I am not known to be a frequenter of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. But I attended one of its events tonight and I'm here to say it was time very well spent. It was An Evening of Damon Runyon at the Society Hill Playhouse's Red Room. Five actors -- Barry Brait, Gene D'Alessandro (a colleague of mine), Rene Goodwin, Arnold Kendall, and Vince Mancini -- collaborated in reading five of Runyon's classic tales of Broadway low-lifes. The stories are at turns funny and touching, the language bottled-in-bond American vernacular. The performers were uniformly excellent, offering a nice variety of voices and accents.
Runyon, oddly, was born in Manhattan -- Kansas, that is -- but the Manhattan he was born to is located between the Hudson and the East Rivers. The show's on again tomorrow at 9 p.m. In my opinion, they should extend the run. Indeed, there should be more shows like this. Audiences would love them and literature would be well served.