The Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Gala at Dorrance Hamilton Hall and Theatre Philadelphia’s Tattooed Lady at Suzanne Roberts Theatre.
Between November 4’s gala for the Philadelphia Theatre Company and November 7’s Theatre Philadelphia (the umbrella organization for issues and promotion of local stages and companies) artists and audiences’ event, A Celebration, at North Philly’s Fallser Club, it feels as if this city’s theater scene is getting out of the cocoon it has been trapped in since Covid’s grip.
The gala reception for the PTC and its new, young co-artistic directors – the married Taibi Magar and Tyler Dobrowsky – was an old-school carny and freak show-themed to go with the private opening of The Tattooed Lady, the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s new musical at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre starring Jackie Hoffman, with a book by Erin Courtney and Max Vernon, its music and lyrics by Max Vernon, developed and directed by Ellie Heyman and choreographed by Mayte Natalio.
This meant that the Philadelphia Theatre Company gala crowds gathered to drink, nosh and ante up in auction form at the University of the Arts’ Dorrance Hamilton Hall were treated to sword swallowers, flame handlers, tattooed women in varying degrees or dress and undress (or straight-jacketed), and had the opportunity to meet-and-greet the Magar, Dobrowsky, one-time PTC’s artistic director Paige Price (still a prominent producer there, and the woman most responsible for bringing Tattooed Lady to its world premiere status at Philadelphia Theatre Company), Herman, Courtney and Max Vernon – the latter of whom had made a showing in town throughout the afternoon as he sought out Halloween jewelry salon designer-owner Henri David’s consul for the gala. (The two running into each other as the Philadelphia Theatre Company Gala was pure coincidence).
After several Tattooed Lady specialty cocktails were consumed, the West Philadelphia Orchestra led the procession of party-goers and stage habitues to the Suzanne Roberts Theater down the block on Broad from the University of Arts’ Hamilton Hall where another brand of revelry was played out, humorously and poignantly, on its large stage.
Miss The Tattooed Lady at your peril.