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Month: December 2016

‘LIZZIE’ takes an axe to Borden’s legend

For today’s podcast, I made my way to South Philly to hang out with 11th Hour Theatre Company. We talked about the upcoming production of LIZZIE, with music by Steven Cheslik-Demeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, lyrics by Steven Cheslik-Demeyer and Tim Maner, and book by Tim Maner. The show’s director, Kate Galvin, and its Lizzie, Alex Keiper, take us back to 11th Hour’s Next Steps Concert Series, when they first presented the musical, and we return to the present as they prepare to present the full production with some uniquely 11th Hour touches.

From l. to r., the cast of Lizzie: Rachel Brennan, Cara Noel Antosca, Alex Keiper, and Meredith Beck. (Photo by Daniel Kontz)

Perhaps you recall the dark rhyme, “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks/When she saw what she had done she gave her father 41.” LIZZIE takes a new look at the multiple controversies surrounding the 1892 murder of Borden’s stepmother and father. We also talk about the company’s trip to Borden’s home in Fall River, Massachusetts, the power (or lack of power) of women past and present, an artistic focus for 2017, and what 11th Hour is looking forward to in the new year.

Stay tuned.

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A theater company grows in Elkins Park

On this podcast, we interview White Pines Productions artistic director Benjamin Lloyd. Lloyd, a B.A. and M.F.A. Yale drama grad, has been a fixture as a Philadelphia actor for decades. He founded White Pines in 2009. The company operated out of the Elkins Park Gilded Age mansion Elkins Estate until 2012.

Benjamin Lloyd participates in White Pines’s long-form improv dinner theater. (Photo via whitepinesproductions.org)

Since then, the company has moved to a storefront in Elkins Park’s bustling business district, where they offer classes to adults, children, and people with special needs; produce original work; host a long- and short-form improv-based dinner theater with a three-course meal; host the Bright Invention improv ensemble; and offer off-site training programs. Here, Lloyd discusses his new model for arts organizations, the role companies like his serve in their neighborhoods, and the guiding philosophy behind White Pines’s “community-based performing arts studio.”

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