The Teddy Bear AwardsThe Teddy Bear Awards

by Peter Schmidt, with additional material by Jeff Weiss

This musical play by local playwright Peter Schmidt (which ran Thursday-Saturday, January 5–14)  follows Valley students, parents, directors, school board members, and international conspirators in mad pursuit of the Teddy Award for “Most Awesomest Musical Ever this Year.” Local business leaders, ahem, Jocko’s Doggies and the SmokeStaxx Casino,  sponsored this song-and-dance, sturm-und-drang multimedia extravaganza, presented in the cabaret setting of the Red Door Cafe in Seegers Union at Muhlenberg College. Directed by Joshua Neth with a cast that included a cameo appearance by B’way and Off-B’way legend Jeff Weiss.

Complete works playbill ad copy copyThe Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield

Presented March 22–April 7,  this  comedy classic is a three-actor romp through the Bard’s plays, full of parody, improvisation, and farce. Among its many wacky wonders are Othello done as a rap song, Titus Andronicus portrayed as a cooking show, and audience participation as Ophelia’s subconscious in Hamlet. The play debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (1987) and then ran for nine record-breaking years at The Criterion Theatre in London.

Directed by Joshua Neth and featuring Matt Candio, Michael Fegley, and Neth. Presented at America On Wheels Museum, Allentown.

AiA_Playbill coverActors In Action Festival

Starting July 20 at America on Wheels, APT presented its first Actors In Action Festival of Staged Readings. The script-in-hand performances had the action and acting of a main-stage presentation.

July 20 & 21: Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. This, Williams’s first successful play, won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best play of 1945.  Amanda Wingfield has raised her two children in difficult financial times; her daughter Laura – shy and highly sensitive about having a limp – has withdrawn into a world of her own, symbolized by her collection of glass figurines. Her brother Tom works in a warehouse to support the family but wants more out of life. He narrates the story about the family and the hopes they place on a “gentleman caller,” only to have them shattered like glass.

July 27 & 28: The Exonerated by Jessica Blank and Eric Jensen tells, in their own words, the true stories of six death row inmates, wrongly convicted and later exonerated and freed. Moving between first-person monologues and scenes in courtrooms and prisons, the interwoven stories paint a picture of an American justice system gone wrong – and of six people who persevered to survive it. This play was APT’s ‘social justice’ piece for 2012. Post-show panel discussions included cast, director, real-life exonerees, and audience members. In 2002 The New York Times called The Exonerated, “Jaw-dropping . . . The #1 play of the year.”

August 3 & 4: Dinner with Marney by Jennifer Santos – a local playwright, actor, and improv comic – serves up a wickedly funny Thanksgiving dinner when the family control freak issues the annual invitation. Full of the absurd, Santos’s new play pulls all the family tensions out of the closet with surprising results.

xmas stories copyEvery Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)

by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald, and John K. Alvarez

In this holiday revel, instead of doing Dickens yet again, three actors power through every Yule tale ever told – plus Christmas traditions from around the world, and all the carols! A merry, witty dash through the holiday season, with lots of wig and mustache swapping, adlibs and occasional audience participation.

The sketch comedy featured Matt Candio, Michael Fegley, and Joshua Neth, with direction by Neth.  It opened December 6 at Allentown Brew Works’ fifth-floor ballroom and continued at the Antonio Salemme Foundation through December 23.