“It’s a Philadelphia theater that just happens to be in the working class Northeast neighborhood of Mayfair.”
So says Michael Pickering, the artistic director of the Devon Theater, which reopened on March 27th, after being shuttered for years.
He says he isn’t too concerned about developing a following far from the glitz of Center City’s Avenue of the Arts and the established Old City arts scene. The Devon is just another sign of a sprouting Philadelphia theatre culture.
The classic musical comedy Nunsense is the apt opener for this theater in the heart of a proud Irish Catholic community. It runs until April 19th before Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple takes front stage as the second of the five-performance inaugural season.
The Devon first opened in 1946 as another in the city’s collection of proud movie houses. It turned to second and third-run films as a strategy to fight multiscreen theaters before showing adult films in the 1970s. Before being bought by the Mayfair Community Develop Corp. in Aug. 2004, the Devon remained an empty eyesore. It’s since been restored to a remarkable luster and is certainly worth the trip alone. Seeing a classic American musical like Nunsense is another reason, indeed.
The Devon is within a short 10-minute walk up Frankford Avenue from the Frankford Transportation Center, the last stop on the El. It’s across the street from the famed tomato pies of Tony’s Place and nearly adjacent to the original Chickie’s and Pete’s. Every self-respecting Philadelphian has to see this resurgent heart of the Northeast.
Nunsense @ The Devon
Now through April 19th
The Devon Theater for Performing Arts