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The Wilma Theater Announces its 2011 - 2012 Season

PHILADELPHIA – The Wilma Theater is pleased to announce the four plays that will make up its upcoming 2011 – 2012 Season.

The Wilma will open its season with the US Premiere of Our Class by Polish playwright Tadeusz Słobodzianek (Swo-bo-DZYA-nek), in an English version by Ryan Craig, directed by Blanka Zizka. Our Class will be followed by the Off-Broadway comedy Body Awareness (Philadelphia Premiere), by Annie Baker, directed by Anne Kauffman, who directed the smash-hit Becky Shaw at The Wilma Theater in 2010; and Curse of the Starving Class by Academy Award® nominee and Pulitzer Prize winner Sam Shepard, directed by Richard Hamburger.  The Wilma will close its 2011 – 2012 Season with Tony® Award winning Angels in America, Part 1: Millennium Approaches, by Tony Kushner, directed by Blanka Zizka, which has been described by The New York Times as “the most thrilling American play in years.” 

“Our 2011 – 2012 Season contains four touching, powerful plays that reflect our world and country today. The season features stories spanning World War Two Europe to present-day America,” says Artistic Director Blanka Zizka.  “Each play fits the Wilma’s artistic mission perfectly while invigorating us creatively. We are confident that each of these four shows will entertain and inspire our audiences, creating a dialogue that will linger long after each performance ends".

For the 2011 – 2012 Season, the Wilma is pleased to welcome back two guest directors, Anne Kauffman and Richard Hamburger, who will direct Body Awareness and Curse of the Starving Class, respectively. 

About the guest directors’ return to the Wilma, Zizka remarks, “I loved Anne Kauffman’s direction of Becky Shaw and we are both very excited about her returning to the Wilma. Anne and I adore Annie Baker’s work and I know that Anne’s great comedic abilities and sympathetic understanding of character will make for a truly special production. We were very excited to settle on Body Awareness for our next collaboration.”  

“The Wilma is benefiting greatly from this season's collaboration with Richard Hamburger on My Wonderful Day and I’m very pleased he’s accepted my invitation to return to direct  Curse of the Starving Class. We’re proud to present our first Sam Shepard production to our audiences. Shepard, one of the most prolific writers of the past century, writes with a moving poeticism and keen eye for theatrical image. Richard Hamburger has wanted to tackle this project for some time and I am very happy to have him direct this explosive and beautiful American play.”

The Wilma Theater is located at 265 South Broad Street in Philadelphia.  For more information and tickets, visit wilmatheater.org or call 215.546.7824.

The Wilma Theater’s 2011 – 2012 Season will include:

Our Class
(US Premiere)By Tadeusz Słobodzianek, (English version by Ryan Craig),
Directed by Blanka Zizka
October 12 – November 13, 2011

Since its 2009 World Premiere at London’s National Theatre, audiences and critics alike have been deeply moved by the stories within this historic play of 10 classmates – 5 Jewish and 5 Catholic – in 1925 Poland.  As the children grow up amidst weddings, births, and celebrations, their country is torn apart by invading armies, first Soviet and then German.  Each of their lives takes dramatically unexpected turns as friends betray friends and violence quickly escalates reaching a crescendo that forever changes history.  Based on true events in the Polish town of Jedwabne, Our Class bravely explores a controversial subject historians continue to debate today.

 

Body Awareness (Philadelphia Premiere)By Annie Baker,
Directed by Anne Kauffman
January 4 – February 5, 2012

Director Anne Kauffman thrilled Wilma audiences in 2010 with the smash hit Becky Shaw, winning a Barrymore for Best Director.  She returns to Philadelphia next season to direct another Off-Broadway hit comedy!  Welcome to Shirley State College, Vermont where it’s Body Awareness Week.  In charge of the week’s festivities, college professor Phyllis has anything but a conventional life with girlfriend Joyce and her son Jared.  But when a visiting artist brings his photographs of nude women into their home, conflicting feelings over sexuality and identity get passionately stirred up.  Nominated for the Drama Desk Best New Play award, this hilarious send-up of political correctness is fresh from Obie award winning playwright Annie Baker (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens).

 

Curse of the Starving ClassBy Sam Shepard,
Directed by Richard Hamburger
March 7 – April 8, 2012

One of the most influential and celebrated American playwrights and actors of the 20th Century, Sam
Shepard (Buried Child, True West) has received a Pulitzer Prize, an Obie award, and both Tony® and Academy Award nominations throughout his riveting career in theater and film.  The Wilma is thrilled to produce his work for the first time next season with the modern classic Curse of the Starving Class.  Here we meet the wildly unpredictable Tate family during the changing tides of the 1970s American West.  Financially ruined, their farm is in chaos and the debt collectors are getting increasingly ruthless.  The story whirlwinds with dark comedy and captivating twists as each family member goes to fantastic extremes grappling with a “curse” that continues to resonate today. 

 

Angels in America, Part One:  Millennium Approaches
By Tony Kushner, directed by Blanka Zizka
May 23 – June 24, 2012

The most honored play in a generation concludes the Wilma’s 2011 – 2012 Season – and then returns for the 20th Anniversary of Part Two: Perestroika to kick off 2012 – 2013.  Winner of two Tony® Awards for Best Play and a Pulitzer Prize, Angels in America melds love, hate, religion, and politics into a uniquely American epic.  The year is 1985.  In New York City, Roy Cohn, the politically powerful right-wing lawyer angrily denies his diagnosis of AIDS while his protégé – a court clerk and Republican Mormon – struggles with a Valium-addicted wife.  Simultaneously, an abandoned yet spirited gay man begins to hear messages from a supernatural being that build to an exhilarating conclusion.

 

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. Audience members will also have opportunities to attend special chats with members of the artistic team and Onstage Conversations on themes related to the season’s plays.

Subscriptions & Tickets
Subscription prices range from $32 – $220, with Flex Subscriptions available that give subscribers the flexibility to choose performance dates over the season. Special discounts are available on subscriptions for seniors, students, and educators.  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 2011 – 2012 Season go on sale July 1st.

Mission
The Wilma Theater exists to present theater as an art form, engaging artists and audiences in an adventure of aesthetic philosophical reflection of the complexities of contemporary life. We accomplish our mission by producing thoughtful, well-crafted, productions of intelligent, daring plays that represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and production styles.