Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Kimmel Center”

Martha Graham Cracker’s Album Release Show Is A Smashing Success

Last night Philly’s favorite drag queen, Martha Graham Cracker, gave her finest performance. This album release show coincided with the debut of Lashed But Not Leashed—Martha’s first studio album. A concept album that captures the music from the live show created in residency at the Kimmel Center’s 2015 Theatre Residency Program, Lashed But Not Leashed is an 11-song odyssey of myriad musical styles and emotions that goes for the jugular and doesn’t let go until the final note dissipates.

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Music Review: Lashed But Not Leashed

Tomorrow Martha Graham Cracker, Philly’s favorite drag queen, releases her very first studio album. I’ve listened to it several times, and it is fantastic! Filled with numerous musical styles, Lashed But Not Leashed is the perfect representation of everything Martha Graham Cracker is, while paying tribute to her influences. From the high-energy album-opener to the funky and hilarious “Let Me Sit On It,” there’s something for everyone to love. The standout track to me is “I’m Not Trying To Stop The Rain.” It’s an epic, sweeping ballad that is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s like Barry Manilow and Aretha Franklin tossed into a blender, with the result being sheer perfection and 100% soul. To put it simply, this album is all killer and no filler. But don’t take my word for it, check out Martha’s track-by-track insights below. And make sure to buy your ticket to see her one-night-only performance at the Kimmel Center tomorrow night before it sells out.

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Martha Graham Cracker: Philly’s Favorite Drag Queen Tells All

The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret is an in-your-face rock and roll drag cabaret starring Pig Iron Theatre Company co-founder Dito van Reigersberg as Miss Martha Graham Cracker, the world’s tallest and hairiest drag queen. For more than 14 years, Martha has entertained audiences in Philly, New York, Vegas, and elsewhere with her high-energy and hilarious shows that are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Tomorrow, Martha celebrates a gigantic milestone—her first studio album: Lashed But Not Leashed. To mark the occasion, a special one-night-only performance is taking place at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. My wife and I will be in attendance for this show, and we can’t wait. After buying a ticket to what promises to be an epic evening, read my interview below with the greatest drag queen you will ever see: Martha Graham Cracker.

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Mean Girls Opens In Philly

Mean Girls—the record-breaking new musical comedy produced by Lorne Michaels, Stuart Thompson, Sonia Friedman, and Paramount Pictures based on the hit film – opens on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus at the Academy of Music on Tuesday, November 19, running through December 1. The Mean Girls First National Tour features Philadelphia native, Mary Kate Morrissey.

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Spectacular Opening Night For Come From Away

Last night, Come From Away, Broadway’s Tony award-winning musical made its debut in Philadelphia. Running from October 22-November 3, Come From Away is an incredibly moving, powerful, and satisfying show that had the audience crying, laughing, and clapping along throughout its tight runtime of one hour and forty minutes. Come From Away is about 7,000 stranded passengers whose airplanes were forced to land in Newfoundland on September 11, 2001 because of the terrorist attacks that took place. While the subject matter is sad, this musical is not a downer. Sure, there are some somber moments but, overall, the music is upbeat, increadly melodic, and infectious as can be. It was met with a well-deserved and thunderous standing ovation at the end, and the entire audience left the theater smiling from ear to ear. It is an excellent production of a wonderful musical that no one should miss.

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RENT Celebrates 20th Anniversary In Philly

Following a sold-out March 2019 engagement, RENT is back by popular demand in Philadelphia to celebrate its 20th anniversary. I attended the opening night, and it was my first time seeing this show. The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical is taking place at the Merriam Theater October 18-20, and it’s absolutely worth seeing. RENT is an unconventional, frenetic show that gave me chills and made me cry, smile, and laugh multiple times. Unlike Hamilton, which I found to be underwhelming because of its grating music, shallow characters, and limp ending, RENT blew me away with its unique musical compositions, incredible cast, and emotionally moving story. Add to this a hot crowd full of people who had seen the show before and loved it, and I felt like I was at a rock concert more than a musical. This high-energy atmosphere made this excellent production even more enjoyable, and I now understand why people choose to see RENT more than once.

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Patti LuPone: Don’t Monkey with Broadway

Patti LuPone brought her one-woman show, “Don’t Monkey With Broadway,” to Verizon Hall in Philadelphia on June 9 and it was phenomenal. The two-time Tony Award winner performed classic Broadway show tunes by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Jule Styne, Stephen Schwartz, Charles Strouse, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. She also told stories in between songs about how her life-long love affair with Broadway began and her concern for what the Great White Way is becoming today.

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Review: William Shatner Live On Stage

William Shatner, even at 87-years-old, seems to have boundless amounts of energy. He’s always working on something new and exciting. Right now he’s on a tour where he’s visiting cities and, following a screening of the classic film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Shatner is participating in a live-on-stage Q&A with audiences. My father and I attended the Philadelphia screening at The Academy of Music, and it was an excellent event.

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Emotional Homecoming For Zelda Symphony Producer


Last week’s performance of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses in Philadelphia was an emotional one for the show’s producer Jason Michael Paul. It was the first time he’s been back at the venue where he started his career since December 2001, when he was working with Luciano Pavarotti on a performance celebrating the opening of this now iconic arts and culture center. Sixteen years later Jason returned to produce The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, a show that celebrates more than 30 years of timeless music from one of the most enduring video game franchises of all time: The Legend of Zelda.

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Dionne Warwick Receives Marian Anderson Award

Jerry Blavat and Dionne Warwick.

On November 14 Dionne Warwick received the Marian Anderson Award, which celebrates critically-acclaimed artists who have used their talents for personal artistic expression and whose body of work has contributed to our society in a singular manner. As you can see from the photo I took above, Dionne and the attendees were all smiles – even before the gala began. It was a memorable night honoring an iconic woman whose music and philanthropic work have made a lasting impact on society and popular culture that will be felt for generations to come.

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