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Playwright debuts first Philly show

An award-winning local playwright will make his Philly theater debut in a new show at the Drake this week. 

Dan Kitrosser now calls South Philadelphia home after attending school and working in New York City. His new offering, Hannah + the Healing Stone, will take the stage on Aug. 18 and will run through Aug. 28 at the Drake at 302 S. Hicks St.

The play is set in Jenkintown and is described as “a guy who works at Marvin’s Aquarium has anger issues while the Woman who Lives in the Yellow House can’t see through the clutter she’s amassed. A screenwriting duo who haven’t seen each other in ten years attract and repel each other like magnets in a diner and the Chinese restaurant counter girl has a bad attitude and a hopeless crush. And then there’s Hannah. Hannah seems to be the only one who is hell bent on getting out of her hometown and onto something bigger, but Jenkintown has ideas of its own.”

It’s a 90-minute wild, trippy ride that Kitrosser says he was happy to debut in his new hometown.

“I’m ecstatic that Philly will have the world premiere production of Hannah + The Healing Stone,” Kitrosser said. “I started writing this play out of frustration during the pandemic. Frustration of not being able to connect with others as well as just being able to process what was happening to us as a people – as a culture. What would happen if we were all able to take that heaviness, that anger, that guilt, that pressure we were all under and collectively release it? Would we be kinder to each other? Would we be able to remember who we were before?” 

Hannah + The Healing Stone encourages audience members to let go and feel peace among the uncertainty of what’s ahead. Tickets are available now, through Eventbrite at https://bit.ly/haths22.

“This is a beautifully simple story told in a most unusual way,” said director Kyle Metzger. “Dan uses magical realism and humor to craft these eclectic characters that really sparked my imagination. I’ve assembled a cast with loads of devising experience and a highly creative design team to make unforgettable magic onstage for our audiences. Live video, puppetry and theater magic combine to make something really special that you won’t want to miss.”

Kitrosser has written several successful screenplays including “We the Animals,” which premiered at Sundance Film Festival, winning the NEXT: Innovator Award, Best Narrative at OutFest and was nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards and a GLAAD Award. 

His plays also include Tar Baby (First Fringe Award, Edinburgh Fringe and an Amnesty International Citation for Excellence), Dead Special Crabs and The Mumblings, which was optioned for TV series by Fox.

He is currently the executive producer for a forthcoming TV show for EntertainmentONE and his screen adaptation of Edouard Louis’ novel History of Violence for Flute Films is expected to go into production in the fall. He is currently working with iHeartRadio and The Documentary Group on Svetlana! Svetlana!, a 10-episode podcast about Josef Stalin’s daughter, which will begin airing in October.

For long stretches of the 2000s, Kitrosser was the resident storyteller for Central Park and Bryant Park in New York and he is the artistic director of Writopia Lab’s Worldwide Plays Festival, a festival of plays written by young playwrights from all over the world, now in its 15th year. He is now settled in South Philly with his husband Jordan Siegal, who is in the new play. The timing seemed perfect for a Philadelphia debut.

“What better place for us to collectively release than right here, right now and right in this city I get to call home,” Kitrosser said.

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