Philadelphia is grossly underrated as an arts city. I mean, how often do you think about the fact that we just so happen to have a Van Gogh sunflower painting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or that the walls of the Barnes Foundation are dripping with Matisse and Cézanne paintings. Moreover, the City of Brotherly Love is a hub for the performing arts as well, with comedy clubs and small theaters galore. In order to celebrate the theater scene of Philly and the tri–state area, Theater Philadelphia is bringing back Philly Theater Week, which aims to make theater more accessible to the local community.
From Feb. 7 to Feb. 17, Theatre Philadelphia will host their second annual Philly Theater Week. This ten–day festival showcases 315+ performances, showcasing a wide range of talent performing a diverse collection of world premiers, cherished classics, lavish productions, low–budget readings, and more. In addition to full performances, the event will also include panels and experimental workshops, as well as guest appearances from local and award–winning actors. Participating acts range from professional regional theaters, to local community theaters, to self–producing artists, and everything in between. Tickets are definitely accessible, as entry is either free, or costs $15 or $30, and can be purchased on the Theater Week website.
“Theatre Philadelphia wanted to create a new signature program that would draw even more attention to the region’s theatre organizations and artists,” Executive Director Leigh Goldenberg explains. “We wanted to make a big and impactful statement about the importance of theatre in our city and region, and bring artists together in a collaborative and equitable format. Like Philly Beer Week, Center City Restaurant Week, or Philly Tech Week, this festival celebrated theatre alongside our city’s other flagship events that are nationally known and recognized.”
Philly Theater Week aims to highlight not only the diversity of the Philadelphia theater scene, but also the diversity of the city itself. There are shows for those who are looking for a way to celebrate Black History Month, for those who enjoy music, for students who love food and drinks, and for those who are looking for a special way to celebrate Valentine's Day. For those not interested in traditional theater, there are improv performances, jazz cocktail hours, and Disney–based events.
In preparation for the event, Theatre Philadelphia is previewing two free public events at Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Columbus Blvd. The first, taking place on Friday, Feb. 1 from 5–8 p.m., includes a gallery tour of 14 artists and sneak peeks of the theatre performances of the upcoming week. The next big preview event takes place on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 1–4 p.m., and will include previews of the upcoming shows and an open house event with the participating actors and actresses. A continually updated schedule of events and performances is available on the Theater Week website.
“Last year’s ten–day event generated over $250,000 in revenue for the theatre community, and we know this year’s impact will be even bigger,” added Goldenberg. “Our region’s residents and visitors alike will see exactly why greater Philadelphia is a world–class region.”