The PR Review

PRODUCTION: Outbeat: America's First Queer Jazz Festival
DIRECTION: The William Way Center, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and Karen Smith
CAST/HEADLINERS: Andy Bey, Fred Hersch, Terri Lyne Carrington, Bill Stewart, Ben Flint, Patricia Barber, Dena Rose, David Coss, Drew Paralic, Jennifer Leitham, Mike McGinnis & Dena Underwood
REVIEW: Since celebrating three years on the airwaves, Queer 2 The T decided to continue the joy by accepting a four day invitation to America’s 1st Queer Jazz Festival “OutBeat”! As novices to the score of geniuses in this medium, it felt more a harmonic immersion program than a festival; where we were able to learn the instrumental soul note for note. Swooned to capacity by the works of Dena Underwood, the Jennifer Leitham Trio, Fred Hersch and Terri Lyn Carrington---just to name a few, the days and hours felt like seconds of pleasure that we wanted to relive over and over. An inspiring dynamic to the festivities was the infusion of poetry and song. In “LushLife” at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre sponsored by Philadelphia Jazz Project (a tribute to Billy Strayhorn), we were blown away by the poetic talents of Christina May and the musical styling of Keisha Slaughter & Rhenda Fearington. Not only were the musicians moving, so were we! This festival had audiences traveling to enchanting dips and dives throughout the Philadelphia area. Such favorites as the William Way Center, Painted Bride, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Union Transfer made us feel right at home while we swayed and toe-tapped to jazz virtuosos! The extremely intimate Chris’ Jazz Café had a few seating woes but Terri Lyn Carrington’s “Money Jungle” turned a lounge hiccup into a spirited delight; this mistress of music is a beat of fresh air worth the treble! Throughout our journey, passersby via media and in person would ask “What is jazz?” As a self-proclaimed 1/8th member of the rhythm-less nation, on day one we were clueless on how to formulate a response. Thus after this astounding couple of days, it can be confidently stated that jazz is music withering and blooming in the timpani of sound; audible only to a soul misunderstood and unapologetic. With the mind experiencing compersion as the ears make bedfellows with the bass line, it’s safe to note that jazz is…jazz be…JAZZ!

To see/listen to our journey during OutBeat, visit us on Facebook and Twitter!  
REVIEWER: TS Hawkins, Station Manager/Producer

PRODUCTION: “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde
DIRECTION: Peter Reynolds
COMPANY: Mauckingbird Theatre Company
CAST: James Ijames, Chancellor Dean, Brent Knobloch, David Hutchison, Sarah Doherty, Lindsay Mauck, Mitchell Bloom, Darryl Daughtry, Jr. and Nancy Boykin
REVIEW: Delightful, dramatic and dashingly comedic, Mauckingbird Theatre Company’s “The Importance of Being Ernest” is a production that could have Oscar Wilde blush with excitement. Threading this classic work inside the schemes of a “post-gay” climate ironically shone more light on the classism in Wilde’s work. With Algernon Moncrieff (James Ijames) and John Worthing (Chancellor Dean) aggressively making strides to “marry up”, it’s easy to forget that these gentlemen are queer identified as Mauckingbird chose to have Gwendolen Fairfax (Brent Knobloch) and Cecily Cardew (David Hutchison) played by men. The romantic entanglements seem secondary which aid in the ability to look deeper into the performance. Masterfully, the ensemble wit stitched theatrical excellence. Nancy Boykin as Lady Bracknell was extravagantly stellar. Punctuating each phrase with arrogant sophistication, Boykin delivered a flawless flippant display. Falling suit was Sarah Doherty as Miss Prism with pensively perfect facial expressions and cheeky candor. Darryl Daughtry, Jr., Lindsay Mauck and Mitchell Bloom serve spirited performances making the intermission transition a gleeful spectacle by itself. Running now through August 25th, this production is a melodrama must-see! For more information, visit and get a detailed listing of their upcoming season.
REVIEWER: TS Hawkins, Station Manager/Producer  
PRODUCTION: “Heroes” by Tom Stoppard; adapted from Gérald Sibleyras’ Le Vent des Peupliers
DIRECTION: M. Craig Getting
COMPANY: Lantern Theater Company
CAST: Peter DeLaurier, Dan Kern and Mal Whyte
REVIEW: Plotting an escape is complicated enough but nothing makes it more challenging when veterans attempt to make a break for it as self-proclaimed “tolerably deranged”, “unwell” and a “limping lame”. Peter DeLaurier (Henri), Dan Kern (Gustave) and Mal Whyte (Philippe) give an awe-inspiring performance capturing the gentle sternness in each character. With jocular eloquence, they mention “making a woman laugh and climax is equally important” and it is safe to note that they succeeded in doing both but for the audience at large. As the men usher the onlookers into an esoteric honorable male space, one can’t help but twitter at their dry wit and identify with the silent strength exuded by each one of them; these men are definitely heroes! Running now through June 16th, this production is a MUST SEE! For more information, visit and get a detailed listing of their upcoming season.
