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The Wilma Theater announces the 2014/2015 Season: A play by Wilma audience favorite Gina Gionfriddo; a biographical, contemporary war story by Dan O’Brien; and actress Zainab Jah as Hamlet in company-driven productions by Shakespeare and Stoppard

PHILADELPHIA – The Wilma Theater is pleased to announce the four plays that will make up its upcoming 2014/2015 Season. The Wilma will open the season with Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn directed by Joanna Settle, new Director of the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at the University of the Arts. Rapture, Blister, Burn will be followed by Dan O’Brien’s The Body of an American directed by Michael John Garcés (The Convert), Artistic Director of Cornerstone Theater Company. Closing out the season will be back-to-back productions of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, both directed by Blanka Zizka with a powerhouse company led by actress Zainab Jah as Hamlet.

RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN
by Gina Gionfriddo
directed by Joanna Settle
October 8 - November 2, 2014

When celebrity professor Catherine reunites with her best friends from graduate school, now a married couple with kids living in a New England college town, she begins to rethink the choices she’s made over the past twenty years. As these three friends navigate their new relationships with each other, feelings of regret begin to arise. Catherine’s homecoming leads to shifting dynamics and a larger look at how much (or little) the lives of women have evolved over the past century while examining subjects ranging from pornography to Betty Friedan to slasher films. Susan Smith Blackburn Prize-winner Gina Gionfriddo (author of the Wilma’s hit production of Becky Shaw) offers a fresh take on timeless questions by wittily juxtaposing feminist theories with messy human desires.

THE BODY OF AN AMERICAN
by Dan O’Brien
directed by Michael John Garcés
January 7 - February 1, 2015

In 1993, Canadian photojournalist Paul Watson took a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a dead American soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. As he shot the picture, Watson believes he heard the soldier say to him: “If you do this, I will own you forever.” Playwright Dan O’Brien was finishing a residency in Princeton when he heard Paul Watson tell this story on Fresh Air in 2007. Also obsessed by the idea of hauntings, Dan reached out to Paul and the two formed an unusual relationship spanning time and continents. The Body of an American is the story of their friendship; one conducted primarily by e-mail but eventually leading them to a meeting inside the Arctic Circle. The roles of Dan and Paul are shared by two actors, who also play over twenty other characters that the men encounter. A contemporary war story encompassing personal and global histories that’s told in strikingly theatrical fashion, The Body of an American breaks boundaries of convention in both content and form.

HAMLET
by William Shakespeare
directed by Blanka Zizka
March 25 - April 19, 2015

In the spring, the Wilma will stage back-to-back productions of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Tom Stoppard’s now classic behind-the-scenes comedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, both directed by Wilma Artistic Director Blanka Zizka and using essentially the same cast for both productions. The title character in Shakespeare’s tragedy will be played by the powerful actress Zainab Jah, who appeared as Prudence in last season’s production of The Convert. The Wilma is excited to produce what many believe to be the greatest play written by Shakespeare, and by many others to be the greatest play written in the English language. The fight for the throne of Denmark, quest for moral righteousness, and the complexities of vengeance within a 21st century context will be reexamined on our stage.

ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD
by Tom Stoppard
directed by Blanka Zizka
May 20 - June 14, 2015

Following Shakespeare’s great tragedy will be one of Tom Stoppard’s greatest comedies as the Wilma tells the story of Hamlet through the eyes of two very different characters. In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, which will mark the Wilma’s 11th production of a work by Tom Stoppard, minor characters take center stage as they journey on a boat taking Prince Hamlet to England with players from the royal court. As these characters unknowingly sail to a fate Shakespeare has already scripted for them, arguments of free will and determinism abound, all set to the constant travel game of flipping coins. In this battle of wits, Stoppard’s characteristic wordplay and case of mistaken identities create a spectacle that’s philosophical, clownish, and complete with a pirate-ambush.

Special Events
Throughout the season, the Wilma will announce free readings which offer audiences previews of plays, chosen from the best new writing from the U.S. and abroad. There will also be opportunities to attend special chats with members of the artistic team and Onstage Conversations on themes related to the season’s plays. Audience members will be able to take advantage of networking and social events like Beer Tasting Night and Young Friends Night, among others.

Wilma WynTix, Subscriptions, and Tickets
With the 2014/2015 season, The Wilma Theater will inaugurate Wilma WynTix – Big Theater. Small Prices. Subsidized tickets by the Wyncote Foundation. For the next three seasons, the Wilma will engage in a bold initiative to make theater affordable and available to a much broader audience. All tickets, including subscription tickets, for all days and times throughout the full four-week mainstage run of Wilma productions will be enjoyed by the general public at the subsidized rate of $25 and $10 for students and theater artists. The Wilma will continue to provide the same quality productions and explore the same topical subjects. The only difference is that the barrier of cost will be greatly diminished for those who are on a budget. This initiative is based on the belief that artistic encounters are meant to be experienced by all; that arts organizations have a responsibility and a desire to reach more deeply into Philadelphia communities; that the makeup of Wilma audiences can and should more accurately reflect these communities; and that Wilma productions will continue to represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and styles. Wilma Wyntix is a new ticket subsidy program made possible by a generous grant from the Wyncote Foundation at the recommendation of Leonard C. Haas.

A four-play subscription will total just $100 for the general public and $40 for students and theater artists. This is the only way to guarantee seats. Subscribers will continue to enjoy the same exchange privileges and restaurant discount benefits. Subscriptions are available by calling 215-546-7824, visiting The Wilma Theater box office located at 265 South Broad Street in Philadelphia, or online at wilmatheater.org. Single tickets for the 2014/2015 Season go on sale July 1st.

Mission
The Wilma Theater creates living, adventurous art. We engage artists and audiences in imaginative reflection on the complexities of contemporary life. We present bold, original, well-crafted productions that represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and styles.
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