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Philadelphia Spotlight: October 2008

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Faith Prince
(© Joseph Marzullo/WENN)
The Philadelphia Theatre Company opens its season with the long-awaited world premiere of Terrence McNally's Unusual Acts of Devotion (October 22-November 23). Originally scheduled for last fall, a performer's illness forced the production's delay. With a cast that includes the gifted Richard Thomas and sensational Tony Award nominee Faith Prince, McNally's tale of love on a Greenwich Village rooftop promises to be well worth the wait. The production is directed by Leonard Foglia who helmed PTC's world premiere staging of McNally's Tony Award winning best play Master Class.

No local company does scary better than the Luna Theater Company. This October, Luna prepares audiences for Halloween with its production of Neal Bell's Monster at the Walnut Street Theatre Independence Studio on 3 (October 4-November 2). A frightening and innovative adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic Frankenstein, Bell looks at Shelly's tale from a contemporary perspective to investigate the moral concerns related to modern science's quest to create life.

The funky 11th Hour Theatre Company and the Montgomery Theater are joining forces to present Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney's musical hit Reefer Madness! at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival Theater (October 9-November 2). A parody of the 1936 film cautioning the nation's youth against the dangers of marijuana, director Megan Nicole O'Brien's cast includes the reliable veteran Jennie Eisenhower and promising newcomer Nicholas Park.

1812 Productions finds humor in the upcoming elections when the company presents This is the Week that Is: The Election Special, running October 9-November 2 at Plays and Players Theater. Spontaneous and topical (the show is rewritten on a nightly basis), the previous two versions of This is the Week that Is played to sold-out crowds. With the interest in the presidential election at an all-time high, 1812's irreverent peek into the political process is destined to be one of the fall's hottest tickets.

Flashpoint Theatre Company begins its fifth anniversary celebration with Matt Pelfry's An Impending Rupture of the Belly (2nd Stage at The Adrienne, October 29-November 22). The intriguing if unappetizingly titled comedy centers on a paranoid man who goes to great lengths to protect himself from possible disasters ranging from nuclear terrorism to naturally-occurring catastrophes.

This month, the Arden Theatre Company launches the Philadelphia premiere of Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder's uplifting drama Gee's Bend (October 9-December 7). Spanning more than six decades, Wilder's tale focuses on a group of women in rural Alabama who discover that quilting can be more than just a domestic chore. Recommended for eighth graders and older, the Arden's production stars Kes Khemnu, who wowed audiences last season in the company's staging of The Piano Lesson. The show is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt at Philadelphia Museum of Art.


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