–Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC
Photo by Kap2ure Photography
Celebrated humorist, television writer, playwright, and national bestselling author R. Eric Thomas will celebrate the world premiere of his new play, Backing Track, at Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre Company this winter. Thomas’ humorous new work, commissioned by the Arden, will run from March 3 – April 10, 2022. Directed by Rebecca Wright and Associate Director Alexandra Espinosa, the play will run at the Arden’s Arcadia Stage.
The mind behind Here For It, or, How to Save Your Soul in America (Ballantine Books) -an August 2020 “Read with Jenna” pick as featured on Today – and Reclaiming Her Time: The Power of Maxine Waters co-authored with Helena Andrews-Dyer (Dey Street Books), Thomas is also a Barrymore Award-winning playwright, having won Best New Play with Time Is On Our Side, commissioned by Simpatico Theatre and developed by PlayPenn. Thomas was named one of six finalists for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg American Theater Critics Association New Play Award.
“We are thrilled to be producing the world premiere of R. Eric Thomas’ Backing Track,” notes Producing Artistic Director Terry Nolen. “Eric is a brilliantly funny writer and this play has been a beacon for us over the past two years – a beautiful new piece infused with hope that we knew would inspire artists and audiences. Nothing is more exciting than bringing a new play to life and we are honored that Backing Track will be our first world premiere since 2020.”
When Avery leaves his job on a cruise ship to go back to living at home and keeping an eye on his cantankerous recently-widowed mother, Mel, he assumes his glamorous life of karaoke nights in international waters is over. But a chance meeting on an app, a series of mangled run-ins with the new Neighborhood Association, and a long-waited for birth convince him that life is just beginning. A play that feels like your favorite song, Backing Track tells a story about falling in love while grieving, chosen family, gentrification, laughter, and rebirth.
Already an established, critically-acclaimed author, playwright and television writer (AppleTV+’s Dickinson, FX’s Better Things, Elle.com), Thomas hopes that Backing Track will provide audiences with the opportunity to experience the joy of live theater while safely coming together.
“There is nothing that I love more than sitting in a theater with other people, laughing in unison, understanding the world anew, feeling our hearts beat as one,” Thomas says. “It’s been so long since we’ve been able to gather like this and I’m so excited that Backing Track will make its debut at Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre.”
Tickets for Backing Track are now available for purchase online at ardentheatre.org. A digital version of this production will be available to stream. Visit ardentheatre.org for details as well as the theatre’s COVID health and safety protocols.