Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

1812 Productions
Review by Rebecca Rendell

Also see Rebecca's recent review of A Shadow that Broke the Light

Mary Elizabeth "MB" Scallen, Melanye Finister, and Rebecca Robbins
Photo by Mark Garvin
If you want to hear the most amazing singers and dirtiest jokes in Philadelphia, head over to Plays & Players Theatre for 1812 Productions' bawdy cabaret comedy Broads. This updated version of their 2019 production is a delightfully raunchy tribute to the funniest female singer/comedians of the 1920s through 1950s.

Accompanied by on stage by pianist Mark Randall and several glasses of bourbon, Rebecca Robbins, Melanye Finister, and Mary Elizabeth "MB" Scallen share the stories, jokes, and songs of icons like Mae West, Moms Mabley, and Sophie Tucker. The history of these women is completely fascinating and the jokes are hilarious. They are also titillatingly smutty, even by today's standards. Robbins, Finister, and Scallen have the entire audience laughing out loud from start to finish. Best of all, these broads can really sing! I could happily listen to this trio sing showtunes, pop hits, and jazz standards for hours.

Director and creator Jennifer Childs has put together something really special with this cabaret. In addition to being thoroughly entertaining, Broads shines a light on the women who were America's entertainment pioneers. The show illustrates how much these women contributed to modern comedy and how far we still have to go, both in terms of recognizing women's contributions and normalizing discussions of so-called female issues.

1812 Productions' Broads runs through February 26, 2023, at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia PA. For information and tickets please visit

Curated and Directed by Jennifer Childs
Featuring Melanye Finister, Rebecca Robins, and Mary Elizabeth "MB" Scallen
Mark Randall on piano