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Written by James Ijames
Directed by Brett Ashley Robinson
April 27, 2023 — May 20, 2023

Opening Night: May 3, 2023

Theatre Exile, 1340 S. 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Luella is alone – haunted by the ghost of her son. Joshua is alone – kicked out of his house by his brother. One winter night these two people collide. Luella is looking for redemption; Joshua is looking for family. By the next morning, these two lonely souls are meshed together into an American Family in its truest sense. A world premiere by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright James Ijames, Abandon is sometimes violent, sometimes healing with a gossamer veil that separates the worlds of the living and the dead, and shame and acceptance.

A World Premiere!

Sponsored by Susan and Edward Hoffman

Show Dates & Times


THU, April 27, 7PM- $10
FRI, April 28, 8PM- $20
SAT, April 29, 8PM- $20 
SUN, April 30, 3PM- $20 
TUE, May 2, 7PM- $20
WED, May 3, 7PM- Sold Out
THU, May 4, 7PM- $30
FRI, May 5, 8PM- $35
SAT, May 6, 8PM- $35
SUN, May 7, 3PM* – $35 
WED, May 10, 7PM- $30
THU, May 11, 7PM*– $30 
FRI, May 12, 8PM- $35
SAT, May 13, 8PM- $35
SUN, May 14, 3PM- $35
MON, May 15, 7PM- $20
WED, May 17, 7PM- $30
THU, May 18, 12PM- $20
THU, May 18, 7PM- $30

FRI, May 19, 8PM- $35
SAT, May 20, 8PM- $35

Melanye Finister* (Luella)

Brenson Thomas* (Gabriella)

James Ijames (Playwright) is a playwright, director and educator. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright’s Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden. 

James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ….Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise and a 2020 Steinberg Prize.

James is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and a co-artistic of the Wilma Theater. He resides in South Philadelphia.


Melody Wong – Stage Manager

Janet Embree – Production Manager