Deen Kogan founded Society Hill Playhouse with her husband Jay, in 1960. Together they created the first professionally operated theatre in Philadelphia to showcase the contemporary repertoire, both American and European, and this theatre has served as the model for the younger theatres which have prospered in Philadelphia since the late seventies.
During its forty-nine year history, Society Hill Playhouse has produced hundreds of area premieres on its Main Stage (from Brecht/Weill’s Threepenny Opera in 1962 to Jean Genet’s The Blacks in 1965 to Brian Friels’ Volunteers in 1978 and Freedom of the City in 1979 to Eduardo Manet’s The Day Mary Shelley Met Charlotte Bronte in 1992 to James Sherman’s Beau Jest in 1993 to Rachel Wyatt’s Crackpot in 1996). The Second Space Theatre (also known as The Red Room & Cabaret Theatre) opened in 1986 with William Gibson’s Handy Dandy and counts among its premieres the Manuel Puiz drama, The Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1987, Christopher Durang’s Laughing Wild in 1988, and the commissioned work, Lafferty’s Wake by Susan Turlish in 1996 which ended a five-year run in 2001. It now serves as home to BCKSEET Productions, an emerging theatre company, and provides space for many cabaret attractions.
I said to Jay, ‘Well, maybe we could get five weeks out of it, Kogan said of the production. And we got 10 years.
Jay Kogan died in 1993. Deen Kogan died in 2018.