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Theatre in Philadelphia: Musicals & Plays Hitting the Stage This Spring and Summer

Learn more about must-see theatre performances taking place in the city of Philadelphia this summer.

Attention, theatre buffs🎭 After a long hiatus, live performances are finally back! Now is the perfect time to get your fill of all the plays and musicals you may have missed out on over the past two years. Whether you want to see a new play at a local community theatre or a popular musical at a gorgeous concert venue, the city of Philadelphia has something to offer every theatre lover and their family.

Here are some of our favorite musicals and plays premiering on Philadelphia stages this spring/summer:

May 2022

Today is My Birthday by Susan Soon He Stanton

Now – May 22, 2022

Theatre Exile – 1340 S 13th Street, Philadelphia

Stephanie Kyung-Sun Walters. Image Credit: Robert Hakalski

Theatre Exile presents the Philadelphia premiere of Today is My Birthday by award-winning screenwriter and playwright Susan Soon He Stanton. The show is an eccentric comedy that follows an out-of-work journalist named Emily (Walters), who returns home to Hawaii after her life in New York City falls apart. Feeling unfulfilled, Emily creates an alter-ego for a radio dating show in a desperate attempt to turn fantasy into reality. At the same time, Emily struggles to stay in touch with her best friend Hamlia (O’Hanlon) and grapples with the sudden news of her parents’ (Kim and Troung) separation. Told through a unique blend of live radio broadcasts, voicemails, and phone calls, this topical and adventurous show highlights Emily attempting to break free from her self-imposed isolation. Learn more and purchase tickets by visiting www.theatreexile.org.

HAIRSPRAY

Now – May 22, 2022

Miller Theater – 250 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

“Welcome to the 60s” – (From L) Niki Metcalf as Tracy Turnblad, Andrew Levitt (AKA Nina West) as Edna Turnblad, and Company in HAIRSPRAY. Photo: Jeremy Daniel.

You Can’t Stop the Beat! HAIRSPRAY, Broadway’s Tony Award-winning musical comedy phenomenon that inspired the blockbuster film and live television event, is back on tour! Join 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad in 1960’s Baltimore as she sets out to dance her way onto TV’s most popular show. Can a girl with big dreams (and even bigger hair) change the world?

Featuring the beloved score of hit songs including “Welcome to the 60’s,” “Good Morning Baltimore,” “It Takes Two,” and incorporating “Ladies Choice” from the musical film adaption, HAIRSPRAY is “fresh, winning, and deliriously tuneful!” (The New York Times).

This all-new touring production will reunite Broadway’s award-winning creative team led by Director Jack O’Brien and Choreographer Jerry Mitchell to bring HAIRSPRAY to a new generation of theater audiences.

School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play

Now – June 5, 2022

Arden Theatre Company – 40 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia

Members of an elite boarding school in Ghana are excited for the prospect of earning a spot in the Miss Universe pageant. When Queen Bee Paulina is threatened by unlikely newcomer Ericka, tensions run high. But, as the saying goes: keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit

May 31 – July 3, 2022

Walnut Street Theatre – 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

To gather background for his new book, novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife, Ruth, invite the extremely eccentric medium, Madame Arcati, to perform a séance. But Charles’ spiritual skepticism vanishes when the ghost of his deceased first wife, Elvira, accidentally materializes—but only to him. Elvira’s still in love and wants Charles back, and is not about to let a little thing like death stand in her way! From the delightfully wicked mind of Noël Coward comes Blithe Spirit, where love and marriage devolve into laughter and mayhem – and ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ no longer applies.

June 2022

Fairview

June 1 – 18, 2022

The Wilma Theater – 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

The Frasier family is preparing to celebrate grandma’s birthday, cooking dinner, drinking wine, and hiding secrets. But what starts as a sitcom about a Black family explodes into a raucously brilliant look at race in America.

How do we view each other fairly? This Pulitzer Prize-winning play will spark passionate debates, but also crucial transformations. In its stunning and much-discussed final moments (no spoilers!), the audience is invited to step past what’s comfortable and into a more equitable space.

Into the Woods

June 2 – July 3, 2022

Arden Theatre Company – 40 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia

One of Sondheim’s most beloved musicals returns to the F. Otto Haas stage with a magical radiance. Into the Woods explores the journey to the fairy tales’ happy ending – and the responsibilities that come with happily ever after.

Freestyle Love Supreme

June 7 – 12, 2022

Miller Theater – 250 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

Left to Right: Morgan Reilly, Anthony Veneziale, Richard Baskin Jr., Jay Ellis. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus. Image: Kimmel Cultural Campus Website

Before Hamilton, before In the Heights, there was Freestyle Love Supreme. Now — direct from Broadway — the original hip-hop musical phenomenon from Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Anthony Veneziale arrives in Philadelphia.

The recipient of a special 2020 Tony Award® and the subject of the recently released Hulu documentary We are Freestyle Love Supreme, every performance of this Grammy-nominated show brings the unexpected, as the crew takes the crowd on a freestyle, hip-hop, improvisational comedy ride. The performers take suggestions from the audience and spin them into instantaneous riffs and full-length musical numbers. See it for the first time each time — as no two shows are ever the same.

July 2022

To Kill A Mockingbird

July 12 – 24, 2022

Academy of Music – 240 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

Calpurnia and Atticus A – Yaegel T. Welch (“Tom Robinson”), Stephen Elrod, Jacqueline Williams (“Calpurnia”), and Richard Thomas (Atticus Finch). Photo by Julieta Cervantes© Image: Kimmel Cultural Campus Website

All rise for Academy Award® winner Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork. The New York Times Critic’s Pick TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is “the most successful American play in Broadway history.” (60 Minutes). New York Magazine calls it “a real phenomenon. Majestic and incandescent, it’s filled with breath and nuance and soul.” With direction by Tony Award® winner Bartlett Sher, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD — “the greatest novel of all time” (Chicago Tribune) — has quickly become “one of the greatest plays in history” (NPR). Emmy Award®-winning actor Richard Thomas will play the role of Atticus Finch in the National Tour.

Featured Image: Porch Scene, Atticus & Scout – Richard Thomas (Atticus Finch) and Melanie Moore (Scout Finch). Photo by Julieta Cervantes© Image: Kimmel Cultural Campus Website

Writer for Philadelphia Family. Email tips to lani@familyfocus.org.

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