Press Releases

18.19 Mr. Burns, a post-electric play

October 23 through November 11, 2018

PHILADELPHIA – The power grid is gone (d’oh!), and disaster has plunged the world into darkness. In the aftermath, a group of survivors gather in the dead of winter, trying to brave their new reality by recounting an episode of The Simpsons. Under the direction of Yury Urnov, The Wilma Theater’s HotHouse Company tackles Anne Washburn’s wickedly smart dark comedy that charts life after lights, October 23 through November 11. Set over the span of 75 years, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play considers how pop-cultural relics of a bygone civilization endure the apocalypse and evolve to mythical proportions. The production culminates in an operatic finale with music performed live on stage – a demonstration of the HotHouse Company’s mission to experiment with a compelling and unique theatrical aesthetic for Wilma audiences.

Mr. Burns, a post-electric play has been critically praised for its original production in 2012. Peter Marks of The Washington Post stated, “The piece is at once an affectionate tribute to a beloved pop institution, The Simpsons; a wisdom-laced illustration of the basic human need for stories; and a diabolically inventive game of telephone.”

For critics and members of the press interested in attending Press Night on Friday, October 26 at 8:00 p.m., contact Johnny Van Heest, Interim Marketing Director at or 215.893.9456 x103

This production is supported by The Trust for Mutual Understanding.

About the Playwright: Anne Washburn’s plays include The Internationalist, Apparition, The Communist Dracula Pageant, The Ladies, I Have Loved Strangers, Little Bunny Foo Foo, and a transadaptation of Euripides' Orestes. Her work has been produced by 13P, American Repertory Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, The Civilians, Dixon Place, E.S.T., London’s Gate Theatre, NYC’s Soho Rep., DC’s Studio Theater, and NYC’s Vineyard Theatre, among others. Her plays have been published by American Theatre, Theatre Magazine, and by Playscripts, and are included in the anthologies New Downtown Now, New York Theater Review 2007, and The Civilians: an Anthology of Six Plays. Support includes a Bug ‘n’ Bub Award, residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo, and a Guggenheim. She has been commissioned by The Civilians, Soho Rep, the Williamstown Theater Festival, and Yale, is a member of 13P and The Civilians, and a New Georges affiliated artist.

About the Director: Yury Urnov was born in Moscow, Russia, graduated from the Russian Academy of Theater Art (GITIS) with an MFA, and has directed over 40 productions in his home country, Europe, and Africa. His recent directing credits in the US include Hedda Gabler and Ubu Roi at Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco, award-winning Thr3e Zisters at Salvage Vanguard Theater in Austin, The Pillowman at Forum Theater in DC, and also KISS, Marie Antoinette and You for Me for You at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in DC, of which Yury is a member. Yury as an Associate Director of the Center for International Theater Development (dir. Philip Arnoult), which he has worked closely with since 2002 on a number of Russia – US cultural projects. He translated plays of Martin McDonagh, Sarah Ruhl, and Edward Albee into Russian, as well as a number of contemporary Russian plays into English. In 2009-2011 Yury was a Fulbright Scholar in Residence at Towson University, where he now teaches as a Visiting Assistant Professor.

Special Events:
Cafe Chats: Post-Show after every performance: An informal discussion about the production with Wilma artists and staff, held in Good Karma Cafe.

Open Mic: Sunday, November 4 – 7:00 p.m.: HotHouse member Jaylene Clark Owens hosts Open Mics based on the themes of the shows in the current Wilma season. Participants are encouraged to showcase poetry, artwork, or songs inspired by the play.

Beer Night: Friday, November 2 – 7:00 p.m.: Patrons can grab a free beer from local craft breweries before the show with the pre-show beer tasting.

Young Friends Night: Friday, November 9 – 7:00 p.m.: A special pre- and post-show meet and greet for audience members age 21 – 40.

Open Caption Performance: Saturday, November 3 – 2:00 p.m.

Tickets: Ticket prices range from $33-$48 (all fees included). Student and theater industry tickets are available for $10 for every performance as a part of the Wilma WynTix Initiative. Tickets are available at the Wilma’s Box Office by visiting, calling 215.546.7824, or by coming to the theater.

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.