After a year on creative hiatus, the Philadelphia Theatre Company is returning to producing plays again under its new producing artistic director, Paige Price.
The lineup for the 2018-19 season, announced Tuesday evening, includes Pulitzer Prize-winner Sweat by Lynn Nottage, a world premiere from the Kilroys List with How to Catch Creation by Christina Anderson, and the Tony Award-winning musical The Bridges of Madison County. The company will also announce a list of touring works and other theatrical programs soon, similar to what was offered during the 2017-18 season. Those works will be announced in the coming weeks.
Subscriptions for the new season are now on sale online and through the box office.
Price said she wanted her first season with the company to focus on complex, nuanced female narratives that will make audiences laugh and cry. She said she knows bold programming is something patrons look for.
She's committed to staging a work every season from the Kilroys List, which compiles underproduced plays by female and trans authors of color. PTC would be the first company in the country to do that.
"If we offer enough variety, then we can fill the theater with lots of new faces," Price said. "That's always our goal."
"It was really helpful for me to learn who would come to the theater this year," Price said. "Because we had a lot of atypical programming, we saw a lot of new faces. We actually found comedy and musicals to be the most popular, which surprised me."
Price said that although older patrons prefer challenging and thought-provoking programming, she wanted to keep new audience members coming with more comedies and musicals. She said the company typically sees white, mostly female audience members, but that's rapidly changing.
"There are a lot of younger audience members who are more diverse that we're trying to tap into," Price said. "They also make their decisions late, like, 'What do you have that's cheap? I'd like to come tonight.' By staging three traditional plays and including more short programming, I'm trying to have it both ways."
PTC took a break from producing plays during the 2017-18 season in order to concentrate on reorganizing. At the time, it had a $1 million debt, as well as a $1.9 million loan from TD Bank due in 2020. The loan is part of a deal PTC made in order to buy back its theater after briefly losing it to foreclosure in 2015.