Theater in the Round (Up): ‘Funny Girl’ is here and local summer theater camps heat up

Katerina McCrimmon stars in ‘Funny Girl’ at the Academy of Music.

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‘Funny Girl’

Every big, hot summer comes with, at least one big, hot musical theater stage extravaganza, and this July, that means the newly-exported-from-Broadway production of ‘Funny Girl. Famously composed by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, the musical that famously put Barbra Streisand on the map 60 years ago for its telling of the story of brashly unconventional comedian-vocalist Fanny Brice, has gotten a boldly updated book from ‘Torch Song Trilogy’ writer-actor Harvey Fierstein.

The Philly version of ‘Funny Girl’ will welcome its star, Katerina McCrimmon, to the stages of the Academy of Music from July 16 to 28 with platinum-plated singer Melissa Manchester as her mom. Plus, joining the road cast as an ensemble member of ‘Funny Girl’ is recent Temple University graduate and one time actor for ‘The Walking Dead: Dead City’  Sean Seamus Thompson.

Widening the Circle

No Philadelphia theater summer is complete without its diverse host of drama classes, playwrighting workshops and theater camps.

Philadelphia choreographer, performer and Fidget warehouse art space co-director Megan Bridge takes over FringeArts Central from July 8 to 12, with Widening the Circle, a weeklong intensive workshop where movement and mindfulness are key to maximal educational benefit— and, formal dance training is not a requirement. 

“Widening the Circle is ultimately about helping people get more present — to themselves and their physical experience, to their surroundings, and to each other,” says Bridge. “In the workshop, I’ll guide participants to do this through movement, stretching, meditation and deep play.”

Arden Theatre summer camps

Old City’s Arden Theatre is offering a variety of summer camps this season, including: ‘Design Camp’ (July 8-12), where professionals teach campers how to take their ideas from page to stage, and get introduced to the ABCs of the theatrical design process; ‘Comedy Camp’ (July 22-26), where kids are guided to create their own short-form comedy sketches, improvisations and routines; and ‘Musical Theatre Camp’ (Aug. 5-9), where kids learn to connect complex stories to lyrics and music.

HotHouse Summer Training Institute

For the recently Tony Award-winning Wilma Theater, their HotHouse Summer Training Institute on Broad Street – led by HotHouse Company Member actor and director Justin Jain – is all about immersing young and old students “in the dynamic physical and vocal techniques of the HotHouse, and encourage ensemble, openness, creativity, and rigorous play.”

The bottom line here is that if you want to win a regional Tony, you got to train as intensely as any Wilma HotHouse company member. Classes run from July 29 to Aug. 2.

Philadelphia Theatre Co.

The Philadelphia Theatre Co. is hosting a summer education program series from Aug. 5 to 9, and Aug. 19 to 23. PTC’s director of education Anjoli Santiago, local actor-educator Madeleine Russell and residents from the Philadelphia Young Playwrights will guide 4th through 9th graders, working to “engage children in a lunch-and-learn conversations,” while teaching kids about “Philadelphia’s theatre history and explore the language of movement and dance to Philly-made rhythms.”

Writes Santiago: “What better way to engage local youth than with a weeklong summer program that offers a fun, theatre-focused education featuring acting, dance, and some cool Philadelphia history?”

Paper Wings Summer Theater Camp

Theatre Exile in South Philly is again hosting its Paper Wings Summer Theater Camp, which playfully and intelligently pushes its inquisitive young students to write, then perform, their own new works. This year, the company is offering two rounds for camps: Session I: Acting in Exile (July 22 to 26); and Session II: Scene Study & Script Sculpting (Aug. 19 to 23.)