2010-11 Season

SIMULATIONS

A World Premiere
Written by David Strattan White
Directed by Cara Blouin
November 4-21
Plays & Players Skinner Studio

Starring: Ken Sandberg, Johanna Dunphy, Angela Smith, Langston Darby and Dan Higbee

Sue’s boyfriend is drunk and high. Betty’s is a Sim. Both want to make a man out of the one they love. In local playwright’s David Strattan White’s witty world premiere Simulations, these two friends and the guys they’ve given their hearts to break the boundaries of the real and digital worlds to take control of their romantic destinies — and realize that whether playing the game or getting played, love isn’t all hearts over your head and dips in the hot tub.

A NEW BRAIN

Photo credit: Kyle Ober

Photo credit: Joe Glodek

Book, Music, & Lyrics by William Finn
Directed by Daniel Student
January 13-30
Plays & Players Skinner Studio

Starring: Brendan Norton, Dan Plehal, Grace Field, Joe Sabatino, Robert Cutler, Sara Schmuckler, Eric Longo, Jason Stockdale, Jennifer Hutten, and Susan Ilene Johnson.

From from the man who wrote The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, this semi-autobiographical musical journey follows Gordon Schwinn through his diagnosis and treatment of a seemingly terminal defect in his brain. Schwinn’s greatest fear is dying with his best songs still inside him, so he works day and night from his hospital bed to get them all out while struggling to maintain relationships with his life partner Roger, his mother, and his best friend and agent Rhoda. Premiering off-Broadway to rave reviews over a decade ago, P&P was proud to introduce Philadelphia theater-goers and musical-lovers to a harrowing yet heartwarming tale about the healing power of art.

Photo credit: Kyle Ober

Photo credit: Joe Glodek

“A New Brain isn’t an easy show to perform… it’s about a man who collapses and undergoes brain surgery. Even more so, because it involves dark scenes that take place within the man’s tormented mind. That’s why the recent Plays and Players production was so impressive… The cast is exceptionally talented albeit largely unknown.  Even the smaller roles are sung gorgeously.”

-Broad Street Review

“A New Brain at Plays & Players is a rare thing: sophisticated contemporary musical theater that’s also a feel-good, chock-full-of-songs show. With a wildly talented cast under Daniel Student’s imaginative direction, this show is not to be missed.”

-Philadelphia Inquirer

“Director Daniel Student and musical director Melissa Dunphy’s charming, low-budget production superbly brings Gordon’s hopes and fears to life in an intimate audience-on-stage configuration on the P&P main stage — their only miscalculation, since they’ll clearly need more seats.”

-Philadelphia City Paper

LOST IN YONKERS

Photo credit: Kyle Ober

Photo credit: Kyle Ober

Written by Neil Simon
Directed by Betty Chomentowski
June 2-19
Plays & Players Skinner Studio

Starring: Gavin Becker, Angela Carolfi, Jim Ludovici, Catherine Maroney, Helen McCrane, Jordan Mottram, and Ryan Ruggles

Photo credit: Kyle Ober

Photo credit: Kyle Ober

Neil Simon’s touching story–and Pulitzer Prize-winning play–of an eccentric New York family in crisis in the summer of 1942. On the run from a loan shark, a frightened and weak-willed father leaves his two teenage boys, Jay and Arty, with their domineering grandmother, who runs a candy store in Yonkers. The effect of the old woman’s tyranny over two generations of offspring becomes evident as she coldheartedly attempts to control not only their lives but also that of her mentally challenged middle-aged daughter, Bella, who desperately yearns for love and independence. The boys are forced to live by their stern grandmother’s rules until their gangster uncle, Louie, comes to town one night and goes into hiding in the family home. Uncle Louie ends up helping both the boys and Bella understand their aging grandmother and realize the importance of acceptance and love, despite the hardship of life in Yonkers.

“Plays & Players’ production of Lost in Yonkers, Neil Simon’s 1991 Pulitzer-winner, is a textured and moving family drama… Director Betty Chomentowski catches just the right tone – the play’s human charm and a grim nostalgia for some bad old days. Despite Simon’s reputation as a Mr. Broadway, his play is well served by this tiny intimate space, making us part of the family.”

-Philadelphia Inquirer

“Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers has a lot of hype to live up to … but as its opening night proved, the Plays and Players cast was up to the task of filling some dauntingly big shoes.”

-Philadelphia City Paper

“Angela Carolfi in a breathtaking performance as Bella, the mentally unstable yet charming female star, and Helen McCrane’s equally superb portrayal of her tired and nasty mother, the Plays & Players production expertly navigates the journey of one young woman from denial and anger to forgiveness and healing… the strong cast and intimate setting of Plays & Players’ 99-year-old theater creates the perfect boiler room for the challenging yet ultimately redemptive confrontations between the grandmother and the next generation.“

-Broad Street Review