Around Ambler Spotlight | Tony Braithwaite

For those of you who don’t know, Tony Braithwaite is the Artistic Director at Act II Playhouse.  But, really, that is just a small part of the significant contributions he has made to the local and Philadelphia theater world as a whole.  So far in his career, Tony has written, directed and acted in many productions in the Philadelphia area, and luckily for all of us, at Ambler’s Act II Playhouse, where he has been an intricate part since 2003.  He has also been a Barrymore Awards for Excellence nominee thirteen times and has won 3 times. Two of those wins were for Act II Playhouse performances: The Big Bang and The Story Of My Life.  The Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theater are nationally recognized and honor local artists in the theater companies in the Greater Philadelphia area.

We had a chance to briefly talk to Tony this week, while he prepares for the opening of his new show, A Few Of Our Favorite Things:

AA: What is your background in theater? 
TB: I come from a family who loved theatre.  My mother was an actress in school, and my father worked as an usher at a theatre when he was a teenager.  My parents introduced us all to theatre, played show tunes during dinner, and took us to theatre in New York and Broadway.
AA: What/Who was your greatest influence ( to write/perform/ or be involved in theater)?
TB: That’s funny, because that’s exactly what this show is about.  For me, it’s Martin Short, Billy Crystal, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane…but going back further it’s Johnny Carson, Jack Benny, Nichols and May, and George and Gracie.  Sketches and songs from many of those folks will appear in our show.
AA: What are some achievements/awards that you have received ? 
TB: The award I think I am most deeply proud of, is the Ignatian Award I received from my alma mater, St Joe’s Prep.  It’s the schools’ highest honor.  I have directed the shows there since 1995, I taught there for 12 years, and it’s my second home.
AA: What is your proudest moment in the theater? 
TB: I’m proud of the fact that a lot of the shows we’ve created right here at Act II, for Act II … Electile Dysfunction, Didn’t Your Father Have This Talk With You, and this latest one – have been some of our most wildly popular and best sellers.
AA: What makes Ambler and Act II work so well together?
TB: I think it’s the assonance.
As assonance plays an important role in poetry, prose and music, we couldn’t help but to agree with Tony, that the Act II Playhouse and the town of Ambler, certainly create an important rhythm within our amazing community and together contribute to and enhance it’s overall vibe.
A Few Of Our Favorite Things stars comedy couple, Tony Braithwaite and Jen Childs.  It is a comedy cabaret which opens tonight and runs until January 28th.  Tickets to A Few Of Our Favorite Things are available here.
Photo credit: Bill D’Agostino
Feature photo credit:John Flak