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The Philly Fan

By Bruce Graham

Directed by Joe Canuso

October 25 - November 20, 2011

Steinbright Stage

In this one-man tour de force, Tom McCarthy takes audiences on a journey through Philadelphia’s sports history of the last fifty years. It’s a tell-it-like-it-is romp through the eyes of a hardcore sports fan who is used to seeing “sure thing” victories turn into “oh-my-God-they-blew-it” defeats.

Featuring the voices of Joe Conklin.

Best appreciated by ages 12 and up. This production contains adult language.




Q&A Session With Bruce Graham and Tom McCarthy
There will be a Q&A session with The Philly Fan playwright Bruce Graham and actor Tom McCarthy after the Thursday, November 3rd and 10th 7:30pm performances. On November 10th, Bruce and Tom will be joined by sports journalist Michael Bradley, of 97.5 The Fanatic and phillymag.com.

The Fan: Tom McCarthy* Director: Joe Canuso
Assistant Director: Matt Pfeiffer
Production Manager: Charles T. Brastow*
Lighting Designer: John Hoey
Sound & Video Designer: Jorge Cousineau
Production Stage Manager: Patricia G. Sabato*


* Member, Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers.

Sitting in the stands at Citizen’s Bank Park on Saturday, September 17th, the tension was palpable. Would the Phillies show St. Louis who’s boss and clinch the National League East or would the champagne stay on ice another night? Fans were on their feet; this is what they live for. That night did end in a shower of champagne, celebration, and joy, but it isn’t always that way. Sometimes being a fan, particularly a Philadelphia fan, can be a roller coaster ride of hope, building excitement, and despair. We asked our resident company of actors and our staff what being a fan means to them.

Etymologists diverge on whether the word "fan" comes from fanatic - original meaning something like "nutcase, inspired by a god" or fancy - derived from fantasy. My experience is that the passionate devotion to something which leads to being dubbed a fan probably lies somewhere between. – Peter DeLaurier, Member of the Resident Company

Being a fan means that you have your team’s back. That you are in it to win it, there to lend your voice in support, whether screaming in the crowd or on your couch. – Sara Waxman, Resident Teaching Artist

Being a fan of say music or sports means you keep going back for more, listening to that song or piece over and over again, learning more about that team, getting more out of it every time you do. Delving into the minutiae, obsessing over lyrics/stats/personal back stories. Waiting for the next move by that artist/team. – Jane Moss, Director of Development

To me, being a fan means being emotionally invested in the athletes and wanting to know more about their daily experiences playing the game. I love baseball, and growing up near Detroit, I worshipped the Tigers; I fully expected to marry Steve Kemp or Aurelio Rodriguez, never mind the 20-year age gap. Now as an adult transplant to the East Coast, I follow the Phillies, and attend to Cliff Lee's health, Carlos Ruiz's decisions on the field, Shane Victorino's acrobatics in the outfield, as if I knew them personally. I celebrate their successes and grimace over their failures as if they were my own; puzzle through their struggles during each game as if I were the one fielding the bad-hop grounder or being caught stealing a bag. – Mary Elizabeth Scallen, Member of the Resident Company

Philadelphia Eagles Fan. Unwavering commitment and loyalty to the fact that Dallas sucks. – Pete Pryor, Associate Artistic Director

To me, regardless of the arena, there are two types of fans. Team fans show devotion to the team—win or lose, triumph or agony. They challenge the ref’s calls or the critic’s less-than-glorifying appraisal. They know the stats, the history, and can enumerate every reason (valid or not) why their team is the best. And then there are the game fans. These folks revel in watching a well-played game, regardless of teams (though they may have a favorite). They see the flaws in a poorly made call and yet respect the referee, admire virtue—even in their rivals. They may not always know the finer details, but appreciate the composition as a whole. One espouses zeal, the other expresses zest; both are fans. – Hannah Daniel, Dramaturgy/Education Fellow

Being a fan is about loyalty. Whether your team is top of the league or bottom of the heap, you cheer them on to your dying breath and defend them when anyone talks smack. Being a fan means carrying hope--hope that the combination of talent, hard work, and courageous hearts will prevail. In that moment of cheering an impossible play or more points on the board, you and everyone around you are united in a common endeavor. Strangers become allies and fellow warriors. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose. - Wendy Bable, Producer of Arts Discovery Programs

Fans are quick to forget and ready to forgive. Eager to exchange reason for hope. They are the only ones who have the right to criticize.... – Graham Smith, Member of the Resident Company

To me, being a true fan means never giving up on your team. It is all about undying devotion. When you root for a team, the phrase “the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat” is how you live during the season. You have to be there when they win, but also when they lose. It’s much like being a part of a family. And when your team is winning, there is nothing better than being in a crowd of 45,000 people, all on their feet, yelling and waving rally towels, cheering for their team. – Heather Dibble, Assistant to the Directors

Tweet #PhillyFan and share what it means to YOU to be a fan.

Video courtesy of Theatre Exile.

Q & A With Bruce Graham and Tom McCarthy

There will be a Q & A session with The Philly Fan playwright Bruce Graham and actor Tom McCarthy after the Thursday, November 3rd and 10th 7:30pm performances. On November 10th, Bruce and Tom will be joined by sports journalist Michael Bradley, of 97.5 The Fanatic and phillymag.com.