Philadelphia's Wilma Theater has revealed its upcoming 2023-2024 season, along with the appointment of new co-artistic director Lindsay Smiling. Formally joining the company August 1, Smiling joins an artistic director team also including Morgan Green and Yury Urnov, all of whom will lead the theatre alongside Managing Director Leigh Goldenberg.
Smiling is also an actor, currently performing in Wilma's Eternal Life Part 1 and scheduled to appear in the company's Twelfth Night this summer. Outside of the Wilma, Smiling is an adjunct professor at Temple University and a founding member of the Black Theatre Alliance of Philadelphia.
Kicking off the season November 24-December 17 will be a live stage run of James Ijames' Pulitzer-winning Fat Ham, directed by Amina Robinson. The work, currently making its Broadway debut at the American Airlines Theatre, made its world premiere as a digital theatre offering via the Wilma in 2021.
"I’m so happy of the choice for Lindsay to be the next co-artistic director of the Wilma," says Ijames in a statement. "I learned so much from my time in this role, and from working alongside the Cohort. The Wilma will always be an artistic home for me, and I'm so thrilled to continue my relationship with the company as they present one of the first regional productions of Fat Ham next season."
Sasha Denisova's My Mama and the Full-Scale Invasion will make its world premiere at the Wilma January 30–February 18, 2024, using a translation by Misha Kachman and an adaptation by Kelli Mecleary. A co-production with D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, the work follows a woman coping with the trauma of Russia's invasion of Ukraine by imagining her 82-year-old mother in a series of fantastical situations, including bombing Russian drones with jars of pickles, strategizing with President Zelensky, and more. Urnov is directing.
The season's second world premiere is Hilma, which features words by Kate Scelsa and music by Robert M. Johanson. Described as a "contemporary opera," the piece tells the story of queer mystic and artist Hilma af Klint, who worked in near obscurity in the early 20th century and whose work has only recently begun to be rediscovered. Directed by Morgan Green, the work is being produced in partnership with New Georges June 4-23, 2024.
The theatre will also present Tony Kushner's adaptation (from a translation by Wendy Arons) of Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Setzuan April 2-21, 2024. Justin Jain will direct a pan-Asian cast.
Visit WilmaTheater.org for more details.