Press Release: PHILADELPHIA THEATRE COMPANY SWINGS INTO FEBRUARY WITH ‘THE SUMMER CLUB: A BIG BAND VALENTINE’S DAY’
An evening of song and swing awaits local music lovers as Philadelphia Theatre Company presents “The Summer Club: A Big Band Valentine’s Day.” Cupid shoots his arrow down music’s memory lane this February 14th as audiences are transported to an era when clubs were hot, everyone dressed up and martinis came straight up. Take the Lead Dance Project will have everyone swinging in the aisles with free dance lessons before the show. Champagne cocktails will be pouring at the bar and Asher’s Chocolates will provide a sweet treat to remember the night. This one-night only event takes place at Philadelphia Theatre Company at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre (480 S. Broad). Doors open at 6:00pm, with showtime at 7:00pm. Tickets are on sale for $25 to $69 at philadelphiatheatrecompany.org
“Philadelphia Theatre Company is excited to welcome audiences into the new year with a wonderfully unique experience,” said PTC Producing Artistic Director Paige Price. “Our jewel-box theatre is the perfect setting for The Summer Club’s Big Band sound and we could not dream up a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by sharing this powerhouse lineup of music and theatre talent.”
The Summer Club strikes up the band with a new Valentine’s Day show presented by Philadelphia Theatre Company. Music Director Larry Lees leads a 17-piece orchestra playing a 22-song set of big band favorites. Founder Jeff Coon will perform alongside other musical theatre favorites whom local audiences have seen on the stages of the Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theatre and 11th Hour Theatre, like Fran Prisco, J.P. Dunphy, Michael Philip O’Brien and Rebecca Robbins. Selections will include big band favorites like “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “L-O-V-E,” and “It Had To Be You.”
“The Summer Club is a show that hearkens back to the supper club era (yes, we deliberately wanted to make people think of supper club with our name) of live music played by bands that were considered stars almost as big as the vocalists with whom they played; when audiences got dressed up for a night out,” said Coon. “We want people to feel like they’re experiencing an event, not just another show. Each time people come to The Summer Club, we guarantee them a great night of live music and entertainment that makes them feel like they’re a member of the Club. They enjoy a different show every time they see and hear us.”
Before the show, Philadelphia Theatre Company invites all the cool cats for free dance lessons from Jackie Fisher and her Take the Lead Dance Project. Fisher, a professional dancer, teaching artist and TTLDP Executive Director, will warm up the crowds wishing to get off their feet during the show. After the performance, audiences are invited to meet the actors and musicians during a special meet and greet. Champagne cocktails will pour all night at the PTC lobby bar and all guests will leave with a sweet treat provided courtesy of Asher’s Chocolates.
“Presenting live music continues our mission this year to bring new audiences into our space, show them what they are missing, and invite them back when we launch our new season of plays and musicals this fall,” added Price. “This is the perfect mid-winter treat for theatre and music lovers – plus it’s a great opportunity for couples looking for a romantic night on the town.”
Coon added to Price’s sentiments and said, “I am excited to bring The Summer Club to PTC for so many reasons. First of all, I think our show fits like a glove in the space itself. There is a perfect sized stage and house for what we do that is intimate and yet still big enough to let our musicians fill the space with sound. Second, I’m so thrilled and excited by what Paige Price, Emily Zeck and the entire staff at PTC are doing this year as a means of getting ready for the future. I think they’re so smart and I’m inspired and humbled as a Philadelphia artist to be included in their first season of programming … In short, it’s a great night out. I hope audiences put on their best shoes, grab an early dinner, come to take part in the dance classes before the show, have a cocktail (or two) in the lobby, and then settle into their seats before the show makes them want to dance in them.”
Tickets are on sale now for $25 to $69. Membership and ticket info is available by visiting http://philadelphiatheatrecomp
ABOUT THE SUMMER CLUB
Started in Cape May, NJ in the summer of 2014, The Summer Club is retro, nightclub-style musical event featuring a 17-piece swing band led by Larry Lees fronted by white dinner jacket clad crooners Jeffrey Coon, Fran Prisco, JP Dunphy and Michael O’Brien. This special evening of live entertainment highlights music from the Golden Era of Song, American Standards and Broadway hits, specially arranged and orchestrated by Larry Lees for The Summer Club. Audiences will enjoy different experiences on each visit to The Summer Club as each show features different setlists specifically tailored for the Special Guests who join The Summer Clubbers for each swinging event. The Summer Club hearkens back to an era of music and entertainment that you simply don’t see or hear anywhere else today.
