Press Releases

11.12 Body Awareness

August, 2011
Contact: Johnny Van Heest, Public Relations Manager
215.893.9456 x102


The Wilma Theater 2011/2012 Season continues with touching Off-Broadway comedy – Body Awareness, by Annie Baker, directed by Anne Kauffman
Wednesday, January 4, to Sunday, February 5, 2012

PHILADELPHIA – The Wilma Theater will continue its 2011/2012 Season with Body Awareness, by rising young playwright Annie Baker, directed by Anne Kauffman (2010 Barrymore Award for Best Director, Becky Shaw). Hailed by Time Out NY as “A marvelously deft and humane comedy,” Body Awareness offers a glimpse into the quirky domestic life of a contemporary yet unpredictable family during one transformative week. The artistic and production team of Body Awareness exemplifies the region’s most sought-after female talent, led by Anne Kauffman who has been applauded by The New York Times as “One of the leading lights of downtown theater.” Working with Kauffman will be two award-winning Philadelphia-based actors, Grace Gonglewski and Mary Martello, and the set will be designed by NYC-based designer Mimi Lien, who created the signature miniature Eiffel Tower for the inaugural Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts in 2011. Body Awareness is Mimi’s second production with Anne Kauffman at the Wilma after Becky Shaw in 2010. Body Awareness begins previews on Wednesday, January 4, 2012; opens on Wednesday, January 11, 2012; and closes on Sunday, February 5, 2012.

Critics and members of the press are invited to attend Press Night on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 7:30pm. To make ticket arrangements, please contact Johnny Van Heest at or 215.893.9456 x102.

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 Frank Bonitatibus, a visiting artist, brings his photographs of nude women into their home, conflicting feelings over sexuality and identity get hilariously stirred up.

Body Awareness was first produced by the Atlantic Theatre Company (NYC) in 2008. Subsequent runs include the 2010 Boston premiere with the SpeakEasy Stage Company, which produced the play as part of an Annie Baker festival along with Company One (Aliens) and Huntington Theatre Company (Circle Mirror Transformation). Body Awareness received the [year?] Drama Desk Best New Play award. The New York Times called Body Awareness “An engaging new comedy by a young playwright with a probing, understated voice…its quiet rewards steal up on you!”

About the Playwright
Annie Baker
is an OBIE Award-winning playwright and teacher. Her full-length plays include Circle Mirror Transformation (Playwrights Horizons, OBIE Award for Best New American Play, Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), The Aliens (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, OBIE Award for Best New American Play), and Body Awareness (Atlantic Theater Company, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play/Emerging Playwright). Her plays have been produced regionally at South Coast Rep, the Guthrie, Victory Gardens, Artists Rep, Huntington Theater Company, Seattle Rep, Studio Theatre in DC, Hyde Park Theatre, Kansas City Rep, and the San Francisco Playhouse, and produced internationally in England, Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, Latvia, and Russia. She has developed work at the Signature Theater, MCC, New York Theatre Workshop, Soho Rep, the Orchard Project, the Ontological-Hysteric, the Cape Cod Theatre Project, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in Utah and Ucross, Wyoming. Annie is a member of New Dramatists, MCC’s Playwrights Coalition, and EST, and she is an alumna of Youngblood, Ars Nova’s Play Group, and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Recent honors include a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize nomination, a Lilly Award, a Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship, a MacDowell fellowship, and a Master Artist Residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. A published anthology of her work, The Vermont Plays, will be published by TCG in November 2011, and her adaptation of Uncle Vanya will have its world-premiere at Soho Rep in June 2012. 

About the Director
The Wilma’s Artistic Director Blanka Zizka states, “We are honored and thrilled that Anne Kauffman is returning to The Wilma Theater to direct Body Awareness. Her shrewd sensibility enables her to illuminate the works of young and upcoming playwrights such as Annie Baker, Gina Gionfriddo, Adam Bock, Anne Washburn, Jordan Harrison, and David Adjmi, to name just a few. She has given these playwrights a voice in Off-Broadway and Regional Theaters, as evidenced by her award-winning production Becky Shaw, from the Wilma’s 2009/2010 Season, and we are pleased to have her return to Philadelphia.”  

