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2008/09 Press Releases
Arden Theatre Company Announces 2008/09 Season
Seven-play season includes five mainstage shows and two children's theatre productions
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June 18, 2008

Philadelphia, PA - Arden Theatre Company is proud to announce its 2008/09 season. The seven play season kicks off with a brand new adaptation of the classic musical Candide. Next up is the Philadelphia premiere of Gee's Bend. The season also includes two World Premieres, My Name Is Asher Lev by Aaron Posner and Something Intangible by Bruce Graham. Wrapping up the mainstage season is the Broadway hit by Conor McPherson, The Seafarer.

Arden Children's Theatre productions include two award-winning stories for the entire family, James and the Giant Peach and the revival of the Arden smash hit A Year with Frog and Toad.

The 2008/09 mainstage season is as follows:

The Royal National Theatre Version
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Book adapted from Voltaire by Hugh Wheeler
In a new version by John Caird
Lyrics by Richard Wilbur
Additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Leonard Bernstein
Directed by Terrence J. Nolen
September 11 October 12, 2008
F. Otto Haas Stage

A bold and brand new version of Voltaire's wicked satire, this sexy, funny musical cuts to the core and will rock, shock and thrill you! Leonard Bernstein's legendary score is brought to vivid life by three of Philadelphia's finest: Ben Dibble as Candide, Scott Greer as Dr. Pangloss and Mary Martello as the Old Woman with one buttock. Expect the unexpected.

Mature in content, recommended for 10th grade students and older

Gee's Bend
Written by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder
Directed by Eleanor Holdridge
October 9 November 30, 2008
Arcadia Stage

Gee's Bend is a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit. The Pettway women of Gee's Bend, Alabama are strong African Americans. Through segregation, family turmoil and the Civil Rights Movement, the women turn to quilting to provide comfort and context to their lives. These quilts, a labor of love and necessity, turn out to be valuable works of art. Featuring three determined women and interwoven with gospel music, Gee's Bend is a deeply personal story of family, self-discovery and artistic expression.

This Philadelphia premiere will coincide with the exhibition of Gee's Bend, The Architecture of the Quilt, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from September 16 December 14.

Recommended for 8th/9th grade students and older.

My Name Is Asher Lev
World Premiere
Adapted by Aaron Posner from the novel by Chaim Potok
Directed by Aaron Posner
January 8 March 15, 2009
Arcadia Stage

Asher Lev is a young Hassidic artist torn between his observant Jewish community and his need to create. His artistic genius threatens his relationship with his parents and community while weighing heavily on his conscience.

In 1999, the Arden presented Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok's co-adaptation of Potok's classic novel The Chosen to critical and audience acclaim. Posner, in consultation with Adena Potok, now introduces this world premiere based on Potok's novel, My Name Is Asher Lev.

Recommended for 8th/9th grade students and older.

Something Intangible
World Premiere
By Bruce Graham
Directed by Terrence J. Nolen
April 9 May 31, 2009
Arcadia Stage
It's Hollywood, 1940. Two brothers - Tony, an extravagant visionary, and Dale, a plain-speaking numbers man - run a studio on the brink of major movie innovation. As Tony labors to create his latest and greatest work of art, Dale struggles to deliver the ever-escalating funds to realize Tony's vision. It's all for one, and one for all - but will they kill each other in the process?

Philadelphia playwright Bruce Graham has done it again. He's created a play that crackles with comedy, hums with humanity and stars Philly faves Ian Merrill Peakes and Scott Greer. Don't miss it, babe.

Recommended for 11th grade students and older.

The Seafarer
By Conor McPherson
Directed by David O'Connor
May 14 June 14, 2009
F. Otto Haas Stage

Broadway's recent Tony Award Winning smash hit features a collection of misfits on Christmas Eve in Ireland. A group of men, tied loosely together by their affiliation with misfortune, spend a boozy night playing poker. As the evening progresses, the game playing takes a sinister turn and the stakes rise higher then anyone could have expected. Don't miss this expert comedy and chilling ghost story that ups the ante on anyone running from their past.

Recommended for 11th grade students and older.

The 2008/09 children's theatre season is as follows:

James and the Giant Peach
By David Wood from the novel by Roald Dahl
Directed by Whit MacLaughlin
December 10, 2008 February 8, 2009
F. Otto Haas Stage

From the author of the Arden's smash hit The BFG, another of Roald Dahl's beloved books comes to vivid life on the Haas stage. Young orphan James is sent to live with his horrible Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. Life is hard until a mysterious stranger arrives. Suddenly, magic abounds and James finds an ENORMOUS peach growing in his yard containing six talking insects - including a violin playing grasshopper - and his remarkable adventure begins.

A Year with Frog and Toad
Music by Robert Reale
Book and Lyrics by Willie Reale
Based on the books by Arnold Lobel
Directed by Whit MacLaughlin
March 4, 2009 April 19, 2009
F. Otto Haas Stage

Jeffrey Coon (Frog) and Ben Dibble (Toad) return for a revival of one of the Arden's most celebrated productions in its history! Nominated for six Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre and a Tony Award for Best Musical, this whimsical story features an unlikely friendship between a cheerful Frog and a rather grumpy Toad and the life lessons they learn during the four seasons of one year.

Both children's theatre productions are most enjoyed by families with children ages 5 and older.

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 depending on the performance date chosen. Children's Theatre subscriptions consist of two plays and range from $26-$50 depending on the performance date chosen.

To purchase subscriptions, or for more information, call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, visit the website at or stop by the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City Philadelphia.

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.

Opening Nights / Press Nights
Reviewing members of the press are invited to attend opening night performances and may reserve tickets by contacting Janine Zappone at

  • Candide
    F. Otto Hass Stage
    Wednesday, September 17, 2008 @ 7pm
  • Gee's Bend
    Arcadia Stage
    Wednesday, October 15, 2008 @ 7pm
  • My Name Is Asher Lev
    Arcadia Stage
    Wednesday, January 14, 2009 @ 7pm
  • Something Intangible
    Arcadia Stage
    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 @ 7pm
  • The Seafarer
    F. Otto Haas Stage
    Wednesday, May 20, 2009 @ 7pm
  • James and the Giant Peach
    F. Otto Haas Stage
    Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 7pm
  • A Year with Frog and Toad
    F. Otto Haas Stage
    Saturday, March 7, 2009 @ 7pm
2008/09 season announcement images are available at

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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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