The Ten Best Things to See During Philadelphia Theater Week

Theatre Philadelphia, the umbrella organization behind curating, promoting and cheering all things Philadelphia theater, is putting a major spotlight on some 40+ local companies and productions during this, 2023’s Philly Theatre Week. Beginning March 23 and running until April 2, Philadelphia Theatre Week doesn’t solely present diverse opportunities for audiences to witness rare and exclusive theater  events in Philadelphia and all of its neighborhoods, South Jersey, Bucks County, Delaware and the Main Line. It does so in a pay-what-you-can ticketing model.

“Pay what you can lets us reach out to diverse audiences around the city and bring in the next generation of theater-goers looking to give theatre a try,” said Theatre Philadelphia Executive Director LaNeshe Miller-White in a written statement. “It gives repeat theatre-goers and theatre supporters the opportunity to donate and support the work they are seeing based on their own capabilities and how moved they were. It is truly a win-win.”

The win-win starts here with the Ten Best Events of Philadelphia Theater Week

The Tempest’ at Quintessence Theatre Group

William Shakespeare’s wicked dramedy about the magician Prospero brewing up a raging storm in order to get revenge on the brother who stole his crown? I love the Bard at his most vengeful.

The Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119

A Seance for Mae West at Aporia Artists Collective

An experimental, LGBTQ+ look at the first bawdiest comic screen presence of the 20th Century through the medium of a medium during a séance? And it’s a comedy? Yes, please.

Hot Bed, 723 Chestnut Street, Floor 2, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Schooled: True Stories from The Classroom at Crossroads Comedy Theater

If you ever believed that your teachers and fellow students had better life lessons to tell than to teach out loud, then this theater event is for you. Host Geoff Jackson welcomes “courageous and hilarious people to tell captivating and funny stories of their time in school.” Brave and funny, I’m certain.

Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA 19103

The American Revolution: The Show at Theater Unspeakable / Let’s Make History Productions

Having spoken to the crew behind Theater Unspeakable / Let’s Make History Productions, their travelling catalog of hysterical historical tales – doesn’t stop at mere rah-rah patriotism from the likes of Jefferson, Washington and Franklin, but burrows deeper into the psyche of the American Revolution.

 

Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Your Sunday Best variety show with Chris Davis at Quig’s

Chris Davis is one of Philly performance art’s finest actors and curators. My guess then is that his party at the late night Quig’s – upstairs at Plays & Players – will be a mess in a dress of comedians, actors, stand-ups, and musicians from the area cutting up.

Quig’s Pub, 1714 Delancey Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Johnny Depp! (A Retrospective on Late-Stage Capitalism) from Jenna Kuerzi at Fergie’s Pub Second Floor

Devised comedic performance at its best, Jenna Kuerzi portrays Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow wallowing in his drunken pirate misery during an international press tour while dealing with his trial of the century.  Plus, Kuerzi – or Depp – will throwing things into the audience. Bring a sack. And there’s booze.

Fergie’s Pub Second Floor, 1214 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

THE COMPLETE DEATHS Written & Adapted by Tim Crouch Created by Tim Crouch & Spymonkey at Curio Theatre Company

Truth in advertising – all 74 onstage Shakespearean deaths in 90 minutes – 75 if you count the ill-favored fly killed in Titus Andronicus. This means a team of local clowns and actors ripping it up in brief, rolling and tumbling their way through the suicides in Julius Caesar, the death fall of Prince Arthur in King John, “the carnage at the end of Hamlet, snakes in a basket in Antony & Cleopatra, Pyramus and Thisbe, young Macduff! Countless stabbings, severed heads, poisonings, mobbings and a smothering” and more.

Curio Theatre Company, 4740 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143

Cabaret at Bristol Riverside Theatre

The down and dirty Kander & Ebb musical about sex and romance during the Weimar era has grown darker, more mischievous and more decadent since choreographer and director Bob Fosse took a crack at Christopher Isherwood’s stories in the 1970s. Who knows how debauched the boys and girls of the Bucks County version of the Kit Kat Club will take their version of 1929 Berlin.  All I can say is “Willkommen.”

Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA 19007

Planet of the Bored Apes from Die-Cast at Brauhaus Schmitz

A biergarten and an experimental devised musical play from the collective minds of the Die-Cast crew about the world of NFTs, Crypto, Metaverses, Chatbots, and other digital wonders. Welcome to the AI metaverse on South Street.

Brauhaus Schmitz, 718 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Brooke’s Bits – A One Night Stand For Philly Theatre Week, SEX TALK (the show) at Fergie’s

This one night stand, Monday March 27 features ribald singer and actor Brooke Spitz (Katherine Perry, in reality) tackling the best of Broadway and Off Broadway musical fare with raunchy aplomb. Request “Suddenly Semen” from Little Shop of Horrors and “Don’t Rain On My Fuckade” from Funny Girl. You’ll thank me.

Fergie’s Pub Second Floor, 1214 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

    • A.D. Amarosi's Headshot

      A.D. Amorosi is an award-winning journalist who, along with working for the Philadelphia Weekly, writes regularly for Variety, Jazz Times, Flood and Wax Poetics, and hosts and co-produces his own SoundCloud-charting radio show, Theater in the Round for Pacifica National Public Radio station WPPM 106.5 FM and WPPM.org.

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