Society Hill Playhouse advertises itself as ‘theatre for people who don’t think they like theatre.’ No angst ridden, hard to decipher dramas hit the stage here, in fact, comedies are the majority of their productions, because after all, few people object to having a good laugh. Their long-running production of Lafferty’s Wake is an interactive play that uses audience involvement to pull off its theatrical hijinks. Upcoming productions include Motherhood, the Musical: the Good, the Bad and the Laundry and Cooking with the Calamari Sisters. The small, intimate theatre is housed in a Victorian building with pressed tin walls and high ceilings, which lends a charming, cabaret-style ambiance.
Philadelphia has been home to many of the greatest men of American letters, so it’s no surprise that the city is seeking to keep its literary tradition alive at the Kelly Writers House. Founded in 1995 by a group of students, teachers, and alumni at the University of Pennsylvania, the facility is a thriving hotspot for the literary arts in all their forms, staging over 300 events yearly. Some of the biggest events include the Fellows program, which brings nationally famous writers in for a brief residency where they discuss their work, speaking with students during the day and then hosting a panel at night. These are typically packed to the gills. The interesting thing about the Writers House is that it actually is a house – events take place in the living room, and seats are often at a premium. Everything is free, but for popular programs it’s wise to RSVP.
The Kelly Writers House
University of Pennsylvania
3805 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Want to see where Kevin Bacon got his start? Head to Plays and Players, Philadelphia’s oldest theatre company. Once a private club for drama aficionados, it’s morphed over the last hundred or so years into an important part of Philadelphia’s vibrant theater arts community and is dedicated to supporting established and emerging local playwrights and actors. Previous productions in their two intimate theatres include Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Lost in Yonkers, Zombie! the Musical and Carousel. Currently on the playlist are Pardon My Invasion, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and Travesties. Check out the Plays and Players website for a calendar of productions and ticket info.
Every Wednesday night throughout the summer, the Penn Museum becomes one of the city’s most-loved live music venues. The P.M at Penn Museum concert series brings a huge variety of musical acts to the Stoner Courtyard, and even better, admission to the concert also lets you in to the museum. The concerts draw a very diverse crowd to the Museum, from young hipsters sampling world music to families with kids. It’s a great, friendly experience that really shows how strong the bonds of community are in the City of Brotherly Love. If you get peckish, you can get a drink or some food from the Pepper Mill Café. Concerts move inside in the event of rain, but usually attendees get pretty lucky. This year’s slate of bands includes zydeco, Turkish folk, klezmer, world fusion, and even some troupes that defy definition. No matter when you go, you’re sure to have a good time.
Named for renowned Broadway producer/director Hal Prince, the Prince Music Theater is housed in a restored 1920’s movie house. A visit to the theater is a fantastic way to support the arts, enjoy the thrill of live performance, and spend time in a gorgeously updated historic venue. Upcoming shows include a screening of La Boehme filmed on opening night at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, a cabaret benefit of Broadway musical performances, and a comedy called Defending the Caveman. Visit the Prince Music Theater's website for performance schedules and ticket info.
International House Philadelphia is a multicultural residential center that hosts visiting scholars and students from around the globe. It’s also a place where you can take language classes, take in a concert, or attend a lecture. All in all, it’s a distinctive cultural venue with a threefold mission, to host people from around the world and introduce them to American culture while allowing them to share their culture and traditions with others. It also showcases a wide variety of cultural events such as international film festivals, holiday celebrations, dance performances, and art shows. See their website for a roster of events.