2019 Festival

This is OUR Philadelphia

This is OUR Philadelphia Reading Series

Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival Celebrates Stories from The City of Sisterly Love!

August 1-4, 2019

“This Is OUR Philadelphia” showcases Philadelphia women playwrights, telling the story of the women who have shaped the history of this great city.

Full Lineup

Thursday, August 1
Evening of One Acts
Friday, August 2
International Mother Artist Day
Saturday, August 3 Sunday, August 4
by Teresa Miller

by Marissa Kennedy

by Charissa Menefee

Story Changers Award Honoree Toast
Book & Lyrics by Ann Marley
Music by Kevin Mucchetti
Book & Lyrics by Ann Marley
Music by Kevin Mucchetti
by Nora Leahy
by Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters 5:00pm
by Dorianne Feinstein
by Christine Petrini & Melissa Brun

Festival Venue

Arden Theatre Company-

Hamilton Family Arts Center

62 N 2nd Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

Ring Shout!

by Teresa Miller

Four African American Women travel to Philadelphia to bury their grandfather who’s passed away. They honor him in his traditional African Christian dance called the ring shout.

Teresa Miller is an actor and playwright based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a third-year member of The Foundry @PlayPenn. Her plays include The Illinois Five (Fringe Festival 2015); The Last Act (staged reading, Pulley and Buttonhole Theatre Company June 2019); Battman and Jesus (staged reading Plays and Players for the Foundry @PlayPenn July2019); and Freud and His Negro (Cherry Street Pier September 2019); She is honored to be one of the playwrights for the 2019 Women’s Theatre Festival with her one act play Ring Shout!


by Marissa Kennedy

Every year at Franklin Stadium, sisters, Helen and Sissy relieve their running days by cheering on the competitors of the Penn Relays. This year, they will be cheering on their own, Danielle and Jasmine, to victory. Or so they think. Jasmine and Danielle are high school track stars with dreams of winning. One is ready for the relays, the other is not so sure. Will Jasmine and Danielle run this year? Will Helen and Sissy witness their achievements? Relays is a play that explores self-doubt, growth, change, and the messages we relay to ourselves and to others.

Marissa Kennedy is a theatre artist whose aesthetic is centered around engaging the imagination to inspire, give voice, promote healing and positive change. As a Philadelphia area performer, her most recent credits include Villanova University’s Last Seen, Juniper Production’s Cocktail Plays and People are Strange and other Revelations. She received her BA in English from Oberlin College and her MA in Theatre from Villanova University.

Sarah’s Poem

by Charissa Menefee

In nineteenth-century Philadelphia, three African American sisters advocate for abolition and the vote–and secretly run an Underground Railroad station.

Dr. Charissa Menefee is a playwright, poet, director, and performer. She was a Tennessee Williams Scholar in Playwriting at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a finalist for the Julie Harris Playwright Award. Her plays have been honored by the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s New American Playwrights Project, Pandora Festival of New Plays, American College Theatre Festival, Arizona Theatre Conference, Christian H. Moe Awards, and City of Charleston Literary Arts Awards. Pretty Lucky is included in 105 FIVE-MINUTE PLAYS FOR STUDY AND PERFORMANCE (Smith & Kraus). Sarah’s Poem premiered in Rover Dramawerks’ 365 Women a Year Festival (Texas).


by Nora Leahy

Summer, 2017. As the country prepares for The Great American Eclipse, Philadelphia prepares to shut down El Campamento, one of the largest open-air drug markets and shooting galleries on the East Coast. The play follows three library employees in the heart of “The Badlands” who have become first responders to the opioid crisis and witnesses to a changing neighborhood. Badlands examines what we owe to each other, and to the places we come from.

Nora Leahy is a Chicago based playwright whose work has been developed and/or produced at Lean Ensemble Theater (Hilton Head, SC); The Shuler Theater (Raton, NM); The New Colony (Chicago, IL); The Greenhouse Theater (Chicago, IL); Victory Gardens (Chicago, IL); and Jackalope Theatre Company (Chicago, IL). Her newest play, Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? is being adapted from the novel by Dave Eggers for Jackalope Theatre Company, and her play Girl With Gun will be presented in a staged reading at the 2019 Actors Theatre of Charlotte nuVoices Festival. Additional plays by Nora include: If You Forget Me (2018) and The Bridge (Woodward Newman Drama Award Finalist, 2017).

Esther Choi and the Fish that Drowned

by Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters

Esther Choi is your favorite all-American, overachieving-Asian teen except she has a ghost. Anthony Gibson is Esther’s best friend and (spoiler alert) he’s dead. Mr. Choi is Esther’s grandfather and he owns a haunted dry cleaner on Cheltenham Ave. In an (un)likely turn of events, Esther must grapple with grief, loneliness, and winning first chair in high school orchestra, all while living up to her grandfather’s new expectations.

Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters is a playwright with Foundry at PlayPenn and a founding member of Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists (PAPA). Esther Choi and the Fish that Drowned was presented at the 2019 PlayPenn Conference. Are You My Father or the dream ballet of north korea received a workshop reading with PlayPenn Education and HBMG Foundation, a residency with PAPA, and was a finalist forUnicorn Theatre’s 2019-2020 In-Progress New Play Reading Series. Keep Me Posted received a staged reading at Philly Asian American Film Festival. Additional work: Dragon’s Eye Theatre, Revamp, and Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival. She currently serves as Lead Artist on PAPA Playwrights Project, is a Barrymore Nominated member of Actor’s Equity Association, and is a graduate of Bucknell University, London Dramatic Academy, and CAP21.

