Review: Being Barry Manilow

Mark Bezos, left, and Jeff Bezos seen on day two of Summit LA17 in Downtown Los Angeles’s Historic Broadway Theater District on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Last night, CNN aired a one-hour, in-depth interview with Barry Manilow, the 78-year-old pop sensation who has garnered countless hits and millions of fans over the span of nearly 60 years. So, did this profile about “The Showman of Our Generation,” the man who Frank Sinatra said, “He’s next!” when referencing, live up to the iconic star’s blinding luminescence? Read on for my thoughts.

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Rent 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour Comes To Philly

The Kimmel Cultural Campus will present the return of the RENT 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour, back by popular demand, in the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Merriam Theater on March 4 – 6, 2022. Additionally, former Kimmel Education student and Philadelphia native Shafiq Hicks, a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts and a voice major at Temple University, will star in the role of ‘Tom Collins.’ Read on for more details.

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Sherlock Holmes Comes To Walnut Street Theatre

Walnut Street Theatre (WST) continues its 213th season with a world premiere adaptation of a classic mystery with Sherlock Holmes – The Adventure of The Speckled Band. Written and directed by Walnut favorite Bill Van Horn, the production begins previews February 22, opens March 2, and continues through March 27 on the Walnut’s Mainstage. Read on for more details.

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Review: Pretty Woman The Musical

Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

Now through January 16, Pretty Woman: The Musical is playing at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music. Last night I attended the show, after having recently watched the movie for the first time ever and loving it! Did the musical also blow me away? Read on for my thoughts.

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Review: Disney’s The Little Mermaid At The Walnut Street Theatre

The Walnut Street Theatre continues its 213th season with the breathtaking Broadway hit for all ages, Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Directed by Glenn Casale and choreographed by John MacInnis, the production began previews on November 16, 2021, opened November 24, and continues through January 2, 2022 on the Walnut’s Mainstage. I was fortunate enough to attend opening night. Read on for more information about The Little Mermaid and my thoughts on the show.

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Review: Anastasia

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

Last night, I attended my first musical since seeing Hello, Dolly! in February 2020. I saw Anastasia at the Merriam Theater, here in Philadelphia. Running from November 23 through November 28, this Broadway hit musical is based on the 1997 film of the same name, which is based on a 1956 movie, also of the same name. So, you could say that this is a story that’s been told for 65 years and still going strong. Read on for my thoughts on Anastasia and whether or not you should buy a ticket.

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Hello, Dolly! Shines In Philly

7_Carolee-Carmello-in-Hello-Dolly-National-Tour-Photograph-by-Julieta-Cervantes-2019The first musical I attended was Hello, Dolly! starring Carol Channing, and it took place during the show’s 1995 revival when it came to the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia between February 25 and March 5 of that year. In 2017, I saw Hello, Dolly! when it was revived again—this time on Broadway with the incredible Bette Midler. It is the greatest musical I have ever seen. Not only was Bette fantastic in this role which seemed tailor made for her, but the crowd that night was electric. It felt as if I was at Woodstock, Live Aid, or some other seminal moment in music history. The magic was palpable, and I’m thrilled that I had the chance to see Bette in her role of a lifetime, for which she deservedly received a Tony Award. Bette’s Hello, Dolly! broke the Broadway record for best first-day ticket sales, the box office record at the Shubert Theatre 12 times, and it shattered The Shubert Organization’s all-time record 10 times! Running from March 15, 2017 through August 25, 2018, this triumphant revival is now showing at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.

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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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Review: Cats Comes to Philly

From June 18 through June 30, Cats, the award-winning and record-breaking Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, is in Philadelphia. I had the opportunity to see the show and it wasn’t exactly what I expected. I love cats (my wife and I have two that we adopted), and I love musicals. I also adore Barry Manilow’s interpretation of the signature song from this show: “Memory.” However, I found this show to be one of the weirdest musicals I’ve ever seen.

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