Philly Theatre Week hits stages with 81 companies producing more than 250 theater performances and 80 special events at sites across the Philadelphia region.
Theatre Philadelphia brings back its flagship festival for year two from February 7 to 17 with a bigger and better lineup of exciting shows for this second annual event.
PHILLY THEATRE WEEK FAST FACTS
- The 10-day Philly Theatre Week runs from February 7 to 17.
- All tickets to participating shows are free, $15 or $30 per person.
- More than 250 performances take place in venues in Philadelphia and the tri-state area.
- The excitement builds with two preview events February 1 and 2 at the Cherry Street Pier.
The 10-day Philly Theatre Week festival offers performances and events across Philadelphia and the Countryside, including an array of free readings and panel discussions. The region’s leading companies offer reduced-price performances of full-length theatrical productions, and independent theater-makers present limited runs of contemporary plays.
With a diverse offering of performing arts, the second annual Philly Theatre Week cements Philadelphia’s place as one of the nation’s leading theater cities. Choosing from hundreds of selections might be difficult, but a bit of advanced planning can help audiences dip their toes into the wide offerings.
Theatre Philadelphia offers a comprehensive 19-page guide to Philly Theatre Week, including a list of shows, events and schedules.
And the festival’s two free preview events at Cherry Street Pier offer great opportunities to get a handle on what to expect throughout the week.
On February 1 from 5 to 8 p.m., First Friday at Cherry Street Pier features preview performances of Philly Theatre Week events, a cash bar and food, and gallery tours of the 14 artists based at the newly rehabbed pier. On Saturday, February 2 from 1 to 4 p.m., the Theatre Week Kick-Off and Open House gives audiences the chance to interact with festival performers and see excerpts of their Theatre Week shows.
With more than 300 individual events Philly Theatre Week allows theater veterans to revisit their favorite stages and productions, and also serves as the perfect introduction to performance art for those new to the scene.
Dozens of independent performers put on high-quality performances during the 10-day festival: Hella Fresh Theater showcases Cana of Galilee, a world premiere by acclaimed local playwright John Rosenberg; Josh Hitchens and Going Dark Theatre bring on the creeps with The Confession of Jeffrey Dahmer; and Juniper Productions mixes up liquor and theater with Best of Cocktail Plays, featuring four short plays by local playwrights.
Those in search of humor can watch Val Dunn and Jenna Kuerzi contemplate an eclectic movie career and existential isolation with Johnny Depp: a Retrospective on Late Stage Capitalism or catch Chris Davis reprise his Fringe Festival hit The Presented.
Theater-lovers looking for classics should head to Wilma Theater for an energetic reworking of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, visit The Media Theatre for a thrilling version of the Bard’s Julius Caesar, or hear the stirring music of Benjamin Britten when Opera Philadelphia presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Academy of Music.
Elsewhere, mid-sized theater companies push boundaries with inventive contemporary productions. Curio Theatre Company’s farcical fast-paced version of Chekov’s Three Sisters complements EgoPo Classic Theater’s South African Three Sisters Two. Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium gets absurd with Elmer Rice’s Dream Girl, while Theatre Exile’s An Oak Tree features a new actor each evening.
The entire festival takes place during Black History Month, and many of Philly Theatre Week events find inspiration in the African American experience. Highlights include the Arden Theatre Company’s run of Kash Goins’ profound drama 74 Seconds… To Judgment; InterAct Theatre’s hip hop comedy Hype Man: A Break Beat Play; Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Collective’s Detroit ’67; and Passage Theatre’s To My Unborn Child: A Love Letter from Fred Hampton.
Valentine’s Day also falls within the 10-day festival and several organizations feel the love with special romantic evenings: Tiny Dynamite gives audiences everything they need for an ideal February 14 with a special Valentine’s Day installment of its A Play, a Pie, and a Pint series; Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theater improvises the laughs with The Love Experiment; and Philly Improv Theatre tickles Cupid’s funny bone with An Improvised Rom-Com.
Many Philly Theatre Week events are free, including a variety of readings, panel discussions, films and live performances. You can make reservations for the free events through TodayTix. All other tickets are $15 or $30 per person, with several shows heavily discounted for the festival.
The two preview events at Cherry Street Pier are free to attend and open to the public.
See you at the theater!