Award Winning Plays, a PTC New Musical Reimagined, and a One-Man Tour de Force

A Drama Desk Award, an OBIE Award, a multiple Tony-nominated play, a one-man show by a Tony-nominated actor, and the return of a new musical by an award-winning team are all part of Philadelphia Theatre Company’s stellar season next year.  Philadelphia Theatre Company announces its five-production 2013/2014 mainstage season – 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog, Nerds with book and lyrics by 3-time Emmy nominated Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner and music by Hal Goldberg, Tribes by Nina Raine, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang, and A Boy and His Soul written and performed by Colman Domingo.

“We are thrilled to be producing a season of work by an amazing group of writers and creators, each with a deeply personal story to tell and a distinctive way of telling it.  Some writers, such as Amy Herzog and Nina Raine are new to us and to Philadelphia.  In the case of Colman Domingo, it was just a matter of time before we brought this brilliant performer back to his hometown to share his coming-of-age story.  The much celebrated Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is our third production of a play by Christopher Durang, the last one being the world premiere of his musical Adrift in Macao. Its Bucks County setting is certain to add extra dimension (and chuckles) to Philadelphia audiences. Producing the musical Nerds, however, represents a truly unique journey for PTC.  One of the most popular productions in our history when we mounted its world premiere in 2007, we are now producing a newly reimagined version that we know will propel it into a bright new future.”

“For the past 37 years, PTC has gained both regional and national recognition for the consistent high quality of its productions thanks to its award-winning creative teams and performers,” said President Priscilla Luce.  “Our new season continues this legacy in support of some of the finest plays and most important voices on the national theater scene today.”

The season opens with the Philadelphia premiere of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize nominated 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog, running October 11 – November 10.  Winner of the OBIE Award for Best New Play in 2012 and named #1 Play of 2012 by Time Magazine, 4000 Miles is a funny, moving drama from one of today’s most celebrated playwrights.  Twenty one-year-old neo-hippie Leo unexpectedly arrives on the doorstep of his feisty grandmother Vera’s West Village apartment, dazed and confused after a cross-country bike trip. Over the course of a single month, these unlikely roommates infuriate and bewilder each other, and discover the fragile line between growing up and growing old through humor, heartache, and love.  Frequent PTC director, Mary B. Robinson (most recently at the helm of Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo, PTC 2009), is slated to direct.

November 29-December 29 brings the musical comedy hit Nerds back to PTC with book and lyrics by Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner and music by Hal GoldbergNerds had its world premiere at PTC in 2007 where it was enthusiastically received by both critics and audiences and won that season’s Barrymore Award for Best Play.  This re-imagined version is directed by Marc Bruni, who last directed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at PTC, and is currently slated to direct the just-announced Beautiful: The Carole King Musical in San Francisco before its likely Broadway run in 2014. Nerds is an outrageous new musical that follows the lives of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as they rise from garage inventors to billionaires. From the floppy disk era to the present day iPhone phenomenon, Nerds hilariously celebrates the computer revolution and the two pop-culture icons that made it possible.

The New Year kicks off from January 24-February 23 with the Philadelphia premiere of Tribes by Nina Raine, which had its world premiere in 2010 at London’s Royal Court Theatre and recently concluded a successful run at New York’s Barrow Street Theatre.  This winner of the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play follows Billy, a young deaf man living silently among his loud, intellectually elite and fiercely opinionated family who talk a lot, but don’t listen so well.   He has adapted brilliantly to his hearing family’s unconventional ways, but they’ve never bothered to return the favor. It’s not until he meets Sylvia, a young woman on the brink of deafness, that he finally understands what it means to be understood.  New York Magazine’s #1 play of the year, Tribes explores the fascinating interplay between sound and communication, perception and truth, and hearing and listening.  Tribes is directed by Stuart Carden, Associate Artistic Director of Chicago’s Writers’ Theatre, and is a co-production with Pittsburgh’s City Theatre.

Christopher Durang’s Chekhov-inspired comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which transferred to Broadway this spring after an acclaimed run at Lincoln Center Theater, is next up for PTC from March 21-April 20.  Vanya and his sister Sonia live a quiet life in the Bucks County farmhouse where they grew up. When their movie star sister Masha returns from Hollywood unannounced with Spike, her twenty-something boy-toy in tow, an unforgettable weekend of rivalry, regret and hilarity ensues. By the end of their impromptu family reunion, this lovable bunch won’t ever be the same.  This explosively funny, laugh-out-loud, new American comedy is Christopher Durang at his affectionate, unpredictable best!  Winner of the 2013 Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike was recently honored with six 2013 Tony Award nominations including Best New Play. PTC also produced the world premiere of Christopher Durang musical comedy Adrift in Macao which later enjoyed a successful run Off-Broadway at Primary Stages.

The season concludes on May 23-June 22 with A Boy and His Soul, written and performed by Colman Domingo, who received a Tony nomination for his role in The Scottsboro Boys, and directed by Tony Kelly.  A coming-of-age story, A Boy and His Soul follows Domingo’s upbringing through a box of vinyl records discovered in the basement of his boyhood West Philadelphia home. A one-man tour de force, A Boy and His Soul digs deep into the joys and pains of living in a working-class background, and the pivotal moment of coming out as a gay African-American man in 1980s Philadelphia.  This triumphant work features tunes by Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer and others as the soundtrack to one man’s soul-stirring journey.