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2006/07 Press Releases
Arden Theatre Company Announces 2006/07 Season
Must-see 19th season includes five mainstage shows and two children's productions

July 21, 2006

Philadelphia, PA - Arden Theatre Company is proud to announce the 2006/07 season of five mainstage and two Arden Children's Theatre productions. The 2006/07 season features ALL PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE plays including a world premiere by Philadelphia playwright Bruce Graham, an acclaimed musical by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner, two extraordinary adaptations of classic novels, and the return of Chicago's celebrated Lookingglass Theatre Company to the Arden stage. Plus, two spectacular Arden Children's Theatre productions are sure to delight kids and grown-ups alike.

This season's unforgettable stories explore friendship, faith, love, race, and individuality and travel from New Hampshire to Louisiana, Russia to Spain. The Arden's must-see 19th season promises to arouse, provoke, illuminate and inspire our audiences as we continue our mission of bringing to life the greatest stories by the greatest storytellers of all time. Join us at our award-winning theatre in the heart of vibrant, historic Old City Philadelphia and you'll understand why Arden Theatre Company has earned six Philadelphia Magazine "Best of Philly" Awards, four "Theatre Company of the Year" citations from The Philadelphia Inquirer and four Philadelphia City Paper Reader's Choice Awards.

2006/07 MAINSTAGE SEASON

A Prayer for Owen Meany
PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE
Sep 14 - Oct 15
A Novel by John Irving
Adapted by Simon Bent
Directed by Terrence J. Nolen
On the Haas Stage
The acclaimed adaptation of John Irving's beloved novel

Arden Theatre Company will kick off the 2006/07 season with the Philadelphia premiere of A Prayer for Owen Meany, adapted from the beloved, bestselling novel by celebrated author John Irving (The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules). Owen Meany is an unusually small child with a striking voice who considers himself an instrument of God. When he accidentally kills his friend's mother in 1950s New Hampshire, the two boys are forever linked as they search for truth in a provocative dark comedy of friendship, faith and destiny. Published in 1989, the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany became an international phenomenon among readers and critics, hailed by Time as "vintage Irving... a boisterous cast, a spirited story" and "roomy, intelligent, exhilarating... Dickensian in scope" by the Los Angeles Times Book Review. After the play's premiere at the Royal National Theatre in London, the Evening Standard raved: "Simon Bent's adaptation is a triumph of elegant compression..[a] beautiful recreation for the stage of John Irving's epic American novel." The Arden's production features some of Philadelphia's most distinguished actors, including Ian Merrill Peakes, Scott Greer, Mary Martello, Anthony Lawton, Paul L. Nolan, Karen Peakes, Catharine K. Slusar and Maureen Torsney-Weir. Doug Hara - seen on Broadway in "The Boys of Winter" and "Metamorphoses" - will bring to life the indelible character of Owen Meany. The show is directed by Arden Theatre Company's Producing Artistic Director and co-founder, Terrence J. Nolen.

Crime and Punishment
PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE
Oct 12 - Dec 3
By Fyodor Dostoevsky
Adapted by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus
Directed by Aaron Posner
On the Arcadia Stage
A taut, bracing tale of murder and redemption

Why are we endlessly fascinated by the dark recesses of the human soul? Before Law & Order, there was Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky's classic, timeless masterpiece of motive and murder, perhaps the greatest and most insightful crime story ever written. This 90-minute electrifying adaptation will keep you on the edge of your seat! The play's premiere earned the prestigious Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Adaptation in 2002/2003 and was acclaimed by the Chicago Sun-Times as "stunningly lean, taut and emotionally searing." On the Arden's intimate Arcadia Stage, enter the tortured world of Raskolnikov, one of the most fascinating figures in all of literature. What has he done? Why has he done it? And of what are any of us capable? These haunting questions are intricately woven into Arden Theatre Company's stark, bracing and stunningly theatrical production, directed by Arden Theatre Company's award-winning Resident Director and co-founder, Aaron Posner. Three actors portray all the major roles throughout this psychological, philosophical, and spiritual whodunit, taking the audience on a heart-racing journey into the mind of a criminal.

Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree
WORLD PREMIERE
Jan 11 - Mar 4
By Bruce Graham
Directed by James J. Christy
On the Arcadia Stage
The poignant world premiere by Philadelphia playwright Bruce Graham, featuring actress Jennifer Childs

Arden Theatre Company will present the world premiere of Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree by celebrated Philadelphia playwright Bruce Graham (Coyote on a Fence, Belmont Avenue Social Club, The Philly Fan). College sweethearts Dex and Julie meet 25 years later as he arrives to collect an award from their Pennsylvania alma mater. Michael "Dex" Dexter is a hotshot New York lawyer infamous for defending superstars and deviants. Dr. Julie Chernitsky is a recently widowed English professor with a biting sense of humor. Memories of their romance are rich, and things heat up fast. Filled with snappy dialogue and surprising twists, this bittersweet, two-actor tour-de-force is a must-see for everyone who has fantasized about a different outcome with a former love. Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree teams Bruce Graham with two of Philadelphia's brightest theatre stars: actress Jennifer Childs, for whom he scripted the role of Julie, and director James J. Christy, who helmed nine other Graham plays and received the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Graham's internationally-produced play Coyote on a Fence, declared as "provocative theater that stirs the mind" by The New York Times, had its East Coast premiere at the Arden. Graham has also authored Hollywood feature films (Steal This Movie, Anastasia, Dunston Checks In) and recently won the grand prize of the 2006 "Set in Philadelphia" Screenwriting Competition presented by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. A resident of Media, Pa., he teaches theatre and film at University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree was developed through the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase and will be featured in the Philadelphia New Play Festival: Where Theatre Begins, a program of the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, February 8 - 18, 2007.

Caroline, or Change
PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE
Mar 8 - Apr 8
Book and Lyrics by Tony Kushner
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Directed by Terrence J. Nolen
On the Haas stage
The extraordinary musical from Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Angels in America

Race, rage and civil rights are at the heart of this acclaimed, deeply personal story by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America). Drawn from Kushner's own Louisiana childhood, Caroline, or Change centers on Caroline Thibodeaux, a divorced, middle-aged African-American maid who works for a Jewish family in the suburban enclave of Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1963. She finds herself in the middle of a family conflict when eight-year-old Noah Gellman's stepmother allows Caroline to keep any money she finds in the child's pockets while doing the laundry. The show's title references the poignant double meaning of the spare change Noah leaves behind and the vast social changes occurring in 1960s America. Originally commissioned as an opera, Caroline, or Change features a virtuosic, sung-through score by Jeanine Tesori, composer of Thoroughly Modern Millie and Violet - which had its Philadelphia premiere at Arden Theatre Company in 1999. Blending blues, gospel, klezmer and traditional Jewish melodies, Tesori's music provides the breathtaking medium for Kushner's provocative and powerful tale. Caroline, or Change opened on Broadway in May 2004 and was applauded by The New York Times as "an extraordinary new musical." The show's remarkably prescient opening lyrics ("Nothing ever happen under ground /in Louisiana /cause they ain't no under ground /in Louisiana. /There is only /under water") immediately call for our attention in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Arden Theatre Company will collaborate with African American and Jewish organizations to host a series of community-building events to inspire meaningful discussion of the issues raised by the musical. Caroline, or Change was made possible in part by a grant from the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative, a program of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts.