ABOUT ARTISTS OF THE SUMMER CLUB
Jeffrey Coon has been a professional actor and singer based in the Philadelphia area since 1993. Called by Philadelphia Weekly, “one of Philadelphia’s most talented and vocally gifted musical performers,” Jeff has appeared in over 100 professional productions and been nominated for 10 Barrymore Awards, winning once. He appears frequently at Walnut Street Theatre and Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia, and has performed nationally with Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, The Prince Music Theatre, Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars, and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, among others. He has performed as ‘Jean Valjean’ in Les Miserables, ‘Harold Hill’ in The Music Man, ‘Che’ in Evita, and ‘Gaston’ in Beauty and the Beast, in addition to numerous other notable roles. Many thanks to all of the Summer Clubbers and the Independence Foundation who have been so supportive of this show and the people in it. Love to P, J, and J as always. www.jeffreycoon.com.
JP Dunphy is proud to be a member of this extraordinary show with such amazingly talented colleagues! A Villanova, PA resident, he has recently been seen in Media Theatre’s production of Beauty and the Beast, Hello, Dolly!, Ghost, Les Miserables, The Addams Family, and Sunset Boulevard as ‘Manfred.’ Favorite roles include ‘Frankie’ in Forever Plaid and ‘Corny Collins’ in Hairspray. Other regional works include Mame, Annie, Rent, Jekyll & Hyde, The Who’s Tommy, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Spamalot. Proud member of SAG/AFTRA/AEA.
Michael Philip O’Brien is a native Philadelphian and graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is a four-time Barrymore Award Nominee, winning the award for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Musical in 2009. New York Credits: The York Theatre, Greenwich Street Theatre, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Regional Credits: Walnut Street Theatre, Theatre Under The Stars, NJPAC, Milwaukee Rep., The Arden, Prince Music Theatre, Bristol Riverside, and many more. Michael is also the Co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of 11th Hour Theatre Company, Philadelphia’s Boutique Musical Theatre Company. Now celebrating it’s 11th Anniversary Season, 11th Hour has received over 30 Barrymore Award Nominations and produced 16 musicals, including 9 Philadelphia Premieres.
Fran Prisco, a Philadelphia native and resident, has developed a reputation as one of his home town’s favorite performers! His resume boasts 30 productions at the Walnut Street Theatre, which includes two Barrymore Award nominations. He also has performed for most of Philly’s excellent theatre companies including: The Arden, The Wilma, Philadelphia Theatre Co., 1812 Productions, 11th Hour, and Delaware Theatre Co., among others. Previously, he’s had the honor of returning to his college campus to portray ‘Ali Hakim’ in Oklahoma! for the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. His performing career has taken him all over the country, including on two National Tours of Forever Plaid and a six-month gig in Denver, CO for a production of My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra. He is also a respected cabaret artist. Cabarets he has created and performed include A Tribute to Johnnie Ray and An Evening of Break Up Songs For Stupid Valentine’s Day!
Rebecca Robbins is honored to be performing with The Summer Club this Valentine’s Day. Most recently Rebecca was seen as ‘Grace Farrell’ in Annie and also played the title role in Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins at the Walnut Street Theatre. Prior to that she toured North America for almost two years with The Phantom of The Opera where, along with playing her roles as ‘Madame Firmin’ and ‘The Confidante,’ she frequently played opera diva ‘Carlotta Guidicelli’ at theatres across the country, including The Kennedy Center, San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre, and Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre. Before joining the tour, Rebecca was a member of the Broadway company of The Phantom of The Opera, playing the Majestic Theatre for almost 3 years. Other Broadway/Off-Broadway credits include A Tale of Two Cities, My Fair Lady (NY Philharmonic), The Pajama Game, Fiorello, Fanny, Music in the Air and The New Moon (City Center Encores!), as well as Wallace Shawn’s world premier play, The Music Teacher (The New Group). She has also been seen in numerous regional productions including 16 shows at the Walnut Street Theatre. In New York City, she has performed at such legendary venues as The Friars Club, Birdland, Sardi’s, and The Metropolitan Room. Rebecca is an alumna of the Curtis Institute of Music and holds a BA in music from the University of Charleston. She is a proud cancer survivor and an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan. For more info, visit www.rebeccarobbins.com.
