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Arden Theatre Company presents Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree
January 11 - March 4, 2007 • WORLD PREMIERE! • By Bruce Graham • Directed by James J. Christy • Starring Jennifer Childs and John Lumia • On the Arcadia Stage

December 19, 2006

Philadelphia, PA - Arden Theatre Company will present the world premiere of Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree by celebrated Philadelphia playwright Bruce Graham from January 11 to March 4, 2007. Join Arden Theatre Company for this sexy, edgy two-actor tour-de-force starring Jennifer Childs and John Lumia. The Arden is located at 40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia. For tickets call 215-922-1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org.

In this riveting world-premiere play by Bruce Graham, college sweethearts Dex and Julie reunite 25 years later when Dex 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 wit. Memories of their romance are rich, and things heat up fast. Filled with snappy contemporary dialogue and surprising twists, Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree is a must 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 most acclaimed performers: actress Jennifer Childs, for whom he scripted the role of Julie, and electrifying actor John Lumia, who stars as Dex. Award-winning director James J. Christy has helmed nine other Bruce Graham plays. Says Graham, "A new play can be really stressful, but working on Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree has been very comfortable and collaborative. I've worked with several members of the cast, crew and design team before." He adds, "A two-character play is a challenge. You don't have the luxury of that third actor there to bail you out!"

Bruce Graham was inspired to write Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree after returning to his own alma mater, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, to receive their Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000. Last winter, he workshopped the play as part of the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase at the Arden, which is supported by the Independence Foundation and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. "New play development is one of the most important things we do here at the Arden," says Terrence J. Nolen, Arden Theatre Company's Producing Artistic Director and co-founder. Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree will be featured in the Philadelphia New Play Festival: Where Theatre Begins, a program of the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia (www.theatrealliance.org/newplayfestival/), from February 8 - 18, 2007.

A resident of Media, Pa., Bruce Graham is an acclaimed playwright as well as a Hollywood screenwriter. Graham's play Coyote on a Fence was declared "provocative theater that stirs the mind" by The New York Times and ran on London's West End in a production starring Ben Cross. Graham's one-man show, The Philly Fan, was recently revived for a third run. His other plays include According to Goldman, Moon Over The Brewery, Belmont Avenue Social Club, and Desperate Affection. His Hollywood screenwriting credits include Anastasia and Steal This Movie; television credits include Roseanne, Ring of Endless Light (2003 Humanitas Award Winner - Best Children's Teleplay), and the mini-series Hunt for the Unicorn which aired on NBC. He has won several awards from the Pew Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and the Princess Grace Foundation, and he recently took the grand prize of the 2006 "Set in Philadelphia" Screenwriting Competition presented by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. Graham currently teaches playwriting and film courses at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.

Award-winning Philadelphia actors Jennifer Childs and John Lumia will share the stage as Dex and Julie. Last seen in the Arden's Dancing at Lughnasa, Jennifer Childs is a two-time Barrymore Award winner and the Artistic Director of Philadelphia's 1812 Productions, for which she has created and directed original work since 1997. Jennifer is returning to Arden Theatre Company in April to direct the Arden's spring family musical, Ferdinand the Bull. John Lumia, winner of the 2000 F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Artist, is renowned for his electrifying solo performances including Spin Cycle, Amputation Nation, Cryptome and Anti-matter. Most recently, he earned raves for his performance in the title role of Theatre Exile's acclaimed production Killer Joe. His television and film credits include Girl, Interrupted, Ladder 49, and Homicide: Life on the Street.

James J. Christy has been a director and teacher of theatre for over thirty years. His directing work at Arden Theatre Company includes the productions of Translations, Coyote on a Fence and Proof. He has received two Barrymore Awards and seven nominations for Best Director and earned the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2005 awards ceremony. He recently retired from a distinguished career as a professor of theatre at Villanova University.

Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree's creative team also includes dramaturg Michele Volansky, who has worked on over 150 new plays including the Broadway productions of Buried Child and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She has served as dramaturg at Actors Theatre of Louisville (1992-95), Steppenwolf Theatre Company (1995-2000), and Philadelphia Theatre Company (2000-2004), among other theatres. The production of Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree marks her third collaboration with Bruce Graham. Their book on playwriting, The Collaborative Playwright, will be published by Heinemann Press in March 2007.

Staged in the Arden's intimate Arcadia theatre, Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree unfolds inside Julie's rural Pennsylvania cabin. Rounding out the technical staff are scenic designer James Wolk, who previously worked on Bruce Graham's Moon Over the Brewery, Belmont Ave Social Club, A Very Nice Neighborhood, and Top of the World; Barrymore Award-winning costume designer Janus Stefanowicz, who has worked on Arden's Loot, The Weir, and Invisible Man; Barrymore Award-winning lighting designer Jerold R. Forsyth, who designed lights for Arden's Proof; and Barrymore Award-winning sound designer Jorge Cousineau, who has worked on Arden's Opus and The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), among other productions.

The Arden is accessible to people with disabilities, providing wheelchair accessibility, assisted listening devices and large print programs at every performance. A closed captioned performance is scheduled for Sunday, February 18 at 2pm. Accessible seating is available by reservation. For more information, call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122.

Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree previews begin Thursday, January 11 and run through January 16. Opening night (sold out) is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 17. The show runs through March 4, 2007. Tickets, currently on sale, are $27-45, with group discounts available. Three-show subscriptions to Arden's mainstage productions are still available! Subscribers enjoy significant savings on tickets, the best choice of seats and a liberal ticket exchange policy perfect for busy schedules. 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, Old City Philadelphia

WHEN:
January 11- March 4, 2007
Previews: January 11-16
Opening night (sold out): 7 p.m. January 17

TICKETS:
$27-$45, with group discounts available
Call the Box Office at 215-922-1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org

PRESS:
Reviewing press will receive invitations to opening night at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 17. Other members of the press, please schedule tickets through Karen Gross, Public Relations Associate, at 215-922-8900 x49 or kgross@ardentheatre.org.

WHO:
Written by Bruce Graham
Directed by James J. Christy
Scenic Design: James Wolk
Costume Design: Janus Stefanowicz
Lighting Design: Jerold R. Forsyth
Sound Design: Jorge Cousineau
Dramaturg: Michele Volansky

CAST:
Julie: Jennifer Childs (resident of Philadelphia)
Dex: John Lumia (resident of Philadelphia)

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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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