Music, comedy and more coming to Playhouse this winter/spring

The productions are part of the New Hope-based theater’s 2019 Visiting Artists Series

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Source: Bucks County Playhouse

Last year, a slew of renowned performers, both local and international, convened on the Bucks County Playhouse stage for the New Hope-based theater’s 2018 winter/spring Visiting Artists Series. From January-May, audiences experienced everything from An Evening with Groucho by comedian Frank Ferrante, to Dance to the Movies, which featured Tony Dovolani and other professionals from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

Now, the Playhouse is doing it all over again, introducing a fresh slate of musical, comedy and special event performances as part of its 2019 Visiting Artists Series. Kicking off on Jan. 4 and running until BCP’s subscription season, the series represents one of the few times on the schedule when outside producers take the stage to showcase their work.

The first show in the series, The Official Blues Brothers Revue, will take place Jan. 4–5 and feature performers Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty. Though there have been many imitators, this is the only duo in North America sanctioned by Dan Aykroyd and Judith Belushi to don the official hat and sunglasses, and walk in the legendary footsteps of Jake and Elwood Blues. Discovered in Las Vegas, the two capture the infectious humor and spirit of the Blues Brothers as they perform classic hits such as “Soul Man,” “Rubber Biscuit,” “Sweet Home Chicago” and more, all backed by a powerhouse band.

The series continues on Jan. 16–20 with The Reduced Shakespeare Company in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]. This original and timeless classic from the Reduced Shakespeare Company is a fast-paced production that powers through all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 97 minutes. The show was performed for nine years in London’s West End at the Criterion Theatre, making its mark as London’s longest-running comedy. It has also been seen at the Kennedy Center and Off-Broadway. Since the show contains some bawdy language and mild innuendo, it is rated PG-13.

Back by popular demand, Love Letters will hit the stage Jan. 30-Feb. 2 and star Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross from Family Ties. When Andrew accepts an invitation to Melissa’s birthday party, and Melissa writes a thank-you note, a romantic friendship and correspondence is born that will last more than 50 years. Though their relationship constantly changes, these pen pals remain each other’s most trusted confidantes. A touching romance through old-fashioned pen and paper, Love Letters is a nostalgic and heartfelt show about the powerful connection of love.

On March 9, Swearigen & Kelli will present The Music of Simon and Garfunkel, recreating the music, memories and magic of one of the most famous folk-rock duos. A.J. Swearigen has been performing this music for 20 years, mastering Paul Simon’s intricate guitar playing. His deep baritone blends perfectly with Kelli’s angelic vocals, delivering a true tribute to the sound of the 1960s’ Greenwich Village, New York coffeehouse performances.

An Irish Music Festival will be held March 15–16, during which attendees can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Playhouse and enjoy live music, food and drinks.

The music continues on March 21–23 with Legends in Concert: Country, which presents Las Vegas tribute artists, singers and dancers performing the hits of industry giants such as Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn, Shania Twain and Johnny Cash.

Also back by popular demand is Off-Broadway’s One Funny Mother Starring Dena Blizzard on March 28–30. Blizzard is a viral video sensation and creator of the Back to School Rant (125 million views), Chardonnay Go (24 million views) and Chardonnay Go: The Board Game for Wine Lovers, Moms and Other Shameless People. Join the comedian, former Miss New Jersey and married mother of three on her hilarious journey through the trials and tribulations of motherhood and marriage. Since becoming a mother, Blizzard wrestles with the eternal question, “Have I gone crazy since having these kids?” One Funny Mother was named “Best One Woman Show” at the 2015 United Solo Festival in New York City.

The series concludes on May 3 with a return of Beatles for Sale: Lennon and McCartney Revisited, which takes a magical mystery tour back to the 1960s to explore the high-energy, youthful vitality of The Beatles. The concert, which features four talented young performers who channel the Fab Four, focuses on some of The Beatles’ famous B-sides including “Anna,” “This Boy,” “Another Girl,” “You Won’t See Me,” “In My Life,” “Paperback Writer” and “We Can Work It Out.” The show also includes classics such as “Twist and Shout,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “I Want to Hold You Hand” and a medley from Abbey Road. Not your average Beatles show, Beatles for Sale is a reincarnated performance of what the actual Beatles did live.

Tickets for most Visiting Artists Series performances are now on sale. Special pricing is available for groups of 10 or more. Visit BucksCountyPlayhouse.org or call the box office at 215–862–2121 to purchase tickets. Bucks County Playhouse is located at 70 S. Main St., New Hope.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com