Bailey McCall as Jenna, and Company in the National Tour of WAITRESS
If anything will bring Broadway fans back to Philadelphia theaters it’s the return of Hamilton. That’s what the Kimmel Cultural Campus (kimmelcenter.org) is banking on when Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical masterpiece about Founding Father and famous Philadelphia resident Alexander Hamilton visits the City of Brotherly Love for a second time October 20 - November 28 at the Academy of Music.
Fittingly, Hamilton kicks off the 2021/2022 Broadway Philadelphia Season. Thirteen shows are lined up, which have collectively earned 42 Tony Awards and 37 Drama Desk Awards. There’s even a few Philadelphia premieres.
Even as the city plans to fully reopen on June 11—and with October 20 months away—Frances Egler, senior director of programming and presentations at the Kimmel Cultural Campus, says that the audience’s safety and health is top priority.
Amber Gray and the Original Broadway Cast of Hadestown.
People are enthusiastic that there’s something we have to look forward to,” she says, “We are not taking that for granted. We want to make sure that the audience is registered at kimmelcenter.org and are following us on social media so we can communicate. Audiences can be in touch with us and we can be in touch with audiences before they get to the theater.”
Egler says that this year’s Broadway Philadelphia series includes 3 Tony Award for Best Musical winners: Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen and Hadestown. Audience favorites like Rent, Hairspray, Anastasia and Stomp are also returning. And Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird (“we are presenting a play, something we don’t usually do,” says Egler) will be staged at the Academy of Music.
“Theater is that little piece of everyone’s heart that’s been missing,” she says, “You almost don’t miss it until it’s not there. From big outdoor concerts to Kimmel Center’s free plaza programming and big resident companies—the opera, orchestra and ballet—theater will make Philly whole in that way again. It’s the rich cultural life that people have been missing.”
“Our other focus is reflecting the city we serve. We have a diverse offering this season. We want to make sure Broadway Philadelphia is connecting with all of Philadelphia.”
Photography by: Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel; Matthew Murphy;