At The Wilma Theater, Anne Kauffman directed Becky Shaw (Barrymore for Best Direction and Best Overall Production). Most recently she directed The Flea and The Professor at the Arden Theater Company (Barrymore for Best Overall Production of a Musical), You Better Sit Down: tales from my parents' divorce at Williamstown Theater Festival, Belleville at Yale Rep, and Maple and Vine at Playwrights Horizons. Additional credits include God's Ear by Jenny Schwartz at the Vineyard and New Georges, Stunning by David Adjmi with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and LCT3, Communist Dracula Pageant by Anne Washburn at American Repertory Theater, Have You Seen Steve Steven by Ann Marie Healy with 13P, Expecting Isabel by Lisa Loomer and Doubt at Asolo Repertory Theater, Act A Lady by Jordan Harrison at the Humana Festival of New Plays, Sides: The Fear Is Real at the Culture Project, Typographer's Dream by Adam Bock at the Encore Theater and Shotgun Players, and The Ladies by Anne Washburn with The Civilians at Dixon Place and Cherry Lane Theater. She won the OBIE Award for The Thugs by Adam Bock at SoHo Rep, and is a recipient of the Alan Schneider Award for Directing as well as a Lilly Award for Directing.  She is a member of The Drama League of New York, Soho Rep Artistic Council, and New Georges Kitchen Cabinet. She is a Clubbed Thumb Associate Artist and a founding Associate Artist of The Civilians. Anne received her MFA in directing from UCSD.

About the Cast
Body Awareness’s
four-person cast includes Christopher Coucill (Frank) who has appeared on Broadway in The Graduate, Annie Get Your Gun, and Kiss Me Kate, and Off-Broadway in The Rothschilds, Portraits, Words Divine, and The Fantasticks, among others. His Philadelphia performances include Crazy for You (The Forrest), Annie Get Your Gun (The Prince), and Silverhill (Intar). Grace Gonglewski (Phyllis), who is returning to The Wilma Theater (previous productions include Life of Galileo), has acted in 24 seasons at the Arden as well as at the Walnut Street Theatre, Cape May Stage, Delaware Theatre Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (8 seasons), Philadelphia Theatre Company, 1812 Productions, and a tour of Ireland with InterAct Theatre Company. She has won four Barrymore Awards, the F. Otto Haas Award, and the Dorothy Haas Fellowship. Dustin Ingram (Jared), a native of Los Angeles, was most recently seen as Barnette Lloyd in McCarter Theatre Center’s production of Crimes of the Heart. Dustin has extensive Regional Theater credits as well as film and television credits that include Paranormal Activity 3, Meet Monica Velour, Sky High, Glee, Everybody Hates Chris, Brothers, Zeke and Luther, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and three seasons on Unfabulous. Mary Martello (Joyce) has found a creative home in Philadelphia, as she has worked at The Wilma Theater (previous productions include Age of Arousal and Embarrassments), Arden, Azuka, Interact, Lantern, Peoples Light and Theatre, the Prince, the Walnut, and 1812 Productions. Mary has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and continues to perform cabarets she developed in Philadelphia: The Reluctant Optimist and The Style of Weill.

Special Events
A number of special, behind-the-scenes Onstage Conversations will accompany the production and provide audiences with the opportunity to engage with the artistic staff of the Wilma.

Onstage Conversation
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW! - Sunday, January 8, 2011 – (approximately) 4:00pm

Join us for an exclusive conversation with Body Awareness playwright and OBIE Award Winner Annie Baker. Tickets to the Onstage Conversation with Annie Baker are $10 without tickets to the play. RSVP suggested; for tickets, call 215.546.7824

Onstage Conversation
Thursday, January 12, 2012 – 9pm

Stay after the performance to discuss the play with a member of the Wilma's artistic staff.

Onstage Conversation ­
Thursday, January 19, 2012 – 9pm

Stay after the performance to discuss the play with the cast.

Young Friends Evening
Friday, January 27, 2012 – 7pm

Complimentary pre-show reception for audience members age 35 and under.

Onstage Conversation
Wednesday, February 1, 2012 – (approximately) 4:00pm

Stay after the matinee performance to discuss the play with a member of the Wilma's artistic staff in the lobby with complimentary coffee.

Tria Pre-Show Wine Tasting   
Friday, February 3, 2012 – 7pm

Join us for a complimentary, pre-show wine tasting in our lobby from 7 8pm sponsored by Tria.

Tickets range from $39 to $66, and are available at the Wilma’s Box Office by calling 215.546.7824, visiting, or coming to the theater, located at 265 South Broad Street in Philadelphia. Discounted ticket options are available for students, groups, or anyone in their 20s. Information on discounts is available at

The Balcony Restaurant at the Doubletree Hotel and The Sporting Club at The Bellevue are the Season Sponsors for The Wilma Theater’s 2011 – 2012 Season. The Honorary Producer of Body Awareness is the Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Arts Education Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation.