-Courtesy of Perpetual Motion PR
Quintessence Theatre Group, Philadelphia’s home for classic repertory theatre, presents a full virtual production of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth, directed by Artistic Director Alexander Burns, July 19 – August 1.
Wilder’s genre-defying play follows the Antrobus’, a seemingly perfect suburban family living in Excelsior, New Jersey. Over the course of 5,000 years, the family manages to dodge apocalypse after apocalypse – a fire, flood, the Ice Age, plague, a dozen wars – all by the skin of their teeth. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1943, this boundary-breaking allegorical comedy is a tribute to the disarming optimism, resilience, and indestructibility of the American spirit, while also confronting the paradoxical ideals on which our country was founded.
The production features Rachel Bay Jones and Benim Foster as Mrs. Maggie Antrobus and Mr. George Antrobus. Jones is best known for originating the role of Heidi Hansen in the original Broadway cast of Dear Evan Hansen, for which she received a Tony Award, and can be seen in the upcoming Amazon original series Panic. Foster, last seen at Quintessence as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, is known for his work on Broadway in Disgraced and Barefoot in the Park, as well as the national tour of Twelve Angry Men and numerous appearances regionally and in film and television. A couple in real life, the pair have joined Quintessence Theatre’s first full in-person cast since the beginning of the pandemic. The play also stars Quintessence fan favorite Leigha Kato (The Little Princess, The Wizard of Oz, My Fair Lady, Mother Courage, Saint Joan, Doctor Faustus) as Sabina.
They are joined by local legend and ten-time Barrymore nominee Janis Dardaris (Mother Courage and Her Children) as the Fortune Teller, as well as Lee Cortopassi (King Lear, Awake and Sing! Frankenstein, My Fair Lady, Love’s Labor’s Love, The Broken Heart) as Henry Antrobus and Jacinta Yelland (The Little Princess) as Gladys Antrobus. Caleb Ward (Oliver!) the youngest member of team, plays the Telegraph Boy.
The full production features set design by award winning Chicago-based scenic designer Brian Sidney Bembridge. Long-time Quintessence collaborator Ellen Moore returned to design lighting. Summer Lee Jack designed costumes, with hair and makeup created by Ali Pohanka. Internationally known cinematographer Phillip Todd served as Director of Photography and led the filming process.
“As we reach the denouement of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning celebration of the endurance of the American spirit and satire of the American psyche in crisis, is more potent and lucid than ever. Rebooting the American Theater after nearly a year and a half of suspension, The Skin of our Teeth is an exploration of the enduring challenges and questions that we face as a country, as a people, and as artists,” says founding Artistic Director Alexander Burns. “Following rigid guidelines and COVID protocols from our actors’ union and local officials, we assembled a legendary ensemble of award winning and locally renowned artists and returned to the rehearsal room to tackle this mammoth play. Using six cameras and many techniques from cinema and reality television, Quintessence captured an unforgettable live performance of Thornton Wilder’s masterpiece for your virtual streaming pleasure; a work of virtual theatre that honors this play, the time we have just survived, and the art form of theatre that we love and miss.”
Visit www.QTGrep.org or call 215.987.4450 to purchase tickets.
Founded in 2009, award-winning Quintessence Theatre Group uses the classics to explore the fundamental question of what it is to be human in today’s world. Through intimate, visceral, and innovative productions of epic classic theatre, Quintessence pursues its vision to become the Delaware Valley’s center for progressive humanism and an engine for radical empathy through the classics.
Virtual tickets cost $29 and come with a 72-hour viewing period of your choice.
Educational packages are available for school groups. For special rates on The Skin of Our Teeth for your classroom, call 215.987.4450 or email boxoffice@QTGRep.org.