Frank Warren wants to hear your secret.
Ten years ago, Warren, a Maryland native, offered up his mailbox as a home for people’s secrets. He began receiving letters detailing these secrets, which he shared anonymously at PostSecret.com.
The project soon became a success, with people logging on to the website to see funny, sad, sexual, terrifying and controversial secrets from strangers. PostSecret has since expanded into six books, one live event and now “PostSecret: The Show,” coming to the Kimmel Center, March 18 and 19.
This isn’t the first time Frank Warren has been in Philadelphia. Six years ago, Warren came to Temple’s campus during Homecoming Week for the original PostSecret show, “PostSecret Live.” Warren, however, is excited to return to the city.
“Well, I could lie and say Philadelphia has the best secrets in the world,” he said. “I used to live in Maryland and I have visited Philadelphia and it is for sure a great city. So we wanted to bring the show there to share.”
The message Warren hopes college students take away from “PostSecret” is simple—“you are not alone.”
Warren and his team will be setting the stage at the Perelman Theater for two days with two 8 p.m. shows and a 2 p.m. matinee. “PostSecret: The Show” is a theatrical performance with three actors and a musician who act out the secrets that have been sent to Warren over the years.
Before the show, readers of PostSecret only got the postcard or whatever medium the secret was written on. The show tells the stories behind those secrets as acted out.
“We bring to life some of the romantic and painful and hopeful and tragic and hidden acts of kindness and stories behind the secrets,” Warren said.
The show includes old favorites from the website in addition to new and unseen secrets, like Warren’s personal favorite of a picture of Goofy at Disneyland with text that reads “I got high at Disneyland and Goofy was the only one who knew.”
The show includes the tradition of writing a secret on a postcard to be shared at the end of the show, something reminiscent of “PostSecret Live.” Also carried over from “PostSecret Live” is the playing of voicemails that have been left and sent to Warren over the years.
Fran Egler, who handles the booking of co-promotions and Broadway programming at the Kimmel Center, is excited to see a different type of show come to the Kimmel.
“What’s great about this show is that it’s gonna be different, there’s the structure to what PostSecret is but there’s gonna be different stories and different participants every single night, so it’s getting that kind of unexpected and unanticipated participation, and it’s really just gonna be improvisation in that you’re never going to see the same show twice,” Egler said.
Warren hopes the impact of “PostSecret Live” remains the same with “PostSecret: The Show.”
“I think with both the ‘PostSecret Live’ event and ‘PostSecret: The Show,’ what we try and do is share secrets in a way that shows how they have transformed lives and then when people leave that space their life will be a little changed too,” he said. “Maybe on the drive home, they’ll tell their boyfriend or spouse a secret or they’ll email their mother or son a secret and maybe start this conversation of revelation that can change a life.”
At the same time, Warren remembers the feeling of loneliness that came with being a college student. He remembers struggling with his identity and who he was and what he wanted to do. He said he regrets keeping so many secrets.
“I kept too many things secrets that later in life I realized I should have been talking about,” he said.” Not only would that have lightened the burden that I felt day to day as a student, but it would have made me realize that the secrets I was keeping— that I thought made me different or alone—were actually the experiences I could have shared with other people to feel more connected.”
Kathryn Stellato can be reached at email@example.com.