The Philadelphia Theatre Company, a troupe devoted to world premieres and contemporary American plays, now begins its 26th season, which is to include premieres, Pulitzer Prize winners and Off-Broadway hits.
The new season starts with Dinner with Friends, the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Donald Margulies. The play examines four friends who have raised kids and vacationed together but quickly discover that a divorce will test the strength of marriage and friendship. Dinner with Friends shows how quickly ties can unbind but also how strong true love can be.
After premiering at the 1998 Humana Festival, Dinner with Friends went on to very successful runs in New York and Paris, and was recently produced by HBO Films.
Featuring Brian Dykstra, Boris McGiver, Jennifer Rohn and Nance Williamson, PTC's production will be directed by Mary B. Robinson, who has previously directed for the PTC as well as such prestigious groups as the Second Stage, Juilliard, and NYU's Graduate Acting Program.
Dinner with Friends started previews at the Plays and Players Theatre Oct. 12. It opens Oct. 17 and will run through Nov. 18. *
2002 will begin with the East Coast premiere of The Infidel, written by Bruce Norris and directed by Anna D. Shapiro, associate artist at the Steppenwolf Theatre. At the end of a brief affair, state Supreme Court Justice Garvey is forced to reckon with his actions and their consequences in an intricate exploration of sexual obsession and behavior. The Infidel will run Jan. 25-Feb. 24, 2002.
Following that, the PTC will present the Philadelphia premiere of Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby, March 15-April 14, 2002. In this off-beat comedy, the existence of a young couple's baby is called into question by an intruding older couple. Innocence, reality and language are all challenged by this disturbing conflict. Did the young couple actually have a baby or not?
Rounding out the season will be the world premiere of Barbra's Wedding by actor-turned-playwright Daniel Stern. Stern, who has starred in films such as "Diner" and "City Slickers," makes his first attempt at playwriting with a comedy about the dangers of being in the spotlight. Jerry Siff's next-door neighbor is Barbra Streisand, and as the Brolin-Streisand wedding day approaches, Jerry must battle the paparazzi as his own marriage is examined by the media. Barbra's Wedding will run May 24-June 23.
This will be a season of premieres for Philadelphia. PTC artistic director Sara Garonzik said in a statement, "We are pleased next season to continue our celebration of the American playwright by introducing new voices and presenting the newest works by two of our country's premiere playwrights." All shows will be performed at the Plays and Players Theater, located at 1714 Delancey Street. For tickets or more information, call (215) 569-9700 or visit the Philadelphia Theatre Company's website at www.phillytheatreco.com.
— by Steve Luber