Philly Theatre Week Returns Featuring 40+ Companies, 100 Events and It’s All Pay What You Can
If you ever thought about taking in a show in Philly’s vibrant theatre community, now’s your chance to experience amazing live entertainment at a budget friendly price. Theatre Philadelphia just announced the return of Philly Theatre Week March 23 to April 2, 2023. This year’s programing includes 100+ theatrical performances and events and new this year is a “pay what you can” ticket feature.
The eleven day festival will celebrate artists, organizations, and audiences that have made Greater Philadelphia one of the most vibrant theatre regions in the nation. Audiences will have an opportunity to try something new from 50 events being offered from 41 different companies and artists. There are over a 100 opportunities for audiences to experience. It includes productions, readings, exclusive pre-sales and special events in Philadelphia, Delaware, South Jersey, Bucks County and the Main Line and Western Suburbs.
The annual festival is one of the largest signature festivals in Philadelphia and it expands by an extra day this year. Also new this year, all tickets are pay what you can – to encourage and welcome new audiences who may have never experienced a live theatrical show.
Audiences are invited out early for a special free preview event in the Hamilton Garden at the Kimmel Cultural Campus on Monday, March 20th at 6:00pm. Tickets for the preview and all participating shows/events are on sale and available at www.phillytheatreweek.com.
“Philly Theatre Week is always such an exciting time of the year for theatre-goers,” said Theatre Philadelphia Executive Director LaNeshe Miller-White. “ From comedies to musicals, and traditional productions to a site specific show about beds that is performed IN a bed, there really is something for everyone. Theatre Philadelphia has moved to a pay what you can model for this year’s Theatre Week in order to ensure access for all to the performances. It’s a great opportunity for someone to try theater for the first time, or to try a new company or type of show.”
Miller-White added, “Pay what you can lets us reach out to diverse audiences around the city and bring in the next generation of theatre goers looking to give theatre a try. It also gives repeat theatre goers and theatre supporters the opportunity to donate and support the work they are seeing based on their own capabilities and how moved they were. It is truly a win-win.”
Greater Philadelphia residents will find something for everyone, with a collection of classics, experimental theatre, improv, readings, workshops, and more. Audiences are encouraged to support companies they already know as well as use the accessible ticket prices to explore new theatre they haven’t seen before. Participating organizations include a range of organizations, professional theatres, academic institutions, and self-producing artists. Originating companies hail from every corner of Philadelphia, from Center City to the suburbs, from Chester County to Wilmington, and from South Jersey to the Main Line.
For this year, all shows are offered pay what you can. Pay what you can lets the ticket buyer pick the price they pay based on their ability and/or their value of the work. Tickets are available on the Philly Theatre Week website, www.phillytheatreweek.com. Audiences can reserve tickets there. Some shows are offering limited pay what you can tickets to each performance. Once Theatre Week tickets are sold out, audiences can contact the individual theatre for tickets.
“Since 2018 I’ve participated in every Philly Theatre week,” said Chris Davis, who is bringing Sunday Best to this year’s celebration. “It’s helped me to attract new audiences, make connections with other theatre makers, and is a very fun time. It’s like a mini-fringe in the spring, and there’s no participation fee! Theatre Philadelphia works hard to showcase every show, from the big theaters to the small theaters, and therefore makes the playing field much more equitable, especially for small producers like myself.”
Philadelphia Theatre Week kicks off with an event in the Hamilton Garden at the Kimmel Cultural Campus on Monday, March 20th at 6:00pm. This event will give audiences a chance to preview scenes, songs, and interactive performances from participating Philly Theatre Week companies. This kick-off event will feature a selection of BEEHIVE from The Road Company Theater Group; Run Boy Run Productions improv/sketch comedy experience – Improvabilitee; a scene from InterAct Theatre Company’s pay no worship; Katherine Perry performing a selection of SEX TALK (the show); scenes from Theatre Unspeakeable’s American Revolution: The Show; and selections from Acting Naturally’s Chicago Teen Edition. Theatre Philadelphia is excited to be one of the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ partners for this event. The event is free but registration is required.
