(PHILADELPHIA, PA) -- The Board of Directors of Philadelphia Theatre Company has announced two changes to its leadership. David L. Cohen stepped down as Board Chair, after five years as Chair. Cohen was recently named US Ambassador to Canada by the Biden administration. He is succeeded by Gary Deutsch, recent Vice Chair of the PTC Board, who was unanimously elected into the role of Chair at a special board meeting on November 23. Deutsch is the Managing Chief Counsel, Consumer Finance Litigation, at PNC Bank.
The Board of Directors also announced that Producing Artistic Director Paige Price will end her tenure at the close of the 2021-2022 season.
"In its nearly 50 years, Philadelphia Theatre Company has been a major contributor to the Philadelphia arts and culture scene and will play a crucial part in drawing audiences back to Broad Street after the pandemic,” Cohen said. “The artistic vision that Paige Price brought to Philadelphia has been a breath of fresh air for PTC – and for Philadelphia’s theatre community at large, since she stepped up as a leader in the arts and culture space beyond her PTC responsibilities. During the pandemic, Paige and [Managing Director] Emily Zeck were able to curate an interesting slate of performances, tap into non-traditional audiences and underserved communities, create opportunities for emerging artists through the Terrence McNally Award and, finally, launch PTC’s current season, which includes two world premieres."
Deustch is ready to follow Cohen’s lead and move the company into its next chapter.
"As the new Chair of Philadelphia Theatre Company, I look forward to building upon the refreshed vision and energy Paige brought to the company,” said Deutsch. “In their second stint together, Paige and Emily Zeck created financial and operational stability and instituted cultural priorities that will resonate in our community and beyond. As PTC nears its 50th anniversary, we are poised to attract a top artistic leader to carry out the next chapter in our history. I’m really honored to lead the PTC board at such an exciting time."
Price will continue as an independent theatre producer, based in New York, where she and her husband, Broadway sound designer Nevin Steinberg, have resided full-time during the pandemic. Price looks forward to witnessing the projects the company has been developing come to fruition. The Company will hire an executive search firm to conduct a nationwide search for her replacement.
“I am proud of my five years here, working alongside Emily and the board,” said Price. “Now, PTC is ready for a new artistic leader to enact a bold artistic vision, and boasts an expert staff ready to execute that vision. My only wish is for the community and the city itself to step up and prioritize the care and feeding of arts and culture, which I believe will lead to a much-needed recovery in Philadelphia.”
In her five year tenure, Price helped set the theatre on a course for continued success, leading Philadelphia Theatre Company through a financial and organizational turnaround that included a one-season pause on producing plays. Prior to PTC, Price and Managing Director Emily Zeck enacted a similarly successful turnaround at Theatre Aspen, in Aspen, Colorado.
In Philadelphia, they deepened the theatre’s relationship with the local arts community, by navigating a sincere response to criticism and by participating in community-wide initiatives. Price participated in the Barrymore Oversight Committee, the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council, and as part of an arts and cultural leadership bi-weekly convening hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
Price added Jeffrey Page to the creative staff as Resident Artist, introduced Bebe Neuwirth to PTC audiences in her first return to the stage in nearly a decade, reestablished the Terrence McNally Award, commissioned the new musical The Tattooed Lady (set to premiere at PTC in the fall of 2022) and introduced two world premieres at PTC.
“Despite two interruptions in our work - one intentional, one completely unforeseen - we used the time to make substantial changes at PTC,” said Price. “During perhaps the most difficult year in my professional life as an artistic director, we steered the company through the unknown, with a plan to keep producing.”
Zeck, who remains in her role, will also continue as Treasurer of Theatre Philadelphia. Along with Cohen, leadership prioritized deepening support for the organization, adding 14 new board members and diversifying the board and staff in several areas. The team also expanded and codified the company’s policies around harassment, diversity, equity, inclusion and access. They led a successful pivot during COVID-19 by creating a digital 2020-21 season, with a notable production of The Wolves, and setting up this season’s return to live performances.
“I'm so proud of what Paige and I have accomplished at PTC, with the tireless dedication of the staff and David Cohen's and the board's leadership,” said Zeck. “Paige's ability to rise to any challenge has left PTC stronger than she found it. While we will sorely miss her, her fearlessness will inspire us as we turn this corner and begin the next adventure ahead with a new artistic leader, in conjunction with Gary [Deutsch]’s leadership of the board.”
The 2021-2022 season features two world premiere plays, a Tony Award-winning play with soaring gospel and R&B music, and a chance for audiences to reawaken their senses. The curtain rose in November with The Garbologists by Lindsay Joelle, a Co-World Premiere with the City Theatre in Pittsburgh. The season continues in the new year with Tarell Alvin McCraney’s NYC smash hit Choir Boy, set to run from February 18 to March 13, 2022. Choir Boy will be directed by PTC Resident Artist Jeffrey Page. The season concludes with the World Premiere of Madeline Sayet’s solo show, Where We Belong, from April 15 to May 8, 2022.
PTC requires that audience members present proof of vaccination and wear a mask while in the venue. PTC is also offering reduced capacity seating in its mezzanine for audience members who would like to take an additional precaution at the theatre. Subscriptions and single tickets for PTC’s 47th season arel on sale online at www.philatheatreco.org or by phone at 215-985-0420. All shows are performed at PTC’s home at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA.
Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) is a leading regional theatre company that produces, develops, and presents entertaining and imaginative contemporary theatre focused on the American experience.
Founded in 1974, Philadelphia Theatre Company has presented 201 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. In 2007, PTC was instrumental in expanding Philadelphia’s thriving cultural corridor by opening the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.