REVIEWER: TS Hawkins, Station Manager/Producer
PRODUCTION: “The Philly Fan” by Bruce Graham
COMPANY: Theatre Exile
CAST: Tom McCarthy
REVIEW: Tom McCarthy delivers a home-run performance in “The Philly Fan”! “The Philly Fan” is a jaw-dropping stroke of genius that draws you into the nooks and crannies of the “man cave” and angst of a loyal sports fanatic. You can’t help but fall in love with McCarthy in his portrayal of the irritated yet faithful Philadelphia sports fan as his life changes year by year waiting for at least one victory from his favorite team. Hitting on the politics of sports, you can’t but chuckle on catch phrases like “I’m an American…keep me ignorant”, “…seeing nothing but geese and Jews flying south for the winter” and “typical Philly, we can f*ck up a two car funeral”! One could almost forget that they are consuming a production about athletics and just regale in the dialogue as McCarthy, with a rugged elegance, manifests into a father figure you would hold near and dear to your heart. Running now through June 23rd, visit for detailed information and show times.
REVIEWER: TS Hawkins, Station Manager/Producer
PRODUCTION: “Booty Candy” by Robert O’Hara
DIRECTION: Robert O’Hara
COMPANY: Wilma Theater
CAST: Jocelyn Bioh, Phillip James Brannon, Benja Kay Thomas, Lance Coadie Williams, Ross Beschler
REVIEW: “Booty Candy” is without a doubt a rollicking vaudeville theatrical experience not for the faint of heart! Flavored in the essence of “The Carol Burnett Show”, “In Living Color” and “SNL”, “Booty Candy” takes parody to zesty new heights. Touching on topics such as community, sexuality, religion and culture, this production has the actors portray caricatures yet balance the candid and emotional integrity of each characters journey. Segmented in rotating vignettes, “Booty Candy” pokes fun at cultural pastimes surrounding “the Black church”, naming one’s offspring, and ceremonial commitments that had audiences laugh, shriek and ponder on the lessons playing out on the stage. Bearing it all for the world to see, this stupendous cast is a boundless display of amazing talent. Lance Coadie Williams (Actor 4) is certainly one to watch. Williams has the ability to harness the humanity in all of the “over-the-top” characters. Ross Beschler (Actor 5) is daring; living in moments where most would be wary. Jocelyn Bioh (Actor 1) and Benja Kay Thomas (Actor 3) bring comedic chutzpah to the production while Phillip James Brannon (Actor 2) threads it all together as the moral center of the piece. “Booty Candy” makes all private thoughts public; unapologetic and fantastically nerve-wracking, it’s a familiarity served with a blistering elegance. Running now through June 16th, visit for detailed information and show times.
REVIEWER: TS Hawkins, Station Manager/Producer
PRODUCTION: “The Lysistrata Project” by P. Seth Bauer
DIRECTION: Allison Garrett
COMPANY: Simpatico Theatre Project
CAST: Taysha Canales, Colleen Corcoran, Akeem Davis, Jamal Douglas, Sarah Van Auken, Brian McAleese, Kristen Norrine, Griffin Staton-Ameisen, Harry Watermeier, Miriam White
REVIEW: Where New Athens and the current nation collide, “The Lysistrata Project” is a campy pictograph of present-day social politics running rogue on the female landscape. With comedic gusto, “The Lysistrata Project” highlights how the theory of “male dominance” feels threatened by the “foul odor of compromise”, the women, taking a stance in the decisions of the “senate”. The women of New Athens rise up against the “No Womb Left Behind Act” that restricts the use and purchase of feminine contraception without permission from their spouses. Now deemed “terrorists” to the social order created by male supremacy, a true “Battle of the Sexes” emerges center stage pushing audiences to notice that it’s not about one sex or another dominating control, it’s about “World Power”. This Simpatico Theatre Project production rejuvenates the humdrum of political missteps with knee slapping wit and small injections of toilet humor. “The Lysistrata Project” is definitely not money down the drain; a production worth investing in. Running now through June 2nd, visit for detailed information and show times.
