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

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

Posted on 17 August 2015 by

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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“Theatre in the X” to bring Othello and all-Black cast to Malcolm X Park

Posted on 04 August 2015 by


Theatre in the X presents all-Black cast Othello at Malcolm X Park on Aug. 8, 15 & 22. (Photo from Theatre in the X’s Facebook page).

The Winter’s Tale production in Clark Park is over, but more outdoor Shakespeare productions are coming to West Philly this summer. “Theatre in the X“, an artists’ collective that staged No Child… at Malcolm X Park in 2013, is presenting three free performances of Othello with an all-Black cast in the park starting Saturday, Aug. 8. The collective’s core is local theater artists Carlo Campbell, who plays Othello, Walter DeShields (Cassio) and LaNeshe Miller-White (Emilia). The play is directed by well-known director Ozzie Jones.

The play in this production is set in the criminal underworld. Campbell “is like the ‘muscle’ of the Duke of Venice’s crew,” according to Jones, while love interest Desdemona (played by Nastassja Baset) is envisioned as an underboss’ daughter. “In the language, it’s not so much race,” said Campbell, comparing the dynamic of this particular production to Will Smith visiting his wealthy uncle in California on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. “It’s this person who has this audacity to think that, from their station in life, they can be privy to rewards.”

Theatre in the X was created to provide free and accessible theater to the community, as well as provide local African American artists with acting and directing opportunities. The 2015 presentation is part of the City of Philadelphia’s Performances in Public Spaces program managed by the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and is supported by the Leeway Foundation’s Art and Change grants. Public donations are essential, too, so if you want to chip in, please visit this page.

Performances are on three upcoming Saturdays – Aug. 8 at 5 p.m. and on Aug. 15 & 22 at 6 p.m. 

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Shakespeare back at Clark Park July 29-Aug 2 with The Winter’s Tale (updated)

Posted on 29 July 2015 by

UPDATE (7/29/15): The Winter’s Tale shows kick off tonight at Clark Park at 7 p.m., and according to a new announcement from Shakespeare in Clark Park (SCP), they will be raffling gift cards from local businesses:

Also, don’t forget to bring your blanket or chairs, some picnic food (and drinks!) and a little bit of cash (if you can) for a donation. Donations help this awesome event return each summer.


Free outdoor Shakespeare in Clark Park shows draw big crowds to the “Bowl” near 43rd and Chester (archived photo/West Philly Local).

Shakespeare in Clark Park (SCP) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this summer with five nights of The Winter’s Tale, a tragicomedy of family and forgiveness. The annual popular outdoor theatre event that draws huge crowds of both locals and guests, returns on Wednesday, July 29 to Clark Park’s “Bowl” near 43rd and Chester.

Those who attended last year’s Henry IV shows must remember the epic battle scenes performed by a crowd of some 100 volunteers from various Philly neighborhoods (it’s truly hard to forget!). This year, a chorus of over 30 Philadelphia-area schoolchildren will perform along the company’s professional actors. Chorus members were selected after spring auditions.

The young performers are an integral part of the show; along with the audience they’re witnessing the triumph and failure of the adults. According to Director Kittson O’Neill, “The Chorus of Children not only helps perform The Winter’s Tale, it also allows the audience a way into this foreign world… It’s a tale of generations and how consequences are often felt most strongly by the next generation.”  Continue Reading

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Support emerging local playwrights: A free reading of ‘Candy Candy’ tonight at Curio

Posted on 01 June 2015 by

theaterCurio Theatre Company continues its reading series supporting emerging Philadelphia playwrights and invites everyone to tonight’s reading of Candy Candy by Chris Davis. The series is co-produced by Philadelphia Dramatists Center.

The peformance is directed by Liam Castellan and features Curio actors: Andrew Carroll, Joel Guerrero, Diana Rodriguez, Kelly Cova, Rachel Gluck, Brendan Norton, and Steve Carpenter. It will be held in the Curio Theatre Company Second Stage at 4740 Baltimore Avenue, starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, and light refreshments will be provided. And here’s some information about the play from Curio’s website:

“This high octane bilingual comedy follows the televisual fantasies of a young girl named Candy who dreams of escaping her quotidian life in Mexico.”

Visit for more information.

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40th Street Summer Concerts return, West Philly Tool Library sale, West Philly Flea Market and more weekend events

Posted on 29 May 2015 by

This weekend’s events list includes an outdoor music concert (free and family-friendly), a tool sale, a flea market, and more awesome events. Our roundup is below.

TheChairmanDancesflierThis Friday, local indie band The Chairman Dances (Facebook page) is inviting folks to a release show for their new record, Samantha Says. The show will be held at The Rotunda (40th and Walnut), from 8 to 9:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.). Tickets at the door are $10. Click here for more information.

This Friday and Saturday are the last two days when you can see Curio Theatre‘s comedy Noises Off before the theater closes its 2014-2015 season. Shows begin at 8 p.m. For more information and tickets ($25) go here.

SummerSeriesflierUniversity City District’s 40th Street Summer Series returns this Saturday, at 6 p.m., with a free outdoor concert by Philadelphia’s experimental cabaret group The Bearded Ladies. In addition, local group Tapestry Tribal will present Middle Eastern music and belly dancing. The popular concert series takes place on the last Saturday of every month, from May to September, on the green space behind Walnut Street West Library at 40th and Walnut and also includes family-friendly activities: balloon art, face painting, jugglers and more. This Saturday, you can also enjoy free ice cream served by Ben & Jerry’s.

ToolLibraryAlso on Saturday, West Philly Tool Library invites neighbors to their Spring Tool Sale. The sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and will include a wide selection of hand and power tools at affordable prices, as well as West Philly Tool Library T-Shirts, bibs, and carpenter’s pencils. Tax-deductible donations are also encouraged. Coffee Market (AKA Earth Cup) will be serving their delicious cold brew coffee. West Philly Tool Library is located at 1314 S. 47th St. (between Woodland and Grays Ferry). For more information, visit:

On Saturday at 7 p.m., FloByFaith Productions and local Boy Scout troop 152 will present The Soul of a Woman, a musical that tackles various issues such as homelessness, mental health and self worth. Proceeds will benefit the troop’s scholarship fund, helping create young leaders from West Philadelphia. Tickets: $35 in advance and $40 at the door (St. Francis de Sales Auditorium, 917 S. 47th St.).

For more upcoming events, including West Philly Flea Market, Women’s Day of Wellness, and film screenings at International House Philadelphia, visit our Events Calendar.

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