Theater Exile Scores Touchdown with Tommy & Me
Theatre Exile now entering their 20th anniversary season and has never been hotter, last week their show “Tommy & Me” was sold out at the La Peg! In this month’s Philly Mag they won Best of Philly, and in the last two season, produced the much-acclaimed and talked about world premiere of Rizzo about Frank Rizzo Mayor, plus they won several Barrymores last two years, etc.
Last Saturday I covered the Opening Night of Tommy & Me, a heart warming story of Ray Didinger’s relationship with his boyhood hero Tommy McDonald to life.
Ron Raucci (who is an Eagles fanatic, he showed me his man cave with nearly every jersey ever worn by an Eagle, and signed) and Michele Baratta, who’s gotta love the game.
Joe Melnick, Giuliana Zallie and Bruce Zallies, sponsor of Tommy & Me and Producing Artistic Director Deborah Block . Sponsors included SportsRadio 94 WIP, Zallie Supermarkets and Comcast SportsNet
Craig McCall and Cathy McCall
Nick Stuccio, President & Producing Director – Fringe Arts. Gabe Canuso, Fringe Arts Board, Joanne Marder, Fringe Arts and Amy Nassar, Fringe Arts – The Fringe Arts festival is coming up
Ray Didinger, play-write of Tommy and Me, Tommy McDonald , Eagles legend, and Joe Canuso Founding Artistic Director Theater Exile,
Most theater companies do not pay for their productions with ticket sales alone, there are donors, grants, season subscriptions, etc. Tickets are just part of the process. For this show, the entire production was paid for before the doors even opened by Theatre Exile‘s use of a kickstarter – this is a new and modern way to fund theater and other cultural projects. There was so much public support for this Tommy & Me, that the kickstarter goal was $35,000 and they raised over $40,000!
On opening night there was a tailgate party at La Peg.
Tommy McDonald himself granted an exclusive interview with Philadelphia Magazine – here’s what he had to say – including what he thinks of the Eagles here and now:
Spike Eskin and Valerie Eskin
Ray Didinger and a fan, who is wearing #25 which was Tommy McDonald’s number.
Tommy greeting fans before the show
Here’s the shows coming up in the rest of the 20th anniversary season:
Guards at the Taj
Directed by Deborah Block
October 20 – November 13
In 1648 India, two Imperial Guards watch from their post as the sun rises for the first time on the newly-completed Taj Mahal—an event that shakes their respective worlds. When they are ordered to perform an unthinkable task, the aftermath forces them to question the concepts of friendship, beauty, and duty, and changes them forever.
By John Pollono
Directed by Joe Canuso
February 16 – March 12
When Erica, their sixteen-year- old daughter, goes missing during a winter storm, Maggie and Lou—former high school sweethearts, now divorced—are forced to confront the legacy of their past decisions. Filled with poignant passions and dark humor, LOST GIRLS is a hard-hitting drama about the women of a blue-collar family struggling to rise above their limited prospects, in a world indifferent to their struggles, to prevent history from repeating itself.
By Tracey Scott Wilson
Directed by Matt Pfeiffer
May 4 – May 28
Jackson, an upwardly-mobile black attorney, has just bought an apartment in a transitioning neighborhood in Brooklyn. He sees the potential of his old neighborhood, as does his white girlfriend Suzy…at first. When Jackson’s childhood friend Don leaves rehab to crash with them, the trio quickly becomes trapped between the tensions inside their own home and the dangers that may lurk outside.
PLUS: Suzanne Roberts Theater is opening their season with Theatre Exile’s production of RIZZO (September 23 – October 16, 2016) by Bruce Graham, based on the best-selling book by Sal Paolantonio called Rizzo: The Last Big Man in Big City America and again directed by Exile’s Founding Artistic Director, Joe Canuso.