5 reasons you should go see Henry IV in Clark Park

Posted on 31 July 2014 by Mike Lyons

This year’s edition of Shakespeare in Clark Park debuted last night with a staging of Henry IV. Whether you are a Shakespeare or theater fan or not, here are five reasons you should get yourself down to the bowl (the remaining shows are on Thursday through Sunday, July 31-Aug 3, at 7 p.m.) :


5. Refreshments alfresco

Shakespeare in Clark Park always offers a good excuse to pack a picnic basket and a blanket or just grab an ice cream from the truck and chill to the sounds of Old English Early Modern English echoing through the bowl.



4. Music

In addition to the terrific acting, this one features some pretty sweet period choir-type tunes and instrumentation.



3. Terrific acting

These folks put on quite a show. For Free! (Although a donation at the end is much appreciated).

acting 1


2. Community

This may be the number one neighbor-watching event of the year. All kinds of folks dig Shakespeare in Clark Park.



1. The epic battle scene.

We doubted that the battle scene, which features about 100 people from 36 neighborhoods around the city and dramatically gets underway about an hour in, could live up to the hype. It does – and then some. Smoke, swords, screaming, battering rams, barricades … seriously, you have to see this.


Photos by West Philly Local.


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Upcoming events: outdoor music & theatre, film festival, art shows (updated)

Posted on 30 July 2014 by


This week is rich in art happenings in the area, from outdoor theatre to a film festival to art shows. We already reported on Shakespeare in Clark Park presenting Henry IV in the park’s bowl. The performances, which feature a community army of over 100 people, begin tonight at 7 p.m. and go on through Sunday.

Also tonight, at 5:30 p.m., Penn Museum (3260 South St) invites music lovers to enjoy an outdoor concert by the West Philadelphia Orchestra. The concert is part of the weekly P.M. @ Penn Museum music series. Tickets are $10 and include museum admission. More details are available here.


Photo from BlackStar Facebook page.

BlackStar Film Festival, featuring films by and about people of African descent in a global context, kicks off on Thursday, July 31. The four-day festival features film screenings (many of them free) and events at the following West Philly venues: International House Philadelphia (37th and Chestnut), Scribe Video Center (4212 Chestnut St), Annenberg School for Communication, Penn (3620 Walnut St), and Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), 118 S. 36th St. An opening night reception with DJ Mr. Sonny James will take place at ICA from 7 – 10 p.m. on Thursday. This event is also free and open to the public. For more information and schedule, visit Follow the festival @blackstarfest and #BlackStar14.

UPDATE: Gush Gallery is opening on Friday, Aug. 1 at 5015 Baltimore Ave. The grand opening show, Embark, is from 6 – 9 p.m. (more info coming soon)

​Sharp with Art Group is presenting an art exhibit titled “Levels” at the Urban Art Gallery (52nd and Spruce) from August 2 – 31.  There will be a free opening reception on Saturday, Aug. 2, from 6 until 9 p.m. “Levels” will feature a diverse selection of art styles, such as street art, abstract art, sculpture, and mixed media works. Six amazing artists will be featured in the show: Natalie Flor Negron, Jae Martin, Nebulus Flair, Seven X, Noni Red and Vinson Houston. In addition there will be live performances by Raw Sinister Theatre, Chase Smiley The RockStar and April Fool Child.

And last, but not least, American Queen TJD, a West Philly artist we featured last fall (Meet American Queen TJD: Not the female Basquiat), invites neighbors to support her at a major art show on Saturday, Aug. 2  at the Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in Olde City (109 Arch Street). The one-day only show, titled “Too Many Basquiats Not Enough New Artists,” features over 100 pieces of art. The event will take place from 6:30 – 10 p.m. and includes music, food and an open bar. More details and tickets ($10.50) are available at


Artwork by West Philly artist American Queen TJD will be on display at the Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in Olde City Aug 2. (Photo via


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Henry IV featuring community army this week in Clark Park

Posted on 28 July 2014 by


Preparations have begun in Clark Park’s bowl (45th and Chester) for one of the most epic outdoor theater productions in the history of Shakespeare in Clark Park. This summer, the company presents Henry IV for five nights starting Wednesday, July 30. We watched a rehearsal and took this photo over the weekend. This production has an unprecedented number of actors: A community army of over 100 people was selected for battle scenes in the play. These are folks from 36 Philadelphia neighborhoods, from teens to seniors. More details about the production are here. The free shows begin at 7 p.m.

