Philadelphia Theatre Company Scores Knock-Out with Inventive Fundraiser Play Brawl

Carol Saline, Play Brawl 2019

Philadelphia Theatre Company is ready to pull a one-two punch with an inventive theatre benefit the company debuted last season. In the vein of Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, PTC’s Play Brawl returns on Friday, May 10th with local celebrities and stars living out their dreams on stage alongside professional actors. Instead of standard speeches and silent auctions, the competitors will act their hearts out while audience members vote for the winning performance through tax-free donations on a mobile bidding app. This year’s line-up includes a who’s who from the local media, business and non-profit community - including Marcus Allen (Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region), Marc Brownstein (The Brownstein Group), Ray Didinger (Author, Broadcaster, and Emmy Award-Winning Writer and Producer of NFL Films), Bill Golderer (United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey), Shaina Humphries (Fox 29), Carol Saline (Broadcaster, Author), Michael Smerconish (Host, SiriusXM/CNN), Joseph Watkins (White House Aide and MSNBC), David Yager (University of the Arts) and Joe Zarett (Zarett Rehab and Fitness). Play Brawl kicks-off at 6:00pm at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre (480 S. Broad Street) with a cocktail party, followed by the competition on stage. Tickets and sponsorships for the event start at $150 and are available online at or by calling 215-985-1400 x 117.

Ray Didinger, Play Brawl 2019

As PTC’s most important fundraising event, Play Brawl! features local celebrities and business leaders facing off on the stage of the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.  This friendly competition will raise funds to benefit Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 2019-2020 45th Anniversary season of new plays.  Contenders will team up with local professional actors to recreate iconic scenes from stage and screen. Viewers will recognize material from films like “Rocky,” “Remember the Titans” and “When Harry Met Sally.”

“Last year’s event got such a great response, I think, because it was so different from your usual ballroom-type fundraiser. A lot of people also appreciated that the event highlights the kind of work we do on stage. Even more fun is seeing people you know from other walks of life putting themselves on the line to get in front of a crowd.  It’s not quite a dunk tank, but it’s something that requires courage, or at least moxie,” said Philadelphia Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Paige Price.

She added, “We learned that we could not expect people to really memorize whole scenes, so we helped coach them and found creative places to put their scripts. Although this year’s Contenders have really stepped it up and Ray came in fully memorized.  He came to win! The other bonus was that our professional actors really had a good time working with and supporting our Contenders, helping them be the best they can be. The spirit of the event was very on point.”

The 2019 Play Brawl! Contenders are:

  • Marcus Allen, CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region

  • Marc Brownstein, President and CEO of The Brownstein Group

  • Ray Didinger, Author, Journalist, Broadcaster, and Emmy Award Winning Writer and Producer of NFL Films

  • Bill Golderer, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Philadelphia

  • Shaina Humphries, Anchor Fox 29 News

  • Carol Saline, Journalist, Broadcaster, Author, and PTC of Directors

  • Michael Smerconish, Sirius XM Radio Host, CNN Television Host, Columnist, Author

  • Joseph Watkins, White House Aide and MSNBC Political Commentator

  • David Yager, President and CEO of the University of the Arts

  • Joe Zarett, Founder Zarett Rehab and Fitness

Shauna Humphries, Fox 29, Play Brawl 2019

Brio Bonn, FKA Raheem Brock, a Contender from the inaugural Play Brawl! will co-host the event with Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Producing Artistic Director Paige Price. Local favorite Scott Greer will bring his professional acting chops to the event.

The evening begins with a cocktail and hors d’ oeuvres reception. Then audiences will move into the theatre for a live auction featuring international travel and exclusive Broadway access, followed by the lively onstage competition. Throughout the competition, audiences can support their favorite competitors and scenes by donating through a mobile giving platform.  The Contestant with the most tax-deductible votes will then be declared the 2019 Play Brawl Champion. The Play Brawl Trophy will be presented to the winner by 2018 Play Brawl Champ and PTC Board Chair David L. Cohen. Finally, the audience will celebrate with an after-party.

Marcus Allen, Play Brawl 2019

The evening will also feature a special tribute to Janet and Alan Widra for their longstanding and generous support and friendship to PTC.

“We sought people that had a certain status in the city, and who were also willing to play along and be game to get on stage.  Many of the Contenders are also helping us fundraise, by bringing friends or by actually having their companies act as sponsors of the event.  We also wanted to make sure we had people from different backgrounds and who had personalities that would be entertaining,” said Price.

She finished, “Fundraising is hard.  So if we can make it fun, we should endeavor to do that.  I’m looking forward to a fun night, but we need it to be fruitful too.  So bring your “A” game!”

Play Brawl! is supported by Comcast NBCUniversal, Rhonda & David L. Cohen, Ballard Spahr, LLP, Fox Rothschild, LLP, Cozen O’Connor, PNC, MIS Capital LLC, Tony La Russa, and Janet & Alan Widra.


Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) is a leading regional theater company that produces, develops, and presents entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience. PTC balances its Philadelphia roots with a national point of view that combines a taste for adventure with a dedication to new American plays and musicals.

Founded in 1974, PTC has presented 140 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. PTC has received more than 180 nominations and 53 awards from the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. In 2007, PTC was instrumental in expanding Philadelphia’s thriving cultural corridor by opening the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.

PTC’s 2018-2019 season is sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, Independence Blue Cross, and Center City Film & Video.