I loved Plays & Players Theatre in Philadelphia from the moment I walked into the 1911 lobby of this former acting school turned theatre back in fall, 2008. My first thought was, nice place but is there a ghost? Actors are highly superstitious people, and any good old theatre has a requisite benevolent ghost on staff. I was delighted to learn that Plays & Players is blessed with not just 1 ghost but 3 ghosts.
I also love history; especially US history and especially film and theatre history, so I was naturally drawn to this historic institution first as a fan, then as a board member and now as one of its 3 current playwrights-in-residence along with Jeremy Gable and Brian Grace-Duff. Plays & Players has an illustrious history, including bringing the first works of Susan Glaspell (Trifles) and one Eugene O’Neill (Before Breakfast) to Philadelphia back in the 19-teens. Bevan & Trzcinski’s Stalag 17, a comic drama set in a German POW camp, premiered here in 1949 before moving to Broadway and then becoming a hit Hollywood film, and then becoming the inspiration for 1960s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes (yep). Philly native Kevin Bacon also performed one of his earliest roles on this stage back in the 1970s.
Today another facet of Plays & Players that I love is its commitment to producing 1 world-premiere by a Philadelphia playwright every season along with the classics and modern classics you’d expect. This current season features the hit Pardon My Invasion by local playwright Joy Cutler (it got raves) coupled with upcoming hits by August Wilson (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone) and Tom Stoppard (Travesties).
Where was I? Oh right, Plays & Players turns 100 years old this season. We’ve gotten a matching grant of $10,000 from the Wyncote Foundation. Matching grant means — you got it — we have to match it in order to get it. So we need to come up with $10K in a hurry. Rather than pulling an NPR and demanding “any amount, even as little as $50” like they do during their elitist pledge drives, which makes you want to permanently switch to the nearest corporate Top 40 station for your morning drive, we figure we’ll just ask 1000 people to each give us just 10 bucks, one time. That’s why this fundraising campaign is called 10 for 100. That’s not $10 a year for 100 years or anything like that. We just want $10 from you. Right now.
You can easily and quickly donate your $10 by going to this donation page.
Many thanks and Happy Thanksgiving,