THE HAUNTED LIFE by Sean Daniels

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Playwright Sean Daniels

PlayPenn is pleased to host a public reading of a new adaptation of the lost Kerouac novel, The Haunted Life, adapted by Sean Daniels

When: December 17, 2018 at 7:30PM
Please note there will be no late seating at this performance.

Where: The Proscenium Theatre at The Drake located at 302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

The Haunted Life

By Sean Daniels

Based on the book by Jack Kerouac

Director: Christopher Oscar Peña

Dramaturg: Michele Volansky


A new adaptation of a lost novel by Jack Kerouac, The Haunted Life is a deeply-felt family drama that follows the coming of age story of college student Peter Martin and his relationship with his conservative father. Taking place during America’s last golden summer before entering WWII, it chronicles the cost of war on a small town.


This reading is free and open to the public.  


Currently all seats have been reserved, however we encourage you to sign up for the waitlist and arrive 15 minutes beforehand. We expect to be able to accommodate those who show up for released seats.

Questions? Contact mail@playpenn.org

Sean Daniels is the current Artistic Director at Merrimack Repertory Theatre . Before joining MRT, he was the Artist-At-Large at the Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York, where he received national attention for the Cohort Club, a program designed to better engage audience members with the work on stage.

Sean was named “One of the top fifteen up & coming artists in the U.S., whose work will be transforming America’s stages for decades to come.” and “One Of 7 People Reshaping And Revitalizing The American Musical” by American Theatre Magazine.

Sean previously spent four years at the Tony Award-winning Actors Theatre of Louisville as the theater’s Associate Artistic Director (where he directed 17 productions including 5 Humana Festivals). He was also Associate Artistic Director/Resident Director of the California Shakespeare Theater and before that spent a decade as the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Dad’s Garage Theater Company in Atlanta.

2018 Conference Event Calendar

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Events by Date

Tuesday, July 17
5:00pmThe Garbologists by Lindsay Joelle
8:00pm Tha Chink-Mart by Ray Yamanouchi


Wednesday, July 18
5:00pm Bruise & Thorn by J. Julian Christopher
8:00pm You, the Fire, and Me by Sevan K. Greene


Thursday, July 19
5:00pmKids Drop (Off) by Dominic Taylor
8:00pm Dimenticar by Mattie J. Hawkinson


Monday, July 23
7:30pm – Foundry Reading:  Down in the Holler by Val Dunn (additional reading)


Tuesday, July 24
7:30pmJoan by Stephen Belber (additional reading)


Thursday, July 26
8:00pmThe Garbologists by Lindsay Joelle


Friday, July 27
8:00pmTha Chink-Mart by Ray Yamanouchi


Saturday, July 28
2:00pm – Intern Playwright Ten-Minute Plays
4:00pm You, the Fire, and Me by Sevan K. Greene
8:00pmBruise & Thorn by J. Julian Christopher


Sunday, July 29
2:00pmDimenticar by Mattie J. Hawkinson
5:00pmKids Drop (Off) by Dominic Taylor

Events by Play

Bruise & Thorn
by J. Julian Christopher

Wednesday, July 18th – 5:00pm
Saturday, July 28th – 8:00pm

Bruise and Thorn work at a busted-up old laundromat in Jamaica, Queens. Bruise dreams of becoming a chef. Thorn dreams of changing the face of Hip Hop with his unabashed Queerness. When finances become strained, they get caught up in an illegal cockfighting ring led by their boss, Mrs. Gallo, sending them on a magical ride to make their dreams come true and get the hell out of Jamaica. Bruise & Thorn is an authentic look at a Nuyorican street family, not through bloodline, but rather the social and economic indicators that naturally selects them to one another.

You, the Fire, and Me
by Sevan K. Greene

Wednesday, July 18th – 8:00pm
Saturday, July 28th – 4:00pm

Tommy, Jules, and Omer are tired of their worlds, their countries, their governments, and their families. They’re tired of being invisible. They’re tired of being disenfranchised. They’re tired of being no one. They’ve found a supportive family with one another and found the solution to their problems: Joining a terrorist organization. A coming-of-age story for a new generation, You, the Fire, and Me asks how far you would go to have your voice heard and to finally be seen as someone rather than just anyone.

by Maddie J. Hawkinson

Thursday, July 19 – 8:00pm
Saturday, July 29 – 2:00pm

A loving father of three daughters has gone missing on his way to work. His car is found at the bottom of the river and the circumstances of his death don’t add up. The local police think he ran away, but nobody knows why. People crack under pressure all the time, but sometimes they do it in the most remarkable ways. This play asks, “Why would you ever leave your family? And if you did dare to leave home, what would bring you back again?”

