Independence New Play Showcase
Arden Theatre Company has a strong commitment to developing and producing new work, and has brought almost 30 new works of American theatre to the stage – many of which have since been produced at theatres across the country.
Launched in 1999, the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase generates support for the creation and development of new works of American theatre. Through this program, we seek to stage at least one world premiere production each season and to conduct a series of workshops of new work that culminate in free public readings.
The following works have been developed through the Showcase:
- The Flea and the Professor
Jordan Harrison's new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's final fairy tale is the first children's theatre play commissioned by the Arden. The play was selected to be part of the Kennedy Center's prestigious New Visions/New Voices Festival in May 2010, a week-long festival for playwrights and theatres to stimulate and support the creation of new plays and musicals for young audiences and families.
In January 2009, the Arden conducted a four-day workshop of the musical we commissioned by Michael Hollinger and Michael Ogborn, currently titled Tulipomania. Mary Martello, Scott Greer, Liz Filios, and others helped us give voice to this touching and funny comedy about how dreams and desires can dangerously turn into obsession.
- Meticulous Gentlemen
In December 2008, the Arden conducted a one-week workshop of Dennis Raymond Smeal's new play, which weaves magical realism, knitting, and The Nutcracker to explore issues of love, family, and identity. Together with actors Ian Merrill Peakes and Russell Leib, director Terry Nolen worked to probe the play's intricate form and hot button issues.
- Something Intangible
Philadelphia playwright Bruce Graham's play crackles with comedy, hums with humanity, and is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award. Something Intangible received its world premiere in April 2009 as part of the Arden's 2008/09 season.
- My Name Is Asher Lev
Adapted by Aaron Posner based on the novel by Chaim Potok, My Name Is Asher Lev focuses on a young Hassidic artist torn between his observant Jewish community and his need to create. The play is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award, and received its world premiere in January 2009 as part of the Arden's 2008/09 season.
Playwright David Davalos examines reason versus faith in this entertaining and accessible new play. Wittenberg was workshopped at the Arden in February 2007 and received its world premiere during the Arden's 2008/09 20th Anniversary Season. The play was awarded a 2008 Barrymore Award nomination for Outstanding New Play, and the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwriting Award, and was featured in the National Theatre Conference in New York.
- Dave and Aaron Go To Work
Vaudevillians Dave Jadico and Aaron Cromie spent a week at the Arden in April 2006 developing a new script for this children's play, a wordless piece that combines physical comedy and puppetry, with puppets built by Cromie.
- Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree
This Bruce Graham play had a four-day workshop in December 2005 and a public reading in January 2006. The Arden presented the world premiere during the 2006/07 season.
- The Dinosaur Musical
A one-week workshop in October 2005 resulted in a total overhaul of the script and many new songs by creators Robert and Willie Reale (A Year With Frog and Toad). The production had its world premiere at the Arden in November 2005.
This drama follows a world-class string quartet pursuing honesty in their music and their lives, and is the sixth play that the Arden has developed with Philadelphia playwright Michael Hollinger. Opus received its world premiere at the Arden in January 2006 and has since been produced Off-Broadway and at theatres across the country. Opus took home three 2006 Barrymore Awards, including Outstanding New Play.
- A Murder, A Mystery and A Marriage
Adapted from the Mark Twain story of the same title, this new musical by Aaron Posner and James Sugg mixes comedy and romance with a healthy portion of suspense. The show received a workshop and public reading at the Arden in December 2004.
Making her first foray into adult drama, this dynamic new piece by Franklin's Apprentice playwright Laurie Brooks received a workshop and public reading in December 2004, directed by Jeff Church, artistic director of The Coterie Theatre in Kansas City, MO.
- Tooth and Claw
This drama examines the intersection between personal and biological evolution, and is the fifth play that the Arden has developed with Michael Hollinger. A February 2003 public reading was followed by a world premiere production during the Arden's 2003/04 season.
- Café Puttanesca
Set in a modest post-war café in Amsterdam, Café Puttanesca was the second musical that the Arden developed with Philadelphia playwright/composer Michael Ogborn. It received a workshop and public reading in November 2002, and opened the Arden's 2003/04 season in September 2003.
- Daedalus: A Fantasia of Leonardo Da Vinci
This sophisticated David Davalos comedy about the life and art of Leonardo da Vinci received a reading at the Arden in February 2002. Its world premiere production kicked off the Arden's 15th Anniversary Season in September 2002.
- Baby Case
This Michael Ogborn musical about the media circus surrounding the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case was workshopped at the Arden in June 2000, followed by a public reading in June 2001, followed by a world premiere production at the Arden in October 2001. The Arden's first world premiere musical, Baby Case won four 2002 Barrymore Awards: Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical, Outstanding Original Music (Michael Ogborn), Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical, and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical (Scott Greer).
- The Pavilion
This play by Minneapolis playwright Craig Wright (author of the Arden's 1997 world premiere Molly's Delicious) was workshopped at the Arden in Fall 1999, and received its world premiere production in September 2000 at City Theatre Company in Pittsburgh. The Arden staged the Philadelphia premiere in September 2001.
- Exit Wounds
This dark comedy by Los Angeles playwright Dennis Raymond Smeal (author of the Arden's 1992 world premiere Change Partners and Dance), was workshopped at the Arden in December 1999 and October 2000, and received its world premiere at the Arden in January 2001.
- Red Herring
This comedy, our fourth collaboration with playwright Michael Hollinger, received its world premiere production at the Arden in January 2000. Red Herring was awarded the 2000 Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play.
- The Snow Queen
The Arden commissioned this original adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen classic from the Pig Iron Theatre Company. We co-produced its world premiere with Pig Iron in December 1999 as part of the 1999/00 Arden Children's Theatre season.