Tonight (Friday, July 1) at 8 PM and tomorrow (Saturday, July 2) at 2 PM, Save the Day Productions presents, for the second straight Independence Day Weekend, Superheroes Who Are Patriotic!. The group decribes this production as providing “Independence Day justice, CAPTAIN AMERICA style” and celebrating “our nation’s greatest hero.”
The premise of the hour-long performances is campy word-for-word staged readings of classic comic books, using, according to press release, “the best in low-budget costumes and special effects, witty word play and absurd physical hijinks.”
The performances will take place at the Plays & Players Theater Mainstage, at 1714 Delancey Place in Center City. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door, and they are available for online purchase or by calling 800-595-4TIX. The Saturday, but not the Friday, performance is deemed “family friendly.”
The material for the performances comes from three individual comic books. The first, “Meet Captain America!” (Captain America Comics #1), is highlighted by Captain America punching Adolf Hitler in the face. In the second, “Introducing… The Mighty Thor!” (Journey Into Mystery #83), lame Dr. Donald Blake, in response to the Stone-Men from Saturn’s invasion of Earth, strikes a wooden stick on the ground and finds himself transformed into Thor, the God of Thunder. The finale is based on Chapter 5 of “Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles” (Marvel Treasury Special, released, appropriately enough, in 1976). In this finale, Captain America, witnessing a battle on the moon in America’s future, comes to the sad realization that people will never stop fighting. Subsequently, he appears in a classic Hollywood movie musical and becomes outraged at its hollow pomp, circumstance and parody of patriotism.
Directed by Jim Knipple, Superheroes Who Are Patriotic! stars Peter Zielinski as Captain America and Thor. Other performers are Theresa Leahy, Chris Morse, Brendan Norton, Angela Smith and Jason Stockdale.
Save the Day Productions was created in Philadelphia in 2007 by Daniel Student. Regularly performing to sold-old audiences, the group is available for corporate events and parties. According to Student, “There is a rawness, an intimacy, and an electricyt to these performances. The audience has such an absolute love for the material and the actors playing off their energy highlights what live theater is all about – share joy. Imagine a Batman, a Superman, or a Wolverine you can reach out and touch – it’s as ridiculous as it is wonderful.”
Plays & Players Theater opened as a social club in 1911. Its physical theater, designed and constructed by Amos W. Barnes, opened in 1912. It has been three years since Plays & Players transformed itself from a community theater to a professional theater. The stays goal of Plays & Players is to “engage and involve the local community by producing new and classic theatrical productions with local artists; crafting collaborative opportunities with other performing companies; offering adult and family-focused educational programs; and preserving, restoring and enhancing [their] historic Plays & Players Theater.”