The Lookingglass Theatre production of Lookingglass Alice
PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE
May 10 - Jun 10
By Lewis Carroll
Adapted and Directed by David Catlin
On the Haas Stage
Dazzling, daring theatricality and astonishing acrobatics inspired by the tales of Lewis Carroll

Alice falls, floats, flies, and defies gravity - and the rules of logic - on her journey through the looking glass. Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Company returns to the Arden with Lookingglass Alice, the acclaimed smash called "nothing short of brilliant" in the Chicago Sun-Times. Audiences of all ages will be mesmerized by Lookingglass' signature style of visual storytelling filled with daring theatricality and astonishing acrobatics. Combining witty word play, madcap mischief and fantastical flights of aerial fancy, Lewis Carroll's spectacularly surreal classics (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass) are brought vividly to life in this wildly imaginative production reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil. The entire theater becomes Alice's stage as she navigates a chessboard of "curioser and curioser" characters - a juggling Mad Hatter, acrobatic hedgehogs, a unicycle-riding White Knight and a host of others - who appear from above, below and everywhere in between. The show reunites the entire original cast, who played to sold-out audiences when the show debuted in February 2005 as part of Lookingglass Theatre Company's regular season. Time Out Chicago named Lookingglass Alice one of the top 10 productions of 2005, and the Chicago Tribune accurately predicted "it will be very popular with progressive family audiences, and deservedly so." Lookingglass subsequently remounted the production that summer and extended it twice more. Founded in 1988 at the same time as Arden Theatre Company, Lookingglass Theatre Company was started by college friends (including ensemble member David Schwimmer of TV's Friends) of the Arden's co-founders, Terrence J. Nolen and Aaron Posner, from their years at Northwestern University. Says Nolen, "Our companies have a shared devotion to storytelling, and Lookingglass brings to their work a physical artistry that is astounding. There are so many take-your-breath-away moments." Arden Theatre Company last presented Lookingglass Theatre Company's Hard Times, a thrilling adaptation of the Charles Dickens' classic, which drew audience and critical raves during Arden's 2003/2004 season. Likewise, Lookingglass Alice's fantastical journey will enliven your imagination and leave you looking at the world in a whole new way.

2006/07 ARDEN CHILDREN'S THEATRE SEASON

The BFG (Big Friendly Giant)
PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE
Nov 29 - Jan 21
By Roald Dahl
Adapted by David Wood
Directed by Whit MacLaughlin
On the Haas Stage
Journey with Sophie into Giant Country in Roald Dahl's beloved children's story

From the award-winning author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach) comes the beloved tale of The BFG, the Big Friendly Giant! Join the young orphan Sophie and the 24-foot Big Friendly Giant on their magical journey from Giant Country to Buckingham Palace, as they team up to save the children of England from menacing, decidedly unfriendly giants. A smash on London's West End and at theatres across the United States, The BFG was declared "boisterously enjoyable" by Britain's The Guardian. The BFG is full of zany, mixed-up language, fantastical dreamscapes, and eye-popping puppets created by acclaimed Philadelphia puppeteer Aaron Cromie. Starring as the BFG is Barrymore Award-winning actor Peter Pryor, 1812 Productions co-founder and a star of the Philadelphia stage last seen in Arden's Daedalus. Don't miss this delightfully imaginative production, recommended for children ages 5 and up.

Ferdinand the Bull
PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE
April 11 - May 13
Based on The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson
Adaptation and lyrics by Karen Zacarias
Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma
On the Arcadia Stage
A hilarious musical romp about the bull who loves flowers

A classic tale of individuality set in 1930s Spain, Ferdinand the Bull is a hilarious, Flamenco-flavored family musical about a bull who doesn't want to fight and butt heads like all the other bulls: he just wants to take care of his beloved flowers. Young Duquito Danilo dreams of being a dancer, while his father - the belligerent Duque Dodó - plans to make Danilo a great Spanish bullfighter. When the Duque comes looking for the toughest toro for his son's bullfight in Madrid, he mistakenly picks Ferdinand. This fun, imaginative adaptation highlights messages of non-violence and uniqueness. Based on the classic book The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson (later made into an Academy Award-winning Disney cartoon), Ferdinand the Bull is an exuberant romp about being yourself and refusing to be bullied into acting like someone you're not. Kids and adults will love the clever wordplay, comical characters and lively music. Ferdinand the Bull, winner of the Tenth Annual Actors' Playhouse's National Children's Theatre Festival, was created by the nationally-acclaimed team of playwright Karen Zacarias and composer Deborah Wicks La Puma. Recommended for children ages 5 and up.

