Press Releases

12.13 Bootycandy

March 1, 2013
Contact: Johnny Van Heest, Public Relations Manager
215.893.9456 ext. 102 |


The Wilma Theater presents the Philadelphia premiere of Robert O’Hara’s Bootycandy
Variety-show vivacity, outrageous humor, and real heart and soul test how we talk about human desire and racial stereotypes

 May 15 – June 16, 2013

PHILADELPHIA – The Wilma Theater closes its 2012/2013 Season with the Philadelphia premiere of Bootycandy, written and directed by Robert O’Hara. Acclaimed by The Washington Post as “Unexpectedly uproarious!  Funny, smutty, and enticingly subversive!”, Bootycandy is a procession of contemporary Vaudevillian vignettes teaching lessons about love, soul, and race as found in the Gospel according to Michael Jackson, Jackie Collins, and RuPaul. Making his directorial debut at the Wilma, Playwright and Director Robert O’Hara has been honored in recent years with an Obie Award, a Helen Hayes Award, and the NAACP Best Director Award. Bootycandy begins previews on Wednesday, May 15, 2013; opens on Wednesday, May 22, 2013; and closes on Sunday, June 16, 2013.

Critics and members of the press are invited to attend Press Night on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 7:30pm. For ticket arrangements, contact Johnny Van Heest at or 215.893.9456 x102.

Behind a tall church pulpit, a fire-and-brimstone preacher delivers a shocking sermon to his congregation. On the tropical sands of a deserted island, two lesbians come together. And at the home of a young boy, Sutter, a mother scolds her son for reading Jackie Collins novels. This is just a taste of playwright Robert O’Hara’s wildly imaginative anthology of sassy lessons in sex ed, a kaleidoscope of sketches that interconnect to portray growing up gay and African-American. With variety-show vivacity, outrageous humor, and real heart and soul, Bootycandy tests how we talk about human desire and racial stereotypes at home, in church, and on the corner. Shantay! Sashay!

About writer/director Robert O’Hara, Founding Artistic Director of The Wilma Theater Blanka Zizka says, “We are so very pleased to welcome playwright Robert O’Hara to the Wilma to produce his enthusiastic and defining original work Bootycandy. His unapologetic, candid humor will be a provocative way to bring our 2012/2013 season to a close.”

Production History

Bootycandy premiered at the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in Washington D.C. in May 2011 under the direction of Robert O’Hara. It starred Phillip Brannon and Lance Coadie Williams, both of whom are reprising their roles in the Wilma production.

About the Playwright/Director

Robert O’Hara received the 2010 NAACP Best Director Award for his direction of Eclipsed by Danai Guiria. He received the 2010 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play for Antebellum and an Obie Award for his direction of the World Premiere of the critically-acclaimed In The Continuum at Primary Stages. He wrote and directed the World Premiere of Insurrection: Holding History at The Public Theater, directed the World Premiere of Tarell McCraney’s Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2) in a co-Production between McCarter Theatre and the New York Shakespeare Festival, directed the World Premiere of his play Bootycandy at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and directed the World Premiere of Wild with Happy at The Public Theater. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is the Mellon Playwright in Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theater.

About the Cast and Design Team

Bootycandy features a diverse cast made up of local and visiting talent, many of whom are appearing on the Wilma’s stage for the first time. Reprising the roles they originated in the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company’s inaugural production of Bootycandy are actors Phillip Brannon (Actor 2) and Lance Coadie Williams (Actor 4). The Wilma is pleased to announce the return of Ross Beschler (Actor 5), who most recently appeared in the Wilma’s critically-acclaimed productions of Under the Whaleback and Our Class. The Wilma Theater would also like to welcome newcomers Jocelyn Bioh (Actor 1) and Benja Kay Thomas (Actor 3). The set and costumes for Bootycandy are designed by Clint Ramos, lighting is designed by Drew Billiau, and sound design is by Lindsay Jones, the original sound designer for the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company production of Bootycandy.  For the Wilma’s production, Robert O’Hara is re-imagining most of the design elements to give the play a different style and tone than its premiere at Woolly Mammoth.

About the Founding Artistic Director

Blanka Zizka has been Founding Artistic Director of The Wilma Theater since 1981. In the fall of 2011, Blanka received the Zelda Fichandler Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, which recognizes an outstanding director or choreographer transforming the regional arts landscape. Blanka has directed over 60 plays and musicals at the Wilma, and she is currently working with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel and a full company of actors, theater artists, and local veterans of the war in Iraq to develop Don Juan Comes Back from Iraq (working title), which will have its World Premiere on the Wilma’s stage in spring 2014. 

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 at the Wilma.

Onstage Conversation

Thursday, May 23, 2013

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

Onstage Conversation

Thursday, May 30, 2013

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

Young Friends Evening

Friday, June 7, 2013

Join us for a complimentary pre-show reception for audience members age 35 and under.

Onstage Conversation

Wednesday, June 12, 2013, immediately following the matinee

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, June 14, 2013

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 Doubletree Hotel and The Sporting Club at The Bellevue are the Season Sponsors for The Wilma Theater’s 2012/2013 Season.


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.