The popular Barrymore Award-nominated play, written by Philadelphia playwright Bruce Graham and directed by Joe Canuso, will be presented with a new ending for the first time, to reflect the Phillies' World Series victory.
"We actually won something!" stated Graham. "Although it will still take place the night before the 2005 Super Bowl, we've added an epilogue to include the Phillies big win."
According to Act II, "Loyal followers of the play will be in for a treat, as Graham, McCarthy and Canuso shot new video footage for the show at the Oct. 31, 2008, [World Series] victory parade."
The title character, "a gritty union worker who served in Korea, takes audiences on a roller coaster ride through 50 years of Philadelphia's sports history, and the frustrations that go along with it. This tell-it-like-it-is trip through the eyes of a hard-core sports fan is R-rated for the necessarily salty language that truthfully captures the highs and lows of watching pro sports teams."
The seventysomething McCarthy has appeared in four productions in Act II Playhouse's ten-year history, most recently the world premiere of Jeff Baron's Brothers-in-Law in March 2007. The two-time Barrymore Award winner conceived The Philly Fan and asked Bruce Graham if he would pen it. "People get very emotionally involved with this play," playwright Graham stated. "They love both Tom and the character he plays. They get very quiet when he talks about the death of his wife. It was important that they care about him, otherwise he's just another Philly loudmouth in a bar."
The Philly Fan had its premiere at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival in 2004 and was first rewritten after the Eagles reached the Super Bowl in 2005. The 65-minute play was nominated for a 2005 Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play.
Special guests will be attending two special talk-back performances on Feb. 17 and 27. These shows will start earlier — at 7 PM, "to allow time for a lively, give-and-take conversation about Philadelphia sports."
Talk-backs will be led by playwright Graham and include appearances by Tom Burgoyne, the "friend" of the Phillie Phanatic; radio personality Big Daddy Graham (no relation to the playwright) of sports radio station 610 WIP, media sponsor for The Philly Fan; and Ted Taylor, co-owner of STAT Authentic, a sports memorabilia authentication company and founding president of the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society, who has published a book about the Philadelphia Athletics.
Other performances of The Philly Fan will take place 8 PM Wednesday through Saturday, with 2 PM matinees on Wednesday and Sunday.
Tickets are $25 for all Tuesday-Thursday performances and $30 for Friday-Sunday shows.
For tickets and more information, call (215) 654-0200 or visit Act II at 56 E. Butler Ave. in Ambler, or go online at www.act2.org.
Act II Playhouse, celebrating 10 years of professional theatre in the Philadelphia suburb of Ambler, PA, is committed to creating world-class theatre in a 130-seat venue whose intimacy draws audiences and actors into dynamic interrelation. Act II produces new, classic, and contemporary plays and musicals under the direction of Bud Martin (producing artistic director) and Harriet Power (associate artistic director).
Act II resumes its subscription season on March 10 with Iron Kisses by James Still, "a profound, funny, heartfelt, and highly theatrical celebration of brothers, sisters, parents, and children," directed by Power.