EgoPo Classic Theater’s ‘The Children’s Hour’

Romeo and Juliet / The Mandrake

Quintessence Theatre Group’s fall repertory — a rarity in these parts, where most theaters produce one play at a time, not two in rotation — balances Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy with Niccolo Machiavelli’s Italian sex comedy, translated by Wallace Shawn. Young dynamo Alex Burns directs both, with all the actors doing double-duty.

Romeo and Juliet, Sept. 30-Nov. 7; The Mandrake, Oct. 14-Nov. 8; Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Ave.;


Arden Theatre Company makes a splash with Mary Zimmerman’s retelling of Ovid’s classic myths: Director Doug Hara’s production features a 2,600 gallon pool that represents a magical place where gods and mortals interact. Hara acted in the original Lookingglass Theatre production in Chicago, and has given many fine performances at the Arden.

Oct. 1-Nov. 1, Arden Theatre, 40 N. Second St.,

The Children’s Hour

EgoPo’s American Giants season featured only male playwrights, so it’s only fitting that their sequel season include only women, starting with Lillian Hellman’s powerful 1934 tragedy. Guest director Adrienne Mackey (Swim Pony Performing Arts) guides a great cast, including Emilie Krause, Cheryl Williams and Keith Conallen.

Oct. 9-25, EgoPo at the Latvian Society, 531 N. Seventh St.,


Tom Reing’s “new island” company consistently delivers fascinating new plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. While they await construction of their new home, The Drake, they present this spooky Irish comedy by Gillian Grattan featuring Rachel Brodeur, Corinna Burns and Barrymore Award winner Charlie DelMarcelle upstairs at Fergie’s.

Oct. 7-25, Inis Nua at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom St.,


Ayad Akhtar’s powerful 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama receives its area premiere from the Philadelphia Theatre Company, and focuses on a Pakistani-American lawyer and his wife. PTC stalwart and Barrymore Award winner Mary B. Robinson directs.

Oct. 9-Nov. 8, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St.,


Playwright Bruce Graham has new plays at four area theaters this season, but most eagerly awaited is this Theatre Exile adaptation of ESPN reporter Sal Paolantonio’s best-seller about infamous Philly mayor Frank Rizzo. Scott Greer plays the title role, and Joe Canuso directs. Expect the shit to hit the fan.

Oct. 15-Nov. 8, Theatre Exile at Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St.,

The Handmaid’s Tale

I’m really excited about Joseph Stollenwerk’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s prescient 1985 novel, directed by M. Craig Getting at Curio Theatre Company. Paul Kuhn’s troupe has successfully staged challenging literature before — Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five (2012) and Franz Kafka’s The Trial (2008), for example — and this one-woman version features Isa St. Clair.

Oct. 15-Nov. 14, Calvary Center, 4740 Baltimore Ave.,

All in the Timing

The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium stages a few absurdist classics each season, but also produces smaller-scale shows at L’Etage Cabaret, the 50-seat theater above Crêperie Beau Monde — where Tina Brock’s company premiered nearly a decade ago. This fall, they revive David Ives’ brilliant collection of six one-acts, including The Philadelphia, which posits that we’re all prone to capture by anomalous reality pockets named for cities; a Los Angeles can be great, but a Philadelphia … Well, at least it’s not a Cleveland.

Oct. 28-Nov. 7, IRC at L’Etage Cabaret, 624 S. Sixth St.,

Lights Rise on Grace

Azuka Theatre Company has joined the National New Play Network, which provides Chad Beckim’s New York Fringe hit about race, sex and family for a “rolling world premiere,” meaning that several companies around the country will produce it this season.

Nov. 4-22, Azuka at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St.,

Also in the Fall Arts Guide — our picks for the upcoming season in:

Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop | Jazz | Classical | Roots | Dance | Visual Art 

PLUS: Make friends and accept your mortality at Death Salon by Bryan Bierman