Zachary Hates Everything

by Doriane Feinstein

Zachary is struggling to make it through his senior year of high school. After a Homecoming dance gone wrong, he is left with a hole in his memory and an eerily familiar song that won’t leave his head. He is visited by dead composers as his mind tries to piece together what happened that night.

Doriane is a playwright/actor/dramaturg thrilled to be a part of PWTF! Plays include: The Intimate Life, Of Cities and Mountains, and Emeth. Doriane received a Bachelor’s of Art in Theatre with a Music minor from Arcadia University. Learn about Doriane’s upcoming projects at: https://dorianefeinstein.wixsite.com/dorianef/contact.

Young Audiences Studio

Margot & Mr. Fog

Book & Lyrics by Ann Marley, Music by Kevin Mucchetti

Margot cannot figure out why her dad won’t get out of bed! She is on a mission to get her dad up and playing, drink her first cup of coffee, and beat the world record for putting the most pairs of underwear on in 30 seconds. This children’s musical talks about mental health from the perspective of Margot, a 9-year-old girl, as she and her dad battle their inner monsters.

Ann Marley has an MA in Theatre from Villanova University, a BA in Theatre Performance, and a BA in Communications from Susquehanna University. Ann is currently the Marketing & Development Associate at Delaware Theatre Company. Her plays include Leadeadead: A Case Study in Diagnostics and Empathy, What Monsters We Mend, Purging, and Reclamation. Her plays have been performed by Queens Theatre, Villanova Theatre, BoxFest Detroit, Off-Key Anthem Theatre Collective, the Scranton Fringe Festival, and the Artist’s Exchange. She is also a dramaturg, photographer, and mental health advocate.

Kevin Mucchetti is a Philadelphia based composer, music director, and pianist. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Music, he currently serves as Director of Music for Church of the Holy Child in Wilmington, Delaware and as an accompanist for the School of Pennsylvania Ballet. He also acts as music director for Philly Improv Theater’s musical improv team, Thank You, Places. Recent theater credits include JULIUS CAESAR (Composer), MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN (Composer/MusicDirector), AS YOU LIKE IT (Composer), RAVISHED (Sound Design), THE IMAGINARY INVALID (Composer), DORIAN GRAY (Associate Composer/Music Director), MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Composer),INTO THE WOODS (Piano), A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Composer), and THE FANTASTICKS (Music Director).

The Big Idea Committee

Written and Performed by Christine Petrini & Melissa Brun

What’s Your Big IDEA? BIG thinkers small and tall get together to make plans for fun all year in this immersive and interactive theatre for young audiences experience featuring children’s music by Christine Petrini & Melissa Brun. Together the Big Idea Committee goes on a musical journey of fun and games, adventure and innovation, acts of kindness, and, of course, song and dance! Committee Members– let’s call this meeting to order. All in favor, say “I”!

Christine is a performer/writer/teaching artist/arts administrator in the Greater Philadelphia region. She earned an MA in Theatre from Villanova University and premiered her one-woman musical, I Can Dress Myself, which was remounted four times including a performance at the Democratic National Convention. This experience launched a love for and commitment to songwriting and storytelling. Christine’s passion for music and arts education collided when she became a mother. She began creating songs to sing with her daughter and The Big Idea Committee was born.

Credits include performing Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan (Vocalist), Sleeping Beauty (Queen) at Storybook Musical Theatre, The Light in the Piazza (Clara), Everyman (Good Deeds), The Drowsy Chaperone (Janet van de Graaff) and Salome at Villanova Theatre, Respect at Society Hill Playhouse, Burt and Me at Act II Playhouse and The Buddy Holly Story at The Media Theatre. She performed Bernstein’s Mass at The Kennedy Center and toured the U.S. with Babes in Toyland. Christine originated the role of Glinda in a new musical, Forever in Oz, by Matthew Norcross. She is a vocalist for weddings, funerals and special occasions.

Christine is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival and is committed to creating opportunities for women in theatre. She is a proud theatre teaching artist for Lyceum Studio (Founder/Program Director) and West Chester Studio. She has a great love for collaboration, theatre-making, arts education and art for social change.

Melissa Brun is a professional cellist and freelance teaching artist. She is currently the head of the preschool theater department at the West Chester Studio for the Performing Arts and directs productions at schools across Chester County. Melissa also directs and choreographs the Glee Club at Wayne Elementary in Radnor School District.

Melissa is the cello professor on faculty at Millersville University and hosts her own private teaching studio.  She is a founding member of the chamber-folk sextet, The Sound Accord, whom she has presented with at various Pennsylvania Music Educators Association conferences across the country. As a String Clinician for D’Addario Orchestral, Melissa presents free educational workshops to students and teachers in the Philadelphia area about the string-making process, why strings make a difference, and how to make thoughtful string choices.

Melissa has been seen on stage in productions of The World Goes ‘Round, Guys and Dolls (General Cartwright), Pippin (Catherine), Beauty and the Beast (Mrs. Potts), and Into the Woods (Witch). As a cellist, Melissa played in the house band at the American Music Theater in Lancaster, and has recently played in the pit for shows at the Walnut Street Theater (South Pacific, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Matilda) and The Fulton Opera House (Ghost, Treasure Island). She has played with touring Broadway companies (Cinderella, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Matilda) and has soloed with Broadway stars, Kristin Chenoweth and Jonathan Groff.