What to do: March 31 – April 10

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Portrait of Len Webb
Photo: J.R. Blackwell

Hey there, Weekly Phillies — I appreciate all of you who have reached out to say how much you enjoy reading the Event Calendar again. I really do; makes my typing fingers dance.

Last week, in response to my search for your favorite bartender, a certain barkeep at a certain ale house received a vote of confidence but without much evidence to support the claim. This week, the receipts have come in by way of Michele Garrity, who shares with us the ballad of John Doyle* of McGillin’s Olde Ale House (1310 Drury St., 19107).

“Len — John Doyle is by far my favorite bartender. I started going to McGillin’s in 2002. On Christmas Eve a few years later, my Dad and I stopped in McGillin’s to have some holiday cheer. Upon seeing John, my Dad yelled ‘JOHN DOYLE!’ John came over, said hello to my Dad, and said, ‘Is this your daughter?’ My Dad said yes. [John] said, ‘She’s in here all the time.’ My friendship with John Doyle was born. John always looked out for me while I was at McGillin’s, whether it was making sure I had a drink or telling a guy I was too good for them, to take a hike. I started taking any guy I dated into McGillin’s so John and Chris Mullins would tell me what they thought. (And they never held back their opinions.) Fast forward to 2022, I have been married for almost 5 years and both John and Chris were invited to my wedding. Clearly, they approved of my husband. My friendship with John has only grown deeper over the years. About a year and a half ago I turned 40, in the middle of Covid. Instead of going to Vegas with my friends, I had some friends at my parents’ house in Sea Isle. Guess who the surprise guest was? John Doyle ????

Everyone enjoying a pint, a drink, a happy hour cocktail at McGillin’s — tell John that Michele sent us, and maybe he’ll dance at your wedding, too. Thanks for sharing your story (and John) with all of us, Michele.

* I can’t help but think if I meet him at the bar, I’ll go “Hey, what’s your name?” and he’ll whip a hand towel over his shoulder and say “Doyle. John Doyle.” Like he’s an international bartender of mystery or something.

Also, if you want a nice bite to go with your toddy and you want to feel good about it, there’s a special Women, Whiskey & More Happy Hour at the ol’ Ember & Ash (Wednesday, Mar 30th; 1520 E. Passyunk Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19147), which has made a fine go of it over there in East Passyunk despite opening during the heart of the pandemic in 2020. They’re closing out Women’s History Month with a special menu and special cocktails; now all they need is someone special like you. Proceeds will benefit Women Against Abuse, a Philadelphia nonprofit whose mission is to provide quality, compassionate and non-judgmental service to those affected by violence.


Email me len@philadelphiaweekly.com and we can tell them you sent us. Got it?

And now — guess what time it is?

Well, actually, first there’s … 


Marrying gospel, blues and righteous R&B, the band Southern Avenue brings their Memphis-flavored soul to Philly for one night only. The Grammy-nominated collective is on a nationwide mission to show you how to “be the love you want.” * They may be one of the coolest-looking blues bands this side of Gangstagrass.

Southern Avenue; Thurs March 31, 8 p.m., City Winery Philadelphia (Main Stage), 990 Filbert St., Philadelphia, PA 19107

And now something for the geeks out there —


Let your geek flag fly and come as you are or in your most amazing cosplay gear. Do something awesome on stage or watch a variety of awesome like-minded folk get down; the choice is yours! Get your comics and watch some comics, musicians, creatives who are “nerdy by nature.” * The organizer is comedian Keith From Up Da Block. Go to any neighborhood in Philly and start yelling “Keith! Yo, Keith!” He coming.

Nerdy By Nature; Fri April 1, 8 p.m., Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, 2578 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125; BYOB; 21+ w/ ID

But for you theater geeks — this brings us, finally, to —


Philly Theatre Week is back! Philly Theatre Week (PTW) is Theatre Philadelphia’s 10-day celebration of artists, organizations and audiences that have made Greater Philadelphia one of the most vibrant theatre regions in the nation. Audiences will have an opportunity to try unique events from our theatre community through a choice of dozens of in-person, virtual, outdoor and non-traditional productions, readings and much more! * I love live theater. Years ago (when the pepper outnumbered the salt on my head ten-fold), I worked with Ekklesia Theater Ministry in West Oak Lane and Mount Airy teaching theater basics to children 6-15; I miss Kids In Theaterland. I performed in productions and on stages all over the city. Broadway does splendor but nothing gets LIVE like a stage of brotherly love.

Philly Theatre Week, presented by Theatre Philadelphia; Friday, April 1 through Monday, April 10; for information about the multiple productions and venues, visit theatrephiladelphia.org

Now, I can’t give you their entire PTW Guide, but these are a few of the items that I highlighted in mine. I think there are something like 70-80 productions going on this week. I’m gonna be up till 5.99 in the morning!

We speak ourselves into existence. But, what happens when others of the world silence your tones to cacophony their worth? An intersectional poetic self-guided expedition of sound and unearthing through the streets of South Philadelphia curated and written by TS Hawkins* & Lois Moses. * TS Hawkins is dope AF.

Community Capital: An Afrofuturism South Philly Walking Experience; April 1 thru April 10; Visit theatrephiladelphia.org for details

What do you do when your boss goes on vacation … in the middle of a pandemic? With the master away, watch three servants play as they swindle a rogues’ gallery of ridiculous characters out of their cash and their dignity. Written for the reopening of the London theatres after the plague outbreak of 1610, “The Alchemist” is Ben Jonson’s chemistry lesson in comedy.