“Val Dunn and I created a very early draft of this show for the first Philly Theatre Week and now it’s traveled around the world and undergone massive rewrites to become what it is today,” said Jenna Kuerzi, whose show Johnny Depp! (A Retrospective on Late-Stage Capitalism) returns this year. “Philly Theatre Week gave me, a small creator with little to no budget, an opportunity to succeed and produce alongside established institutions.”
Audiences can find the full lineup of events at phillytheatreweek.com. Below find a few highlights with something for everyone!
For shows based on audience and topic – here are highlights:
**For BIPOC stories: Leonard Dozier / Cineplay Productions Freedom’s Eve;
EgoPo Classic Theater and Theatre in the X Mid-Season Social; InterAct Theatre Company pay no worship; Unattended Baggage The Bed Show; Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez She Was A Conquistawhore.
**For comedy lovers: : Run Boy Run Productions Improvabilitee; Jenna Kuerzi
Johnny Depp! (A Retrospective on Late-Stage Capitalism); SEX TALK The Show Brooke’s Bits – A One Night Stand For Philly Theatre Week; Without A Cue Productions A Golden Girls Murder Mystery: A Philly Story; The Mask and Wig Club A Doomsday in the Life; Crossroads Comedy Theater Study Hall: Comedy Inspired By Lectures; Crossroads Comedy Theater Ben Miller’s Stand-Up Science; Crossroads Comedy Theater DTF: Darryl & Timaree Fun Hour; Crossroads Comedy Theater Electoral Dysfunction; Chris Davis Your Sunday Best; Crossroads Comedy Theater Untitled: Art Meets Improv; Crossroads Comedy Theater Extra Credit: Educational Comedy For Short Attention Spans; Crossroads Comedy Theater
Schooled: True Stories From The Classroom; Curio Theatre Company THE COMPLETE DEATHS Written & Adapted by Tim Crouch Created by Tim Crouch & Spymonkey; Unattended Baggage The Bed Show; Crossroads Comedy Theater Book Club with Courtney & Frank Farrell.
**For the whole family: Acting Naturally Inc. Chicago Teen Edition; Acting Without Boundaries Uniquely Me; Theater Unspeakable and Let’s Make History Productions The American Revolution – The Show; Columbus Square Drama Club Hoopsical! An Anti-Bully Musical in One Act.
**LGBTQ Events: SEX TALK The Show Brooke’s Bits – A One Night Stand For Philly Theatre Week; Crossroads Comedy Theater DTF: Darryl & Timaree Fun Hour; Aporia Artists Collective A Seance For Mae West; The Hum’n’Bards Fundraiser Cabaret + Karaoke Party; Wherehouse Untitled Raccoon Play by S MJ; Sewer Rats Productions Bird in the Window; Cannonball Festival Cast Off.
**New works and premieres: Run Boy Run Productions Improvabilitee; SEX TALK The Show Brooke’s Bits – A One Night Stand For Philly Theatre Week; Crossroads Comedy Theater Ben Miller’s Stand-Up Science; InterAct Theatre Company pay no worship; Aporia Artists Collective A Seance For Mae West; Paige Phillips, presented by Philadelphia Dance Projects The Tale of the Slaughtered Hog; Tubey Frank Tubey Frank with Lauren Scott & Jill Ryan; Crossroads Comedy Theater Extra Credit: Educational Comedy For Short Attention Spans; Curio Theatre Company THE COMPLETE DEATHS Written & Adapted by Tim Crouch Created by Tim Crouch & Spymonkey; Die-Cast Planet of the Bored Apes; Leonard Dozier / Cineplay Productions Freedom’s Eve.
**Virtual Events: OLLI Readers Ban the Ban/Readings from Banned Books; Leonard Dozier / Cineplay Productions Freedom’s Eve; Linnea Bond The World; Anastassia Vertjanova The MiLady Game.
