August 4, 2008
Philadelphia, PA - Arden Theatre Company begins its 2008/09 season with a bold and brand new version
of Leonard Bernstein's, Candide
. Candide will run from September 11 to October 19, 2008.
The Arden's production marks the premiere of John Caird
's version of the musical at any American regional theatre. Arden Theatre Company is located at 40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia. For tickets, call 215.922.1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org
Director Terrence J. Nolen has long wanted to stage Candide
but has been dissatisfied with the libretto because of its vast departure from Voltaire's original work. In 1999, British dramatist John Caird prepared a significant reworking of Candide
for the Royal National Theatre. Songs were reordered, characters more fully developed, and, most importantly, Caird returned to Voltaire's novel. The Arden's production will mark the premiere of the musical in an American regional theatre. "I am extremely excited by this new version of Candide
," said Nolen, "it is funny, insightful, compelling and, because John returned to Voltaire's original novel, quite different from all previous versions. John Caird co-directed the original productions of Nicholas Nickelby
and Les Miserables
– both landmark productions." Nolen continued, "I have a great passion for musical theatre and an ongoing interest in adapting literature for the stage, so working with John on this most remarkable musical has been an extraordinary opportunity."
In preparing to premiere this version, director Terrence J. Nolen visited the British stage director at his home in London. "I am thrilled that the Arden is doing my version of Bernstein's Candide
," said Caird, "I had a wonderful time preparing it for the National Theatre in Britain, going back to the original novel and relishing Voltaire's extraordinary wit and human insight. Stephen Sondheim and Richard Wilbur helped me with new lyrics for critical moments in the libretto and the resulting show proved to be an enormous success with actors and audience alike." Caird went on to say, "It was a great pleasure to meet Terry Nolen and discuss the Arden production with him. From everything he has told me about his production ideas and the design for the show, I think Philadelphia's theatre-goers are in for a great treat."
The Arden's mission is to tell great stories, and Candide
is a classic coming-of-age story about a young man's journey from innocence to experience. Adapted from Voltaire's satiric novel, sex, love, youth, politics, religion and philosophy are all ridiculed. Up against Voltaire's story is Leonard Bernstein's legendary score. Lush and elegant, it urges the audience to do what a satire hopes its audience will do: in the face of all that is wrong with the world, struggle to improve it.
Voltaire wrote Candide
in 1759 during a volatile time in Western history. He throws Candide into a world rife with war, intolerance and brutality – a world shockingly similar to our own. Though Candide is beset with trials, the lens through which his story is told shimmers with comedy, sexiness and fun.
The all-star ensemble includes some of the Philadelphia region's most distinguished actors. Ben Dibble
, most recently seen at the Arden as Lee Harvey Oswald in Assassins
and as Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd
, will bring to life the naive character of Candide. Starring as Dr. Pangloss is Scott Greer
, previously seen at the Arden in Wittenberg
. Liz Filios
, a dynamic new actress to the Arden, most recently seen in Eurydice
at The Wilma Theater, stars as Cunégonde. The cast also features acclaimed Philadelphia actors Mary Martello
, Sweeney Todd
, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
), Jeffrey Coon
(A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
), and Christopher Patrick Mullen
, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
). Also returning to the Arden is New York based Richard Ruiz
from An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf
and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
at the Arden. This musical will also feature an 11-piece orchestra led by Eric Ebbenga
, most noted for his music direction at the Arden for shows such as Caroline, or Change
and Sweeney Todd
This year marks the 90th anniversary of composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein's birth. A graduate of The Curtis Institute for Music in Philadelphia, Bernstein is arguably the finest and most famous American born orchestral conductor and composer of the twentieth century. Joining in the Bernstein's birthday celebration, the Arden is delighted to bring this reinvention of a landmark American musical to a regional American theatre for the first time.
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 Arden's production of Candide
was also made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius.
The final dress rehearsal of Candide
on Wednesday, September 10th at 8pm is open to the public as a Pay-What-You-Can performance, with all proceeds collected donated to The Cappies, "Critics and Awards Program." The Cappies is a program through which high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers like The Philadelphia Inquirer
. All seats are general admission, first come, first served.
previews begin on Thursday, September 11. Preview performances
run September 11, 12, 13, 14 and 16. Opening night is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 17. Single ticket prices are $29-48,
with discounts available for seniors, students, military and educators. Groups of 10+ enjoy significant discounts; please inquire about group rates. Subscriptions for the 2008/09 season 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 one of our dining partners if you recommend an Arden subscription to a friend and they purchase a new, 5-show subscription! Call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, order online at www.ardentheatre.org
or visit the box office.
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's Box Office at 215.922.1122.
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
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 an all-star cast of Philadelphia's finest. Expect the unexpected.
This acclaimed Bernstein musical plots the bizarre life of its hero Candide
, as he searches the world over for his love Cunégonde and confirmation of the notion that "we live in the best of all possible worlds." After receiving a thorough indoctrination in this wayward philosophy by his mentor Dr. Pangloss, Candide
makes the mistake of becoming romantically involved with the beautiful Cunégonde. Caught in the act, Candide
is thrown out onto the street to fend for himself. It is here that the adventure begins. Impervious to battles, bigotry, confidence tricks, natural disasters and a huge cast of characters, each one more eccentric than the last, Candide
is buffeted from Paris to Venice by way of Buenos Aires, before he finally learns the simple lesson about where true happiness can be found.
Mature in content, recommended for 10th grade students and older.
Arden Theatre Company
F. Otto Haas Stage
40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia
September 11 – October 19
Preview performances: September 11 – September 16
Opening night: 7pm Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Reviewing members of the press are invited to attend opening night and may reserve tickets by contacting Janine Zappone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
$29-$48 for adults depending on the performance chosen
Group discounts available for 10+
Student Rush tickets at the door only five minutes before curtain for $5 cash, pending availability (must present valid student ID)
Call the Box Office at 215.922.1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org
Joel T. Bauer
(resident of New York, NY) as Maximillian
(resident of Malvern, PA) as Candide
(resident of New York, NY) as Paquette
(resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Cunégonde
(resident of New York, NY) as Vanderdendur
(resident of South Philadelphia, PA) as Voltaire / Dr. Pangloss
(resident of Princeton, NJ) as The Old Woman with one buttock
Christopher Patrick Mullen
(resident of Hellertown, PA) as Martin
(resident of New York, NY) as Cacambo
(resident of Farmingville, NY)
(resident of Springfield, PA)
(resident of New York, NY)
(resident of Philadelphia, PA)
Darren Michael Hengst
(resident of South Philadelphia, PA)
(resident of Philadelphia, PA)
(resident of Philadelphia, PA)
(resident of Brooklyn, NY)
(resident of Exton, PA)
(resident of New York, NY)
(resident of Montclair, NJ)
Terrence J. Nolen
- Set Designer
- Lighting Designer
Rosemarie E. McKelvey
- Costume Designer
- Sound Designer
- Stage Manager
- Assistant Director