This weekend marks a special occasion for the Philadelphia Theatre Company. The PTC’s third annual Play Brawl will be in full swing this Friday, and if you haven’t had the chance to check out this fun and inventive fundraiser yet, this year is your chance.
The Play Brawl brings local celebrities and leaders and puts them under the spotlight acting out scenes alongside professional actors. Once each competitor has their moment to shine up on stage, audience members will vote for their favorite actor via tax-free donations (donations can be as low as $10) on an app. The totals will be added up to find out the winner.
“Play Brawl is our single biggest fundraising source to support what we do at Philadelphia Theatre Company,” said PTC Producing Artistic Director Paige Price in the release. “I can’t stress enough how important it is for us to succeed. We try really hard to make this a special and different fundraiser, and I think it’s much more fun than a traditional gala. It’s a ton of work, but really worth it – kind of like producing theatre. I love that we show off the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, and that we’re highlighting the kind of work we do on stage by sharing it with the community’s participants. It’s a testament to the dedication to the arts organizations in town that we’re able to get such a varied and talented group of actors and business leaders to play with us.”
The past two years, Play Brawl has secured an impressive line-up of competitors, and 2020 will be no different. According to the release, this year’s line-up includes a who’s who from the local business and non-profit community—including Mindy Dougherty Baida (Executive Director of Music Theatre Philly), Jonathan Lovitz (Advocate, Politician, and Former Theatre and Television Star), Sulaiman W. Rahman (President/CEO, DiverseForce, LLC), Garrett Snider (Founder, Childhood Resilience Foundation), Michael G. Turner (Head of School, The Shipley School) and Rob Wonderling (President & CEO, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia).
“I love the rehearsals—it’s so fun to watch people who excel in other fields come into the rehearsal room and fully jump into this process,” added Price in the release. “It’s clearly outside their comfort zones, but they are coming to play. They know their lines, they enjoy working with the professional actors and they also know they’re efforts are helping PTC raise money for our season. I’m humbled by the extraordinary efforts they’re making.”
Joining the competitors are some of the biggest who’s who in the Philly Theater Scene and other starlet local performers and entertainment personalities. 6ABC’s Erin O’Hearn, local actress Michaela Shuchman, popular Philly actor Sabrina Profitt, University of the Arts senior Matthew Donzella, Artistic Director of The Phoenix Theatre in Chester County Seth Reich and Philly actor Rob Tucker are among some of the professionals hitting the stage this Friday. The competitors and other performers will be tackling scenes from a variety of popular movies including “Legally Blonde,” “Ferris Bueller,” “Animal House” and more.
As an added surprise, Philadelphia favorite Jeff Coon, who has been working at the Fulton Theatre in Lancaster for the past year, will return to lead the auction at the event.
Play Brawl will kick off at 6 p.m. this Friday with a pre-show celebration in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre lobby offering enticing cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from Di Bruno Brothers (think a selection of their famous cheeses, charcuterie and artisan snacks.) Then, audience members will be moved into the theatre for a live auction featuring international travel and exclusive Broadway access before the competition ignites on stage. After every scene unfolds under the spotlight and votes are cast, the winner will be announced and will receive a trophy in the form of a pair of red boxing gloves, presented by the former champions.
Play Brawl is PTC’s largest fundraiser and raises tens of thousands of dollars to benefit Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 46th Anniversary, 2020-2021 season of plays. Tickets ($150) are available online at philadelphiatheatrecompany.org or by calling 215-985-1400 Ext. 117.