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Philadelphia Theatre Company Announces 2020-2021 Virtual Pay What You Can Season

All shows for the 2020-21 season are expected to be offered virtually until it is safe to return to the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. 

Philadelphia Theatre Company Announces 2020-2021 Virtual Pay What You Can Season

Philadelphia Theatre Company announced its 46th season last night prior to the broadcast of Days of Re-Creation, a rolling world premiere by Masi Asare, AriDy Nox, Erlina Ortiz, SEVAN, Nandita Shenoy, BD Wong, and Lauren Yee, by inviting audiences to Turn On, Tune In, as the company programs for the virtual space during the 2020-21 Season.

Producing Artistic Director Paige Price announced that Philadelphia Theatre Company will seek to address the challenges of the current moment in two ways - creating opportunities for artists and addressing racial inequity in American theatre with direct action.

In addition, the Company will offer the entire season's offerings with a Pay What You Can plan. Managing Director Emily Zeck said, "2020 is teaching us to be way more flexible than we even thought possible, and along with programming we're applying the spirit of flexibility to pricing. If you're an ongoing subscriber, we miss you, and we're automatically renewing you at no financial obligation." Price added, "We want to reward our patrons' patience and loyalty by being responsive to how these multiple pandemics may have affected them personally. We don't want anyone to go through this year without the art and artists that bring us joy and healing. Hopefully, those who continue to thrive will help lift us all up so that we can open our 2021-22 season with gusto."

Philadelphia Theatre Company's 2020-21 Turn On, Tune In Season promises to bring people together around the theatre even when they are apart. Philadelphia Theatre Company will uphold its pledge to serve the community through the following season offerings:

  • Two virtual "mainstage" productions: The Wolves and the "Resident Artist" experience, to be curated and led by new artistic staff member Jeffrey Page;

  • On October 13th, PTC presents Sinclair Lewis' satire It Can't Happen Here as a radio play starring David Strathairn. This timely version of Lewis' 1935 novel follows the rise of a demagogue who becomes president of the United States by promising to return the country to greatness. PTC will join 75 theatres across the nation in presenting the Berkeley Rep production for free, as a way to use our theatrical tools and collective reach to get out the vote.

  • Three virtual reading presentations: Days of Re-Creation, The Tattooed Lady by Max Vernon and Erin Courtney, and selections from the 2021 McNally Award-winning playwright;

  • The return of See & Be Scene with primarily BIPOC community members participating in curating the event;

  • A forward-thinking conversation series to address the three pandemics in relationship to theatre (COVID-19, racial justice and the economy); and,

  • Real artistic and administrative moves to attain more equity and inclusion onstage, offstage, and amongst audiences.

All shows for the 2020-21 season are expected to be offered virtually until it is safe to return to the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

PTC is applying the spirit of flexibility to its pricing by making 2020-21 the Pay What You Can Season. Every ticket and every subscription across the 2020-21 Season will be Pay What You Can. Subscribers from the 2019-20 Season have been automatically renewed with full access to programming at no financial obligation, and single tickets can be accessed beginning at $1. More information will soon be available by mail for subscribers, and on philatheatreco.org.

On September 30th, 2020, PTC presented Days of Re-Creation, a play cycle comprising 10-minute plays from seven playwrights of color, including B.D. Wong, Lauren Yee, and Philadelphia's own Erlina Ortiz (Co-Artistic Director, Power Street Theatre).

To reinvigorate Philadelphia Theatre Company's legacy of supporting playwrights, Price won the blessing of the legendary Terrence McNally to relaunch the Terrence McNally New Play Award. Following McNally's passing earlier this year, the Company announced that the award would be revived in the 2020-21 Season and given to a Philadelphia playwright. The award will come with a cash prize and development at Philadelphia Theatre Company, and will proactively seek work from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) playwrights.

A pledge to produce at least one play every season named in The Kilroys List was made by Producing Artistic Director Paige Price in 2018. The Kilroys@PTC Initiative creates opportunities for underproduced writers. The Kilroys List is an annual selection of unproduced plays that have been written by an author who identifies as female, trans, or non-binary. Through this initiative, Philadelphia Theatre Company will continue to shift the nationwide trend in the direction of greater gender parity and increasing opportunities for underrepresented voices.

For the 2020-21 Season, the initiative continues with Sarah DeLappe's 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist and 2015 Kilroys List play, The Wolves, which was abruptly postponed in the spring. This boisterously energetic play about life, love, and loss on and off the field for a high school girls soccer team will be presented in time for Thanksgiving.

Among the most exciting ways the Company has found to engage audiences is by enlisting them in the process of selecting and producing a cohesive season of theatrical works is through See and Be Scene, which showcases selections from eight plays and musicals under consideration for future seasons, with real time feedback by the public. This hallmark event will move online and to the spring, and for the first time will include a panel of artists to participate in the selection process. See and Be Scene enables Philadelphia Theatre Company to provide paying work to a number of creatives and artists during a period when theatre jobs are few and far between.

In July, PTC announced the hiring of Jeffrey L. Page as the organization's new Resident Artist. Page, a Black director and choreographer who attended Philadelphia's University of the Arts, has expressed a commitment to facilitating civil discourse and elevating voices most affected by systemic racism. His experience as a theatre performer, teacher, and researcher make these conversations one of the most exciting elements of the 2020-21 Season.

After appearing in the original Broadway cast of Fela! Jeffrey received a degree in Directing from Columbia University and then became the first African American to be named Marcus Institute Fellow for Opera Directing at the Juilliard School. He has been nominated for an Emmy and spent the last 12 years as part of Beyoncé's creative team, winning an MTV Video Music Award. He recently accepted a Lecturer position at Harvard University, and next season will co-direct, with Diane Paulus, The American Repertory Theatre premiere at Harvard and the upcoming Broadway production of 1776.

In addition to overseeing the McNally New Play Award and participating in season planning, Page will create a theatrical experience of his choosing during the 2020-21 Season. He will also participate in a series of digital conversations with Producing Artistic Director Price and artistic influencers from across the city and country in response to the racial justice revolution occurring in theatre, and other topics of interest.


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