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Philly Theatre Week Returns With Pay-What-You-Can Tickets for Every Show
The 11-day festival features 100-plus performances across the region.
Philly Theatre Week is returning March 23rd through April 2nd, and from Shakespeare to ChatGPT, from improv comedy to musicals, there’s truly something for everyone.
New for this year, every performance has pay-what-you-can tickets. Theatre Philadelphia executive director LaNeshe Miller-White explains that this model “lets us reach out to diverse audiences around the city and bring in the next generation of theatergoers looking to give theater a try. It also gives repeat theatergoers and theater supporters the opportunity to donate and support the work they are seeing based on their own capabilities and how moved they were. It is truly a win-win.” Note that for many performances, there are a limited number of PWYC tickets; the remainder have a set price.
There’s so much to see, but here are just some of the standouts, whatever you’re into.
Kick-Off Showcase at the Kimmel Center
First things first: Philadelphia Theatre Week gets going with a showcase at the Kimmel Center on Monday, March 20th. You’ll get a sneak peek at scenes, songs, and interactive performances from participating theater companies. The event is free, but registration is required.
March 20th, 6-8 p.m., Hamilton Garden at the Kimmel Center, 300 South Broad Street.
The Drama Group of Germantown presents a contemporary adaptation of Chekov’s play about four characters experiencing love and conflict “during one tempestuous summer.”
March 24th-April 2nd, First United Methodist Church of Germantown, 6001 Germantown Avenue.
A View From the Bridge
Head to Wilmington for New Light Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s dark, tragic play. Ticket sales benefit RISE, a division of Jewish Family Services devoted to refugee resettlement, family reunification, and counseling services.
March 23rd-26th, OperaDelaware Studios, 4 South Poplar Street, Wilmington.
Quintessence Theatre Group stages the classic and magical Shakespearean comedy in their intimate Mount Airy theater.
Now through April 2nd, Sedgwick Theatre, 7137 Germantown Avenue.
More Shakespeare! The Ritz Theatre Company stages the “Scottish Play” in all its witchy, political psychodrama.
March 24th-April 2nd, the Ritz Theatre Company, 915 White Horse Pike, Haddon Township.
The Complete Deaths
This one’s a bit of a cheat, since it’s by no means a traditional “classic.” But since we’re already in the realm of the Bard, we can’t not mention the somehow hilarious show that stages “all 74 onstage Shakespearean deaths in 90 minutes — 75 if you count the ill-favoured fly killed in Titus Andronicus.”
March 23rd-April 1st, Curio Theatre Company, 4740 Baltimore Avenue.
Class Clowns Comedy Festival
For Philly Theatre Week, Crossroads Comedy Theater is doing eight different comedy shows — each for one performance only — that all have an educational theme. Performances run the gamut from the nine-years-running Study Hall (which mixes lectures with improv) to Book Club (which invites audience members to read Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club in advance of a lively discussion and comedic performances) to a night of “comedy, politics, yelling” at Electoral Dysfunction. There will also be free improv workshops on Saturday, April 1st.
March 29th-April 1st, Plays and Players, 1714 Delancey Place.
This feel-good improv and sketch-comedy show by Run Boy Run “pays homage to the irreverent, slapstick, and awkward antics of yesteryear’s best improv and television sitcoms.”
March 24th-26th, Plays and Players, 1714 Delancey Place.
Katherine Perry embodies “Brooke Spitz, self-proclaimed sexpert, self-published children’s book author, and self-pleasured musical theatre enthusiast” as she performs “naughty parodies” of Broadway show tunes in this one-night-only show upstairs at Fergie’s.
March 27th, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Fergie’s Pub, second floor, 1214 Sansom Street.
A Doomsday in the Life
This musical comedy by Penn’s Mask and Wig Club tells a somehow-hilarious story of two post-apocalyptic survivors “braving killer robots, zombies with class consciousness, and unhealthy levels of background radiation.”
March 24th and 25th, the Mask and Wig Clubhouse, 310 South Quince Street.
Your Sunday Best
An evening of variety comedy featuring Philly-based actors, stand-ups and musicians, hosted by Chris Davis.
March 26th, 8-11 p.m., Quig’s Pub, 1714 Delancey Street.
Planet of the Bored Apes
Die-Cast’s play was inspired by NFTs, the metaverse, and the rest of our digital landscape — and oh yeah, it was written by ChatGPT. Let Victor Fiorillo tell you all about it here.
March 27th and 30th, Brauhaus Schmitz, 718 South Street.
The Bed Show
“Think of it as the sleepover party you’ve always wanted to have.” It’s an immersive, interactive show about “bed culture,” performed in a bed in someone’s apartment. The location is only disclosed once you get tickets.
March 24th-April 2nd, location TBA.
Johnny Depp! (A Retrospective on Late-Stage Capitalism)
And now for something completely different: Jenna Kuerzi as Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in a satirical “press tour” at Fergie’s. “Part ritual, part drunken sing-along,” this show is interactive, unhinged and intriguing, using Depp’s career to explore the destructive nature of ego, celebrity and money. Note: This performance runs longer than Philly Theatre Week!
March 30th-April 16th, Fergie’s Pub, second floor, 1214 Sansom Street.
A Séance For Mae West
Aporia hosts an intimate, interactive experience at which you try to bring the fabulous Mae West “back from the dead for an encore performance” and ask her questions about her life. The hour-long show is described as “half homage, half manifesto.”
March 25th-April 1st, Hot Bed, 723 Chestnut Street, floor 2.
Guided Transmutation: subjugation -> privileged domination -> imagine transmuting your unjust advantages into nourishment
Gather at Glendenning Rock Garden, find a comfortable spot, and experience Alma’s Engine’s guided transmutation at your own pace — then head to the retention space, have some tea, and process the experience.
March 26th and 29th, Glendenning Rock Garden, Brewery Hill Drive.
The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan Served with the Best Local Cocktails
The Savoy Company of Philadelphia performs a selection of hits by theatrical pairing Gilbert and Sullivan. The event includes hand-crafted cocktails throughout the night — plus a cocktail demonstration prior to the show. Each $30 ticket includes all cocktails. (There are 10 available PWYC tickets.)
March 25th, 7-9 p.m., Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2212 Spruce Street.
Chicago (Teen Edition)
Murder, fame and all that jazz. Bucks County theater company Acting Naturally stages a “teen edition” (think: less overtly sexual) version of the classic 1920s-set Broadway musical Chicago.
March 31st and April 1st, Acting Naturally Theatre, 164 North Flowers Mill Road, Langhorne.
Willkommen, bienvenue! Bristol Riverside Theatre will transport you to the Kit Kat Club in 1929 Berlin for this Broadway classic.
March 23rd-30th, Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol.
Acting Without Boundaries, a nonprofit providing theater programs for those with physical disabilities, stages a collection of scenes, songs and conversations about identity with the theme “This Is Me.” Interaction from the audience is encouraged, and there’s a Q&A after the performance.
March 26th, 2-3 p.m., the Kimmel Center, 300 South Broad Street.
The American Revolution
Blending physical theater, comedy and American history, Theater Unspeakable presents the story of the Revolution in 50 minutes with just seven actors, on 21 square feet of space. “Big stories in small spaces,” as they say.
March 28th-April 1st, Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street.
Hoopsical! An Anti-Bully Musical in One Act
A new student is bullied for hula-hooping, two friends stand up to the bullies — and in the end, the bullies are hula-hooping, too! The 30-minute play is simple but sweet and good for all ages.
March 24th and March 30th, Columbus Square Recreation Center, 1200 Wharton Street.