From PTC Artistic Directors Taibi Magar and Tyler Dobrowsky and award-winning playwright Whitney White comes a bold twist on Shakespeare’s tragedy of Macbeth.
PHILADELPHIA, PA- October 10, 2023 Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) proudly presents the Philadelphia debut of Obie Award-winning artist/director/actor and playwright Whitney White’s spellbinding take on a Shakespearean standard, Macbeth in Stride. The piece, which first premiered at Boston’s American Repertory Theater in 2021, runs November 2 through 19 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre (480 South Broad Street) in the heart of Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts.
White smashes through every perceived ceiling to open PTC’s 49th season with a refreshed perspective from the genre’s unlikeliest protagonist, the strong Black woman. Raw ambition through the lens of one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters is turned on its ear through a 90-minute rock musical using pop, gospel, and R&B to trace the fatalistic arc of Lady Macbeth. Throughout her mesmerizing masterpiece, White endeavors to uplift contemporary Black female power, femininity, and desire in one poignant mantra: ‘Irreverence is everything.’ Taibi Magar and Tyler Dobrowsky, PTC’s Artistic Directors and the show’s co-directors, present the production as the first show of their inaugural season at PTC. Magar and Dobrowsky are thrilled to bring Macbeth in Stride to the area following the show’s run at and in association with the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
“Macbeth in Stride is a perfect encapsulation of who Tyler and I are as artists,” said Philadelphia Theatre Company Co-Artistic Director Taibi Magar. “Whitney White is one of the most virtuosic theatre artists working today. We could not be more thrilled to bring her to Philadelphia for the first time! We love her and know Philly will, too.”
Whitney White is an Obie Award and Lilly Award winning director, actor and musician. She is the recipient of the Susan Stroman Directing Award, an Artistic Associate at the Roundabout, and a part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Her original musical Definition was part of the 2019 Sundance Theatre Lab 2016 ANT Fest. White’s five-part musical exploration of Shakespeare’s women and ambition, Reach for It, is currently under commission with the American Repertory Theater. She has developed work with institutions including, The New York Times, Ars Nova, The Drama League, Roundabout, New York Theatre Workshop, 59E59, The Lark performing arts theater, The Movement, Jack Theater, Bard College, NYU Tisch, Juilliard, Princeton University, SUNY Purchase, South Oxford, and Luna Stage. White is also currently directing the recently extended Broadway production of Jaja’s African Hair Braiding. Her selection of seasoned principals in the production of Macbeth in Stride perfectly complements her signature role as ‘Woman,’ an empowered reconstruction of Macbeth’s contemporary accomplice.
Stacey Sargeant (First Witch), Ximone Rose (Second Witch), and Chelsea Lee Williams (Third Witch) provide sorcery and wit intertwined with White’s silky vocal acrobatics as Woman’s backup-singing co-narrators. Woman’s conjurors champion her aspirations while punctuating the stifling reality of a woman’s sphere throughout history. Man (Macbeth), played by Charlie Thurston, is reimagined as an incumbent king challenged by his ardent spouse to mastermind the vehicle through which her own desires will be realized. If only he would yield the right-of-way to her unrecognized position of power. The Scottish general, encouraged by his eager spouse and goaded by the wisdom of three witches, agrees to partake in a murderous plot. Events quickly spin out of control and far beyond the bounds of the would be monarch’s initial royal ambitions. Maddening paranoia and civil war erupt as man and wife peel away their traditional roles to question the tragic denouement of Shakespeare’s original work all served in rhythmic style.
White’s incendiary creation features the masterwork of award-winning Choreographer Raja Feather Kelly, the Artistic Director of dance-theatre-media company The Feath3r Theory and choreographer of the Tony-award winning A Strange Loop. Scenic Designer Daniel Soule sets the vibe, accessorized by Costume Designer Qween Jean and lit by Lighting Designer Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew. Nick Kourtides provides Sound Design for every hair-raising note of the production, as Whitney White and Music Director Steven Cuevas lace each scene with soulful orchestrations. Through a powerhouse cast and skillful direction, Macbeth in Stride unapologetically rebuilds the narrative of the supportive secondary to reveal the genuine potential of an impassioned heroine and the hard-hitting question: Why can’t a Black woman have it all?
Macbeth in Stride’s accomplished playwright and co-directors are excited to feature this genre-defying work highlighting strong Black women and welcoming diverse audiences to envision their own stories through the power of theatre. With this and each extraordinary production comes exciting opportunities for Magar and Dobrowsky to expand PTC’s engagement with the community, including the implementation of renewed education programming. Building on the success of last season’s Lady Day Black Theatre Night, PTC is thrilled to bring back Black Theatre Night for Macbeth in Stride on November 2, in partnership with Theatre Philadelphia.
Anjoli Santiago, PTC’s newly appointed Director of Education and Public Programs, will be leading PTC’s educational programming, aiming to elevate the enchantment of on-stage theatre and connect young people directly with the transformative power of live performances. A student matinee will take place on November 10, available to local schools and educational institutions. Participating schools will get the opportunity to have in-school workshops before and after students see the show, taught by members of PTC’s education department as well as members of the cast. These workshops are meant to spark students’ creativity, encourage them to explore different viewpoints, and connect material onstage with their own lives. An additional post-show Talkback discussion is scheduled following the November 12 show taking place at 3 p.m.
Subscriptions to the 2023-24 theater season at PTC and single tickets for this provocative, modern view of a world-renowned classic are currently available online, by phone at 215.985.0420, and at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre box office starting at $25. Find a detailed lineup of productions this season, rental, partnership, and sponsorship opportunities, and a schedule of community programming on the Philadelphia Theatre Company page. Like and follow PTC on social media @philatheatreco, on Facebook, X, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
PTC’s 2023-24 Season is generously sponsored by Rhonda & David L. Cohen, David & Nancy Colman, Daryl & Ellen Morey, and Center City Film & Video.
Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) is a vital civic institution dedicated to the creation of extraordinary theatrical experiences that reflect the essential issues and ideas of our time and which foster connection, understanding, and transformation. PTC engages and strengthens our community through exceptional productions of new and contemporary plays and musicals, inspiring education programs, and mutually beneficial civic partnerships. PTC develops exciting new work that resonates both locally and nationally and upholds a deep commitment to be a fully inclusive, welcoming home for the artists, audiences, and people of Philadelphia.
Media Contact | Summer Freeman