The Garbologists
by Lindsay Joelle

Tuesday, July 17 – 5:00pm
Thursday, July 26 – 8:00pm

Danny’s a white, conservative, proud union member of the DSNY. Marlowe’s the Black, liberal, ivy-educated newbie who just joined his sanitation route. When they find something on the curb too valuable to throw away, they’ll be forced to reevaluate in each other what they mistook for trash.

Kids Drop (Off)
by Dominic Taylor

Thursday, July 19th – 5:00pm
Sunday, July 29th – 5:00pm

A group of parents have a collective “staycation” while their first graders are on a field trip. They get together because all parents need a moment of tension release. This day of relief is broken when Ado, the mother of a child that died a month ago, arrives. This play asks; how we can take care of ourselves and each other at the same time?

Tha Chink-Mart
by Ray Yamanouchi

Tuesday, July 17th – 8:00pm
Friday, July 27th – 8:00pm

In a small, suburban town in Long Island, New York, five Asian American teenage friends battle through high school—where they’re marked as Asians—and their ethnic home fronts—where they’re too American. Finding solace only among each other, they attempt to define for themselves what it means to be an Asian in America… for better or for worse.

Additional Reading: Joan
by Stephen Belber

Tuesday, July 24 – 7:30pm

Joan is a play about the entire life of a woman named Joan.

Foundry Reading: Down in the Holler
by Val Dunn

Monday, July 23 – 7:30pm

Deep in a holler of the Shenandoah Valley, Juniper prepares to spend a perfect life in a perfect cabin with her perfect partner, Blake. Until Maeve appears. Telling tall tales and crooning high lonesomes, Maeve beguiles Juniper return to Gin – a past self who once lived and loved in this here house. As Juniper attempts to exorcise her pursuit of passion and maintain the stable life she’s created with Blake, Down in the Holler witnesses a collision of class and queerness, ultimately asking how we reconcile who we were and who we thought we would become.

Intern Playwright Ten-Minute Plays

Saturday, July 28 – 2:00pm

Celebrate our six Conference interns as they share plays they’ve created under the tutelage of PlayPenn’s Education Director.


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Playwright Josh Wilder

PlayPenn is pleased to host a public reading of a new work by Philadelphia playwright, Josh Wilder.


Monday, June 4th at 7pm


The Drake Proscenium Theatre, 302 S Hicks St, Philadelphia, PA 19102


Salt Pepper Ketchup

by Josh Wilder

Director: Jerrell L. Henderson

Dramaturg: Michele Volansky

Stage Manager: Tom Shotkin


A layer of bulletproof glass won’t protect Superstar Chinese Take-Out owners from the gentrification consuming the Point Breeze neighborhood in South Philly. When a trendy food co-op opens nearby, the Wu’s and their customers initially see it as a hipster annoyance, but as tensions mount they begin to recognize the intrusion as an act of war. Tinged with genuine humor and pathos, Wilder’s play examines the very human consequences of neighborhood redevelopment — who benefits and who gets chewed up and spit out?


This reading is free and open to the public.  


Questions? Contact email@playpenn.org

Josh Wilder is a playwright from Philadelphia. His work has been developed at various theaters and festivals across the country including The Fire This Time Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, The Drama League, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 2015 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and Milwaukee Rep. His play LEFTOVERS was the recipient of the Holland New Voices Award at The Great Plains Theatre Conference, and will be premiering this season at Company One Theatre in Boston. Recent commissions include, LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST for Play On! at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and SHE A GEM for The Kennedy Center. Josh is a former Jerome Fellow and Many Voices Fellow at The Playwrights’ Center; has been in residence at The Royal Court Theatre; Sundance at UCross; and currently serves as Co-Artistic Director at The Yale Cabaret. Josh is a graduating MFA candidate in Playwriting at Yale School of Drama.

Are You My Father or the dream ballet of north korea by Stephanie N. Walters

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Stephanie wrote and revised this play in our Education classes and now it’s getting a free professional public reading at PlayPenn!

May 14, 2018
Time: 7pm

The Bluver Theater at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA

Are You My Father or the dream ballet of north korea
by Stephanie N. Walters

Are You My Father … is a comedy exploring love and coming of age in one of the world’s most mysterious nations. Meet North Korean elite Min-Jun as she struggles with understanding freedom, disappointing family, and dreaming about Kim Il-Sung. Min-Jun’s world is rocked when she is magically spirited away to South Korea and a new life.

