1812 Productions opens 14th annual political comedy, This Is The Week That Is

November 29, 2019 – January 5, 2020 *PERFORMANCES ADDED*
Written and Performed by 
Sean Close, Justin Jain, Tanaquil Márquez,
Dave Jadico, Brett Robinson, and Pax Ressler
Head Writers: Jennifer Childs and Thomas E. Shotkin
Head News Writer: Don Montrey  •  Music Director: Pax Ressler
Directed by Dan O’Neil

1812 Productions is pleased to present its annual political comedy, and a Philadelphia favorite, This Is The Week That Is. A staple of the Philadelphia theatre season for the past 14 years, This Is The Week That Is delivers sharp satire and content that changes with the headlines. This Is The Week That Is will play from November 29th through January 5th. Opening Night will be Wednesday, December 4th at 7pm at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, in Center City.

Three additional performances have already been added during the scheduled run to accommodate demand. Tickets and information are available at www.1812productions.org or at 215-592-9560.

Featuring a script that changes nightly, improvised comedy, musical parodies, and a versatile cast of comedy pros, This Is The Week That Is continues its mission to tell the truth and make it funny. What began in 2006 as a survey of political satire from generations past quickly evolved into an ever-changing comedy revue with a performance ensemble that is also a writers’ room.

“I’m so excited to be back at 1812 for this edition of This Is The Week That Is,” says director Dan O’Neil. “What I’m most looking forward to is the group of writer/performers we have lined up this year. We’re mixing the people who have been with the show for many years with some really compelling new faces and voices, and I can’t wait for 1812’s audience to meet them and see what we come up with!” The 2019 production welcomes two new ensemble members, Brett Robinson (recipient of a 2019 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Musical for The Appointment at Lightning Rod Special), and performer/music director Pax Ressler (recipient of a 2019 Barrymore Award as an ensemble member of The Bearded Ladies for Contradict This! A Birthday Funeral for Heroes). Robinson and Ressler join returning cast members Justin Jain, Sean Close, Tanaquil Márquez, and Dave Jadico.

In 2018, American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, recognized the uniqueness and longevity of This Is The Week That Is by commissioning 1812 Productions to create a documentary about the show’s history and creative process. The completed project, In the Field; Conceiving Satire: The Making of This Is The Week That Is, was subsequently nominated for a Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award for Arts Program/Special. Filmed over the course of three months in 2018, In the Field; Conceiving Satire: The Making of This Is The Week That Is followed the cast and creative team of This Is The Week That Is from their initial roundtable conversations through a fully realized production, exploring the show’s history and  the role of theatre and comedy in American politics. Heather Hitchens, President and CEO of American Theatre Wing, said of the nomination, “Working with 1812 Productions and exploring their work in theatre through this Arts Special reinforces our mission to showcase the power of theatre and encourage empathy through storytelling. We are emboldened by this honor and by working again with 1812 Productions and the Philadelphia community.”

O’Neil continues, “Making comedy about all this political turmoil is certainly a challenge. But I’m looking forward to finding a comedic voice for this year’s show that can release some of the tension people are feeling right now and give folks a chance to laugh—as well as contribute to the conversation and make people think—and I think we’ve got the perfect team to do it.” The show’s creator Jennifer Childs assumes the title of head writer for the 2019 production. She, along with co-head writer Thomas E. Shotkin, will guide the writing ensemble. “Every year, we start with the question of what it feels like to be an American right now,” says Childs. “We ask, ‘What’s on peoples’ minds? What’s in the zeitgeist?’ and we invite the audience in to share in that experience. The release through laughter that comes with that sharing is absolutely priceless. There’s nothing else like it.”

The This Is The Week That Is production team includes Don Montrey, who returns as the show’s head news writer, along with 1812 veterans Lance Kniskern (scenic design),  Jorge Cousineau (video design), Jillian Keys (costume design), and 2019 Pew Center for Arts & Heritage grantee Maria Shaplin (lighting design).

This Is The Week That Is will host a Spanish-captioned performance on Saturday, December 7th at 8:00pm.  1812 Productions is honored to welcome back Fernando Mendez who will translate the working script. Mendez will also join the cast onstage for live translation of improvised and up-to-date material. Mendez is a board member of Congreso de Latinos Unidos and is an executive editor and radio personality at USALA Media.
 
This Is The Week That Is plays from November 29th, 2019 thru January 5th, 2020 at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, in Center City, Philadelphia. Opening Night will be Wednesday, December 4th at 7:00pm. Tickets range from $28-$50 and are available at 215-592-9560 or at www.1812productions.org.

This Is The Week That Is is part of The June and Steve Wolfson Family Foundation Series. This Is The Week That Is welcomes honorary producer, and longtime 1812 Productions supporter, Terry Graboyes.

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