**Musicals: Acting Naturally Inc. Chicago Teen Edition; Bristol Riverside Theatre Cabaret; The Savoy Company of Philadelphia The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan Served with the Best Local Cocktails; SEX TALK The Show Brooke’s Bits – A One Night Stand For Philly Theatre Week; The Mask and Wig Club A Doomsday in the Life; Acting Without Boundaries Uniquely Me; Tubey Frank Tubey Frank with Lauren Scott & Jill Ryan; The Hum’n’Bards Fundraiser Cabaret + Karaoke Party
**Classics: New Light Theatre A View From the Bridge; The Savoy Company of Philadelphia The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan Served with the Best Local Cocktails; EgoPo Classic Theater and Theatre in the X Mid-Season Social; Quintessence Theatre Group The Tempest; Philadelphia Artists’ Collective PAC Venture Reading Series – CHILDREN OF THE SUN; Shakespeare on Tap MacBeth in a Bar; The Drama Group of Germantown The Seagull; The Ritz Theatre Company Macbeth; Curio Theatre Company THE COMPLETE DEATHS Written & Adapted by Tim Crouch Created by Tim Crouch & Spymonkey.
**Devised/Experimental: Jenna Kuerzi Johnny Depp! (A Retrospective on Late-Stage Capitalism); Alma’s Engine Guided Transmutation: subjugation -> privileged domination -> imagine transmuting your unjust advantages into nourishment; Shakespeare on Tap MacBeth in a Bar; Née Danse/Theatre Putin’s-A-Fool Day!; Aporia Artists Collective A Seance For Mae West; Theater Unspeakable and Let’s Make History Productions The American Revolution – The Show; Paige Phillips, presented by Philadelphia Dance Projects The Tale of the Slaughtered Hog; Curio Theatre Company; THE COMPLETE DEATHS Written & Adapted by Tim Crouch Created by Tim Crouch & Spymonkey; Die-Cast Planet of the Bored Apes; Unattended Baggage The Bed Show; Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez She Was A Conquistawhore; Cannonball Festival Cast Off; Anastassia Vertjanova The MiLady Game.
**Audio Experiences:Alma’s Engine Guided Transmutation: subjugation -> privileged domination -> imagine transmuting your unjust advantages into nourishment; Linnea Bond The World.
Below is a sample of the exciting events planned for 2023:
Acting Without Boundaries
Sunday, March 26
Location: SEI Innovation Studio in the Kimmel Center
Acting Without Boundaries will present scenes, songs and conversations on the theme of “This is Me”. Through the lens of disability, society and the performing arts, actors will explore what it means to be oneself, on stage and off. Actors from our Senior, Junior and Masters Programs will perform songs from our repertoire of musicals, act out scenes from past shows and share original material that centers around what it means to be a performer with a disability, what it means to be oneself, and, essentially, what it means to be human. Interaction from the audience is encouraged, with a question-and-answer opportunity after the performance.
Aporia Artists Collective
A Seance For Mae West
Saturday, March 25-Saturday April 1
Location: Hot Bed
A Seance For Mae West is a celebration of one of the 20th century’s most provocative icons, bringing her back from the dead for an encore performance. Join Aporia as we tempt the one and only Mae West back with applause and ask the no longer-living legend the secrets of her life. An intimate, interactive experience that you don’t want to miss! Half homage, half manifesto of what it means to perform as yourself, however messy that process might be.
Bristol Riverside Theatre
Thursday, March 23 – Thursday, March 30
Location: Bristol Riverside Theatre
Cabaret, Kander and Ebb’s Tony Award-winning musical, features one of Broadway’s most memorable scores, including “Money Makes the World Go ‘Round,” “Willkommen,” “Maybe This Time,” and “Cabaret.”
Your Sunday Best
Sunday, March 26
Quig’s Pub/ Plays and Players Theatre
Hosted and curated by Chris Davis, Your Sunday Best is an evening of variety comedy featuring Philly’s finest actors, stand-ups, and musicians.
Curio Theatre Company
THE COMPLETE DEATHS Written & Adapted by Tim Crouch Created by Tim Crouch & Spymonkey
Thursday, March 23 – Saturday, April 1
Location: Curio Theatre Company
All 74 onstage Shakespearean deaths in 90 minutes – 75 if you count the ill-favored fly killed in Titus Andronicus. Roman suicides in Julius Caesar, the death fall of Prince Arthur in King John, the carnage at the end of Hamlet, snakes in a basket in Antony & Cleopatra, Pyramus and Thisbe, young Macduff! Countless stabbings, severed heads, poisonings, mobbings and a smothering – hell Enorbarbus just sits in a ditch and dies from grief. And don’t get us started about the pie that Titus serves the Queen of the Goths! THE COMPLETE DEATHS opened in May 2016 at Brighton Festival to acclaim from audiences and critics alike, and has been delighting audiences around the world since then – a solemn, somber, life-affirming and sublimely funny tribute to Shakespeare and death.
