Prince Music Theater Stages THE SUIT, Now thru 3/8
The Prince Music Theater presents the Tony Award and Olivier Award-winning director Peter Brook's production of The Suit today, February 26-March 8. Set in South Africa, The Suit tells a tale of love, revenge and redemption. Tickets are on sale now at PrinceMusicTheater.org.
The Suit won glowing reviews in London's West End and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, where the production by Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord was the must-have ticket for theatergoers - selling out all performances. Based on the play by Can Themba, Mothobi Mutloatse and Barney Simon, with direction, adaptation and music by Peter Brook, Marie-Helene Estienne and Frank Krawczyk. The Suit will be performed at the Prince for only 13 performances before it heads to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
"We are honored to present The Suit at the Prince," said James Hines, Executive Director, Prince Music Theater. "This presentation personifies the Prince's mission to bring critically acclaimed productions to Philadelphia, and being able to bring such an acclaimed work to Philadelphia before the Kennedy Center is truly a coup not only for the theater, but for the city as a whole."
The story of how this acclaimed production came to be is nearly as dramatic as The Suit itself. It began as a novel by acclaimed South African author Can Themba, whose stories were celebrated for the way they depicted the harsh conditions of African life in the Johannesburg townships. As such, his writings angered the apartheid government, who banned his work and declared Themba an outlaw. Themba died at age 43, reportedly from alcohol abuse-decades before his most famous work was adapted for the stage by Mothobi Muloatse and Barney Simon at Johannesburg's Market Theatre. Renowned director Peter Brook, working with his long-term collaborator Marie-Hélène Estienne, staged a new adaptation of the original stage version and set it to music from sources as diverse as Franz Schubert and Miriam Makeba.
The story of The Suit centers on Philomen, who works for a middle-class lawyer, and his wife, Matilda. The suit of the title belongs to Matilda's lover and is left behind when Philemon catches the illicit couple in flagrante. As punishment, Philemon makes Matilda treat the suit as an honored guest. She has to feed it, entertain it, and take it out for walks as a constant reminder of her adultery. But the setting of Sophiatown, a teeming township that was erased shortly after Themba wrote his novel, is as much a character in the play as the unfortunate couple.
Leading the Philadelphia performances is actress Nonhlanhla Kheswa, who also appeared in the BAM production. Kheswa, a South African native, began her professional career at the age of 16 when she was cast in the Broadway production of Disney's The Lion King.
The Prince Music Theater is a world class performing arts center whose mission is to present and cultivate an exceptional range of high-quality performing arts, film and other programs that engage, entertain and educate diverse audiences. The Prince will bring distinctive cultural experiences to Greater Philadelphia and will support the finest artists and companies, both locally-based and international, in order to enhance Philadelphia's vibrancy as a renowned cultural center.