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The Pub, the Show, the Army: Shakespeare in Clark Park returns with epic Henry IV performances and pre-show events

Posted on 07 July 2014 by


Henry IV cast members: Marla Burkholder, Brian Ratcliffe, Brian Anthony Wilson and Jennifer Kidwell. (Photo by Jen Cleary/Shakespeare in Clark Park Facebook page)

The awesome people who bring Shakespeare plays to Clark Park every summer have prepared something of epic proportions this year. Shakespeare in Clark Park (SCP) is teaming up with Team Sunshine Performance Corporation (TSPC) for an unprecedented collaboration featuring a five-night production of Shakespeare’s HENRY IV, intimate pre-show events at the Gojjo and a nightly conversation station in the park.

The play, titled HENRY IV: YOUR PRINCE AND MINE, combines aspects of both Henry IV: Parts 1 and 2, and features a community army of over 100 soldiers, selected during a multi-month open call. The army encompasses a diverse array of folks, ranging in age from 13-59, and representing 36 neighborhoods. The production also stars leading performers of stage and film including Brian Anthony Wilson, Charlie DelMarcelle, and Brian Ratcliffe, and is directed by TSPC’s Co-Founder and Resident Director, Alex Torra.

The shows are scheduled for July 30 – August 3, beginning at 7 p.m. Continue Reading

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Readings at the X: Talking history at Malcolm X Park

Posted on 27 June 2014 by


Click to enlarge.

The Friends of Malcolm X Park and local resident, historian and educator Rhone Fraser are teaming up to bring dramatic readings of seven historical plays to the park located at 51st and Pine Streets. The focus is on dramas dealing with important figures and events in African American history. The series, titled “Readings At The X,” will kick off July 8 and will be presented every Tuesday, starting at 7 p.m., until August 26 (see the flier for more details).

Currently, the organizers are raising funds for this community theater project. $3,000 is being raised to pay the venue, actors (some are coming from New York and Washington, DC), and videographer who will record the readings (not for commercial purposes). A portion of the raised funds will go to the Friends of Malcolm X Park for future events.

If you would like to support this project or want to learn more about it, please visit this Indiegogo page. There is only one week left to help the project with your donation.


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Catch Curio’s hilarious comedy as 2013-2014 season ends this weekend

Posted on 22 May 2014 by

Curio Theatre’s 2013-2014 season is coming to an end, with only three shows of Oedipussy remaining. Oedipussy is Curio’s North American premiere of British theater troupe Spymonkey’s hilarious adaptation of the well known Greek myth of Oedipus. Tickets are still available for this Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s shows, so grab them while they last.

The show received some great reviews.

“I can say in all honesty, it was one of the most enjoyable evenings I’’ve had in the theatre…,” writes Ellen Wilson Dilkes for Stage Magazine.


Aetna Gallagher in Oedipussy.

Oedipussy is a physical comedy. “Leaping, climbing, hurling themselves around the simple set while downing painkillers, they barrel through the tragedy in a hilarious and weirdly touching meditation on life, love, theater, and aging gracelessly,” writes The Inky‘s Wendy Rosenfield praising the actors’ physical stage fitness (three of the four cast members are nearing 50).

And here are six reasons why you should not miss this show, according to Curio’s Managing Director Gay Carducci:

1) Not one bad review
2) Standing ovations nearly every night
3) Neighbor reviews posted on telephone poles
4) Nobody is really naked
5) You will laugh…there is no doubt
6) And it’s the last show of the season!

Performances take place in Curio’s home base, the Calvary Center for Culture and Community at 4740 Baltimore Ave. at 8 p.m. Tickets ($20-$25) are available here. Parental discretion is advised.

oedipussy3 oedipussy2
Paul Kuhn (left) and Harry Slack in Oedipussy. Photos courtesy of Curio Theatre.

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