Last weekend I went to the opening night of this new play, "Philly" in Saint Louis Park, and was VERY impressed! Not expecting more than local community theatre, what I got was a 30 member cast performing a musical that was better than most of the plays I've seen in the last year. Then I get an e-mail today, inviting me to go back again (and bring any friends also) .... for HALF-PRICE. Good theatre for cheep? no-brainer, my friends! Let's do it this weekend. I think we will have a great time, here's some information:
So what's it actually like? Let me give you a couple quotes:
"Philly" is a based on a true story of a New York rock band that almost made it big. With a cast of thirty talented and passionate performers, an explosive dance team including one of Minnesota's foremost Tap Dancers, "Philly" combines the youthful energy of "Grease," the pop culture appeal of "Mamma Mia," and the old-school musical style of the "Jersey Boys," to deliver a fun yet poignant story that will resonate with everyone who's ever dreamed of trying to do something really "big." Energized with unforgettable, high-spirited and touching original music, "Philly" will ignite your soul and touch your heart, reminding you just how special dreams, family and friends are. And here's a bit of story synopsis:
It’s 1980 Yonkers, N.Y., and Johnny Calacucci believes he has what it takes to be a rock'n'roll songwriter and is determined to make it. He has a vision and a "Formula for Success." Though his Dad isn’t happy to see him back at the family butcher shop after putting him through four years of college, Johnny’s determined to follow his lifelong dream of rock'n'roll stardom. Fortunately, his family's store and the dream-seeking characters that live in the low income neighborhood around it, have just what Johnny needs to build his greatest rock band ever "Philly."
It's there that Johnny finds Phyllis Scarpetti, a dark-haired beauty with an incredible aura and a big, superstar voice. And together with his best friend Ronnie Thompson, a classically-trained keyboardist and girl-challenged accountant, they discover the rest of the band in JoJo Reed, the hyper, tattooed drummer whose beats are magically entrancing; Scot "Chainsaw" McCray, whose guitar playing cuts to the heart; Debbie Fein, a sweet hard-working girl who can hit incredible soprano notes; Vinnie Moreno, a quiet neighborhood guy and cab driver who lives to play guitar; and Lita Santos, a beautiful Puerto Rican with a soulful voice who strives to build a better life for herself and her family. And last, but definitely not least, Erwin Getz, Johnny's Mom's boss, a high-level mob collector, who has connections to the "big time", and who decides Johnny not only has talent, but has "good karma" and deserves the big break he can provide.
Driven by youthful passion, excitement and a whole lot of heart, Philly presses forward, wins first place in a battle of the bands and eventually, a contract offer from Atlantic Records. Along the way, the band members navigate the personal challenges that come with being young and starting out with nothing but idealistic enthusiasm and incredibly big dreams. And when all seems to be lost, each somehow, find that just maybe, when one dream ends, a new, and even better dream begins. ....
HEY! what about the songs? Well they're all-newly written for the show, and lots of 'em! Here's a list:
1. GET DOWN AND READY - Johnny's recording rockin' new demo.
2. TOO LATE - A song that the entire salon enjoys singing to Patrick.
3. JOJO AND SCOT "CHAINSAW" AUDITIONS - Can you say "let's get dancing?"
4. WHEN YOU REALLY LOVE SOMEONE - Debbie's audition song.
5. JUST LIFT ME UP - Lita lays it on the line.
6. LOVE PLEASE FIND A WAY - Philly is born!
7. IT'S THE MONEY THEY WANT - Erwin, Paul Z and the Blondes try to give Johnny some advice at the racetrack.
8. ROCK STAR - Sister Connie belts out support for Johnny.
9. ROCK'N'ROLL PARTY - "Philly" the band tells their story and rocks for Erwin.
10. FIND A LOVE - Because life's all about finding your passion and dancing of course.
11. LOVING TOUCH - Phyllis re-lives her unhappy marriage.
12. STOP I'VE CLOSED THE DOOR - Johnny's not ready...
13. IN THE NIGHT WHEN NOBODY KNOWS - "Philly" the band rocks the club!
14. THE DREAMER - "Philly" the band lays it all out for Johnny and rock'n'roll.
15. WRONG SIDES OF THE TRACK - Lita and the girls get "pajama party" dramatic.
16. STARRY LIGHTS - The night and Johnny comes alive.
17. I NEVER THOUGHT I'D FALL IN LOVE - Phyllis arrives.
18. ONE STEP AT A TIME - A deep moment for all.
19. ALL MY LIFE - Two sweeties and a loving life ahead.
20. LOOK INTO MY EYES - A new dream.
21. BRING 'EM BACK (TO ROCK'N'ROLL) - Just when you think you're at the end, it's time to ROCK!
Enough, enough! You've read this far, so you do want to go, right? Well, where's it at? What's it cost? How do I get a ticket, already? ... Glad you asked. The theatre is shown in this map:
Regular ticket prices are between $20 to $30 bucks. As a previous playgoer, I can get a discount to a price of $12 (which includes a service fee) - pretty affordable, I think. These are general admission, and you would have to RSVP by Friday before 5pm, so I can buy you a ticket, and collect cash from you on Saturday. If you would rather reserve your own choice of ticket and seat location beforehand, just go to the website: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/621464 , you can even use a different discount code "PHILLYROCKS" to get a $5 discount off each of those kind of tickets.
There is lots more information at the show's website: http://www.phillythemusical.com/
And that's the whole deal, folks. Like I said before, It was a really fine play. I've seen Shakespeare in the park, experimental Red Eye stuff, quirky little garage tour summer stock, and Guthrie plays as of late, and "Philly" was right up there with the best - a very nice surprise for a show that had no hype before I saw it, but may go on to be big, big, big! (Broadway beckons ... )
See it now, tell everyone else that you went FIRST! Afterwards, I'm game for some post-play socializing at any of the many establishments back at the nearby Shops at West End. First drink is on you - HA!