Larry Lees (Music Director) is a composer, lyricist, arranger, orchestrator, and conductor working primarily in the Philadelphia and New York City areas. Major works include the original musicals: Jonestown, 16 Days, and the forthcoming Wonder Pig; as well as the operatic work, Obesa Cantavit: The True Tale of a Music Legend and the Sandwich Who Loved Her. Additionally, he has written incidental music for several plays, including The Magic of Mrs. Crowling (2007 Innovative Theatre Award nomination), The Colonel’s Holiday, The Blood Brothers Present…, and The Birth, Adoption and Death of Dorothy Dutchess. Apart from his theatrical works, Larry’s compositions and arrangements have been featured in some of NYC’s most renowned music venues including 54 Below, Birdland, Joe’s Pub, and The Metropolitan Room. In recent years, Larry has had the pleasure to be welcomed into the world of the circus, having created original scores for several seasons with the world-famous Circus Vargas, contributing original songs to the acclaimed clown duo Steve and Ryan, and now serving as the resident composer for Venardos Circus Productions. Among other things, he was the conductor and orchestrator for We Tell The Story: The Songs of Ahrens and Flaherty (Lucille Lortel Theatre), and recently completed a return NY engagement of Carole Bufford’s cabaret hit, Speak Easy, which he co-created, orchestrated, and conducted — and which featured the talents of the legendary Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. Visit www.larrylees.com for more information.
ABOUT JACKIE FISHER
Jackie Fisher (Executive Director) founded Philadelphia Dance Foundation’s first high school social dance program, Take the Lead Dance Project, in 2016, which, in 2017, became the name of the organization. Jackie started her professional dancing career in 2002. She has an extensive background in teaching and performing. In 2008, she began teaching social dance in the New York City School District for the international arts education nonprofit organization, Dancing Classrooms, becoming one of their select senior teaching artists. Jackie taught grades 4, 5, 8, 11, and 12, but felt that the high school students needed and appreciated social dance instruction the most. She was frequently impressed with the enthusiasm high school students displayed for their social dance program. Repeatedly, Jackie received testimony from students, teachers, and administrators as to how life changing the social dance program was for them. For that reason, PDF is dedicated to promoting social dance for high school students in the city of Philadelphia.
2017-2018 SEASON CONTINUES
Philadelphia Theatre Company continues its commitment to sharing the unique American experience and presents an exciting festival-style theatre season under the leadership of new Producing Artistic Director Price. The ambitious 2017-2018 lineup includes plays, music, comedy, and political commentary and features top local and national voices. With Price at the helm of the company, PTC begins a bold new chapter for the ground-breaking organization.
“We want PTC to be a destination for the discovery of theatre as well as the place you seek out for finely wrought plays and musicals,” said Price. “We have already begun the season planning process for next year.”
The season began with the World Premiere of Bob Garfield’s Ruggedly Jewish, Kathleen Turner’s cabaret debut, Finding My Voice and Aaron Davidman’s Wrestling Jerusalem. The theatre welcomed Mike Daisey, who delivered two brand new monologues, This is Not Normal and The End of Journalism. The Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company delivered two improvised comedy shows and the theatre welcomed a house full of little princesses for the sing-along A Dream Is A Wish: Princess Holiday Concert. In 2018, PTC welcomes Musical Thrones: A Parody of Ice and Fire (February 9 and 10) and the Philadelphia premiere of Small Mouth Sounds (March 13 to April 1).
PTC’s 2017-2018 season is sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, Independence Blue Cross, Dranoff Properties, Center City Film & Video, and American Airlines, the official airline of Philadelphia Theatre Company.
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA THEATRE COMPANY
Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) is a leading regional theater company that produces, develops, and presents entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience. PTC balances its Philadelphia roots with a national point of view that combines a taste for adventure with a dedication to new American plays and musicals.
Founded in 1974, PTC has presented 140 world and Philadelphia premieres. More than 50 percent of PTC’s world premieres have moved on to New York and other major cities, helping to earn Philadelphia a national reputation as a hub for new play development. PTC has received more than 180 nominations and 53 awards from the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. In 2007, PTC was instrumental in expanding Philadelphia’s thriving cultural corridor by opening the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.