The Arts Surprise: There's good theater in the Philly suburbs
by John Timpane, Staff Writer
The term “regional theater” used to summon up images of provincial stages offering sleepy, safe fare in decaying surroundings.
In a striking development for the Philadelphia region, regional theater is coming to mean A-list actors, challenging dramas, and Center City-style ambition.
The ongoing 2017-18 season has been studded with bold experiment:
- The Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope launched a new musical, The New World, following on the heels of its new farce, Clue, two of a growing number of world-premieres in the region’s suburban theaters.
- Broadway veteran Kristin McLaughlin Mitchell moved to West Chester and began auditioning actors locally and in New York for her new Resident Theatre Company at West Chester’s new Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center. Why West Chester? “I decided I wanted a house and a garden,” she says.
- In Malvern, People’s Light cast Dulé Hill (The West Wing, Psych) in the Nat King Cole bio-play Lights Out, prompting an all-out reverse commute of theater fans from the city to the hinterlands.
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