REVIEWER: TS Hawkins, Station Manager/Producer
COMPANY: Tangle Movement Arts
CAST: Kate Aid, Lauren Rile Smith, Lee Ane Pompilio, Pascale Smith, Sarah Nicolazzo and Tiffany Holder
GUEST ENSEMBLE: Charles Allison, Nina Giacobbe, Christine Morano, Erin Flanigan and Caeli Smith
REVIEW: Tangle Movement Arts swung into our hearts during their “You Don’t Say” theatrical trapeze production as part of the Live Arts/Philly Fringe, now FringeArts, a while ago.  Once again they have fine-tuned the art of unifying interdisciplinary circus artists, spoken word, history and flecks of classical music in “Invert”. Mesmerizing to the core, “Invert”, highlights female empowerment one twist and turn after another. Mixing comedy and melodrama, such performances like “Can I Get Your Number”, “Strong Enough” (a tribute to Cher) and “Rosie the Riveter” were cheeky, cute and charismatic. Pascale Smith’s piece “Nearly a Valediction” was a dynamic work of art. With poetic grace, Smith recited the poem by Marilyn Hacker (also the name of the solo performance) while flipping and twirling in the air. Not a breath out of place, Smith was definitely a striking presentation of artistry. Sarah Nicolazzo is a show stopper; luring the audience with intricate shapes and emotional authenticity. Lauren Rile Smith and Erin Flanigan took charge creating phenomenal partner floor-work in their duet “Heard It through the Grapevine”. “Loser in the Spotlight” by Lee Ane Pompilio was a heroic display of dance and aerial arts; interweaving indifference and vulnerability with seamless elegance. Tangle Movement Arts and its members are dedicated to ensure that individuals embark on a holistic artistic experience; “Invert” is their mission in action. Even the transitions are “shows” as Caeli Smith and her violin made a magnificent backdrop as the ensemble moved from one solo to another. Missing “Invert” is missing out on groundbreaking arts and culture. For detailed show times and information, visit 
REVIEWER: TS Hawkins, Station Manager/Producer
PRODUCTION: “Countdown to Boom: We All Fall Down” by Kimmika LH Williams-Witherspoon
DIRECTION: Kimmika LH Williams Witherspoon & Kariamu Welsh
COMPANY: Temple University/PIFA
CAST: David Glover, Ife Battle, Ebony Webster, Crystal Fasanya, Kendra Johnson
ENSEMBLE: Lauren McDowell, Chris Santiago, Karen Austin, Jana Henry, Noel Scales, Baset, Kayla Ingram, Shaness Kemp, Vanessa Fuller, Jahil Shabazz, Saemus Miller, Derrick Mallard, Tyra Lockhart, Sharlena Johnson
REVIEW: “Countdown to Boom: We All Fall Down” is a timeless production crocheting digital media, dance, gospel and poetry to transcribe historical moments surrounding the bombing of “The 4 Little Girls”. With the textile of talents at their fingertips, Williams-Witherspoon and Welsh captured the spirits of yesteryear and molded them into the youthful vessels of the present. The four little girls played by Ife Battle, Ebony Webster, Crystal Fasanya and Kendra Johnson, were brilliant representations of naivety and grace. David Glover (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr) narrated with a fine chiseled theatrically as if he was MLK, Jr himself. The vocal styling’s of Derrick Mallard and Noel Scales were magnificent additions to the piece reminding audiences that music not only tells a story but brings harmony to the community in times of trial and tribulation. The ensemble work exceeds spectacular. Taking “American pastimes” such as baseball and “doing ones hair”, fashioning them with social politics of “the now” with hints of “once was” was beyond dazzling. The meticulous intensity of Baset (Mrs. Wesley), Scales (Mrs. Collins) Lauren McDowell (Mrs. Robertson) and Kayla Ingram (Mrs. McNair) “hit home” to the saccharine bond of mother to child. Shaness Kemp is a spellbinding danseuse; weaving the metaphysical and the lyrical with majestic sophistication, always leaving the viewer wanting more. Williams-Witherspoon and Welsh have a masterful collaboration that triumphantly pays homage to history and current social politics. For detailed show times and information, visit 
REVIEWER: TS Hawkins, Station Manager/Producer
PRODUCTION: “Ruined” by Lynn Nottage
DIRECTION: Catherine Pappas
COMPANY: The Stagecrafters
CAST: Tiffany Bacon, Erin Nicole Stewart, Liz Priestley, Carlene Pochette, Kyle Paul Dandridge, William Lewis, Brian Neal, Maurice A. Tucker, Andre G. Brown, Paul Diferdinando, Timothy Richardson
REVIEW: It’s challenging to shine light through tragedy but the cast did an electrifying job showcasing Nottage’s language on stage. Despite some jagged set changes, the ensemble was astounding in moving the production forward and maintaining captivation from the audience. Tiffany Bacon (Mama Nadi) was the icing to an already signature work. Daring, dominant and docile, when necessary, she was a sweet piece of sass that could be played on repeat. Liz Priestley (Sophie) was a saccharine tornado that packed a punch when needed. Erin Nicole Stewart (Salima) was genuinely mesmerizing; each phrase from her mouth spewed as if she crafted it herself. She made the character hers in every way imaginable and definitely a force not to be reckoned with. Stewart was all at once regal, tortured and magnificently stunning every moment she graced the stage. This is a production that should not be missed! With complicated dialogue and strong subject matter, the ensemble was a pristine example of joviality and enlightenment. For detailed show times and information, visit
REVIEWER: TS Hawkins, Station Manager/Producer