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11th Hour Theatre Company Hosts 5th Annual Philly Rocks Concert at World Cafe Live

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Philly Rocks - 11th Hour TheatreMusical theater doesn't have to mean a fat lady singing opera or the run-of-the-mill Broadway reincarnations. In a continued attempt to change the way Philadelphians view musical stage productions, 11th Hour Theatre Company is gearing up for its 5th annual Philly Rocks concert. 

Slated for Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. at the World Live Cafe, the concert will be a nearly three-hour event in which a dozen singers - with the help of a rock band - will be performing a list of some 25 rock songs that were chosen by their audience in a previous survey. 

Money raised during the event will help fund the not-for-profit organization's theatrical operations. 

"We wanted to do an event that was different than anything else being done in the area," said Michael O'Brien, producing artistic director for 11th Hour.

O'Brien said he experienced something similar while living in New York City a few years ago and thought, "This is an even that would be very successful in Philadelphia," he recalled.

In previous years, they followed a theme like the British Invasion or American rock, and had the singers develop the list of songs. 

But this year will be the first time 11th Hour is letting the audience have control over the concert, O'Brien said, describing the concept this year as more of an "iPod playlist."

Without giving too much away, O'Brien said some of the songs that will be performed include everything from Come Sail Away by the Styx to American Idiot from Green Day. 

The goal, O'Brien said, is really to attract an audience of people who may not normally be inclined to head to a musical theater production, but would be interested in a good night of rock music. 

Philly Rocks"It's our biggest event of the year," O'Brien said. 

Previous shows were held at smaller venues that had more of a theater-like and stage-feel to it, he said. 

World Cafe Live, located at 3025 Walnut St., is the perfect venue because its more of a concert hall and can hold a larger audience. 

The last few shows sold out, so O'Brien said they're anticipating this year will be just as much of a success -- only with higher numbers because of the additional space. 

"The coolest thing about it is it's not a theater event -- it's a music event," O'Brien said. 

He said most people assume it's going to be like a night of karaoke for actors - but it's not. 

Each singer will perform two songs with the band and other singers backing him or her up, he explained. 

"And they can really sing rock music," O'Brien said. 

The concert will be hosted by Jess Conda. Slated to sing are: Michael Philip O'Brien, Steve Pacek, Dan Kazemi, Jonathan Shade, Noah Mazaika, Tom DelPizzo, Marissa K. Hines, Jennie Eisenhower, Laura Catlaw, Colleen Hazlett, Alex Keiper, and Megan Nicole O'Brien. The band includes: Dan Kazemi, Nero Catalano, Rich Hill, Bob McGilloway and Mark Cristofaro.

O'Brien encourages those who are coming to buy the tickets in advance for $20. They will be $25 at the door if it's not sold out. Prior to the show, which starts at 7 p.m., there will be a round or two of rock Quizzo with prizes like Phillies tickets and rock and roll memorabilia. Attendees can enjoy dinner first at the cafe.

Tickets cost $20 are available at www.11thhourtheatrecompany.org or by calling the box office at 267-987-9865.