Philadelphia Premiere of Jen Silverman's The Roommate

1812 Productions is pleased to present the Philadelphia Premiere of Jen Silverman's acclaimed dark comedy The Roommate. Directed by Harriet Power, The Roommate stars renowned Philadelphia performers Grace Gonglewski and Jennifer Childs. Longtime friends and artistic collaborators, Gonglewski and Childs have been fixtures on Philadelphia stages for over 20 years, The Roommate will be their first appearance onstage together since 2006. The Roommate will play September 26 thru October 20, 2019. Opening Night will be Wednesday, October 2nd at 7:00pm. Tickets and information are available at www.1812productions.org or at 215-592-9560.

The Roommate is the story of Sharon and Robyn, two women in their mid-fifties, sharing a house in Iowa City. Sharon, played by Childs, is recently divorced and, facing an empty nest, takes in a roommate to help make ends meet. Robyn, played by Gonglewski, is on the run from a wild past—some of which may just show up on Sharon's doorstep. Part Odd Couple, part Breaking Bad,The Roommate is a crafty and funny dive into what it takes to reroute your life from the point of view of two women who have had enough of being set aside.

The Roommate was originally produced at The Humana Theatre Festival in 2015 and has gone on to great commercial and critical success, playing stages across the country. Jen Silverman, a bold new voice in American theatre says of writing The Roommate, "When I go to the theatre, I rarely see any roles for women of that age range that are not supporting roles. When I do see older women onstage, or women in their 50s or 60s onstage, those women are generally just there; the play’s actually about younger people but those women are there to, you know, have a couple of jokes or have a couple of jokes made about them. So I really wanted to write a play for badass women in their 50s... there is a kind of energy, a kind of concentration that happens when they are the two players on that stage and they have all that agency and all that power."

Harriet Power, who has previously directed 1812 Productions' world premiere shows Why I'm Scared of Dance and I Will Not Go Gently, both one-woman solo comedies created by Jennifer Childs, says of joining the creative team, "I’m thrilled to work with this Performer-and-Designer Dream Team, and to share this story of how oil-and-water strangers can wake each other up in ways both dangerous and delightful. And, in our current cultural moment, it feels both poignant and powerful to celebrate an unlikely (and ultimately important) friendship between really, really different people."

The Roommate welcomes Scenic Designer Lance Kniskern, Sound Designer Christopher Colucci (2019 Barrymore Award nominee), and Lighting Designer Lily Fossner. Flora Vassar joins the production as Properties Designer with costumes designed by Marla Jurglanis.

When asked about the themes of unexpected change or the mid-life crises that unfold throughout The Roommate, Silverman said, “I’m really interested in this question of how do you transform and can we transform and what does it take to become the thing that we want to become and can we? Can we ever become something other than what we are? And how do people make us different even without our realizing it?” She continues, “This play was a very specific lens on that question because it’s happening in the mid-50s for this woman. But the drive to be different, the drive to transform and the hunger that happens when she realizes that she can be living an entirely different life than the one she is living. That feels very relatable to me even if I’m not yet in my mid-50s.”

The Philadelphia Premiere of The Roommate will be performed at at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place in Center City Philadelphia. Opening Night will be Wednesday, October 2nd at 7:00pm. Tickets range from $28-$46 and can be found at www.1812productions.org or 215-592-9560.

The Roommate is part of the Kim & David Adler Series.

Grace Gonglewski and Jennifer Childs in Jen Silverman’s  The Roommate . Photos by Mark Garvin.

Grace Gonglewski and Jennifer Childs in Jen Silverman’s The Roommate. Photos by Mark Garvin.