This reading is free and open to the public.  

Reservations end at 3pm the day of the reading. Seats will be available at the door.

Questions? Contact email@playpenn.org

Stephanie N. Walters is an emerging playwright in Philadelphia. She’s a first year member of The Foundry and studies with PlayPenn. Her most recent work, “Are You My Father or the dream ballet of north korea”, received a workshop with HBMG Foundation’s National Writers Retreat and a residency with Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists/Asian Arts Initiative. Additional plays have been produced and developed with Dragon’s Eye Theatre, Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival, Asian Arts Initiative, Revamp Collective, and Philadelphia’s Future is Female Festival. Stephanie is also a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association, a Barrymore Nominated actress, and a teaching artist. She is a graduate of Bucknell University, the London Dramatic Academy, and CAP21. Stephanie’s work gives new life to Korean mothers, evil dictators, lost lovers, bright children, dying Chinatowns, dating apps, and punk rock goddesses. Her whimsical, comedic, curious, and AZN plays can be found on NPX.

2018 Conference Intern Application

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2017 Conference Interns.

PlayPenn is looking for six individuals who have an interest in playwriting/ dramaturgy/ directing to take part in our 2018 Conference, between July 8th and July 30th, 2018.  This is a wonderful opportunity for motivated young theater artists to work alongside experienced professionals in a concentrated and fulfilling environment.  

Each intern will assist a collaborative team in the development of one of six plays invited to the conference chosen in a national search.  Interns will also assist, as needed, in the administrative, front of house and public relations responsibilities of the conference.

Interns will also be given the opportunity to participate in a playwriting workshop culminating in the public presentation of their own written work performed by conference artists.

Each intern will receive a $300 stipend for their work at the conference.

Unfortunately, PlayPenn cannot provide housing, though we are willing to assist out of town interns in finding housing options in the city for the duration of the conference

The deadline to apply is March 15, 2018.


If filling out the application on your mobile device, click here.

Questions? Contact production@playpenn.org


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Alex wrote and revised this play in our Education classes and now it’s getting a free professional public reading at PlayPenn!

March 5, 2018
Time: 7pm

The Proscenium Theater at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA

by Alex Dremann

The artists in the hipster neighborhood of LOLA are losing their post-gentrification turf war to a corporation called The Farm and Magda’s artisan bakery is on the verge of going under.  When Magda creates a new spelt muffin that finally draws in new customers, The Farm discovers Betty and Zeke, the last two artists in LOLA who have taken refuge in the bakery.  Magda’s pear-shaped nephew Paul, stuck behind the bakery counter most of his life, is just hoping for a little crime to fight— and when The Farm attacks, set on franchising Betty and Zeke then destroying both the bakery and LOLA, he finally gets his chance.

This reading is free and open to the public.  

Reservations end at noon the day of the reading. Seats are available at the door.

Questions? Contact email@playpenn.org

Alex studied playwriting at USC and has had 300+ productions of his short plays.  Evenings of his collected short plays include: “Slap Happy” (Madlab Theatre), “B-Sides, Rarities and Unreleased Tracks” (Wilmington City Theatre), “Bipolar by Thursday (Theatre Neo) and “13 Lemonade Ave.” (Secret Room Theatre).  Full lengths include: “Split Pea Pod” (The Brick Playhouse), “Postcoital Variations” (Philadelphia Theatre Workshop) and “The :nv:s:ble Play” (PTW, Madlab Theatre & Theatre of NOTE).  Published plays include “On the Porch One Crisp Spring Morning” in “The Humana Festival 2009: The Complete Plays”.  www.alexdremann.com

TJ LOVES SALLY 4 EVER by James Ijames

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Playwright James Ijames. Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

PlayPenn is proud to host a public reading of the latest work by Philadelphia playwright, James Ijames.


Tuesday, February 6th at 7:30pm


Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA 19106



by James Ijames

Directed by Maura Krause

Dramaturg: Michele Volansky


TJ is a University Dean. He’s in love with Sally. Sally does not love TJ. Sally is a student. This will not be easy. There’s a marching band, several step shows and the dismantling of the legacies that keep us tied down.

In short: Imagine if Thomas Jefferson was a University Dean and Sally Hemings was his work-study student. Isuncomfortable.


This reading is free and open to the public.  


