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Arts & Culture

Top Directors In The Philadelphia Theater Scene

March 25, 2013 7:00 AM

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The_Wilma_Theater
Philadelphia is home to history, the cheesesteak, some incredible musicians and numerous budding directors in the live theater district. Some of the top directors on the Philadelphia theater scene present a wide variety of cultures, and they also offer a range of genres from comedy to period piece dramas. Many directors got their start on Broad Street before they hit the Broadway circuit of New York.
Under The Whaleback
The Wilma Theater
265 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 893-9456
www.wilmatheater.org

Blanka Zizka has been a founding director to the Wilma Theater since 1981. She has directed over 60 plays at the Wilma and has won numerous awards, including eight Barrymore’s for Sarah Ruhl’s “In the Next Room.” Zizka is known for transforming the regional arts theater landscape and has been working with the Wilma since 1979, when she began as an artist in residence. Her work has always been innovative and cutting edge; it is what brought the Wilma Theater from its humble beginnings to the 296 seating capacity theater it is today.

Another Wilma Theater director, Anne Kauffman, had an original goal to be a musical theater star. After evaluating her strengths in college, she figured she was best suited as a director. The Philadelphia theater scene has been delighted with this decision, for it has given Philly some of its best directorial work. Kauffman won the coveted Barrymore award in 2012 for her work on the Wilma Theater’s production of “Body Awareness.” Kauffman’s body of work involves productions that play around with language.

“A lot of downtown theaters don’t have money for spectacle they have to rely on the text…it is the precise thing that attracts me,” said Kauffmann.

She has also done a lot of work in Philadelphia with the Arden Theater. Her dream project would be to work on the production “Spring Awakening.” Currently, Kauffman is working on projects in New York City and then California.

Related: Top Shows To See On Valentine’s Day Weekend 2013

Philadelphia Arts Festival
Columbus Blvd & Race St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215)413-9006
www.livearts-fringe.org

Emmanuella Delpech is a director, actor and teacher. She currently teaches clown workshops for the Volcano Institute of Philadelphia and Toronto. She has previously taught at the University of the Arts, Temple and Swarthmore College and has worked with a wide variety of theatrical works from Greek classical to clown comedy. This active theater aficionado is also a graduate from Temple University. She is currently working as a lab fellow as part of the Philadelphia Arts Festival. This September, the festival will showcase many local artists as well as bring in a variety of global theatrical arts to the Philadelphia area. Delpeach was voted Best Theater Artist of Philly in 2011 by Philadelphia magazine.

The Bends
Flashpoint Theater
1636 Samson St.
Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
(215) 665-9720
www.flashpointtheatre.org

Kathryn MacMillian is a Barrymore nominee who received rave reviews for her work at The Lantern’s production of “The Liar” in 2012. Described by critics as top-notch and “the best and most charming production seen of the year,” “The Liar” relied on MacMillan’s successful casting and involvement with the audience, which added a beneficial dimension to the production and eliminated what is known as “the fourth wall.” Currently, she is directing the off Broad Street play, “The Bends,” a dark comedy about coming home to visit old friends. There are a lot of laughs (and wine!) to be had in this bacchanalian tale.

Related: 2013 Philadelphia Spring Theater Preview.

Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here Examiner.com.
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