Estelle Parsons in August: Osage County
(© Joan Marcus)
Estelle Parsons in August: Osage County
(© Joan Marcus)
Philadelphia area stages are in full bloom this spring as theaters continue the 2009-2010 season with an array of enticing new productions that cover the full spectrum of theatrical entertainment.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning family drama August: Osage County makes its Philadelphia debut when director Anna D. Shapiro's Tony Award winning production arrives at the Forrest Theatre, April 27-May 2. A bitingly funny exploration of family loyalty and dysfunction, playwright Tracy Letts' masterpiece may be the finest American drama of the decade and is not to be missed. Estelle Parsons leads the cast.

The InterAct Theatre Company continues its long association with Tony-nominated playwright Lee Blessing when the company presents the world premiere of the author's When We Go Upon the Sea (April 9-May 9). Set in a posh hotel room at The Hague, the play imagines George W. Bush on the eve of his trial for international war crimes. More than a scathing critique of the ex-president's policies, the piece explores the relationship between elected officials and the citizens they govern.

If you want to know why the Irish have a history of being great storytellers, rush to see Theatre Exile's staging of Conor McPherson's seriously spooking and surprisingly insightful drama Shining City (April 7-25). The story concerns a therapist whose patient is haunted by visions of his deceased wife. Spectacularly involving, the play's startling conclusion is worth the price of admission.

The Walnut Street Theatre continues their season in the company's intimate Independence Studio on 3 with Giles Havergal's streamlined adaptation of Graham Greene's comedy Travels with My Aunt (April 1-18). A globetrotting bit of hilarity about a retired bank employee and his effervescent aunt's around the world trip, director John Peakes production features four actors in over two dozen roles.

The city's top presenter of Shakespeare's work, Lantern Theater Company concludes their season with the Bard's Henry IV, Part I (April 1-May 2). Perhaps the most complex of Shakespeare's history plays, the action-packed story focuses on King Henry's attempts to control both his wayward son Prince Hal and his kingdom, which is under threat from a host of ambitious English nobles led by the charismatic Hotspur.

Azuka Theatre wraps up their season with the dating comedy Nerve (April 8-May 2). Penned by Adam Szymkowicz, the play concerns a young couple attempting to navigate the perilous and rarely rewarding world of online dating. Director Kevin Glaccum (who helmed Azuka's award-winning production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch) helms the impressive cast.