Philadelphia, PA - Curtains up. Theatre Philadelphia proudly announces the return of Philly Theatre Week from April 22 to May 2, 2021. After a year of dark stages, millions in lost ticket sales, and thousands of lost jobs, the Philadelphia theatre scene will rise again after the pandemic shut-downs with 11 days, 64 organizations, 72 events, and hundreds of performances.

 

This fourth-year celebration will showcase the strength, resilience, talent, and diversity of the tri-state region's theatre scene through virtual and in-person shows hosted in every corner of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia suburbs, Delaware, and South Jersey. Events will include various live and pre-recorded virtual performances, panels, workshops, theatre-by-mail, audio plays, and in-person outdoor events. All participating shows' tickets are specially priced to be accessible to all, with tickets being free, $15 or $30 each. Philly Theatre Week tickets are officially on sale now at www.phillytheatreweek.org.

"Theatre Philadelphia is so excited to showcase the amazing ways that the Philadelphia region's theatre community has continued to create work and look forward during the global pandemic," said Theatre Philadelphia's new Executive Director LaNeshe Miller-White. "The 4th annual Philly Theatre Week allows producers and artists to connect and/or reconnect with audiences as they begin their journey on the long road to recovery that lies ahead."

Miller-White continued, "Philly Theatre Week was designed as an exciting annual celebration for arts, culture and theatre audiences. It grew into one of the most anticipated festival-style events in Philadelphia, joining Philly Beer Week, Philly Tech Week, and Center City Restaurant Week. Now, after the struggles our artistic community has endured over the last 12 months, this event means more than ever as it's the first big step to seeing artists back at work, audiences fill seats, and curtains rise again. We brought it back to give our community hope and show that better days are ahead - and that our industry needs positive news and momentum to get through these next few months as we sort out what theatre looks like in the fall and next season - and what it looks like for years to come."

For its fourth outing, Philly Theatre Week will have an entirely new audience. "All eyes of the country can and will be on us as virtual theatre has opened up amazing new opportunities to bring in theatre lovers from across the country - and across the world," said Miller-White. "Some of our region's theatres have been making national and international headlines during the Pandemic. Some have perfected the unique and new art of virtual online performance. We are so excited to introduce our world-class theatre scene to these brand new audiences. When the time comes for audiences to come back inside to take their seat, we hope that the lasting impact of virtual theatre will be even more tourists and visitors coming to Philadelphia to fill our houses."

Starting April 22, Theatre Philadelphia will give local, national, and global audiences shows and events for every taste and demographic - with a wide-ranging collection of cherished classics, experimental theatre, low-budget readings, panels, improv, physical theatre, workshops, in-depth discussions, local voices and so much more. Audiences are encouraged to support companies they may have missed over the past year or explore new theatres they haven't seen before. Participating organizations include a range of professional theatres, academic institutions, community theatres, self-producing artists, and small-budget companies. The theatres range in size from large regional companies like Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Arden, and The Wilma, to small and up-and-coming theatres like The Hum'n'bards Theater Troupe, Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Collective, and Wings of Paper. Originating companies hail from Philadelphia, from Center City to the suburbs, from Chester County to Wilmington, and from South Jersey to the Main Line.

While the Philly Theatre Week website has a full rundown of organizations, events, and performances, below find twenty early highlights for Philly Theatre Week.

1) Philly Theatre Week Opening Night Celebration

Thursday, April 22, 6 pm

Live Virtual Event

Pay What You Can

Join the theatre community for a Philly Theatre Week kick-off celebration. Toast to the beginning of the fourth annual Philly Theatre Week and see previews from participating theatre companies.

2) Laurel Tree Theater

A Doll's House 20/20

April 22 - May 2

Pre-Recorded Theatre Event

$30

Ibsen's classic adapted to 2020. Nora Helmer has a beautiful life and a dreadful secret: She's $300,000 in debt, possibly going to jail and being blackmailed by one of her husband's subordinates. On top of it all, she's quarantined alone at home, where her only human interaction comes from friends who drop by on Bubble Chat throughout the day. As Nora's story unfolds, so do the lives of the people around her: COVID19, desperation, unemployment, and power struggles interweave over Bubble, a Zoom-like environment explicitly created for this independently funded film which brings Henrik Ibsen's Victorian masterpiece to lockdown.

3) Inis Nua Theatre Company

How To Be Brave

April 22 - April 25

Pre-recorded Theatre Event

Pay What You Can

Single-parent Katie is having a terrible morning: her mom is yelling, her daughter is bleeding, and the smoke alarm just went off. Overwhelmed, Katie runs out the door and on a wild ride through Newport, Wales. Featuring a stolen BMX bike, a quick dip in the River Usk, and an impromptu public dance number, How To Be Brave is an uplifting reminder of how our hometowns shape who we are.

