The spotlight is on more than 40 local companies participating in this year’s Philly Theatre Week. Beginning March 23 and running until April 2, the cultural event will highlight over 100 different opportunities for audiences to immersive themselves into productions, readings, exclusive pre-sales and special events in Philadelphia, Delaware, South Jersey, Bucks County and the Main Line and western suburbs.
2023’s rendition of this annual activation features something new this year as well—pay-what-you-can tickets for every single production involved in the 10-day activation.
“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,” said Theatre Philadelphia Executive Director LaNeshe Miller-White in a statement. “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.”
As a release states, tickets are available on the Philly Theatre Week website, phillytheatreweek.com and audiences can reserve tickets there. Some shows are offering limited pay what you can tickets to each performance, but once Theatre Week tickets are sold out, audiences can contact the individual theatre for additional tickets at full price.
Experiences range from classics, experimental theatre, improv, readings, workshops, and more for Philly Theatre Week, and the city already has had a taste of the event this past Monday with a kickoff in the Hamilton Garden at the Kimmel Cultural Campus. But for those who are looking to indulge in the full programming, there are definitely a few picks ahead to highlight.
“Philly Theatre Week is always such an exciting time of the year for theatre-goers,” Miller-White continued in a statement. “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. It’s a great opportunity for someone to try theater for the first time, or to try a new company or type of show.”
Some classic and fan favorites will be shown at a few local spots. ‘Cabaret’ will run at Bristol Riverside Theatre through March 30, ‘Macbeth’ will hit the stage at The Ritz Theatre Company until April 2, and ‘The Tempest’ at Quintessence Theatre Group will play until the end of Philly Theatre Week as well.
Comedy lovers will have their pick of the lot with ‘SEX TALK The Show Brooke’s Bits – A One Night Stand For Philly Theatre Week’; Crossroads Comedy Theater’s ‘Untitled: Art Meets Improv’; Without A Cue Productions ‘A Golden Girls Murder Mystery: A Philly Story’; and ‘Johnny Depp! (A Retrospective on Late-Stage Capitalism)’, among others.
“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 in a statement, 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.”
Families can enjoy different productions together as well, with shows such as Acting Naturally Inc.’s ‘Chicago Teen Edition’; Theater Unspeakable and Let’s Make History Productions’ ‘The American Revolution – The Show’; and Columbus Square Drama Club’s ‘Hoopsical! An Anti-Bully Musical in One Act’. There are also new works coming to the stage such as Run Boy Run Productions’ ‘Improvabilitee,’ Die-Cast’s ‘Planet of the Bored Apes,’ Curio Theatre Company’s ‘THE COMPLETE DEATHS Written & Adapted by Tim Crouch Created by Tim Crouch & Spymonkey’ and much more.
“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.”
Events-wise, Philly Theatre Week will also feature a variety of activations from Curio Theater Company, The Ritz Theatre Company, Run Boy Run Productions, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective and more.
For one, The Savoy Company of Philadelphia will be showcasing music with spirits as they put on “The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan Served with the Best Local Cocktails” on Saturday, March 25 at the Trinity Center for Urban Life. Another event comes from Shakespeare on Tap with MacBeth in a Bar. Philadelphians should note, for this particular event, minors are permitted, but the show is not suitable for children under 12. This particular event will take place Saturday, March 25 – Sunday, March 26 at The Victoria Freehouse.
Audiences can find the full lineup of events and more information at phillytheatreweek.com