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Well-known West Philly couple take stage as Willy and Linda Loman for ‘Death of a Salesman’

Posted on 02 February 2016 by Mike Lyons

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From left to right: Gay Carducci as Linda Loman, Paul Kuhn as Willy Loman, Aaron Kirkpatrick as Biff Loman and Chase Byrd as Happy Loman. (Photo by JR Blackwell)

There might not be two people in all of Philadelphia better suited to play Willy and Linda Loman than Paul Kuhn and Gay Carducci.

Theatergoers will have the rare opportunity to see Kuhn and Carducci, co-founders of the Curio Theatre Company, on stage as two pivotal characters in the Arthur Miller classic “Death of a Salesman,” which opens Feb. 12 as part of Curio’s 11th season.

Kuhn and Carducci, longtime partners off stage as well, bring a rare authenticity to their on-stage relationship, said Director Dan Hodge.

“They have a depth of relationship and shared humor that you can only really find in people who have lived together through the high times and the lean times,” said Hodge.  Continue Reading

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“A Great Fit for Shakespeare in Clark Park”: West Philadelphian appointed to key role in popular outdoor theater company

Posted on 29 January 2016 by WestPhillyLocal.com

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                      Kittson O’Neill

As Shakespeare in Clark Park (SCP) is preparing for its 11th summer season, the company has announced that a West Philadelphian was appointed to a key role.

Kittson O’Neill, an actress and director who made her SCP debut last summer when she directed the 10th Anniversary production of The Winter’s Tale, has been named as the Artistic Director. She succeeds Marla Burkholder, who co-founded the company in 2005.

O’Neill has appeared on Philadelphia stages often and currently can be seen in Or, at Hedgerow Theatre. When directing The Winter’s Tale, she brought together professional actors, more than 20 local children, and an unforgettable bear puppet. The show drew almost 5,000 audience members to Clark Park.

“Kittson’s commitment to both a strong and progressive artistic vision and a high level of authentic community engagement makes her a great fit for Shakespeare in Clark Park,” says John Frisbee, SCP’s Board President.

We asked Kittson about her background, her relationship to West Philadelphia and her plans regarding Shakespeare in Clark Park, including community engagement. Her answers are below.

Q.: Where are you from and where in West Philadelphia do you live?

I was born in Connecticut and grew up there and in Western Australia (My Mum is Australian). I now live in Mantua in West Philadelphia. My son attended St. Mary’s Nursery School and, as a result, our family has a number of great friends who live all over West Philly.

Q.: What interests you in Shakespeare in Clark Park? Should people expect any changes?

There are so many things I love about Shakespeare in Clark Park!

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In 2015 O’Neill directed SCP’s The Winter’s Tale, which featured children and a giant bear puppet (Photo West Philly Local).

Shakespeare’s plays are epic in scope: they have bears and battles and shipwrecks! It can be challenging to fully realize those elements inside a traditional modern theater, but out in the park you can embrace the huge and have an eight foot bear, or a hundred person army, or giant waves. I am excited to keep pushing our productions to use the size and freedom of the park setting: to be even more spectacular! But even more than the size of the park, I love the audience that it naturally attracts. The show is free. Seating is unrestricted and as a result we often attract watchers who hadn’t even planned to see the show. Who didn’t even know the show was happening. Every night, there is at least one audience member for whom it is the first Shakespeare they have ever seen. That’s an amazing gift to us as theater makers. And a responsibility we take seriously. We want that unexpected audience member to leave our show loving Shakespeare and hungry to see more.

shake4There won’t be any serious changes to what we do. “If it ain’t broke…” However, show is getting REALLY popular and dealing with the crowd we attract is becoming an exciting challenge, so you can expect some experiments with seating and staging as well as some new approaches to the fine art of ushering!

Q.: Community members, both adults and children, participated in the last two SCP performances. Will this trend continue?

Most definitely! I believe strongly in Radical Community Engagement, so over the next few years I will be working to weave the fabric of our community into the productions in a variety of ways. SCP attracts some of the finest theater talent in the city of Philadelphia. Putting the community on stage with those actors and inside the work of our designers and directors is an electrifying and galvanizing experience and one you won’t get any where else in our fair city. So stay tuned for a lot more on that front.

