Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Hannah Callowhill Stage: Dream Brainstorm

Tripoli inspects my proscenium doodles
One of the most common questions I'm asked about the Hannah is: "What exactly are you going to do with the space once it's finished and open?" I have a lot of ideas. I don't know how many of them will end up on the cutting room floor, but maybe you'd like to know what I'm thinking.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Hannah Callowhill Stage: Long Overdue Update

It's been four months since we bought 103 Callowhill Street, aka the Hannah Callowhill Stage, and I haven't blogged too much about it, because so much has happened, but there's isn't a whole lot to physically show for it yet. I keep getting asked for updates on the proceedings, however, so here they are, all the boring details I can stand to type.

103 Callowhill cross-section from the west side

Tuesday, April 07, 2015


Taking a break from jabbering about the Hannah for a while to talk about what's been taking up all of my time since The Cherry Orchard closed a couple of weeks ago: I'm treading the boards again, for a little while.

First I should mention that the last time I was on stage in a purely acting role (as opposed to playing a musician onstage, which is what I did in my Cherry Orchard cameo) was a few months ago in iHamlet, and whaaaaaa it turns out I got a really nice nod for that performance: Play Shakespeare nominated me for a Falstaff Award for Best Principal Performance, Female. I didn't win, but LOOK AT THAT POOL.

Kate Fleetwood (Goneril, King Lear, National Theater) - Winner
Lily Rabe (Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare in the Park/Public Theater)
Michelle Terry (Beatrice, Love's Labour's Won/Much Ado About Nothing, Royal Shakespeare Company)
Melissa Dunphy (iHamlet, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre)
Annette Bening (Goneril, King Lear, The Public Theater)
Jessica Hecht (Regan, King Lear, The Public Theater)

OK, look, I could pretend to be all cool and professional-PR-flavored here, like this is no big deal, almost like I was expecting it, and gosh how nice it is to be nominablahblahblah. But you know what? SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HOLY CHRIST ON A BIKE.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Hannah Callowhill Stage: An Overview of the History of 103 Callowhill Street

As I mentioned in my previous blog post about The Hannah, one of the things I did back in July after we first looked at the theater was delve into the history of 103 Callowhill Street. I had never before faced the prospect of living on a property that even comes close to having a well-documented written history going back hundreds of years. I think at least part of my initial excitement was due to how much detailed historical information I could find, thanks to Philadelphia's excellent online property records and searchable databases of old newspapers. There is definitely something to be said for living in a city which, following European colonization*, has had a history of being populated by swarms of lawyers and journalists (a tradition which arguably continues to this day).

The Penn Charter

First, a touch of background from Wiki, for those of you unfamiliar with the basics of Pennsylvanian history:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Music in The Cherry Orchard at People's Light

In rehearsal for The Cherry Orchard with Mary McDonnell. Picture by Emma Lee/WHYY.

About eight years ago, back when we lived in our Downingtown house and I was still actively auditioning as an actor, I heard that there was a professional theater close by holding an open call. I was pretty excited by the idea of potential employment at a theater that didn't involve a 30-mile commute to Philadelphia. Unfortunately, at the time the only monologue I had under my belt that I could whip out at a moment's notice was bloody Juliet and her stupid vial speech. Unsurprisingly, I did not get a callback.

(One day I will write a whole blog about how sick I am of Juliet. Short version: very.)

Fast forward to last year, and out of the blue, thanks to a recommendation, I was finally given my first opportunity to be a part of a production at that same theater—but primarily as a composer and sound designer, though I'm also playing the violin live on stage. Of course, now I've moved to Philadelphia, so I have a wretched 30-mile commute in the other direction.

But it's worth it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A new addition to the family ... congratulations, it's a theater

I haven't blogged in months, partly because I've been very busy, and partly because I was afraid if I blogged before now, I wouldn't be able to keep from mentioning what I'm about to tell you, and I'd jinx myself.

Let me start from the beginning.