Act II Playhouse Month of Comedy Includes ‘Why I’m Scared of Dance’ and ‘First Impressions’

Jen Childs (center) in Why I'm Scared of Dance
By A.D. AMOROSI

January is Comedy Month at Act II Playhouse in Ambler, PA, and Philadelphia’s Tony Braithwaite is in his element. Long the lead in a host of productions at the 130-seat performance space, Braithwaite – a Barrymore Award winner for excellence in local theater - became the artistic director at Act II in 2012. This month, along with his own one-man-show of Presidential humor, First Impressions (Jan 21), Braithwaite will bring his longtime collaborator, Jen Childs, to the theater for one of her most outrageous showcases, Why I’m Scared of Dance (Jan 18-27).

Tony Braithwaite and Jen Childs
Together, Braithwaite and Child have a Nichols & May-like (or is it Burns & Allen?) professional relationship that goes back to 1998 with the start of Childs' all-comedy theatrical troupe, 1812 Productions. Through their work in smartly scripted original productions such as the quirky Let’s Pretend We’re Famous and vaudeville-based shows like The Big Time, they became known one of Philly’s funniest teams.

Separately, each of these comic thespians have been hailed for their work in Philly theater, from Braithwaite’s take on Neil Simon’s classic The Odd Couple to Child’s direction of Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows.

Child’s is usually a brainy comic writer and actress, but her play Why I’m Scared of Dance is a tour de force of physical buffoonery that finds her making broad slapstick sport of the traditions of ballet, tap and jazz.

Tony Braithwaite in First Impressions
As for Braithwaite, he’ll utilize one of Act II’s usually dark Monday nights for his presidential comedy First Impressions. In this one-man-show, penned with pal Howie Brown, Braithwaite shows off his impersonation skills by mimicking heads of state such as Nixon, Reagan and both Bushes. Though an actual transcript of these Presidents’ time in office would surely read like a comedy script, expect Braithwaite to give each an unusual personal twist.

For showtimes and ticket info:
act2playhouse.org

Braithwaite & Childs Photo: John Flak
Why I'm Scared of Dance Photo: John Flak
First Impressions Photo: Rick Prieur

Posted on Friday, January 18, 2013 12:30 PM