Musicals season

In just the next month you have Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Bucks County Playhouse, May 27-June 17; Kimmel Center, June 24-July 9), Motown: The Musical (Academy of Music, May 30-June 11), Man of La Mancha (June 10-25, McCarter Theatre), Fun Home (June 13-18, Forrest Theatre), Mother Emanuel (June 14-25, New Freedom Theatre), Evita at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (June 14-July 2), Rosemary Clooney & Friends: Come on-a My House (June 15-25, Bristol Riverside Theatre), and a full summer of music at the newly reopened Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven, N.J., kicking off with Footloose (June 23-July 9).

Squirmy kids can relate

Tribe of Fools, a theater group known for mixing drama, acrobatics, and dance, performs School Play June 9-25 at St. Peter's School (319 Lombard St.), where the set design should feel familiar. The action revolves around a school desk – one of those "tablet arm" things – that's way too small for its student.

Actor Terry Brennan, who plays the role, says he, like a lot of people, always dreaded school: "The kids were awful because kids are awful, and the teachers didn't like me, either, because I was really hyperactive.

"My first day of high school," Brennan says, "a nice administrator lady asked me, 'How was your first day of school?' High school was the first time I ever dealt with that kind of desk.

"I very earnestly said, 'I can't get comfortable in that desk. I can't focus.' She stared at me, like, 10 seconds and said, 'You'll get used to it,' and for four years, I never did."

Brennan now teaches circus arts. In the play's teeny desk, he squirms, thrashes, does handstands, leans back . . . back . . . it's exhausting even to watch the YouTube trailer at philly.com/schoolplay. It's also funny and poignant.

Gypsy's biggest fan

Reader Carlye Benedict writes to say she looks forward to Gypsy, playing through June 18 at the Arden Theatre Company. It was the first show Benedict ever saw, with Ethel Merman headlining.

She's also seen Tyne Daly, Leslie Uggams, Linda Lavin, Rosalind Russell, Bernadette Peters, Bette Midler, Betty Buckley, and others as Gypsy.

And, at this point, she's wondering: Why is Gypsy, who has children of eight and 10 at the start of the show, which spans only a decade, so often played as being in her 50s and older. "Why so old?" she asks.

"I am looking forward to Mary in the role," Benedict says. (Local fave Mary Martello has the part in the Arden production.) But I am also looking forward to seeing a younger Rose one day."

Can't wait to see:

First Person Arts StorySlam: Battle Scars, 7 p.m. Tuesday at FringeArts. Audience members sign up to tell a five-minute personal story on the theme of the night. It's part of WHYY's Commonspace LIVE collaboration with First Person Arts.

Have your own recommendations? Comments?

Email me. Put "Theater Beat" in the subject field.

jt@phillynews.com 215-854-4406 @jtimpane