Jim Rutter has reviewed theater in Philadelphia since 2006, and has written for the Philadelphia Inquirer since September, 2011. He has covered dance, theater, and opera for the Broad Street Review, and has also written for many suburban newspapers, including the Main Line Times. In 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a Fellowship in arts journalism. Thames & Hudson released his updated and revised version of "Ballet and Modern Dance" in June, 2012. From 1998 to 2005, he taught philosophy and logic at Drexel, and then Widener University. He has competed in the sport of weightlifting at the national level, is a USA Weightlifting National Coach, and coaches at his club, Philadelphia Barbell, which has produced multiple National level athletes, top-ten finishers and medalists.
By this Author
Mike Daisey's 'The Trump Card' at FringeArts (first review)
Big mouths strike again
Controversial performer and monologuist Mike Daisey takes on another controversial performer and monologuist: Donald Trump.
BalletX 2016 Summer Series with Klip Collective
Lost memories and vibrant dreams
BalletX's Summer Series brings technology into dance. But in the contest between human and machine, which one prevails?
A man's guide to the 2013 Fringe Arts Festival
No music or feelings, please: A man's guide to the Fringe Arts Festival
Men may dominate the theater world, but women dominate the audience. So how can a male theatergoer enjoy this month's Fringe Festival? By choosing carefully and relying on the expert guidance of my weightlifting teammates and drinking buddies.
Mask & Wig Club's "Beautopia'
124 years old, and still silly
Mask and Wig Club's Beautopia is set in a 25th-Century dictatorship, where citizens are ranked by physical appearance. Does this plot line sound familiar?
'Chronicle' vs. Plato's 'Republic'
What Plato could learn from teenagers
Plato suggested that even just men will be corrupted by unchecked power. Chronicle, a new teen fantasy flick, takes a different tack: Even the most just among us, it implies, have scores we're itching to settle, if only we had a magic wand or potion.
Headland's "Bachelorette,' by Luna
Lost generation, still losing
At a pre-wedding party, three single women fast approaching 30 chase down their sour grapes with pot, pills, and champagne. Notwithstanding its lack of plot, Bachelorette scores some perceptive points about the “happiness gap” suffered by young professional women who lack traditional families.
Billington's assault on absurdism
Absurdism isn't relevant? Don't be absurd!
Abdurdism, a European artistic response to the senseless horrors of World War II, has lost its relevance, according to critic Michael Billington. Yet from Greece to the Tea Party to the Occupy movement, millions of people today wander in aimless stupor like the hoboes in Beckett's Waiting For Godot.
My locker room buddy, Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il, the ultimate competitor
I first met Kim Jong-il in 1992 on a weightlifting exchange program to North Korea, and we bonded immediately over our mutual addiction to sports of all sorts. Take it from me: This was no tyrant—this was the world's greatest sports competitor since Jim Thorpe.
When choreographers talk (too much)
Here's what I meant to say…..
Why do choreographers engage in post-performance talkbacks to explain what they were trying to say? Why don't they let the artwork speak for itself?
An encouraging trend: Theater for grownups
Here come the grownups, or: Theater for thinking people
Until recently Philadelphia's theater community seemed mired in edgy plays about alienated 30-somethings in dysfunctional families. But four recent productions— all intelligent, challenging, profound, even elitist— suggest an encouraging new direction.
Hiring local actors: triumph or calamity?
All-Philadelphia casts: Is this good news or bad?
Philadelphia's Arden and Wilma theaters open their seasons this month with large-cast plays populated by local actors. That's a tribute to the growing wealth of local talent available— and also cause for concern that directors are getting too comfy and complacent in their own provincial backyard.
Applied Mechanics' "Overseers' at Fringe Festival
Minding everyone else's business
Overseers concerns a revolt in a totalitarian society. Its creators at Applied Mechanics are themselves rebels against the tyranny of theatrical boundaries.
"Dancing Dead' by Brian Sanders
Waiting for Sanders to evolve
In Dancing Dead, choreographer Brian Sanders has developed a brilliant and original concept. Still, if you've seen one Sanders piece, you've seen the limits of his movement vocabulary.
"The Method Gun' at the Fringe Festival
Eat your heart out, Jesus: What Stella Burden's disciples did for art
The obsessive acting coach Stella Burden once drew five young actors together for nine years to rehearse the bit parts of A Streetcar Named Desire. She went crazy in the process, but her method— as portrayed in The Method Gun— revealed the profundity that often lies behind madness.
Luna Theater's "How to Disappear Completely' (1st review)
Stop the worldâ€” I want to get off (again)
Fin Kennedy's How To Disappear Completely is part meditation on selfhood and part how-to guide to changing your identity. Unfortunately, it succeeds at neither.