World Premiere Musical THE TATTOOED LADY & More Announced for Philadelphia Theatre Company 2022-23 Season
Philadelphia Theatre Company has announced the company’s 48th anniversary season with a major world premiere, a Philadelphia premiere, and a modern classic that all explore the idea of liberation and being freed from social norms, barriers and stereotypes. The 2022-23 Season gets off to an electrifying start with the world premiere of The Tattooed Lady, a new musical by co-librettists Erin Courtney and Max Vernon with music and lyrics by Max Vernon, developed with and directed by Ellie Heyman. This much-anticipated musical was first conceived as part of the Kimmel Center’s Theater Residency before being further developed and then commissioned by PTC. The story explores the lives and legacies of a century of tattooed ladies from the 1880s through the 1980s. It runs October 28 to November 20, 2022.
Next up, audiences will be introduced to the Philadelphia Premiere of Empathitrax by local writer and actress Ana Nogueira, who appeared on “The Vampire Diaries” and originated the role of Eliza in early workshops of Hamilton. This futuristic darkly funny sci-fi story about a young couple who turn to a breakthrough in pharmacology to save their struggling relationship runs February 10 to March 5, 2023. The season will close with Lanie Robertson’s modern classic about one of Billie Holiday’s final performances in the City of Brotherly Love, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Lady Day’s songs will be center stage April 7 to April 30, 2023. Subscription packages are now on sale from $54 – $147 (30% off single ticket prices). Subscriptions are available online at www.philatheatreco.org or by phone at 215-985-0420 X1. All shows are performed at PTC’s home at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146. Connect with Philadelphia Theatre Company for the latest updates on social at @philatheatreco on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
“This season deals with the idea of liberation,” said outgoing Producing Artistic Director Paige Price, who programmed the season. “The Tattooed Lady certainly centers the quest for liberation among a posse of brave, singular, tattooed female sideshow artists throughout 100-years of sideshow history. Empathitrax considers the lengths people will go to crack open their hearts and connect with those they love, liberating them from the paralysis that accompanies fear. The Billie Holiday story audiences will experience in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill will not flinch from the barriers that held Holiday back from living a fully free life as a Black woman in America.”
The 2022-23 Season will also mark the start of a new era at Philadelphia Theatre Company. PTC is actively searching for a new Artistic Director to follow Price. The company expects to announce its new artistic leadership in August.
The Tattooed Lady
World Premiere Musical
PTC’s first commission in over a decade
October 28-November 20, 2022
Celebrating Opening Night with PTC’s Annual Gala: November 4, 2022
Co-Librettists: Erin Courtney and Max Vernon; Music and Lyrics: Max Vernon; Developed with and Directed by Ellie Heyman
The story of The Tattooed Lady highlights one of sideshow’s biggest stars, Ida Gibson, in a moving, fantastical tale that reveals the generational chasms and connections between Ida and her granddaughter Joy. A parade of beguiling characters appear, on a mission to liberate Ida from her self-imposed exile and help Joy find freedom. This PTC-commissioned musical celebrates the power and resilience of women.
Major support for The Tattooed Lady has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The production is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals-a program of National Alliance for Musical Theatre (www.namt.org). The Tattooed Lady has been developed with support from the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals, the Kimmel Center, National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) and Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater.
“The Tattooed Lady is the culmination of the PTC commission that began in 2019, which we’re so excited about realizing on our stage,” said Price. “The Tattooed Lady originally hooked me with the score, which is ambitious and has a wide variety of styles. It’s ear candy – hear it once, and it sticks with you. Then I got to work with the writers and learned more about the history of actual tattooed ladies (one of whom came from Philly), and how these pioneers had to fight for the freedom to do what they wanted with their own bodies. Honestly, one can understand the parallels that might be interesting to dramatize here.”
