Press Releases

2011 Life in Marital Institution


May, 2011


Life in Marital Institution (20 Years of Monogamy in one Terrifying Hour)

by writer and monologist James Braly.
A co-production with Meredith Vieira Productions
July 5 -16, 2011

 Philadelphia – The Wilma Theater, in a co-production with Meredith Vieira Productions, is pleased to present a special summer production, Life in a Marital Institution (20 Years of Monogamy in one Terrifying Hour), performed by critically acclaimed writer and performer James Braly and directed by Hal Brooks. This production is a hilarious and heartbreaking monologue about sex, love, family, betrayal, death…and dinner parties.  Life in a Marital Institution premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2008, continued to sold-out houses at 59E59 Theaters in New York City, and transferred to critical acclaim at Off-Broadway’s Soho Playhouse. The performance at the Wilma marks the show’s first stop, and its only Philadelphia appearance, on its 2011 national tour that includes stops in Colorado, Chicago, and Austin. Life in a Marital Institution is a limited engagement and will run from July 5 through July 16, 2011 with performances running Tuesday – Saturday at 8pm.

Members of the press are invited to attend Press Night on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 8pm. For Press Tickets, please call Johnny Van Heest, Public Relations Manager at 215.893.9456 x102. 


Performer James Braly is available for phone and email interviews, and guest appearances.

A poignant, darkly humorous autobiographical comedy set improbably in a hospice, James sits at the bedside of his dying sister, who asks him to trade places with her. Until she realizes that would mean trading places with him…being in his marriage…a fate worse than death! The monologue cuts back and forth between the hospice, where his sister is engaged to be married, and scenes from his marriage, exploring infidelity, near-death childbirth and other high-stakes yet hilarious adventures. In the process, the comedy explored the roots of romantic love in familial love, and the notion: not only can you go home again, you can’t not go home again; you can’t escape your past. Until you confront it…which James does through his sister’s deathbed wedding, before returning home to confront whether his own marriage should come to an end.             

The New York Times hailed Life In a Marital Institution as “Never less than excellent” and Variety called the show “Gaspingly Funny.” Life in a Marital Institution was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, a TimeOut New York Critics’ Pick, and was featured on This American Life.

About James Braly

James Braly’s stories have been broadcast nationally on This American Life, NPR and Marketplace, and his essays appear in the recently published anthologies, Afterbirth (St. Martin's Press) and Mr. Beller's Neighborhood (W.W. Norton).

James has performed autobiographical stories at The Whitney Museum, Long Wharf Theatre, and The Moth, where he was featured on the TNT National Story Tour and is the first two-time winner of the Moth GrandSlam storytelling competition. His full-length monologue, The Monthly Nut, directed by Seth Barrish (director of the Off Broadway hit Sleepwalk with Me) is in development at The Barrow Group Theatre. His full-length monologue, Asylum, premiered at Dixon Place April, 2010, and is in development as a television series with Meredith Vieira Productions.

Life in a Marital Institution was James’ first theatrical effort after a successful 20-year career writing motivational speeches for Fortune 500 companies. His most recent monologue, The Monthly Nut (How Much Misery Does It Take To Be Happy?), directed by Seth Barrish (Sleepwalk with Me), is in development at The Barrow Group Theatre. He premiered his latest offering, Asylum, at Dixon Place in April 2010.

About Hal Brooks

Hal Brooks is the director of No Child…by Nilaja Sun, which ran at the Barrow Street Theatre for over 350 performances, and toured at Lookingglass (Chicago), ART (Cambridge), Woolly Mammoth (DC), Kirk Douglas (LA), and Berkeley Rep. He also directed Will Eno’s Pulitzer Finalist Thom Pain (based on nothing) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Soho Theatre, London, and DR2 in NYC. Recent projects included Lee Blessing’s Lonesome Hollow (contemporary American Theater Festival), Athol Fugard’s Master Harold…and the boys (Weston Playhouse). A Drama League Fall Directing Fellow, Hal is also a proud member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and SSDC and is a recipient of the 2007-09 NEW TCG Career Development Program for Directors.

About Meredith Vieira Productions

Meredith Vieira Productions is a production company, founded by Emmy Award-winning journalist and host Meredith Vieira (Today, Who Wants to be A Millionaire?, The View) and headed by Amy Rapp, that develops and produces film, TV, web, and theatre. Company’s first feature film RETURN, starring Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon, and John Slattery, recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.  MVP is dedicated to producing smart comedies and dramas with authentic characters. Life in a Marital Institution is MVP’s first legit production.

Tickets start at $35 and are available at the Wilma’s Box Office by calling 215.546.7824, visiting, or coming to the theater, located at 265 S. Broad Street in Philadelphia.

Additional Summer Programming at The Wilma Theater

During the run of Life in a Marital Institution, The Wilma Theater will present No Regrets: A Piaf Affair, a late-night cabaret performed by the Bearded Ladies on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights on July 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, and 16 – at 10:30pm. Can-can dancers, confetti cannons, and a cardboard tour of Paris punctuate such favorites as La Vie En Rose, Non Je Ne Regrette Rien, and Milord. Accompanying themselves on piano, accordion, harp, and cello, and directed by Philadelphia-based actor, John Jarboe, The Bearded Ladies bring the voice of Paris to Philadelphia. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Wilma Box Office at 215.546.7824 or on sale at the door. Ticket purchase includes admission to the show and a ticket for the Bottomless Piaf Love Potion (ID will be required.)

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.