Philly Theatre Week returns for a third year February 6-10, 2020 with more than 75 organizations and creators presenting 300 events and performances. These range from existing productions by big-name theaters offering special $15 or $30 tickets, to free one-off readings, to unique programming for the 10-day festival. Consult the Theatre Philadelphia website for a full list of shows and ticket options. Here are our picks to get your selection started:
Tribe of Fools brings its signature brand of funny physical theater to an unlikely subject: depression. Philadelphia theater favorite Charlotte Northeast directs the world premiere solo work by company member Peter Smith based on his personal experiences. February 5-22, 2020.
Anne is a housewife and mother of three in Eastern Nevada. Leland is her simple-minded brother-in-law who was kicked in the head by a horse. For Leland’s 40th birthday, Anne takes Leland hunting near the ghost town of Osceola on the Nevada / Utah border. A new play by John Rosenberg starring Jennifer Summerfield. February 8-March 1, 2020.
Creators Amanda Jill Robinson and Jenna Pinchbeck star as two best friends move to the Big Apple in the summer of ’69 with nothing but a box truck and a dream. Along the way they find their home and an unexpected, but wildly successful career in Greenwich Village. Enjoy a bagel and a cocktail with your LGBTQ+ comedy flashback at Queen Village’s Bagel Place. February 7-15, 2020.
After tipping over his semi on the highway trying to take a side trip to Cosco, a truck driver tries to keep his job by appealing to his boss’s religious sensibilities. This new work performed by Peter Kochanek, John Rosenberg, and Megan Thibodeaux headlines a night of original theater about bad decisions (and a film poem) by Josh McIlvain. February 6-8, 2020.
Johnny Depp: A Retrospective on Late-Stage Capitalism
Val Dunn + Jenna Kuerzi
“One scene in particular intrigued me,” Henrik Eger wrote in these pages about last year’s Theatre Week run of this madcap show. “Depp [Jenna Kuerzi] was cutting paper into small pieces that tumbled down like snowflakes over Dunn’s head, which was covered by two frizzy, differently-colored wigs on top of each other. ‘Winona Ryder,’ someone shouted. ‘Edward Scissorhands,’ screamed someone else. I had no idea what it was all about. Call me crazy, but I loved the show.” After a run in Edinburgh, Depp returns to Philly February 6-16, 2020.
This re-envisioned remount of the 2017 IRC production (“incisive”) features updated costume (Erica Hoelscher) and set design, celebrating the wild and free-spirited 1960’s. Eugene Ionesco’s thoroughly absurd first play, created while attempting to learn English from a primer, feels completely relevant after the post-2016 breakdown in communication and meaningful language. Sonja Robson, John Zak, Tomas Dura, Tina Brock, Bob Schmidt, and Carlos Forbes star. February 6-15, 2020.
Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa’s tale of New England witchery is set ten years after the Salem witch trials. Abigail Williams—the lead accuser who sent twenty people to their doom as a young girl—now lives under an assumed name on the outskirts of Boston, quietly striving to atone for her sins. When a handsome stranger arrives claiming to be a sailor in need, Abigail takes him in, and long-dormant passions awaken within her. February 7-16, 2020.
Matt & Ben
Raw Street Productions
A delightfully venomous snapshot of a pivotal moment in history, Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers’s comedy reimagines how it all began for Hollywood golden boys Matt Damon and Ben Affleck Before Good Will Hunting, before J-Lo, before the Oscar… meet Matt & Ben. Starring Gianna Lozzi Wolf and Madison Caudullo. February 6-15, 2020.
It’s no longer the season to be merry, but master of solo theater Chris Davis revives the holiday spirit with a reprise of his One-Man Nutcracker. February 6-15, 2020.
Conceived by Sean Pollock and costarring Nuria Hunter, The Bed Show takes place in real bedrooms in Fishtown and West Philly. An immersive site-specific talk show covering all things “bed culture”: the history of beds, bed horror stories, the mattress industry, sleep, love, sexuality, and intimacy. Think of it as the sleepover party you never had. February 8 +14, 2020.
Philly Theatre Week runs February 6-16, 2020.theatrephiladelphia.org