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Jessica Phillips shines in ‘Penelope,’ a ‘pandemic parable’

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‘Penelope’Thorough April 28Signature Theatre, the Ark4200 Campbell Ave, Arlington $40-$99Sigtheatre.org In the new musical “Penelope,” Broadway’s Jessica Phillips gives an unforgettable take on the title role torn from the pages of Homer’s “Odyssey” — more or less.

Fortified by bourbon and backed by a Greek chorus of musicians, the character uncharacteristically steps out from the background to share her story surrounding two decades waiting on the island kingdom of Ithica for the return of her absent husband Odysseus.

Sometimes described as a “pandemic parable,” the 70-minute work is based on composer/playwright Alex Bechtel’s personal experience.

While separated from his partner during COVID, he was inspired to write about loneliness, waiting, and separation, a subject Phillips was eager to tackle.

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