4) Theatre Exile

Zoo Motel

April 22-May 2

Live Virtual Theatre Event

Theatre Exile invites you to check into ZOO MOTEL, devised by the director, designer, and performer and Philadelphia Fringe Festival favorite Thaddeus Phillips in 2020 as a quarantine experiment that offers a window into what's possible for live performance. In this world, audiences from around the globe can share a mind-bending adventure in the comfort of their own home. Broadcast live and online from one room in a South American village, ZOO MOTEL takes audiences on a journey to Spain, Japan, the Mojave Desert, and around the world alongside fellow motel guests in a family-friendly performance that showcases how connected we are even in a digital world.

5) InterAct Theatre Company

The Niceties - A Virtual Presentation

Thursday, April 22 - Sunday, May 2

Pre-Recorded Theatre Event

Free

A "blisteringly smart" (Boston Globe) drama in which Zoe, a brilliant Black college student, and her white history professor Janine square off over the role slavery played in the American Revolution. Heightened by protests and a social media frenzy, their taut and timely debate careens out of control and threatens to derail their careers and their lives. Directed by Kathryn MacMillan. Starring Angela Bey & Janis Dardaris. Audiences register in advance and receive the streaming link on April 22. Register after April 22, and you'll receive the link directly from InterAct Theatre Company within 24 hours!

6) Mallbodies

Mallbodies, A Performative Elegy to the American Shopping Mall

Thursday, April 22 - Sunday, May 2

Audio Performance

Pay What You Can

Shopping malls hold a firm place in American culture as well as unique culture. Mallbodies is a soundwalk performance dedicated to - and in the critique of - our experience and memory of the American shopping mall. This project is designed to be listened to by individual audience members using headphones while exploring their choosing shopping mall. Mallbodies explores the origins of the shopping mall, our attraction to it, our histories within it, and how malls could function today and into the Future. Mallbodies is performed for an audience of one (or do it with a friend!) as they stream the series of tracks on a playlist on the Mallbodies website: www.mallbodies.biz.

7) Hella Fresh Theater

Frauenschlläechterei

Thursday, April 22- Sunday, May 2

Theatre By Mail

A German lawyer attempts to make Brigette Helm an American movie star in 1933 Hollywood. A play told in mailed installments sent to you in the mail culminating in a performance in your home.

8) People's Light

Spiritual Uprising

April 22 - May 2

Pre-Recorded Theatre Event

$15

Zonya Love (Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole, Broadway's The Color Purple) brings her forthcoming collection of reimagined Negro Spirituals to the People's Light stage in this filmed concert event. The nationally acclaimed actor-musician leads a full band through evocative new renditions of songs like "My Way's Cloudy" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" while illustrating the music's deep cultural and historical significance.

9) Philadelphia Young Playwrights

Pandemic!

Thursday, April 22 - Sunday, May 2

Audio Performance

Pay What You Can

Pandemic! By: Katie Lu. Directed by: Cat Ramierez. Professional production of a first-place winning play. From the Playwright: "Pandemic is a politically charged piece that explores racism, both externalized and internalized, through the eyes of two starkly different generations--the 1930s and modern-day 2020. It portrays how racism exists today in subtlest ways that are easily missed and in violent, hateful ways like a hundred years ago. It also sheds important light on the Chinese Exclusion Act, an often overlooked part of our history that is not taught in schools and draws a parallel between those acts and the rise of anti-Asian-American sentiment COVID-19 crisis. However, in such a bleak story, I see my play as a sense of hope. The younger generations are turning over the world and sparking change."

10) The Phoenix Theatre

The Second Annual Surprise Birthday Party for William Shakespeare

Friday, April 23 from 7 pm - 9 pm

Love Virtual Theatre

Pay What You Can

Don't tell Shakespeare, but we're throwing him another surprise birthday party! This year the bard is turning 457, so we're all getting together again to perform some more of his work! It'll be a night of scenes, monologues, songs, sonnets, and of course...CAKE!

11) Die-Cast

Dispatches From Gloria

April 23 - May 1

Live Virtual Theatre Event

Pay What You Can

What do you do after an insurrection? Search through the detritus of characters, images, music, games, imposters, hip hop, zines, and nook miles in an episodic collage that is quiet after The Storm. How far would you go? Who can you save? Are the voices in your head calling, Gloria?

12) 11th Hour Theatre Company

Quarantine Cabaret: Elena Camp & Rajeer Alford

Saturday, April 24 from 7:30pm-8:30pm

The recording will be available for 2 weeks after the original air date.

Live Virtual Theatre Event

Adorable real-life couple Elena Camp & Rajeer Alford will serenade audiences with moving duets, unique interpretations of classical musical theatre pieces, and more as part of 11th Hour's spring Cabaret Series. The event will be streamed live on April 24 and available for replay for two weeks after the original air date.

13) August Wilson Consortium

Celebrating August Wilson!

April 27

Facebook Live

Free

Artists and community members will join the August Wilson Consortium in celebrating the birth anniversary of August Wilson.