The Drama Group of Germantown
Friday, March 24 – Sunday, April 2
First United Methodist Church of Germantown
In this contemporary adaptation of Chekhov’s THE SEAGULL, a multitude of love triangles and passionate arguments about how to survive as an artist explode during one tempestuous summer, leading the characters from hilarious comedy to devastating heartbreak and back again – and then two years later everyone is confronted by the choices they made.
Johnny Depp! (A Retrospective on Late-Stage Capitalism)
Thursday, March 30th – Sunday, April 16th
Location: Fergie’s Pub
Join “Johnny Depp”, preteen heart-throb turned wino forever, for a retrospective on every film in his entire career (even the ones we didn’t watch) in order to ask… what happened? Part history lesson and part drunken sing-a-long, JD…a retrospective is an interactive deep dive into one of the most recent controversial celebrities in the Hollywood machine.
The Mask and Wig Club
A Doomsday in the Life
Friday, March 24th, 7:30pm-9:30pm
Pay What You Can Availability: 10 Tickets per Performance
Location: The Mask and Wig Clubhouse
Mask and Wig’s 134th Annual Production – and its first with a gender-inclusive cast and company – offers the Club’s comedic take on the apocalypse. Our story begins with the end of civilization. But don’t worry, like herpes, humanity just won’t go away. In the ruins of society, our hero Max longs to get away from the small world of his village. Found as a baby with a map leading to a land unknown, Max is determined to follow his destiny out in the wasteland. There’s only one problem: Max is awful at staying alive. Enter Jane, a rugged wasteland veteran and the only person who can get him to his destination in one piece. After agreeing to split what they find 50/50, our duo sets off on the adventure of a lifetime, braving killer robots, zombies with class consciousness, and unhealthy levels of background radiation. What will they find at the end of their journey? How did our world end up like this? And do bunker roommates have to pay rent? Find out in Mask and Wig’s 134th Annual Production: A Doomsday in the Life!
New Light Theatre
A View From the Bridge
Thursday, March 23 – Sunday, March 26
Location: OperaDelaware Studios
Arthur Miller’s darkly passionate play, A View From the Bridge, directed by Megan Bellwoar, in support of RISE at Jewish Family Services.
Noah Sturtridge & Friends
Two Servants with No Master
Wednesday, March 29 – Saturday, April 1
Arlecchino and Pierrot are so glad you could make it out to their dear master Pantalone’s funeral. Please, take a tissue: you’re gonna need it. In this short comedy inspired by the Commedia Dell’arte, Two Clowns and their Casket contend with class, character, and the end of the world as they know it.
Philadelphia Artists’ Collective
PAC Venture Reading Series – CHILDREN OF THE SUN
Monday, March 27th
Location: Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake
Pavel Protasov’s scientific experiments leave him oblivious to his surroundings, namely his wife Yelena’s needs and the widow Melania’s adoration. Liza’s physical frailty and emotional sensitivity prevent her from embracing the love of Chepurnoy, the local veterinarian. Yelena’s sense of neglect in her marriage leaves her open to attention from the artist Dimitri Sergeyevich. Set on the cusp of a cholera epidemic, Gorky’s darkly comedic tale explores a family grappling with a disappointing present and conflicting ideas of the future.
Quintessence Theatre Group
Thursday, March 23 – Sunday, March 26
Location: Sedgwick Theatre
Abandoned on an island for twelve years, the magician Prospero conjures up a storm to seek revenge on the brother who stole his crown. Can these castaways figure out how to let go of their pasts and work together to realize the “brave new world” his daughter Miranda believes possible? Williams Shakespeare’s titanic fairy tale is the culmination of all the tricks he conjured up to make his poetry withstand the test of time—a usurped and tortured ruler, a pair of star-crossed lovers, silly but crafty clowns, mischievous lackeys, and a cluster of supernatural creatures. Dive headfirst into the magic of The Tempest!
