WITH FIVE PRODUCTIONS Including Two East Coast Premieres

Philadelphia Theatre Company announces its 2015-2016 season with five plays that showcase work by our nation’s most exciting and provocative playwrights.  The season features the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar; the East Coast premiere of Exit Strategy, a new play by rising Chicago playwright Ike Holter; Sex with Strangers by Laura Eason;  the East Coast premiere of Hillary and Clinton by Lucas Hnath and, the McCarter Theater/Arena Stage production of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery.

“Our 2015/16 season is a richly varied one, with a wide range of compelling subject matter and a diverse group of playwrights with fascinating stories to tell,” said PTC’s Executive Producing Director Sara Garonzik.  “Each play feels intensively personal, yet reflective of the larger ideas that make up our national conversation.   We could not be more thrilled to welcome these playwrights to Philadelphia.”

The season opens with Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar, October 9 – November 8, 2015, directed by Mary B. Robinson.   In this highly acclaimed and provocative 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Akhtar tells the story of a successful Muslim American lawyer and his wife – an artist influenced by Islamic imagery – who enjoy their comfortable life on New York’s Upper East Side.  When a co-worker and her husband come to dinner, what begins as polite conversation explodes, leaving everyone’s relationships   and beliefs about race and identity in shards.  Complex and unpredictable, Disgraced stuns audiences in a tour-de-force of dramatic revelation.  PTC is proud to partner with Intercultural Journeys to create a stimulating public conversation centered on the themes raised in this award-winning play.

Ayad Akhtar is a playwright, author and screenwriter.  Disgraced premiered at the American Theatre Company in Chicago in 2012.  It had its New York premiere at Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3 in 2012 and its London premiere at the Bush Theatre in 2013.   Disgraced was re-mounted on Broadway in the fall of 2014 with a cast lead by Gretchen Mol and Hari Dhillon.

Following Disgraced, PTC will present the McCarter Theatre/Arena Stage production of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville:  A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (November 27 – December 27, 2015.)  Directed by Amanda Dehnert, this dazzling and inventive version of the most popular of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries is a celebration of all that is magical about theatre.  Five transformable actors bring this comedy-thriller to joyful life.  Ken Ludwig, best known for his widely produced comedies, Lend Me A Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo, transforms Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic into a murderously funny adventure.

PTC kicks off the new year with Exit Strategy by Ike Holter (January 29 – February 28), in a co-production with New York’s Primary Stages. The East Coast premiere of this electrifying drama will transfer directly from PTC to Primary Stages for its New York debut. In Exit Strategy, Holter turns his piercing eye to a dilapidated public school in Chicago targeted for closure and the power struggles that ensue among the faculty and students desperate to keep it open in this superb, thrilling play which earned raves from Chicago audiences and critics alike.

Ike Holter is the author of Hit the Wall, dealing with the Stonewall riots in New York, which premiered in Chicago before moving Off-Broadway.  The 29-year old, political, Black American playwright has new commissions from Chicago’s Writers Theatre and Teatro Vista and was named “Chicagoan of the Year.”

Spring warms up with Sex with Strangers by Laura Eason, April 8 – May 8.   This smart and funny two-character play follows the chance meeting of a woman and a man who are both writers. Trapped overnight in a remote bed and breakfast during a snowstorm, she quickly discovers passionate desire, simmering competitiveness and growing uncertainty about the man who suddenly has crossed her threshold.  Sex with Strangers is a co-production with George Street Playhouse.

Laura Eason is the author of more than twenty full-length plays (both original and adaptations) as well as musical books and screenplays.  Sex with Strangers was developed and later premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.   It received its New York premiere at the Second Stage in 2014.   Ms. Eason’s new musical, Days Like Today, with music and lyrics by Alan Schmuckler, was produced in a critically acclaimed, sold- out run at Writers’ Theatre in Chicago.  Her adaptation of Around The World In 80 Days was produced in a hugely successful production in the UK at The New Vic Theatre and the Royal Exchange in 2014.  As a screenwriter, she was a staff writer on season two and a story editor on season three of the Netflix Drama House of Cards.

The season concludes with the East Coast premiere of Hillary and Clinton (May 27 – June 26) by Lucas Hnath.  In this fast-paced 2008 Primary Election imagining, Hnath asks us to imagine an alternate universe, very much like our own, where a woman named Hillary is trying to become president of a country called the United States of America.  With sly humor and astute psychological insight, Hnath spins a provocative story about gender, power and possibilities.

Lucas Hnath’s The Christians was produced at the 2014 Human Festival of New American Plays and will premiere in 2015 at New York’s Playwright’s Horizons.  His other work includes A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay about the Death of Walt Disney, Death Tax, Issac’s Eye, and Red Speedo, which PTC included in their 2013 [email protected] Festival of new play readings.   Hillary and Clinton will receive its world premiere in 2016 at Victory Garden’s Theatre in Chicago.  Hnath is the recipient of the 2015 Whiting Award, a Whitfield Cook Award and a Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award Citation.

PTC’s current 40th Anniversary season continues with brownsville song (b-side for tray) by Kimber Lee (May 1-May 31), co-produced with the Long Wharf Theatre; and the Off-Broadway hit musical comedy Murder for Two with book and music by Joe Kinosian and book and lyrics by Kellen Blair (June 6-June 28).  PTC also concludes its Theatre Masters series with Anna Deavere Smith on May 11. This new series features an array of Monday night on-stage interviews with major theatre artists with whom PTC has worked, each sharing their personal journey of transformation and creative growth over time and how it has impacted both their art and their lives.


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