Philadelphia is getting a rare visit from Dublin's Gate Theatre, which arrives in town with the lauded company's highly-acclaimed staging of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot (October 11-15). Part of the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Presents series, the production, starring Barry McGovern, Johnny Murphy, and Alan Stanford, gives local audiences a rare opportunity to see Beckett's challenging masterpiece performed by one of the world's great companies.
The Simpatico Theatre Project explores the early days of the AIDS epidemic with Lee Blessing's provocative play Patient A (October 6-29). Based on the real life story of Kimberly Bergalis, the play tells of a young woman who contracts the HIV virus. The Wilma Theater reaffirms its status as the city's most daring large company with their staging of Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman (October 4-November 5). McDonagh's chilling comedy, which concerns a writer under interrogation for a series of brutal murders, is a must see for those interested in courageous and daring theater.
For reasons unknown hot playwright Adam Rapp is rarely produced in Philly, but you can get a dose of the versatile dramatist with Theatre Exile's production of Rapp's fascinating character study Red Light Winter (October 20-November 12). The play concerns a pair of best friends, whose lives are altered after meeting a mysterious young woman in an Amsterdam hotel room. The playwright's most introspective work to date, it's directed by Joe Canuso and stars Ian Merrill Peakes, Matt Pfeiffer, and Charlotte Ford.
With its large cast, the Stephen Flaherty-Lynn Ahrens-Terrence McNally musical Ragtime can be a daunting show for non-profit companies to produce. Temple Theaters however is employing a student cast when the university presents the epic musical set in the early days of the 20th Century on their North Philly campus (October 25-November 4).
The InterAct Theatre Company kicks-off their 19th season with Manuel Puig's unique love story Kiss of the Spiderwoman (October 20-November 19), about two men imprisoned in an Argentinean jail cell. 2004 Barrymore Award nominee Vaneik Echeverria and Barrymore Award winner Frank X, who is fresh off his terrific performance in Lantern Theater's Master Harold...and the boys, star in the show.
One last word for the budget-minded. On October 19, the Greater Philadelphia Theatre Alliance is presenting the city's second annual Free Night of Theater. With many of the area's companies participating there are numerous productions to choose from, but you have to hustle as the complimentary tickets go quickly. For ticket and show information visit the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia's website at www.theatrealliance.org.