PHILADELPHIA, PA — Philadelphia Theatre Company is thrilled to announce its expanded 49th Season, offering a rich array of shows, community engagement and education programs. The inaugural season programmed under the leadership of Artistic Directors Taibi Magar and Tyler Dobrowsky features an additional production, bringing the total number of productions to four, including two Philadelphia Premieres, one American Classic, and one World Premiere, all centered around the timeless themes of “Love and Ambition.”
Kicking off the season in October 2023 is Macbeth in Stride, a dazzling new theatrical concert that reimagines one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters through the lens of an ambitious Black woman. In February 2024, audiences will be treated to the Pulitzer-winning and Tony-nominated play, Cost of Living, a deeply moving examination of the emotional and fiscal cost of human connection. Next up in April 2024, a beloved American classic by PTC’s favorite playwright and four-time Tony winner Terrence McNally, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, will take center stage. This heartwarming story of two middle-aged individuals searching for love has been seen on Broadway three separate times, and finally returns to Philadelphia. At last, in June 2024, the season concludes with the World Premiere of The Duat, an exciting new work that uses spoken-word, live music, and scintillating choreography to tell a story of identity, loss, and redemption.
With each extraordinary production comes exciting opportunities for Magar and Dobrowsky to expand PTC’s engagement with the community. As part of these plans, PTC is happy to announce that for each production in their mainstage season, there will be a free student matinee available to local schools and educational institutions. PTC will also soon announce a major new community event happening in the fall and also start the search for the Director of Youth Engagement and Public Programming to reignite PTC’s education programs.
“While looking at the kinds of experiences we wanted to create for our first season at Philadelphia Theatre Company, we knew we wanted to make exceptional productions of new and contemporary plays, build mutually beneficial civic partnerships, and most especially develop joyful education programs for young people,” said Dobrowsky. “As new cultural leaders in Philadelphia, we want to inspire and enrich our community, and engage with some of the most vital issues and ideas of today. We want PTC to be an essential civic institution dedicated to the artists, audiences, and people of Philadelphia, and to create extraordinary theatrical experiences which foster connection, understanding, and transformation. We also want to produce work that makes an impact locally, as well as nationally, and to be a deeply inclusive home for our community.”
“We found ourselves drawn to plays that spoke to the fundamental need for human connection – the desire for love, for friendship, for communion with others – and we were also inspired by stories of resilience and determination, stories with characters who fight for their hopes and dreams, no matter the odds,” said Magar. “These twin themes – of connection and desire – led us to christen our first season ‘Love and Ambition.’ All four plays are love stories, in their own way, and all four plays feature characters fighting for their hopes and dreams in ways we found inspiring and galvanizing. Further, we believe these shows all contain numerous opportunities for community and educational engagement, which will be a huge part of what PTC does going forward. We couldn’t be more proud or excited to bring these stories to the stage.”
The 2023-24 Season will begin with an exciting large-scale community event on the Avenue of the Arts that will be announced in early to mid-summer. The theatre will also be searching for a Director of Youth Engagement and Public Programming over the summer. This new director will work on developing ancillary programming around each show and building connections to develop and foster the next generation of theatergoers and theatre-makers.These initiatives will focus on connecting PTC with local middle and high school students and educators, working with the Philadelphia School District, and creating arts education programming for young people at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre for the first time since 2017.
For the main stage, PTC’s new leadership has expanded the season from three shows to four shows, with an exciting line-up that includes:
PTC in association with Shakespeare Theatre Company presents
Macbeth in Stride
Written and performed by Whitney White
Directed by Taibi Magar and Tyler Dobrowsky
October 31-November 12, 2023
Opening Night: Wednesday, November 1, 7:00 pm
A dazzling theatrical event created and performed by Obie Award-winning artist Whitney White, Macbeth in Stride examines what it means to be an ambitious Black woman through the lens of one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters—Lady Macbeth. This 90 minute rock musical uses pop, gospel, and R&B to trace the fatalistic arc of this Shakespearean woman while lifting up contemporary Black female power, femininity, and desire. For the first show of the season, audiences are getting a chance to see a production directed by both Magar and Dobrowsky. The Boston Globe called it, “Electric! Powered by White’s galvanizing performance, vibrantly directed…bolstered by vividly expressive performances.”
“Macbeth in Stride is a perfect encapsulation of who Tyler and I are as artists,” said Magar, “and Whitney White is one of the most virtuosic theatre artists working today. We could not be more thrilled to bring her to Philadelphia for the first time! We love her, and think Philly will too.”
Cost of Living
By Martyna Majok
February 2-February 18, 2024
Opening Night: Wednesday, February 7, 7:00 pm
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony Award-nominee, Cost of Living traces two relationships: one between a wealthy graduate student with cerebral palsy and his female caregiver, the other between a woman recovering from a terrible accident and her ex-husband. Heartfelt, funny, and deeply moving, this exquisitely written play examines the fiscal and emotional cost of human connection. The New York Times said, “Majok’s script…readily breaks your heart, drags you through hurt and then kisses you on the forehead, sending you off with a laugh. This play left me breathless…It seems as if the tears, the chuckles, the full body ache of feeling is the currency of an outstanding work of art.”
“This is an achingly beautiful play—human, funny, poignant…it’s why we go to the theatre: to laugh, to cry, to be emotionally engaged and transported,” said Dobrowsky.
An American Classic
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
By Terrence McNally
April 26-May 19, 2024
Opening Night: Wednesday, May 1, 7:00 pm
Written by four-time Tony winner Terrence McNally with humor and sensitivity, this enduring portrait of middle-aged love and desire has been seen on Broadway three separate times, and has charmed audiences around the world. Taking place over the course of one night, the play tracks two blue-collar romantics as they search for emotional intimacy: as Johnny tells Frankie, “People are given one moment to connect. Not two, not three, one! They don’t take it, it’s gone forever.” Vulture said this classic play is “…full of sincerity, hopeful silliness, and emotional innocence.”
“We are thrilled to bring back the work of Terrence McNally to PTC, where he premiered so many of his classic plays,” said Dobrowsky. “An American classic written by one of Philadelphia Theatre Company’s favorite writers, this play takes place over the course of one night. It has charmed audiences around the world. PTC has premiered a number of Terrence McNally’s plays, and we’re incredibly excited and proud to bring his work back to Philly.”
By Roger Q. Mason
Directed by Taibi Magar
June 7-June 23, 2024
Opening Night: Wednesday, June 12, 7:00 pm
Taking its title from the mythical Egyptian afterlife, The Duat is a psychological portrait of Cornelius Johnson, a FBI counterintelligence officer, in a battle for his very soul. Using spoken word, North African drumming, and gorgeous choreography, this one-person world premiere is a poetic and virtuosic story of redemption.
“Roger is a deeply gifted writer, blessed with a profound sense of wit, grace, and power,” said Magar, “their work feels like a concert—full of beautiful words, music, and dance.”
Subscription packages for the 2023-24 Season are now on sale starting at $68. Subscriptions purchased before July 9 will include an additional early bird discount. Single show tickets will go on sale in September. For subscriptions, tickets and more details, please visit www.philatheatreco.org or call 215-985-0420. All shows will be performed at PTC’s home, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre at 480 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146. Connect with Philadelphia Theatre Company for the latest updates on social at @philatheatreco on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and @philatheatre on TikTok.
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