SPECIAL PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS

For the 2006/07 season, the following special performances and events are scheduled:

  • Pay What You Can performances take place during each production's final dress rehearsal and offer patrons the opportunity to enjoy a show before it premieres to the general public and the press. The performance is open on a "pay-what-you-can" basis, with all ticket proceeds collected at the door benefiting the following organizations:

    » A Prayer for Owen Meany: Greater Philadelphia Cares, Wednesday, September 13, 2006
    » Crime and Punishment: Free Library of Philadelphia, Wednesday, October 11, 2006
    » Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree: MANNA, Wednesday, January 10, 2007
    » Caroline, or Change: Operation Understanding, Wednesday, March 7, 2007
    » Lookingglass Alice: Rosenbach Museum & Library, Wednesday, May 9, 2007

  • On the Friday preview performance of each production, Arden Theatre Company will present the Young Professionals Circle co-hosted with Social Philly. The Young Professionals Circle is a chance to meet and mingle with other Philadelphia professionals at a festive, catered pre-show party at 6:30 p.m. at Arden Theatre Company, followed by the 8 p.m. performance, all for a special YPC ticket price of $35. Social Philly (www.socialphilly.com) is Philadelphia's Social Event Resource for people in their 20's and 30's.

    » A Prayer for Owen Meany: Friday, September 15, 2006
    » Crime and Punishment: Friday, October 13, 2006
    » Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree: Friday, January 12, 2007
    » Caroline, or Change: Friday, March 9, 2007
    » Lookingglass Alice: Friday, May 11, 2007

  • On the Tuesday preview performance of each production, Arden Theatre Company will host Educators/College Night. All educators and college students are invited to attend the 6:30 p.m. Tuesday preview performance for a discounted ticket price of $10.

    » A Prayer for Owen Meany: 6:30pm Tuesday, September 19, 2006
    » Crime and Punishment: 6:30pm Tuesday, October 17, 2006
    » Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree: 6:30pm Tuesday, January 16, 2007
    » Caroline, or Change: 6:30pm Tuesday, March 13, 2007
    » Lookingglass Alice: 6:30pm Tuesday, May 15, 2007

  • Post-show discussions are scheduled following selected performances during the runs of every show. Check www.ardentheatre.org for dates.
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND TICKET INFORMATION

Single ticket prices to Arden Theatre Company's mainstage shows are $27-45, with discounts available for seniors, students, military and educators. Groups of 10+ enjoy significant discounts; please inquire about group rates. 2006/07 season subscriptions are now available. Subscribers enjoy significant savings on tickets, the best choice of seats and a liberal ticket exchange policy. Five-show and three-show subscriptions range in price from $69 - $195. Receive a $25 gift certificate to Serrano Restaurant if you recommend an Arden subscription to a friend and they purchase a new, 5-show subscription!

Single ticket prices for Arden Children's Theatre shows are $14-30, with discounts available for seniors, students, military and educators. Groups enjoy significant discounts; please inquire about group rates. 2006/07 Arden Children's Theatre season subscriptions are now available. Subscribers enjoy significant savings on tickets, the best choice of seats and a liberal ticket exchange policy. Arden Children's Theatre subscriptions range from $26-50.

The Arden is wheelchair accessible and provides assisted listening devices and large-print programs at every performance. Reservations are required for accessible seating and may be made by calling the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122.

To purchase tickets or subscriptions, or for more information, call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, visit the website at www.ardentheatre.org, or stop by the box office. Arden Theatre Company is located at 40 N. 2nd Street in the heart of the vibrant, historic neighborhood of Old City Philadelphia.

PHOTOS AND INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE CAMERA CREWS WELCOME TO SHOOT B ROLL AT PERFORMANCES PLEASE CONTACT KAREN GROSS, PUBLIC RELATIONS ASSOCIATE Office: 215-922-8900 x49 Cell: 215-290-6903 kgross@ardentheatre.org

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©2009 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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