As the election season swings into high gear Philadelphia Theatre Company revisits one of the city’s most controversial politicians, Frank Rizzo, with a re-mounting of Theatre Exile’s production of Rizzo by Bruce Graham on September 23-October 16. Directed by Joe Canuso, the production reunites the original cast of Scott Greer as Frank Rizzo, Damon Bonetti, Paul L. Nolan, Robert DaPonte, William Rahill, and Amanda Schnoover, all making their PTC debuts.
Opening PTC’s 2016-2017 season, previews of Rizzo begin on September 23, with opening night on Wednesday, September 28. Performances run Tuesdays through Sundays until October 16. Tickets starting at $15 are available by calling the PTC Box Office at 215-985-0420 or visiting PhiladelphiaTheatreCompany.org.
Based on the best-selling book Rizzo: Last Big Man in Big City America by Sal Paolantonio of ESPN and published by Camino Books, Inc., Rizzo premiered at Theatre Exile last fall, earning rave reviews and sold-out performances. Support for the research and development of Rizzo was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
Following Frank Rizzo’s trajectory from beat cop to Police Commissioner to Mayor of Philadelphia, this raw and timely drama explores Rizzo’s life as he prepares for the 1991 mayoral election. A big guy who left an indelible impression on Philadelphia history, Rizzo governed with a street-brawler’s bravado that both cooled and fanned the flames of racial unrest. After two terms in office, voters in 1991 were about to cast another ballot for their hero or against the villain they inadvertently helped create. As the play jumps back in time through Rizzo’s life, his Shakespearian complexity and unfiltered opinions reveal what made this “larger than life” man both revered and reviled by so many.
“We are delighted to partner with Theatre Exile in remounting this important new work which deserves to be seen by a wider audience,” said PTC’s Executive Producing Director Sara Garonzik.
“The play’s story is so relevant to what’s still happening in the country today. We still struggle with racial unrest, economic instability and class warfare,” said Canuso. “As we move into the presidential election, Rizzo can help us look back, clear our heads, learn from our mistakes and move us forward.” Deb Block, Theatre Exile’s Producing Artistic Director added, “We are thrilled that PTC will be bringing RIZZO to their stage. There is not a better company in town to continue to give life to this uniquely Philadelphia play.”
Bruce Graham is a Philadelphia-based playwright. His works include such plays as Stella and Lou, Funnyman, Something Intangible, Any Given Monday, and The Outgoing Tide, which was produced by PTC in its 2011/12 season. PTC also produced the world premiere of his play According to Goldman in its 2003/04 season.
Sal Paolantonio is a former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter and current national correspondent for ESPN, primarily covering the National Football League for SportsCenter, Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Live and NFL Insiders. He is the author of three books, including Rizzo: The Last Big Man in Big City America published by Camino Books, Inc. in 1993 and, again, in 2003 in a 10th anniversary edition.
PTC’s 2016-2017 season continues with Found, a fresh new musical featuring hundreds of real found letters culled from Davy Rothbart’s popular Found Magazine with book by Hunter Bell and Lee Overtree and music and original lyrics by Eli Bolin (November 9 – December 11); Having Our Say by Emily Mann, adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth (January 27 – February 19); the irreverent Tony Award-nominated Broadway hit, Hand To God by Robert Askins (April 7 – April 30); and the world premiere American Canvas by Bill Cain (May 26 – June 18) about Philadelphia painter Thomas Eakins.
For further information, please call 215-313-1575.