Plays by Theresa Rebeck, Bill Cain, Tectonic Will Get Readings at Philadelphia Theatre Company

News   Plays by Theresa Rebeck, Bill Cain, Tectonic Will Get Readings at Philadelphia Theatre Company
Philadelphia Theatre Company kicks off its 35th Anniversary Season with PTC@Play, a new play festival featuring staged readings of new works by Jeffrey Hatcher, Theresa Rebeck, Leigh Fondakowski, Bill Cain and Kristen Greenidge Oct. 5-21 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

All readings are free with curtain time at 7 PM.

The festival will feature Casa Cushman by Leigh Fondakowski in conjunction with the Tectonic Theater Project; Strongman's Ghost by Jeffrey Hatcher; What We're Up Against by Theresa Rebeck; How To Write A New Book For The Bible by Bill Cain; and Milk Like Sugar by Kirsten Greenidge.

Sara Garonzik, PTC's producing artistic director, said in a statement, "We are presenting staged readings of new plays in their early stages of development by established writers with whom we have had a relationship — they include Moises Kaufman's Tectonic Theater Project, Jeffrey Hatcher and Theresa Rebeck — as well as works from writers new to us that we think are incredibly exciting, including Bill Cain and Kirstin Greenidge. Each play explores a different aspect of the American experience from the unique perspective of an accomplished playwright. PTC@Play is an opportunity for our audiences to be the first to experience the future of American theatre and to connect with the writers who will be present at the readings."

Here's PTC@Play at a glance:

What We're Up Against
By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Loretta Greco
Oct. 7

"Set in a highly competitive architecture firm, What We're Up Against explodes the stereotypes of the workplace, and gives us a funny yet insightful look into what it means to be female in a male-dominated career." In 1989, Pulitzer Prize finalist Rebeck began her career at PTC being mentored by playwright Arthur Kopit while writing her hit play, Spiked Heels.

Casa Cushman
Written and directed by Leigh Fondakowski in conjunction with the Tectonic Theater Project
Oct. 8

"This ensemble play tells the story of the life and times of 19th-century American actress Charlotte Cushman who had a huge fan base in Philadelphia that eventually established the Charlotte Cushman Club. One of the most important actresses of her time, Cushman was famous for her interpretation of the leading male roles in Shakespeare. Cushman continually challenged Victorian notions of gender in her stage portrayals of male characters and of strong, androgynous female characters. When Charlotte Cushman made her last appearance in New York in 1874, a reported 14,000 fans filled the streets at 23rd Street from Fifth to Sixth Avenues just to catch a glimpse of the actress from her balcony."

Fondakowski was the head writer of The Laramie Project and has been a member of Tectonic Theatre Project since 1995. Her play, The People's Temple, has been performed under her direction at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Perseverance Theater, American Theater Company and The Guthrie Theater, and received the Glickman Award for Best New Play in the Bay Area in 2005.

PTC produced the Tectonic Theater Project's plays The Laramie Project, winner of three Barrymore Awards, and Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde.

Strongman's Ghost
By Jeffrey Hatcher
Directed by John Rando
Oct. 11

"In a war-torn future, a General locks a writer in a room to complete the General's novel. As he writes, his fiction begins to mirror what's happening in reality. Strongman's Ghost is written with Hatcher's signature wit and explores the dangerous line between fact and fiction in a world where the 'truth' has become a commodity."

PTC has produced four of Jeffrey Hatcher's plays: Murderers (world premiere), A Picasso (world premiere), Three Viewings (Philadelphia premiere) and Compleat Female Stage Beauty (world premiere).

Milk Like Sugar
By Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by Rebecca Taichman
Oct. 18

"On her 16th birthday Annie's friends present her with a challenge — get pregnant fast so they can have babies together. Milk Like Sugar is an exhilarating new examination of the American Dream in the 21st century."

As a recent NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Grant recipient, Greenidge wrote The Curious Walk of the Salamander at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. She is the author of Bossa Nova, which will be produced at Yale Repertory Theatre this fall.

How To Write A New Book For The Bible
By Bill Cain
Directed by Hal Brooks
Oct. 21

"In How To Write A New Book For The Bible, Bill returns home in his 40s to care for his elderly mother whose body is failing but spirit is still passionately alive. This moving and poignant drama is a caregiver's emotional autobiography of family, faith, and the struggle to say goodbye."

Cain was recently awarded the prestigious Steinberg Commission to develop a new play with South Coast Repertory Theatre. His most recent play, Equivocation, has been seen across the country from the Geffen in Los Angeles to Manhattan Theatre Club, and won the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award.

Each playwright will be in-residence at PTC for his or her reading, and every reading will conclude with a public talk back with the playwright and director. In addition, PTC will be facilitating a conversation about new play development and the role of the playwright in the 21st century.

The Suzanne Roberts Theatre is located between Broad and Lombard Streets. Admission is free.


PTC's 35th anniversary season also includes the multiple Tony Award winner The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, with music and lyrics by William Finn (Nov. 12–Dec. 12), the Philadelphia premiere of Anna Deavere Smith in her one-woman, award-winning show Let Me Down Easy (March 18–April 10, 2011), the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined by Lynn Nottage (May 20–June 12, 2011), and a fourth play to be announced soon (Jan. 21–Feb. 13, 2011).

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