Local Leaders Live Out Their Acting Dreams to Raise Money for PTC
Philadelphia Theatre Company presents Play Brawl, the inventive fundraiser (originally scheduled for March 13th) that puts the region’s leaders front and center from their homes. In the vein of The Voice, PTC’s Play Brawl returns as a virtual event on Wednesday, July 1, as local community leaders live out their acting dreams, and a panel of “Ringside Refs” give post-performance feedback. The Ringside Refs include actors Graham Stevens, Juwan Crawley, and Sandy Rustin, who starred in PTC’s 2016 production of the new musical Found. Instead of standard speeches and silent auctions, the competitors will act their hearts out while viewers vote for the winning performance through tax-free donations. This year’s line-up includes a Who’s Who from the local business and non-profit community including Mindy Dougherty Baiada (Executive Director of Music Theatre Philly), Jonathan Lovitz (Advocate, Politician, and Former Theatre and Television Star), Sulaiman W. Rahman (President/CEO, DiverseForce, LLC), Garrett Snider (Founder, Childhood Resilience Foundation), Michael G. Turner (Head of School, The Shipley School), and Rob Wonderling (President & CEO, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia).
Play Brawl kicks-off with a 6:30pm pre-show on PTC’s YouTube channel, with the “main event” starting at 7pm. The event is free to view, but registration is required. Ticket packages range from $25-$750. All ticket prices automatically enter you to win a trip to Universal Studios Orlando. To support PTC, visit Playbrawl20.givesmart.com.
“The world has changed, but our commitment to our artists will only deepen with your support, and so this year, Play Brawl focuses on the future,” said PTC Producing Artistic Director Paige Price. “Play Brawl is the single biggest fundraising event that supports our work at Philadelphia Theatre Company. If I thought it was a difficult decision to postpone Play Brawl, it’s an even bigger decision to try and hold it now. But I think we need to make every effort to ensure that PTC has the resources to come back strong, so we can continue to support our artistic community. We hope this opportunity to gather, even virtually, could provide our supporters, our artists and participants with strength and resolve. We can all be reminded how art will heal us and allow us to have the difficult conversations we must have at this moment.”
Philadelphia Theatre Company will donate a portion of our proceeds to Black Lives Matter Philly, and guests will be the first to hear about the organization’s creative new initiatives for the upcoming season.
Play Brawl is PTC’s largest fundraiser and features local business leaders. This friendly competition will benefit Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 46th Anniversary, during the 2020-21 season, which has not yet been announced, due to current pandemic conditions. The event will be co-hosted by Price and 2019 Play Brawl Contender and Fox29 Anchor Shaina Humphries. Last year, Humphries performed in a scene from My Cousin Vinny.
During the unique event, contenders will recreate iconic scenes from stage and screen and our Ringside Referees will offer professional feedback on their performances, Contenders for this year’s Play Brawl include:
Mindy Dougherty Baiada, Executive Director, Music Theatre Philly, performing with featured guest Erin O’Hearn
Jonathan Lovitz, Advocate, Politician, and Former Theatre & Television Star
Sulaiman W. Rahman, President/CEO, DiverseForce, LLC, performing a scene from Hitch.
Garrett Snider, Founder, Childhood Resilience Foundation, performing a scene from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off
Michael G. Turner, Head of School, The Shipley School, performing a scene from School of Rock.
Rob Wonderling, President & CEO, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, performing a scene from Animal House.
Ringside referees include:
Graham Stevens, Company member of American Globe Theatre and member of the Drama Desk-winning production of “In Transit” for Outstanding Ensemble
Juwan Crawley, recently appeared in off-Broadway production of Spamilton and on Broadway as the “Genie” in Aladdin
Sandy Rustin, Actress and award-winning playwright recently named to the Broadway Women’s Fund’s inaugural “50 Women to Watch” list
Play Brawl kicks-off at 6:30pm and tickets at the $175 level and above include various food offerings with paired wine from DiBruno Bros. Throughout the competition, audiences can support their favorite competitors and scenes by donating on their smartphones with tax-deductible donations starting from $1. The Contender with the most votes will then be declared the 2020 Play Brawl Champion.
Special cheese trays, wine pairings and gift boxes for Play Brawl will be provided by Di Bruno Bros. Di Bruno Bros has provided full-service catering at notable venues throughout the Philadelphia area for years. Play Brawl marks Di Bruno Bros.’ inaugural event with PTC, showcasing a delicious menu for the first of many unforgettable events. Di Bruno Bros is also the exclusive concessions provider for the theater, offering a selection of their famous cheeses, charcuterie, and artisan snacks.
Watching the event is free if you register, and all ticket packages from $25-$750 enter you to win a trip to Universal Studios Orlando and are available online at Playbrawl20.givesmart.com
The inaugural champion of Play Brawl was David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President of, Comcast Corporation, and the 2019 champs are Marc Brownstein, President and CEO of The Brownstein Group and Joe Zarett, Founder Zarett Rehab and Fitness, who teamed up for a scene from “Rocky.” Past competitors include: Michael Smerconish, Sirius XM Radio Host, CNN Television Host, Columnist, Author; Ray Didinger, Author, Journalist, Broadcaster, and Emmy Award-Winning Writer and Producer of NFL Films; Shaina Humphries, Anchor Fox 29 News; Raheem Brock, former NFL Indianapolis Colts player (and Super Bowl winner), and performer on Fox’s Gotham and Bull on CBS; Bill Golderer, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Philadelphia; Marcus Allen, CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region; Judith M. von Seldeneck, Founder and Chairman, Diversified Search; Molly D. Shepard, MS, MSM, President & CEO, The Leader’s Edge/Leaders By Design; Carol Saline, Journalist, Broadcaster, Author, and PTC of Directors; Joseph Watkins, White House Aide and MSNBC Political Commentator; David Yager, President and CEO of the University of the Arts, John Fry, President, Drexel University; and Tony La Russa, Baseball Hall of Famer, and three-time World Series-winning Manager of the Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals.
Play Brawl is supported by Comcast NBCUniversal, Rhonda & David L Cohen, Ballard Spahr, LLP, Cozen O’Connor, The Daniel B. and Florence E. Green Foundation, Tony La Russa, Victor Keen & Jeanne Ruddy Keen, Fox Rothschild, LLP, Sally Katz & David Price, MIS Capital LLC, Music Theatre Philly!, Steve & Dianne Parrish, PNC Bank, Reed Smith, and The Shipley School.
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA THEATRE COMPANY
Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) is a leading regional theater company that produces, develops, and presents entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience. PTC balances its Philadelphia roots with a national point of view that combines a taste for adventure with a dedication to new American plays and musicals.
Founded in 1974, PTC has presented 140 world and Philadelphia premieres. More than 50 percent of PTC’s world premieres have moved on to New York and other major cities, helping to earn Philadelphia a national reputation as a hub for new play development. PTC has received more than 201 nominations and 55 awards from the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. In 2007, PTC was instrumental in expanding Philadelphia’s thriving cultural corridor by opening the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.
PTC’s 2019-2020 season was sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, Independence Blue Cross, Center City Film & Video, and PNC Arts Alive.