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2009/10 Press Releases
Arden Theatre Company presents Sunday in the Park with George
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim - Book by James Lapine - Directed by Terrence J. Nolen - May 27 – July 4, 2010 - On the F. Otto Haas Stage
Media Photos

Thumbnail Poster artwork for Arden Theatre Company's production of Sunday in the Park with George.
Design by Kristy Giballa.
High-resolution version [300dpi, 3.3MB]
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April 21, 2010

(Philadelphia, PA)Arden Theatre Company concludes its 2009/10 season with the Pultizer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, directed by Terrence J. Nolen, the Arden's producing artistic director. Sunday in the Park marks the twelfth Sondheim production in the company's history and the first time the Arden will use Sondheim's complete original orchestrations, led by Barrymore Award-winning musical director Eric Ebbenga.

About the Arden’s upcoming production, Stephen Sondheim said: “The Arden has been the leading producer of my work in Philadelphia and no one knows better than I their passion and commitment to daring musical theatre. I was doubly delighted to hear that production will use Michael Starobin’s brilliant original orchestrations. At a time when so many larger organizations are producing reduced forms of shows like mine and the work of other experimental theatre composers, it is heartening to know that the Arden exists. I applaud them for their commitment to not scaling back their art, especially at this time of economic uncertainty. I give my blessings and thanks to the Arden and everything they stand for.”

“The works of Stephen Sondheim have been central to our artistic identity over the past two decades,” says director Terrence J. Nolen. “His work inspires me – perhaps none more than Sunday in the Park with George. We are thrilled to be producing this beautiful musical filled with such glorious ‘color and light.’” Of particular excitement with this production is Nolen’s collaboration with sound and video designer Jorge Cousineau. “This season, we celebrated Jorge’s 40th Arden production,” Nolen continued. “I couldn’t ask for a more gifted and curious artist as a partner in shaping the visual life of this project.”

The two acts of Sunday in the Park with George are set in separate centuries, both following artists as they struggle to balance work and life, survival and creativity. Act One watches Georges Seurat’s famous painting Sunday on La Grande Jatte literally come to life. Beginning with a blank canvas, the painting will be created in multiple dimensions using projections, lighting and live actors. In Act Two, Seurat’s great-grandson, also a struggling artist, debuts a color and light machine. This piece, entitled “Chromolume #7”, will be created for the Arden’s production by designer Cousineau along with choreographer Niki Cousineau. In creating the world of Sunday in the Park, they are joined by set designer James Kronzer (Barrymore award winner for Something Intangible and The Baker’s Wife), costume designer Rosemarie McKelvey (Barrymore award winner for Something Intangible and Caroline, or Change) and lighting designer Justin Townsend (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson Off Broadway, the Arden’s Candide).

Taking on the role of both Georges is local performer Jeffrey Coon, one of Philadelphia’s leading musical theatre performers who has appeared in fifteen plays at the Arden, including his Barrymore award-winning turn in The Baker’s Wife. As Georges’ muse and lover Dot in Act 1, and then as George’s grandmother Marie in Act 2 is Kristine Fraelich (The Civil War on Broadway, Arden’s Sweeney Todd and Baby Case).

The cast includes ten other actors returning to the Arden: Scott Greer (multi-Barrymore award winner most recently appeared in Romeo and Juliet, Barrymore nominations for Something Intangible and Candide), along with Walter Charles (Original Broadway casts of Sweeney Todd and Cats, Barrymore nomination for Something Intangible), Caroline Dooner (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), Sherri Edelen (The Light in the Piazza at Philadelphia Theatre Company, Barrymore nomination for Caroline, or Change), Liz Filios (Candide), Tim Hill (Assassins), Brian Hissong (Barrymore award winner for Winesburg, Ohio), Darren Michael Hengst (Winesburg, Ohio and Candide), Maggie Lakis (Avenue Q Off-Broadway and National Tour, seven Arden Children’s Theatre productions) and Maureen Torsney-Weir (The History Boys, Caroline, or Change). Rounding out the cast are three artists making their Arden debuts: Sarah Dacey-Charles (Broadway’s Les Miserables), Michael “Tuba” McKinsey (National Tour of Oliver!), and 10-year-old Danielle Standifer who has performed regionally at Bucks County Playhouse and Bristol Riverside Theatre.

