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2006/07 Press Releases
Arden Theatre Company presents The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), EXTENDED DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND!
November 29 - January 28, 2007, • By Roald Dahl • Adapted by David Wood • Directed by Whit MacLaughlin • On the Haas Stage

December 13, 2006

Philadelphia, PA - Arden Theatre Company will present the Philadelphia premiere of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), based on the beloved children's book by Roald Dahl, from November 29, 2006 to January 28, 2007 (extended due to popular demand!) as part of its children's theatre series. Join Arden Theatre Company for this delightfully imaginative production, perfect for the whole family this holiday season! The Arden is located at 40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia. For tickets call 215-922-1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org. The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is sponsored by PECO, An Exelon Company.

From Roald Dahl (award-winning author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach) comes the beloved tale of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). Travel with the young orphan Sophie and the 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 like Fleshlumpeater and Gizzardgulper! The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) features zany, mixed-up words ("snozzcumbers" and "scrumdiddlyumptious," to name a few), wonderfully wicked humor and fantastical adventures in Giant Country and Dream Country. Plus, every performance features an informative post-show "Question and Answer" session with the cast and a free commemorative production poster upon exit, while supplies last. The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is recommended for families with children ages 5 and up.

Aaron Cromie, Philadelphia's acclaimed puppet and mask designer, has created spectacularly monstrous, larger-than-life masks for the giants in the Arden's production of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) as well as miniature puppets and dolls representing the various characters in the show. Audiences will be captivated by this dazzling production's exploration of size and proportion – The BFG himself will tower at nearly 14 feet tall! "From the toy box to the rafters, we're trying to creatively illustrate the differences in size and scale in this wonderful story," says Aaron, who has been honored for his work by the Jim Henson Foundation, Philadelphia Theatre Initiative and the Independence Foundation.

On the heels of his 2006 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play, Peter Pryor (previously seen at the Arden in Daedalus and Exit Wounds) will star as The BFG. Maggie Lakis (And Then They Came For Me, The Boxcar Children, A Year With Frog and Toad) will play the role of Sophie. Ben Dibble (A Year With Frog and Toad, The Dinosaur Musical) – the winner of this year's prestigious F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Theatre Artist at the Barrymore Awards – joins an all-star ensemble that includes Catharine K. Slusar (The Syringa Tree, A Prayer for Owen Meany), Kala Moses Baxter (Charlotte's Web, My Lord, What a Morning), Jeb Kreager (Twelfth Night), Miriam A. Hyman (Arden debut) and Jared Michael Delaney (Arden debut).

The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is directed by Whit MacLaughlin, who has helmed favorite Arden children's productions including The Dinosaur Musical, A Year With Frog and Toad, Sideways Stories from Wayside School and The Boxcar Children. Bringing the spectacular story to life are scenic designer Lewis Folden (The Boxcar Children, Bunnicula), costume designer Richard St. Clair (Barrymore Award-winner for A Year With Frog and Toad), and lighting designer Matt Frey. The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) features a playful, evocative original score by award-winning sound designer Jorge Cousineau (Opus, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales).

Adapted by David Wood (dubbed England's "national children's playwright"), The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) premiered at Wimbledon Theatre in 1991, followed by major UK tours and smash seasons in London's West End. Britain's The Guardian declared The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) "boisterously enjoyable" and raved, "Wood's production revels in Dahl's rich and funny language and its own unfettered invention. It deserves to be the most gigantic hit." The play has been produced stateside at Chicago Children's Theatre, Dallas Children's Theater and Seattle Children's Theatre.

Roald Dahl (September 13, 1916 - November 23, 1990) was a British/Norwegian author, famous as a writer for both children and adults. Among his most popular children's books are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and The Witches. The BFG, written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake, was first published in 1982. Dahl's first children's book was The Gremlins, commissioned by Walt Disney and published in 1942. In addition to writing some of the best-loved children's stories of the 20th century, Dahl also wrote adult short stories and screenplays, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (both adaptations of novels by Ian Fleming). He adapted his own work into the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Kids age 7 and older and their adult chaperones are invited to join the Family Usher Network (FUN). FUN takes place during weekend performances of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) from November 29 to January 21, as well as weekdays during the holiday season from December 26 to 29. FUN gives kids a behind-the-scenes peek at how plays are created, instills the value of community involvement and teaches valuable social skills. FUN ushers receive an exclusive backstage tour, hand out programs, tear tickets, seat patrons and help straighten up the theatre after the show. For information call the box office at 215-922-1122.

The Arden is accessible to people with disabilities, providing wheelchair accessibility, assisted listening devices and large print programs at every performance. Accessible seating is available by reservation. For more information, call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122.

The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) previews begin Wednesday, November 29. Opening night (sold out) is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, December 2. The show runs through January 28, 2007. Tickets, currently on sale, are $14-$30, with group discounts available. Subscriptions to Arden Children's Theatre are now available! Subscribers enjoy significant savings on tickets, the best choice of seats and a liberal ticket exchange policy perfect for busy schedules. Children's theatre subscriptions range from $26 to $50 which includes a ticket to both children's productions this season: The BFG (November 29 to January 28) and Ferdinand the Bull (April 11 to May 13). Tickets and subscriptions may be purchased by calling the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, visiting www.ardentheatre.org or stopping by our box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Philadelphia.

WHERE:
Arden Theatre Company
40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia

WHEN:
November 29, 2006 - January 28, 2007
EXTENDED DUE TO DEMAND!

TICKETS:
$14-$30, with group discounts available

PRESS: Members of the press, please schedule tickets through Karen Gross, Public Relations Associate, at 215-922-8900 x49 or kgross@ardentheatre.org.

WHO:
Based on the book by Roald Dahl
Adapted by David Wood
Directed by Whit MacLaughlin
Scenic Design by Lewis Folden
Costume Design by Richard St. Clair
Lighting Design by Matt Frey
Sound Design by Jorge Cousineau
Puppet Design by Aaron Cromie

CAST:
The BFG: Peter Pryor (resident of King of Prussia)
Sophie: Maggie Lakis (resident of South Philadelphia)
Meatdripper and others: Kala Moses Baxter (resident of Philadelphia)
Bonecruncher and others: Jared Michael Delaney (resident of Philadelphia)
Bloodbottler and others: Ben Dibble (resident of South Philadelphia)
Gizzardgulper and others: Miriam A. Hyman (resident of Philadelphia)
Fleshlumpeater and others: Jeb Kreager (resident of South Philadelphia)
Childchewer and others: Catharine K. Slusar (resident of Philadelphia)

PHOTOS AND B ROLL IS AVAILABLE! FOR INTERVIEWS, PHOTOS, AND INFORMATION, CONTACT KAREN GROSS, PUBLIC RELATIONS ASSOCIATE, 215-922-8900 X49 (office), 215-290-6903 (cell), or 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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