Wilma Theater announces innovative WilmaPass Program for their 2020/21 season

-Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC

The Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia is pleased to announce an innovative new program that provides audience members flexibility and peace of mind about when and how they return to their theatre after the COVID-19 health crisis.  The company is launching WilmaPass, a four-ticket package that can be used at any time during their upcoming 2020/21 season of groundbreaking theatre. This pass invests in their Co-Artistic Director cohort and resident HotHouse artist community.

For a limited time, audience members can purchase a four-ticket WilmaPass for only $100.  These special tickets are good for any performances when the Wilma next opens their doors after the COVID-19 pandemic. WilmaPass holders will be able to use their tickets at any time, in any combination, next season.

“With this pass, you’re showing your commitment to the Wilma, not to a specific night or production, but to our art, to the performers and artists you’ve grown to love, and to the value of theater in our city,” said Leigh Goldenberg, Managing Director of the Wilma.  “Each winter, I purchase a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share from local farmers, ensuring they have the funds to plant the seeds to provide me with food throughout the summer. Likewise, we are asking our audiences to invest in us now so we can grow and create throughout the coming year, and deliver artistic work when we are ready.”

The company is also excited to share the four works that they have committed to presenting during the 2020/21 season.  It is the first season that features Wilma’s new Co-Artistic Director model, announced earlier in 2020. Founding Artistic Director Blanka Zizka now shares artistic leadership with three acclaimed directors and artists: Morgan Green, James Ijames, and Yury Urnov. Yury Urnov serves as the Lead Artistic Director for the upcoming season, but each Co-Artistic Director directs a play that is part of the season.  In addition, the Wilma is dedicated and committed to investing in their local HotHouse resident company by casting each HotHouse performer in at least one play throughout the season.

“While acknowledging that our world is facing a major threat, all four Artistic Cohort members also see this moment as an opportunity for all of us to reconsider our attitude to what’s normal, right, and important. In hard times, artists’ voices often sound louder, and this opportunity comes with the duty to help people come together, resist tragedy, and rethink the habitual,” said Lead Artistic Director Yury Urnov. “I believe in artists’ ability and obligation to offer audiences fresh and paradoxical viewpoints, to shift perspective in an attempt to provide a more complicated understanding of our world. And this is exactly what we hope to achieve in our 2020-21 Season.”

First up is the regional premiere of HEROES OF THE FOURTH TURNING by Will Aubrey, directed by Blanka Zizka.  Winner of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, HEROES OF THE FOURTH TURNING tells the story of four Catholic conservative friends who gather at a backyard party in Wyoming.  Their reunion sparks riveting debates that are by turns hilarious, repulsive, and surprisingly seductive. The work was nominated for Outstanding Play from both the Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Awards, and was named a New York Times “Best of the Year” pick.

The familiar Chekhov drama UNCLE VANYA takes a modern turn with MINOR CHARACTER: Six Translations of Uncle Vanya at the Same Time.  The work, created by New Saloon (co-founded by Wilma Co-Artistic Director Morgan Green), with text by Anton Chekhov, features translations by Marian Fell, Laurence Senelick, Paul Schmidt, Carol Rocamora, Milo Cramer, and Google Translate. It’s a zany collage of one of modern theater’s classic stories.  Six translations—including Google Translate’s profoundly nonsensical one—are blended into one widely exciting, warmhearted show, directed by Yury Urnov in this regional premiere.

Next is the world premiere of celebrated playwright and Wilma Co-Artistic Director James Ijames’ FAT HAM, directed by Morgan Green.  This highly-anticipated play is a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s HAMLET, set in the American South, and explores big issues like toxic masculinity and cycles of violence with a light touch.  The ghost of Juicy’s dad haunts him and asks for revenge—on Juicy’s uncle, who has now married his widowed mom. Sound familiar?

The Pulitzer Prize winner for drama, FAIRVIEW, closes the season.  The work, by Jackie Sibblies Drury, begins as a sitcom about a family preparing to celebrate grandma’s birthday.  But the show explodes into a raucously brilliant look at race in our country, and how we “view” each other.  Directed by James Ijames, FAIRVIEW was called a “magnificent comedy of discomfort” by the New York Times, which also named the work a “Best of the Year” pick. The Wilma production is the regional premiere.

The Wilma has not announced any set dates for their season given the shifting realities of the COVID-19 health crisis. Patrons and audience members are encouraged to visit wilmatheatre.org to receive updated information regarding show dates and times.  WilmaPass holders will be able to use their tickets for any performance once dates are announced.

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