It’s hard to imagine someone like David Cohen being afraid of anything, but the Comcast powerhouse has admitted that he’s a little bit nervous about Friday night. For the first time in his life, he’s performing on stage at Philadelphia Theatre Company’s first annual Play Brawl.
The brainchild of Paige Price, producing artistic director at PTC, Play Brawl will feature Philadelphia business leaders acting out famous scenes from stage and screen, all in the name of raising funds for the organization.
“I am so petrified by this entire experience, that I’m not sure practicing is a solution to the problem,” he jokes. “Good actors are capable of putting on a performance that is outside of their comfort zone. This is certainly outside of my comfort zone, so we’ll see how I do.”
Cohen will be tackling Jack Nicholson’s role from the film, “A Few Good Men,” along with PTC Board Member Glenn Gundersen and local actor, Steve Pacek.
“I didn’t choose the scene. I’ve delivered myself into the hands of Paige Price,” he says. “It shows how much confidence I have in her.”
Other business leaders performing include John Fry, President of Drexel University; Judith M. von Seldeneck, Founder and Chairman, Diversified Search and Molly D. Shepard, MS, MSM, President & CEO, The Leader’s Edge/Leaders By Design.
Play Brawl attendees will enjoy a cocktail reception before the performances. Then they will make their way to the theatre where they can vote for their favorite act by making tax-free donations through a mobile bidding app. It’s kind of like “So You Think You Can Dance,” but with acting.
Despite his pre-show jitters, Cohen thinks the idea is a welcome change from stuffy galas with unending dinners.
“The whole concept is to the credit of Paige. Instead of doing your normal, somewhat boring gala that every nonprofit does, here is a concept for a gala that plays on the strength of what PTC is about — the importance of acting,” he says.
Cohen can’t stress enough how important it is for businesses to support the arts in Philadelphia, and not just the larger cultural organizations.
“Business leaders need to step up and support these arts and cultural organizations, or we’ll lose them,” he says. “I’m hoping that my role as a leader for PTC will help provide business community leadership for other smaller arts and cultural establishments in town. In many ways, they’re the lifeblood of the arts in Philadelphia.”
If you go:
Friday, April 6
6 p.m., $150 +
Suzanne Roberts Theatre
480 S. Broad St.