Questions? Contact email@playpenn.org

James Ijames is a Philadelphia based performer and playwright. He has appeared regionally in productions at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, and People’s Light and Theatre. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Ally Theatre (Washington DC) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright’s Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, The Gulfshore Playhouse, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden. James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he also won two Barrymores for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America and one Barrymore for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre Company. James is a 2011 Independence Foundation Fellow, a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ….Miz Martha and a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award.  James is a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective and a mentor for The Foundry. He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and resides in South Philadelphia.

Stage Manager: Tom Shotkin

Honor Flight by Willy Holtzman

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InterAct and PlayPenn are proud to present a public reading of Willy Holtzman’s play Honor Flight.

Honor Plight PlayPenn

When: Monday, October 9, 2017
Where: The Proscenium Theatre at The Drake (302 S. Hicks St., Philadelphia, PA)

Honor Flight by Willy Holtzman
Donald is an over-medicated veteran counting down his days in a St. Louis nursing home. When sibling combat between his daughter and son lead to an unlikely pilgrimage to see the World War II memorial in Washington, distant and recent hidden memories upend  the entire family.

The reading is free and open to the public.  No RSVP necessary. The play reads at about 90 minutes, and we’ll have some refreshments afterward in the lobby. 

Check out the Facebook Event for more information! 

Willy Holtzman’s plays include THE FIRST MRS. ROCHESTER (Portland Stage Company), HONOR FLIGHT (PlayPenn), G.O.B. (PlayPenn), THE MORINI STRAD (City Theatre, ATCA Steinberg Best New American Play Award nominee, had its New York debut at Primary Stages in March 2012); SOMETHING YOU DID (Primary Stages, People’s Light & Theatre, Theatre J, commissioned by Baltimore Center Stage); SABINA (Primary Stages, New Jewish Theatre, Gradiva Award Nominee); HEARTS (People’s Light & Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Asolo Theatre, New Jewish Theatre of St. Louis, received the Barrymore Award, the inaugural Arthur Miller Award and was anthologized in Smith and Kraus BEST NEW PLAYS); BOVVER BOYS (Primary Stages, Cleveland Play House, Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Curtain Theatre); THE CLOSER (GeVa Theatre — Davie Award, the Working Theatre); INSIDE OUT (commissioned and produced by Theatre for a New Audience, Portland Stage Company, Nebraska Repertory Theatre); THE LAST TEMPTATION OF JOE HILL (Working Theatre); BLANCO (Goodspeed Opera House Norma Terris Theatre); WHITE TRASH (West Bank Cabaret); SAN ANTONIO SUNSET (published in Best Short Plays and produced in New York, Los Angeles, London, Dublin, Mumbai). VOICES IN CONFLICT (created with Wilton, Conn., high school students, was presented at the Public Theatre, the Vineyard Theatre and the Culture Project). Holtzman wrote and executive produced the independent film Edge of America (2004 Sundance Film Festival Opening Night selection, Tribeca Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival, Hamptons Film Festival, American Indian Film Festival — Best Picture) for which he received the Peabody Award, the Humanitas Prize, and the Writers Guild Award. He also wrote Blood Brothers(HBO, Cine Golden Eagle) and A Body to Die For (Emmy nomination). Holtzman received the HBO Award at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. He has taught writing to at-risk teens at Bronx Regional High School in South Bronx, and was the Lila Wallace Resident Playwright at Juilliard. He has worked with young writers through the 52d Street Project in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen and on the Navajo reservation. He serves on the board of New Dramatists (where as a member he received the Calloway Award) and Harlem Stage Company.

Director: Paul Meshejian
Stage Manager: Tom Shotkin
Featured Actors: Harry Philibosian, Mary Martello, and Scott Greer

Thank You!

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New Class Registration!

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We are so excited about our new website and our brand new Class Registration feature! Change can be hard, and as we roll out these new features, we have encountered a few challenges (and maybe a snafu or two).  The good news is that this new feature allows our students and users to create a secure login with PlayPenn, which will store your class purchases, donation history, and event registrations in a mindful way.  To help ease the process, please see this guide for a quick tutorial on how to purchase classes!  Remember that you’ll only need to create a login once.

As always, thank you for your support, patronage, and interest in all things PlayPenn!

So you, want to register for a class?  Here’s what to do!

  1. Review the List of available classes on our website.  You can review each Class individually by visiting our Classes Main Page, and clicking the individual links. Or, to view and register for all classes, click on the Class Registration page.
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