The Alchemist, presented by Quintessence Theatre Group; Fri April 1, 7:30 p.m Sat April 2, 2:00 p.m Sun April 3, 3:00 p.m. Thurs April 7, 7:30 p.m. Sat April 9, 7:30 p.m The Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19119

Curio Theatre Company presents Lanie Robertson’s critically acclaimed play, starring beloved company member and Barrymore Award winner Ebony Pullum. The play explores the life of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday during one of her final performances in Philadelphia.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill; Fri April 1, Sat April 2, Thurs April 7, 8 p.m.; Sat April 9, 3 p.m., 8 p.m., Curio Theatre Company, 4740 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19143

Do you also find Jesus’ naked body on the cross super sexy? We dive into that and much more such as: losing our virginity in the most holy way, the “A” word, cosmic bowling experiences leading to impure behavior, and the list goes on. Blending stand-up, improv and your sinful audience participation, “Catholic Guilt” examines the power of religion and the affect it can have on one’s psyche.

Catholic Guilt; Fri April 1 and 8, 8 p.m., Franky Bradley’s, 1320 Chancellor St., Philadelphia, PA 19107

When the resident theatre at a Jewish Community Center commissions a new play about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a Jordanian-Jewish playwright, the Center finds itself pulled in conflicting directions. In such polarized times when extreme voices threaten to pull an institution (or a country) off its foundation, how does one hold onto the center?

Settlements, presented by InterAct Theatre Company; Fri April 1 and 8, 8 p.m.; Sat April 2 and 9, 2 p.m., 8 p.m.; Sun April 3 and 10, 2 p.m., 8 p.m.; Wed April 6, 7 p.m., The Drake Theatre, 302 S. Hicks St., Philadelphia, PA 19102

In this new play by acclaimed satirist R. Eric Thomas, a change is in the air for a family after an unexpected loss. Mel, mother of Avery and Jessica, tries to reclaim her place in a gentrified neighborhood while her kids learn firsthand how to balance their own lives. Praised by Lin-Manuel Miranda as “one of the funniest writers,” R. Eric Thomas’s play contemplates what it means to start over again.

Backing Track; Fri April 1 and 8, 8 p.m.; Sat April 2 and 9, 2 p.m., 8 p.m.; Sun April 3, 2 p.m.; Wed April 6, 2 p.m., 6:30 p.m.; Thurs April 7, 7 p.m.; Sun April 10, 2 p.m., 7 p.m., Arcadia Stage at Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106

A multidisciplinary theater performance, highlighting Mexican immigrants striving to preserve their languages and traditions through workshops, research and oral histories involving Aztec dance, fandango, poetry and many more elements that preserve and elucidate their Mexican identity.

The Nichos Community Project; Sat April 2, 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Esperanza Arts Center, 4261 N. 5th St., Philadelphia, PA 19140

This long-running comedy show mixes real lectures with improv comedy as guests from all walks of life lecture on a topic they are familiar with, after which a cast of amazing improvisers will use what they learned (or didn’t learn) to create hilarious scenes right before your eyes! Whether you were the class president or the class clown — you will love Study Hall! * Shameless plug — I will be one of the lecturers, along with my co-host on the Micheaux Mission podcast, Vincent Williams. We’ll be talking about Black iconography in pop culture; make something funny of that, I dare ya!

Study Hall: Comedy Inspired By Lectures; Sat April 2, 7 p.m., Theatre Exile, 1340 S. 13th St., Philadelphia, PA 19147 

No Diggity host Tia Kemp curates a playlist of old-school hip hop and R&B music videos that inspire the hilarious scenes. Audience members will be quizzed on their old-school knowledge. The only show in Philly Theatre Week with “and usher and Usher!” Presented by Crossroads Comedy Theater. * I have a dear friend who was put on this earth 40-odd years ago just so she could be alive at this moment.

No Diggity: Improv Inspired By Old School Hip Hop and R&B; Sun April 3, 8 p.m., Theatre Exile, 1340 S. 13th S., Philadelphia, PA 19147

Meet Sophie, as she explores her most authentic erotic sensual self as a Black Woman leveraging the erotic as power through a long-form, 45-minute burlesque performance. Part of Cannonball Festival’s Miniball, an eclectic, weeklong performance festival featuring extraordinary shows from risk-taking independent artists that run the gamut from contemporary circus, erotic performance and burlesque to clown and immersive works. * And she’s a Trekkie, too.

Sophie Sucre: A Study in Sensual Performance via the Humanist Gaze; Sun April 3, 8:30 p.m., Mon April 4, 6:30 p.m., Tues April 5, 8 p.m., The Maas Building, 1320 N. 5th St., Philadelphia, PA 19122

The World War comes, takes its toll and passes, bringing us up almost to today; and throughout the whole family history of Becky Felderman and her daughters, we are presented in the most entertaining and vivid fashion with the ups and downs, minor tragedy or broad comedy that go to make up the day-to-day life of this essentially healthy and sane family of ex-emigrants.

Morning Star; Mon April 4, 7 p.m., Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks St., Philadelphia, PA 19102

Drunk Lion follows an alcoholic Lion who spends his days drinking into oblivion in a cantina, until he meets Chris, a young foreigner learning how to speak Spanish. The unlikely pair forge an intoxicated bond over life, love and alcohol.

Drunk Lion; Fri April 8 and Sat April 9, 8 p.m. Venue is located in South Philadelphia near East Passyunk. Address will be delivered upon reservation; more information available at theatrephiladelphia.org

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