The highs and lows of a Philly Fan

Photo by James Kern Photography
Photo by James Kern Photography

As a Philadelphia sports fan, Bruce Graham has experienced the highs and the lows.

The South Philly playwright is now hoping to share his passion with local theater audiences as he puts a new spin on his wildly popular The Philly Fan, which originally premiered at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival as a self-production by Graham, director Joe Canuso and co-developer Tom McCarthy. 

The original run received high praise during successful runs at South Philly’s Theatre Exile, as well as Arden Theatre Company, People’s Light, Act II, Montgomery Theatre, Media Theater and Harrah’s Casino and Dante Hall in Atlantic City.

The updated version of the Philly Fan will actually feature Graham himself acting out scenes for the first time. Audiences will be able to live through the incredible highs and dramatic lows that Graham experienced in his lifetime while watching the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and 76ers with the ultimate goal of witnessing championships in Philadelphia.

“It was a lot of fun to revisit it as an author,” Graham said. “Updating it, new jokes, new stories. Of course, the audience knows how it ends: spoiler alert, we won a Super Bowl.”

Graham said it was a little different this time around taking orders on stage instead of giving them.

“Memorizing it as an actor, on the other hand, is a royal pain,” Graham said. “I really want to kill the playwright.”

Graham’s new version of The Philly Fan will be performed at the Hedgerow Theatre at 64 Rose Valley Road in Media. Opening night is Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. and the show runs through Oct. 15. Tickets are available online at for $20-$35.

The show promises to pack the same punch as the original with some updated material to keep audiences entertained. At select shows, Hedgerow will be offering pre-game treats for the “fans.” Just like at the ballpark, grab a beverage at Tailgate Thursdays or have a bite on Dollar Dog nights.

“Revisiting The Philly Fan after all these years is going to be a wild ride,” said Canuso. “Even though Philly sports teams have had some success in the last few years our fans are never happy. And we always believe the next disaster is just around the corner. This play revels in all of that angst. It will also be fun to direct Graham as an actor, after directing so many of his plays in the past.”

The new rendition of The Philly Fan is just the latest line on an impressive resume that includes plays Burkie, Early One Evening at the Rainbow Bar & Grille, Moon Over the Brewery, Minor Demons, Belmont Avenue Social Club, According to Goldman, Desperate Affection, Stella and Lou, Coyote on a Fence, The Champagne Charlie Stakes, Funnyman, The Craftsman, North of the Boulevard, Rizzo and Sanctions. 

Graham has won consecutive Barrymore Awards for Best New Play (Something Intangible, Any Given Monday), the Joseph Jefferson Award (The Outgoing Tide) and a Jeff nomination for White Guy on the Bus. 

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Graham, a multiple Barrymore award-winner, to perform in his highly entertaining, heartfelt work on the Hedgerow stage and to reunite this all-star artistic team,” said Hedgerow’s executive artistic director, Marcie Bramucci.