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Arts & Culture

2013 Philadelphia Spring Theater Preview

January 28, 2013 7:00 AM

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Philadelphia has long embraced its theatrical heritage. From steadfast venues like The Walnut Street Theatre, the oldest theater in America, to The Fringe Festival, premiering new and experimental theater every fall for the past few years, Philadelphia has a tradition of terrific theater that engages audiences and pushes boundaries. Here is an eclectic list of offerings this spring, designed to entice novice theatergoers as well as seasoned ticket holders.
Endgame
Arden Theatre
40 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922-8900
www.ardentheatre.org

Dates: Jan. 17 to March 10
Price: $36 to $48

Samuel Beckett originally wrote “Endgame” in French but later translated the work to English himself. The play explores the days of four people occupying a sparse shelter in a post-apocalyptic-like world. There are entire books devoted to understanding this play and its “absurdist” themes, but do not let that dissuade you from seeing it, even if you are unfamiliar with the genre. Beckett’s biting wit makes the dark themes shine for any audience.

Vincent In Brixton
The Walnut Street Theatre
825 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 574-3550
www.walnutstreettheatre.org

Dates: Feb. 19 to March 10
Price: $20 to $40

As the oldest continually operating theater in America, the Walnut Street Theater would be worth visiting to see any production, but “Vincent in Brixton” should be particularly worthwhile. In this 2003 play by Nicolas Wright, Vincent Van Gogh falls in love, develops his talents, and ultimately reveals the temprament he would become famous for while in Brixton, England. This Oliver Award winning and Tony Award nominated play explores the depths of the famous artist’s obsessions.

A Raisin in the Sun
he Arden Theatre
40 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922-8900
www.ardentheatre.org

Dates: March 7 to April 21
Price: $36 to $48

“A Raisin in the Sun” was the first play written by an African American woman (Lorraine Hansberry) to hit Broadway. It garnered four Tony nominations in 1960 and commercial success even though investors initially considered the production risky. The story, which focuses on an African-American family living in Chicago and struggling with poverty, highlights the perseverance over difficult experiences and decisions African-Americans faced in the 1950s.

Related: Top Independent Movie Theaters in the Philadelphia Area

Under The Whaleback
The Wilma Theater
265 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 893-9456
www.wilmatheater.org

Dates: March 6 to April 7
Prices: $23 to $46

A series of boats is the setting for “Under the Whaleback,” a play that follows a young sailor named Daz through key interactions and events spanning forty years of his life. Author Richard Bean won a George Devine Award for the play in 2002. Bean was once a standup comedian, so expect this work to have moments of humor while navigating the revelations of its characters.

Permanent Collection
Interact Theatre
2030 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 568-8077
interacttheatre.org

Dates: April 5 to April 28
Price: $30

Loosely based on the ever-controversial Barnes Collection, this 2004 Barrymore Award winning play has been revived for Interact Theatre’s 25th anniversary celebration. While most of the literature and histories of the Barnes Foundation focus on its eccentric founder, author Thomas Gibbons focused Permanent Collection on a characterization of the Barnes’ first African American Executive Director. Visit the theater’s website to choose a performance date that includes conversation and special guest speakers.

Related: Top Spots for Cabaret in Philadelphia

Aja Beech is an independent journalist and author from Philadelphia, PA. Her work has appeared internationally. In 2011 she was named one of 76 Creative Connectors in Philadelphia. Some of her work appears at Examiner.com
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