Award-Winning Hits and Celebrated New Works

Highlight 2014/2015 Season

Philadelphia Theatre Company announces four of its five plays for next year’s 40th Anniversary season including Lisa D’Amour’s disturbing yet bracingly funny drama  Detroit, the Tony Award nominated Outside Mullingar by Pulitzer, Oscar and Tony Award-winning writer John Patrick Shanley, the runaway hit of this year’s Humana Festival of New American Plays, brownsville song (b-side for tray) by rising playwright Kimber Lee, and Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair‘s musical whodunit Murder for Two, nominated for this year’s Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Awards.  A final mainstage production will be announced shortly.

“We are so excited to be presenting these quintessentially PTC works — inspiring, smart, and entertaining plays that celebrate our 40th Anniversary – a charming new play by one of America’s most outstanding and revered playwrights, a play of unusual depth and intimacy by a promising young writer, and a delightfully fun new musical,” said PTC’s Producing Executive Director Sara Garonzik.  “They represent everything we continue to bring to the city’s cultural fabric – a home for some of today’s most celebrated writers, a forum to present important, contemporary themes and a haven to support new writers.”

Pulitzer Prize finalist Detroit, by Lisa D’Amour, kicks of the 40th anniversary season. Somewhere in the suburbs, Ben and Mary welcome into their lives the transient couple who’ve moved into the deserted house next door.  As this foursome bonds over backyard barbecues, their fragile neighborly connection threatens to unravel and change them forever. Shining both a disturbing and bracingly funny spotlight on our country’s middle class, Detroit exposes the raw nerves that live just beneath the surface in the pursuit of the American dream.

The holiday season will be ripe with romance in the lovely comedy Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley. Anthony and Rosemary are two introverted misfits straddling 40.  Anthony has spent his entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland, a state of affairs that suits him well.  Rosemary lives right next door, determined to have him and watching the years slip away.  With Anthony’s father threatening to disinherit him and a land feud simmering between their families, Rosemary has every reason to fear romantic catastrophe.  But then, in this very Irish story with a surprising depth of poetic passion, these yearning, eccentric souls fight their way towards solid ground and happiness.  Outside Mullingar is a compassionate, delightful new work about how it’s never too late to take a chance on love.

John Patrick Shanley received both the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for his play Doubt, and the film of the play was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay.  His other plays include Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Savage in Limbo, Italian-American Reconciliation, Welcome to the Moon, Four Dogs and a Bone, The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, Dirty Story, Defiance, Beggars in the House of Plenty, and Storefront Church.  His other films include Five Corners, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Barcelona Film Festival, Moonstruck, winner of the Writers Guild of America Award and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, Joe Versus the Volcano, Alive, and Live form Baghdad for HBO, which was nominated for an Emmy Award.  The Writers Guild of America awarded Shanley the 2009 Lifetime Achievement in Writing.

brownsville song (b-side for tray) is a fictional story inspired by a true account of a promising young boxer killed in a random act of violence in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn.  Tray is only 18 when his life, dreams and aspirations are ended by an act of senseless violence, leaving his family to grapple with the weight of his absence.  In brownsville song, Tray’s loved ones stumble through loss, find each other, and fight their way toward hope.  The play is a heartfelt eulogy for Tray and other forgotten victims of violent crime have come to be regarded as mere statistics.  brownsville song will be presented as a co-production with Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.

Kimber Lee‘s other plays include different words for the same thing, tokyo fish story, and fight, which received the 2010 Holland New Voices Award.  She has been a Lark Playwrights’ Workshop Fellow, Dramatists Guild Fellow, and a Core Apprentice at The Playwrights’ Center.  The recipient of the 2013 PoNY Fellowship, she has been a Finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.  Her work has been presented at Center Theatre Group, Lark Play Development Center, Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Bay Award Playwrights Festival, Represent Playwrights Festival at ACT/Seattle, Southern Rep, and Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company.

The season closes with an old-fashioned stage whodunit, Murder For Two by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair. Nominated for the 2014 Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Awards of outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, Murder For Two is the perfect blend of music, mayhem, and murder.  The hilarious homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries features two performers playing thirteen roles – and the piano.  Officer Marcus Moscowicz is a small town policeman with big detective ambitions, must solve the murder of the Great American Novelist Arthur Whitney, shot at his surprise birthday party.  The suspects, all party guests, including Dahlia Whitney, Arthur’s scene-stealing wife, Barrette Lewis, the prima ballerina, the overly-friendly psychiatrist Dr. Griff, and the nosy neighboring couple, all seem to have a motive.  This killer musical comedy combines the investigative mind of Agatha Christie with the make-’em-laugh spirit of vaudeville to produce a delicious, slapsticky detective farce.

Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair won Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical Work following its record-breaking seven-month run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.  Their work has also been showcased in the York Theater’s NEO Concert, The Kennedy Center’s Broadway Today and Tomorrow series, and The Kaufman Center’s Bound for Broadway concert.  They are both members of the BMI Workshop where Kinosian won the Harrington Award, and alums of the Johnny Mercer Songwriting Project.

A fifth mainstage production rounding out Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 2014/2015 season will be announced shortly.