Stephen Sondheim, America’s greatest living composer and lyricist, recently celebrated his 80th Birthday. He first became known for the lyrics to West Side Story and Gypsy and went on to write music and lyrics for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music, Company, Sweeney Todd and many others. He has won eight Tony Awards, which is more than any other composer. He collaborated with book writer James Lapine on Into the Woods and Passion.

Nolen has directed each of the Arden’s forays into Sondheim’s work. He has been nominated for 23 Barrymore Awards and has won nine times. In 2009, director Nolen won the Barrymore Award for Excellence in Theatre for Outstanding Direction of a Play (Something Intangbile) and was nominated for Outstanding Direction for a Musical (Candide).

The original Broadway production of Sunday in the Park with George premiered in 1984 and received multiple Tony and Drama Desk nominations and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, one of only eight musicals to receive the honor. The Arden first produced Sunday in the Park at the Arts Bank in 1994, and the Arden is excited to revisit it in the F. Otto Haas Stage with this extraordinary cast and design team. In the earlier production, Jeffrey Coon played the soldier and understudied the role of George and Scott Greer made his Arden debut as Jules.

The final dress rehearsal of Sunday in the Park with George on Wednesday, May 26 at 8pm is open to the public as a Pay-What-You-Can performance, with all proceeds collected donated to The Fleischer Art Memorial, one of the nation's first community-based arts centers, providing free and low-cost studio art classes along with opportunities for beginning and seasoned artists to exhibit their work in a professional gallery setting. All seats are general admission, first come, first served for this performance.

Sunday in the Park with George previews begin on Thursday, May 27. Preview performances run May 27, 28, 29, 30 and June 1. Opening night is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 2.

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. Call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, order online at www.ardentheatre.org, or visit 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 programming and may be made by calling the Arden’s Box Office at 215.922.1122.

WHAT:
Sunday in the Park with George
Words and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Directed by Terrence J. Nolen

SUMMARY:
Sunday in the Park with George is Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, inspired by Georges Seurat's stunning masterpiece, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Brimming with beauty and light, Sunday in the Park with George celebrates the power of creation.

WHERE:
Arden Theatre Company
F. Otto Haas Stage
40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia 19106

WHEN:
May 27 – July 4, 2010
Preview performances: May 27 – June 1, 2010
Opening night: 7pm Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Reviewing members of the press are invited to attend opening night and may reserve tickets by contacting Leigh Goldenberg at lgoldenberg@ardentheatre.org.

TICKETS:
$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

CAST:
Walter Charles (Resident of New York, NY) as Mister/Charles
Jeffrey Coon (Resident of Springfield, PA) as George
Sarah Dacey-Charles (Resident of Brooklyn, NY) as Yvonne/Naomi Eisen
Caroline Dooner (Resident of Rosemont, PA) as Celeste/Waitress
Sherrie Edelen (Resident of Fredericksburg, VA) as Nurse/Mrs./Harriet Pawling
Kristine Fraelich (Resident of Springfield, PA) as Dot/Marie
Scott Greer (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Jules/Bob Greenberg
Liz Fillios (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Celeste/Betty
Tim Hill (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Louis/Lee Randolph
Brian Hissong (Resident of Astoria, NY) as Soldier/Billy
Darren Michael Hengst (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Franz/Dennis
Maggie Lakis (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Frieda/Elaine
Michael “Tuba” McKinsey (Resident of Astoria, NY) as Boatman/Alex
Danielle Standifer (Resident of Hamilton, NJ) as Louise
Maureen Torsney-Weir (Resident of Berwyn, PA) as Old Lady/Blair Daniels

ARTISTIC STAFF:
Terrence J. Nolen - Director
James Kronzer - Set Designer
Rosemarie E. McKelvey - Costume Designer
Justin Townsend - Lighting Designer
Jorge Cousineau - Sound and Video Designer
Eric Ebbenga - Musical Director
Niki Cousineau - Choreographer
Christopher Frey - Assistant Lighting Designer
Amy Hartman - Assistant Video Designer
David Stradley - Assistant Director
Sarah Ollove - Dramaturg
Katharine M. Hanley - Stage Manager

Arden Theatre Company is located at 40 N. 2nd Street in the heart of historic Old City, 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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