By Ana Nogueira
Directed by Nell Bang-Jensen
February 10-March 5, 2023
Opening Night: February 15, 2023
The futuristic Empathitrax is a searing, darkly funny sci-fi story about a young couple who turn to a breakthrough in pharmacology to save their struggling relationship. When “Empathitrax” hits the market promising instant emotional intimacy by divining what others feel, one couple takes the leap to eliminate all boundaries between them. But like any new drug, there are unforeseen side effects which in this instance have catastrophic and poignant consequences. Empathitrax will feature an all Philadelphia-based cast and creative team. This Philadelphia premiere is written by Philadelphian Ana Noguera who starred in TV’s “The Vampire Diaries” and was the original Eliza in Hamilton’s first workshop. Nogueira is a playwright whose work is included on the Kilroy’s List. Her play Which Way To The Stage premiered off-Broadway this week.
“There are a few plays out there that center on mystery and science fiction that really piqued the artistic team’s interest, and Empathitrax was one of them,” said Price. “We can’t wait to bring this to the stage and we’re REALLY excited that Nell Bang-Jensen will direct. She was slated to direct our production of The Wolves, which was canceled days before it was to begin rehearsals. She ultimately directed the digital version, which won great reviews, but it’s really happy news that she’ll finally get to direct something on the Philadelphia Theatre Company stage.”
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
By Lanie Robertson
Directed by Jeffrey Page
April 7-April 30, 2023
Opening Night: April 12, 2023
The time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday’s last performances, given four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers are interlaced with salty, often humorous reminiscences to project a riveting portrait of the lady and her music. Lady Day will be directed by PTC Resident Artist Jeffrey Page, who directed PTC’s hit show Choir Boy in the 2021-22 Season.
“Jeffrey brought this show to the artistic team,” said Price. “When we asked what excited him about directing this year, he said that he believed music was essential to the season, and Lady Day was something he was passionate about staging.”
“I hope audiences continue to support live theatre,” said Price. “We’re now in competition not only with Netflix and the myriad other streaming platforms that people relied upon, but also with the fact that a lot of people simply stay home more. I hope that audiences remember how different the live experience really is, and how rich and nourishing it is, especially at a time when things are so rough. We’ve been saying that for too many years now. I guess it’s just how the world is now, period, so why not step into the sanctuary of the theatre and feed your soul?”
At the end of her tenure at PTC, Price is proud of the legacy she is leaving after her time at the helm of the theatre.
“I hope that people see Philadelphia Theatre Company as an organization that centers on the artists of Philadelphia, along with inviting artists to Philadelphia,” said Price. “I’m happy to say that in my short tenure, a few love stories have begun on our stages, and also some artists have simply fallen in love with and moved to Philly. I think our focus on outreach and communication in town has paid off with richer relationships, and I hope that I’m remembered as part of the team that made it possible for PTC to get through a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. I hope I helped create a place where a new leader can not only succeed, but thrive.”
Subscriptions to the Philadelphia Theatre Company 2022-23 Season are on sale and will run from $54 – $147 (30% off single ticket prices). Subscriptions are available online at www.philatheatreco.org or by phone at 215-985-0420 X1.
Philadelphia Theatre Company remains committed to the safety of its audiences, artists, volunteers and staff. Last season, PTC implemented a robust and comprehensive Covid-safety plan and upgraded its HVAC system, which uses industry standard MERV-13 filtration to reduce airborne contaminants. PTC will continue to protect the safety of the people who are in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, and will closely monitor any changes in health regulations and adjust its safety practices accordingly. Safety policies will be clearly communicated in advance of each production.
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA THEATRE COMPANY
Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) is a leading regional theater company that produces, develops, and presents entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience.
Founded in 1974, Philadelphia Theatre Company has presented 203 World and Philadelphia premieres. More than 50 percent of PTC’s world premieres have moved on to New York and other major cities, helping to earn Philadelphia a national reputation as a hub for new play development. In 2007, PTC was instrumental in expanding Philadelphia’s thriving cultural corridor by opening the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.
PTC recently announced Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters as the winner of its 2022 Terrence McNally Award. PTC congratulates Philadelphia writer, actor, professor, and artist, James Ijames (Fat Ham) who was just awarded the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Ijames was the recipient of the 2015 Philadelphia Theatre Company Terrence McNally New Play Award for his play White.
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