The Ritz Theatre Company
Friday, March 24 – Sunday, April 2
Location: The Ritz Theatre Company
One of the most transcendent tragedies in the history of theatre, William Shakespeare’s MACBETH dramatizes the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power. A brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth finds himself in a rapidly-rising ascent of murder and deceit.
Run Boy Run Productions
Friday, March 24 – Sunday, March 26
Location: Plays and Players
Improvabilitee fosters feel-good vibes and humorous nostalgia through improvisational and sketch comedy. Improvabilitee pays homage to the irreverent, slapstick, and awkward antics of yesteryear’s best improv and television sitcoms through original comedy sketches and reimagined pieces. Improvabilitee aims to produce gut-wrenching laughter for the stage…cause the joke’s on us.
The Savoy Company of Philadelphia
The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan Served with the Best Local Cocktails
Saturday, March 25
Location: Trinity Center for Urban Life
Oh, joy! Oh, rapture! You are cordially invited to an evening of merriment, including live performances of Gilbert and Sullivan’s greatest hits, as well as hand-crafted cocktails. Cocktails included with each ticket purchase!
All ages are welcome. Cocktails will be served to guests who are 21 years of age or more. Soft drinks will be provided for our younger guests or upon request.
Sewer Rats Productions
Bird in the Window
Friday, March 24 – Sunday, March 26
Location: St. Mary’s Hamilton Village
Jen believes she is being hunted by a man from her past, and that paranoia manifests itself into self-harming behaviors. While her friends and family struggle to understand, she continues to fall deeper into destruction. Is there a man posing a real threat, or is the threat coming from her own mind. Content Warning: Self-harm.
SEX TALK The Show
Brooke’s Bits – A One Night Stand For Philly Theatre Week
Monday, March 27
Location: Fergie’s Pub
Start your night with Brooke Spitz and her raunchy signature twists on Broadway’s most beloved standards.
Shakespeare on Tap
MacBeth in a Bar
Minors are permitted, but the show is not suitable for children under 12.
Saturday, March 25 – Sunday, March 26
Location: The Victoria Freehouse
The sisters are weird and the politics are bloody. Enjoy Shakespeare’s spookiest play in the madcap Shakespeare on Tap style, with a pint of pathos and a shot of kitschy fun. The actors talk to you, you can talk back, and drinking is encouraged (but no pressure, you know, you do you.) Shakespeare On Tap: Serious actors. No director. One rehearsal. At a bar
South Camden Theatre Company, Inc.
Lettice and Lovage by Peter Shaffer
Friday, April 14 – Sunday, April 30
Location: The Waterfront South Theatre
400 Jasper Street
Camden, NJ 08104
An evening of enchantment and delight.” — New York Post. Lettice Duffet, an expert on Elizabethan cuisine and medieval weaponry, is an indefatigable but daffy enthusiast of history and the theatre. As a tour guide at Fustian House, one of the least stately of London’s stately homes, she theatrically embellishes its historical past, ultimately coming up on the radar of Lotte Schon, an inspector from the Preservation Trust. Neither impressed nor entertained by Lettice’s freewheeling history lessons, Schon fires her. Not one to go without a fight, Lettice engages the stoic, conventional Lotte in a battle to the death of all that is sacred to the Empire and the crown.
Theater Unspeakable and Let’s Make History Productions
The American Revolution – The Show
Tuesday, March 28 – Saturday, April 1
Location: Christ Church Neighborhood House
History in 50 minutes. Seven actors perform atop a 21 square feet platform to recreate a family-friendly retelling of America’s founding.
PHILLY THEATRE WEEK 2023
Philly Theatre Week is presented by Theatre Philadelphia, the region’s umbrella organization whose mission is to unite, celebrate, and promote the Philadelphia region’s diverse and growing theatre community. Additional Theatre Philadelphia funding and support is provided by the William Penn Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, CHG Charitable Trust, the Wyncote Foundation, the Shubert Foundation, and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. 2023 Philly Theatre Week partners include EventBrite, Kimmel Cultural Campus, and Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. Promotional partners include Aversa PR & Events.