11 Shows to See During Philly Theatre Week
Philly Theatre Week is back for its second year by popular demand, with a wide range of events and shows taking place across the city. The week (well, 10 days) begins on Feb. 7, just in time to lift any dreary winter mood that might hit you as hard as an icy snowball. But there are over 80 productions to choose from—a dizzying selection, to be sure. TodayTix is here to give you the inside scoop to help you create your itinerary.
74 Seconds…to Judgement
Local Philadelphia playwrights have been experiencing a boom in opportunity for productions thanks to local companies. Continuing the trend is The Arden Theatre Company, where Kash Goins’s world premiere of “74 Seconds…To Judgment” is playing. The play examines what “justifiable homicide” really means, and while omplicated subject matters in plays might cause you to seize up, leaning in instead of backing away from the fray might be just what you need.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Opera Philadelphia’s magical “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” takes to the stage for four nights only during the festival. Composer Benjamin Britten (opera lovers will know his “Turn of the Screw,” “Billy Bud,” and more) transforms Shakespeare’s comedy, and with the help of his partner, tenor Peter Pears, Britten’s score will allow you to see the classic story in a new way.
American Girls Live
Parents grab your kids and kids grab your dolls, because “American Girls Live” is coming to Philadelphia’s Perelman Theater, thanks to the Kimmel Center and their Family Discovery Series. This is a show built for some wholesome, multi-generational fun, featuring original songs and the beloved American Girls that we’ve all come to know and love.
Awake & Sing!
Quintessence Theatre Company, known for their imaginative takes on classics, is reviving Clifford Odets’s 1935 play, “Awake & Sing!” Showing a family struggling during the Great Depression and all of the highs, lows, triumphs, and trials of the American experience, this play is a timely offering from the Germantown company.
On Golden Pond
Philly Theatre Week balances the new and edgy with the classic and warm, and Bristol Riverside is upholding the “classic and warm” end with their production of “On Golden Pond” by Ernest Thompson and directed by Susan D. Atkinson. When it first premiered in 1979, the play earned several Drama Desk Award (including Best New Play), and was later adapted into a film featuring Katherine Hepburn, Jane Fonda, and Henry Fonda.
Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story
Break out your vinyl records and polish your best black-frame glasses: Buck’s County Playhouse is bringing back the jukebox musical “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.” Written by Alan Janes, “Buddy” puts the singer’s hits on full display and chronicles his life’s story, honoring one of America’s beloved rock ‘n roll stars and further cementing Holly’s legacy.
Romeo and Juliet
Philly favorite Blanka Zizka and The Wilma’s homegrown acting troupe, The Hothouse Company, will be bringing a fresh take on William Shakespeare’s famous love story that most of us first encountered in high school English class. With a freshly adapted script and an onstage band that includes Philadelphia singer/songwriter Gracie Martin, The Wilma is challenging what it means to produce the classics in 2019.
Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis
Don’t get confused by the title and book train tickets to NYC – The Kimmel Center is bringing the best of New York City and world jazz to Philadelphia. Wynton Marsalis, managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and his team of 15 top jazz soloists come together as an orchestral ensemble to showcase original works and classic jazz hits by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and more. Lovers of brass instruments and deep upright bass rejoice!
The Bridges of Madison County
Philadelphia Theatre Company’s second offering of their three-show season will be Broadway favorite and Tony-winning musical “The Bridges of Madison County” by Marsha Norman and Jason Robert Brown. With a renewed commitment to promote Philly artists, they have packed the cast with local artists like Sarah Gliko, Rachel Camp, and Greg Wood while bringing back Pennsylvania natives like Broadway veteran Gregg Goodbrod.
It can’t all be good times and musicals for Philly Theatre Week. Keeping on the Shakespeare train is Media Theatre, who will be bringing their take on the bloody political drama, “Julius Caesar.” With the tag line “Make Rome Great Again!” you can bet this version will be topical and won’t pull any punches (or knives – sorry Caesar).
A Comedy of Tenors
Walnut Street Theatre is bringing the laughs with Ken Ludwig’s “A Comedy of Tenors,” a sequel to his famed 1989 hit “Lend Me a Tenor.” The characters and hijinks from the original are back at it again in another hotel room for even more hilarity via opera, mistaken identities, and love affairs. Expect side-stitches and belly laughs