Philadelphia Theatre Company Hosts See And Be Scene Preview For 2019-2020 Season

Philadelphia Theatre Company invites theatre lovers to See and Be Scene, a one-night only staged-reading showcase on Monday, November 26, 2018 at 7:00pm. Producing Artistic Director Paige Price has assembled some of the hottest talent in local theatre for an up-close-and-personal preview of potential work for the company's 2019-2020 season. In an informal reading setting, actors will present scenes from eight plays and musicals. After the readings, Price will host a conversation to gather audience feedback, share her early vision for next season, and discuss what goes into picking the plays and talent for a theatre company. Happy Hour specials will be available and concessions will be open. See and Be Scene will take place at Philadelphia Theatre Company at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre (480 S. Broad Street). Tickets are on sale for $15 at philatheatreco.org, at the box-office, or by calling 215-985-0420.

"Last year, See and Be Scene was my first real introduction to our audiences. The event gave us an opportunity to not only reassure them we were planning on producing theatre again, but also allow them to speak with me directly, to learn about my taste, about PTC's plans and most importantly, tell us what they thought of the selections we offered," said Price.

See and Be Scene returns after Price's first produced show for the theatre finishes its run. PTC opened its 2018-2019 season with Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize Winner, Sweat, which was showcased at last year's See and Be Scene along with Christina Anderson's 2017 Kilroy's List pick How to Catch Creation, which will close the current season. Both titles were audience favorites last year.

This year, See and Be Scene is slated to feature eight musicals and plays that are under consideration for the theatre's 2019-2020 season -- the theatre's 45th anniversary season. One of the plays under consideration is Douglas Carter Beane's The Closet. Inspired by Le Placard, the French comedy by Academy Award nominee Francis Veber, The Closet is the story of Martin O'Reilly who is stuck in Scranton in a dead-end job. His marriage is over, and his son won't return his calls. When a stranger sashays into their world, he drags Martin-and everyone around him-out of their respective closets. This contemporary satire breaks the chains of political correctness and celebrates the possibility of finding authenticity, love - and show tunes - in unexpected places. The Closet will be directed by directed by Mark Brokaw (Heisenberg, Cinderella, The Lyons, After Miss Julie). It is presented by special arrangement with Simon Friend, Burnt Umber Productions and Scott Landis.

Set to be showcased at the event is the new musical, Wait, Wait, Don't Kill Me!, with a book by Dave Holstein (Creator of Showtime's new series, Kidding, with Jim Carrey, Catherine Keener, and Frank Langella) and Music & Lyrics by Alan Schmuckler (winner of the 2018 Kleban Prize for Musical Theater writing). This is a subversive, comedic new musical satire inspired by the events surrounding the making of NPR's Serial podcast. Think Sweeney Todd set at NPR.

The evening will include scenes from Kevin Armento's Good Men Wanted. This story brings to life the incredible true stories of renegade women who disguised themselves as men to fight in the Civil War. In a searing drama punctuated by explosive dance sequences set to contemporary pop music, five women of vastly different backgrounds become warriors and spies, endure prison camps and midnight raids, and ultimately intersect at America's most storied battlefield, Gettysburg. These unsung heroes circumvented the limitations of their time, with a boldness that speaks loudly to our own. Good Men Wanted is directed by Jaki Bradley.

Next up is the musical Elementary Spacetime Show, written by César Alvarez, a Master Lecturer at University of the Arts and Artistic Director of the university's Polyphone, an innovative "festival of the emerging musical." This new musical is about a teenager named Alameda who finds herself trapped in a cosmic vaudevillian game show that she must win in order to finally escape her loneliness. By confronting avatars of scientific truth, ostentatious musical numbers and fantastical dance sequences, Alameda acquaints herself with the enigmatic laws of the universe. It's a story of how a hard shell of hopelessness might be cracked open by wonder and musical comedy. Elementary Spacetime Show will be directed by Andrew Neisler.

Scenes from Fly By Night, a musical by Kimberly Rosenstock (TV's New Girl, GLOW), Michael Mitnick (Vinyl), Will Connolly (Once, This Ain't No Disco) will be presented at See and Be Scene. Fly by Night looks at the lives of seven average people and how their paths intersect unexpectedly during the great Northeast Blackout of 1965. The musical asks the question: Are our lives guided by fate, free-will, or some mysterious combination of the two? Fly by Night is truly a star-crossed love story, reminding us that even in our darkest hours, love connects us to everyone and everything in the universe. Fly By Night will be directed by Bill Fennelly.

PTC is also previewing School Girls, Or The African Mean Girls Play by Kilroy artist Jocelyn Bioh. In this award-winning new work, recently seen at the Lucille Lortel Theater in an encore Off-Broadway run, Paulina, the reigning queen bee at Ghana's most exclusive boarding school, has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant. But the arrival of Ericka, a new student with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter-and Paulina's hive-minded friends. This buoyant and biting comedy explores the universal similarities (and glaring differences) facing teenage girls across the globe.

Added Price, "This year, we are trying once again to learn about our audiences and what kind of stories will interest them. We are likely going to produce three plays next year, making the selection of the season even more challenging. Finding the right balance of shows that offer Philadelphia audiences the chance to discover new stories and new artists, as well as shows they might have heard about and want to see in Philadelphia is the trick."

Other selections will be announced on the night of the event.

PTC subscribers, members and donors can attend See and Be Scene for free, though they still need to make a reservation online, in person or through the box office. Tickets for the general public are on sale for $15 at philatheatreco.org, at the box-office, or by calling 215-985-0420.

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