kreager), a young hotshot novelist whose first book commanded a seven-figure advance.

InterAct Theatre Company ends its season with Skin in Flames by the acclaimed Spanish playwright Guillem Clua, presented in a translation by DJ Sanders. The play is about a famous photojournalist who returns to the country where his career was launched during a brutal civil war.

Local audiences get a taste of Lookingglass Theatre Company's highly acclaimed production Lookingglass Alice at the Arden Theatre Company (May 10-June 10). This visually stunning production -- appropriate for the whole family -- features aerial ballet, clever word play, and madcap comedy as it brings to life Lewis Carroll's surreal classics Through the Looking-Glass and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

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