14) EgoPo Classic Theater

Nocturne

April 28 - May 2

Live Drive-In Outdoor Event

$15

"Fifteen years ago, I killed my sister." Thus begins this haunting story of pain and isolation. Before the event, you receive directions to a remote abandoned parking lot in Philadelphia. You arrive in the night, your vehicle illuminating the empty landscape. A man appears out of the darkness, blinded by your headlights. Through your FM radio, he begins to share the story of his journey to redemption. You and your car become essential players in this theatrical nightmare as his life (re)emerges from the darkness and silence.

15) Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Collective

First Cousins

April 29 - May 2

Pre-Recorded Theatre Event

$15

After the funeral of a beloved cousin, the first cousins are left to deal with a family secret that has haunted them since childhood. Through tears, anger, and humor, they stumble forward to healing.

16) Philadelphia Theatre Company

The McNally Award Moment

April 30

Virtual Discussion

Free

Join Philadelphia Theatre Company as they announce the recipient of the 2021 Terrence McNally Award, which honors the magic and transformative power of theater as a way to reach into the hearts and minds of audiences. This award will celebrate socially responsible art and civically engaged playwrights to dismantle racism and oppression through fearless and audacious art.

The Philadelphia-based Playwright selected for the McNally Award will receive a cash award of $5,000 and development guidance at PTC, including administrative and dramaturgical support. We will also facilitate access to professional connections for the Future of the Playwright and their work following the exploration at PTC."

17) Cirque du Nuit

Thickett / Quest 2

Friday, April 30 from 8:30pm - 10:15pm EST

Saturday, May 1 from 2:30pm - 4:15pm EST

Live Virtual Theatre Event

Pay What You Can

THICKETT is an immersive virtual quest where the world may turn on the stories you tell. Dive into a digital adventure with live actors, hidden mysteries, fairy tales, and corporate espionage. THICKETT is a corporation in charge of gathering the missing pages of an ancient, powerful book of tales. You have just been hired as an employee, otherwise known as a "seeker." The CEO has a hidden past, the three departments compete, and everyone is waiting to see how you will play.

18) Crossroads Comedy Theater

The Future

Friday, April 30th from 9:30pm-10:15pm

Live Virtual Theatre Event

Pay What You Can

Doing whatever it takes to make audiences laugh since 2013, this improv team has built a reputation domestically and abroad as a group of weirdos who create comedy that is always more than the sum of their parts. Please give them a suggestion and watch as it gets turned into a recreation of the past, a twisted sci-fi dystopia, or possibly a feat of physical strength. The Pandemic has grounded their festival performances, so don't miss this opportunity to watch them from your couch! The Future is Fred Brown, Caitlin Corkery, David Donnella, Rob O'Neill, Kristen Schier, and Molly Scullion.

19) The Hum'n'bards Theater Troupe

The #Knightlife Renaissance Faire

Saturday, May 1 from 5:00pm-9:00pm

Live Virtual Theatre Event

Pay What You Can

Hear ye, hear ye! #KnightlifeRenFaire returns to the digital realm! Join in the spring-time merriment from the comfort of your home as entertainers dazzle with music, art, dance, combat, and beyond streaming from The Hum'n'bards Theater Troupe Facebook page. Beginning at 5 pm, we will feature artisans to demonstrate their craft. You will have the chance to win their wares in an online raffle, with proceeds going to Black Theatre Alliance of Philadelphia! Then, join us at 7 pm for some #Knightlife entertainment: singing, magic, drag, stage combat, Shakespeare, and so much more!

20) Without A Cue Productions, LLC

Murder By Gaslight

Saturday, April 24 from 7:00pm-8:00pm

Saturday, April 24 from 8:00pm-9:00pm

Sunday, April 25 from 7:00pm-8:00pm

Sunday, April 25 from 8:00pm-9:00pm

Live Outdoor Event

Murder By Gaslight - Are you prepared for a touch of the eccentric and steeled against a chill up your corset? Are you yearning to add an experience at once fantastical while also unnerving? Then join us for a historical walking tour with a murderous twist!

There's been a very Victorian murder in Philadelphia. Enter a world of stodgy alienists and charismatic charlatans, saucy-painted ladies, tweedy robber barons, steam-powered engines, and horse-drawn carriages. Stroll the byways and shadowy corners of Old City, led by your guide - who happens to be the victim of a 130-year-old murder! You will be tasked with inspecting the crime scene, gathering the clues, and questioning the suspects you meet along the way. And perhaps, just perhaps, you can stay one step ahead of a wily murderer, avoid a similar fate, and have a chance to solve a - MURDER BY GASLIGHT!

Without A Cue Productions is thrilled to take its interactive mystery theater on the road – literally. During this Hour-long walking tour, our guests will not only learn some of the more interesting tidbits about our city but will also solve a murder – all outdoors and on the move! This show represents a significant pivot for the company known for employing professional actors in murder mystery-style theatre at Peddler's Village in Buck's County and at the Shore in Cape May, New Jersey. After a central pivot for the female-led company, Without a Cue Productions, it makes its first major debut in the Philadelphia market.

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