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Festive Weekend in West Philly: Baltimore-Lancaster Avenue Shoppers’ Trolley, UCAL Craft Show, ‘Peace around the World’, and more events

Posted on 04 December 2015 by WestPhillyLocal.com

There are tons of festive events happening in the area this weekend, including one of the biggest local shopping events of the year, a new restaurant grand opening party, a craft show opening, a big FREE holiday family event, a dance party supporting a local non-profit, and more. More information about these and other upcoming events is below. If you want to buy a Christmas tree or holiday wreaths, greens and decorations this weekend, check out this post. For local gift ideas and more holiday shopping opportunities, visit our “Buy Local for the Holidays” page.

Friday, Dec. 4

craft-show1-575x235 University City Arts League Holiday Craft Show Opening Reception, 6 – 8 p.m., 4226 Spruce St.

Thirty local artists will present their wares—just in time for the holidays! This is a great opportunity to shop for hand-made gifts for you and the whole family, such as cards, pottery, soaps, t-shirts, and more! Complimentary drinks and eats will be offered while you shop during the opening reception this Friday. The Craft Show is open daily Dec. 4-20. Monday-Friday, 5-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12-6 p.m. Closing reception will take place on Dec. 20, 4-6 p.m. The list of 2015 vendors is available here.

• Clarkville Grand Opening Party, 5 p.m., 43rd and Baltimore

New Baltimore Avenue bar and restaurant, Clarkville, is opening this Friday. The grand opening party kicks off at 5 p.m.

West Philly jeweler Amy Neukrug presents her holiday collection at Hello World, 5 – 9 p.m., 3610 Sansom St.

 The Bald Soprano opens at Curio Theatre, 8 p.m., 48th and Baltimore  Continue Reading

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So much said, so little communicated: Curio’s The Bald Soprano pokes fun at all our small talk

Posted on 02 December 2015 by Mike Lyons

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From back row left to right: Aetna Gallagher, Ken Opdenaker, Maria Konstantinidis, Brandon Pierce, Rachel Gluck and CJ Keller (Photo by JR Blackwell)

The Curio Theatre Company will stage a play opening this Friday that should resonate deeply in our ever-connected, hyper-talkative social media saturated world, a place where everyone talks but few communicate.

The Bald Soprano, the first work by Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco, makes us laugh at all of this absurd small talk run amok. Originally set in the London home of the fictional couple The Smiths, who are having their friends, The Martins, over for dinner, the play has been updated to include – through clever screen projections –  all of that online gibberish that we all know too well. The play’s script stays true to the original set in the 1950s, but works in modern takes on the non-sequitur.

“Every day we are trapped in the web (pardon the pun) and we argue, sell, cajole, entertain and most of all, cross our wires on the internet,” said director Charlotte Northeast. “This show has pieces of that layered in to illustrate that whether we are speaking in the 1950’s or today, we haven’t mastered this whole talking and REALLY communicating thing.”  Continue Reading

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Curio Theatre opens new season with ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Posted on 13 October 2015 by Mike Lyons

TheHandmaidsTaleSo it’s the not-too-distant future and an oppressive Christian theocracy has overthrown the U.S. government. Most women are not allowed to read. Things are fairly grim. That’s the setting for the opening performance of The Curio Theatre Company’s 11th season.

Curio is staging the Philadelphia premiere of Joe Stollenwerk’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a work based on the Margaret Atwood novel. The show previews on Oct. 15, and the opening is slated for Oct. 23.

In a solo work, Curio company member Isa St. Clair plays Offred, who takes us back to a world after a staged terrorist attack in a cautionary tale that predicts our worst fears of fundamentalism. Offred is a heroine who struggles to maintain her individuality, personhood, and hope for a better future.

The Handmaid’s Tale closes on November 14. Curio shows run on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15-$25 per person. Tickets and more information are available online at www.curiotheartre.org.

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One more chance to see Theatre in the X’s ‘Othello’

Posted on 17 August 2015 by WestPhillyLocal.com

On Saturday, Aug. 15, a sizable crowd gathered at Malcolm X Park to see Theatre in the X‘s interpretation of Shakespeare’s Othello (see photos below). We enjoyed it a lot. If you missed this show there’s another chance – next Saturday (Aug. 22) at 6 p.m. (read more about Theatre in the X and their all-Black cast production of Othello here). Please bring your chair and a few bucks to support the local artists collective and their amazing work (they also have some cool T-shirts for sale).

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