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2010/11 Press Releases
Arden Theatre Company presents Superior Donuts
By Tracy Letts, Directed by Edward Sobel, On the F. Otto Haas Stage, March 3 – April 3, 2011
Media Photos

January 31, 2011

Philadelphia, PA Arden Theatre Company continues its 2010/11 season with Superior Donuts by Tracy Letts, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright of August: Osage County. It will be directed by the Arden’s Associate Artistic Director Edward Sobel and runs March 3 – April 3, 2011.

Sobel, who joined the Arden in 2009, was previously Director of New Play Development at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and has a longstanding connection with Letts and his work. At Steppenwolf, Sobel oversaw the development of August: Osage County and was the dramaturg for its successful Broadway run, as well as the Chicago and Broadway productions of Superior Donuts.

Comments Sobel, “Having worked with [Letts] on the play since its inception, I have some idea about what is important to him in it. I've also had the benefit of being intimately involved with two incarnations. It's kind of a ridiculous luxury to be able to Monday morning quarterback the productions in Chicago and New York.”

A comedy that takes place in a rundown donut shot, Superior Donuts addresses issues of isolation and explores how we navigate the barriers of life’s disappointments. Letts uses his characters to assert that we are unable to sustain a solitary life and must learn to make personal connections. “[Letts] has an innate sense of theatrically and vividly draws each of his characters, creating roles actors are dying to play,” says Sobel. Craig Spidle, a Chicago-based actor, brings his hometown knowledge to the role of Arthur, the aging hippie who owns the donut shop. Arthur is forced to confront his isolation when a young aspiring writer named Franco seeks a job with him. James William Ijames, a Philadelphia-based actor who has appeared at the Arden in Romeo and Juliet, James and the Giant Peach, and An Empty Plate in the Café du Grande Bouef, plays Franco.

Additional local cast members returning to the Arden include Peter Pryor (The BFG, Closer, Three Days of Rain) as Luther, Brian Anthony Wilson (The Piano Lesson, Our Town) as James, and Nancy Boykin (James Joyce’s The Dead, Twelfth Night) as Lady. Making their Arden debuts are local actors Jake Blouch as Kevin, Ian Bedford as Kiril and Jim Gushue as Max. Rounding out the cast is New York based performer Jennifer Barnhart (Broadway’s Avenue Q) as Randy.

“Tracy Letts is one of the great storytellers writing for the theatre today. His plays crackle with theatrical energy and, as an accomplished actor as well, he has an incredible ability to engage audiences in his characters and their lives. I’m thrilled that Ed’s directorial debut at the Arden is by a playwright with whom he’s had such a fruitful relationship,” says producing artistic director Terrence J. Nolen. “Bringing together our family of Philadelphia theatre artists with the Chicago actors and designers whom Ed has brought to the production unites these two great theatre cities in an exciting way.” The design team includes Chicago-based set designer Kevin Depinet, lighting designer Michelle Habeck, and Philadelphia-based costume designer Alison Roberts and sound designer Rob Kaplowitz (2010 Tony Award winner for Fela!).

The final dress rehearsal of Superior Donuts on Wednesday, March 2 at 8pm is open to the public as a Pay-What-You-Can performance, with all proceeds collected donated to The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program which unites artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives.

Superior Donuts previews begin on Thursday, March 3, 2011. Preview performances run March 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8. Opening night is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 9. Closing is set for Sunday, April 3, 2011.

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. Open Captioned and Audio Described performances will take place on Friday, March 25 at 8pm and Saturday, March 26 at 2pm. Reservations are required for accessible seating and may be made by calling the Arden’s Box Office at 215.922.1122.

WHAT:
Superior Donuts
By Tracy Letts
Directed by Edward Sobel

SUMMARY:
The neighborhood, the donut shop, and Arthur have all gone to pot. When young Franco Wicks busts in with fresh dough and even fresher dreams, Arthur can no longer pretend he doesn’t care. Tracy Letts, author of the Pulitzer and Tony award winning August: Osage County, turns up the comedic heat on a man and a community grappling with change.

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

WHEN:
March 3 – April 3, 2011
Preview performances: March 3-8, 2011
Opening night: 7pm Wednesday, March 9, 2011

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:
Jennifer Barnhart (Resident of Brooklyn, NY) - Officer Randy Osteen
Ian Bedford (Resident of Ardmore, PA) - Kiril Ivakin
Jake Blouch (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) - Kevin Magee
Nancy Boykin (Resident of Elkins Park, PA) - Lady Boyle
James William Ijames (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) - Franco Wicks
Peter Pryor (Resident of King of Prussia, PA) - Luther Flynn
Craig Spidle (Resident of Chicago, IL) - Arthur Przybyszewski
Brian Anthony Wilson (Resident of Cherry Hill, NJ) - Officer James Bailey

ARTISTIC STAFF:
Edward Sobel - Director
Kevin Depinet - Set Designer
Alison Roberts - Costume Designer
Michelle Habeck - Lighting Designer
Rob Kaplowitz - Sound Designer
Katharine M. Hanley - Stage Manager
John V. Bellomo - Fight Director


OPENING NIGHT SPONSORS: Harmelin Media, Hatboro Beverages, Stephen Starr Events

# # #
Reviewing members of the press are invited to all opening nights and may reserve tickets through Leigh Goldenberg at lgoldenberg@ardentheatre.org.

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

The Arden’s 2010/11 season includes:
  • Ghost-Writer, a world premiere by Michael Hollinger: September 9 – November 7, 2010
  • The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill: September 30 – November 7, 2010
  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton, adapted by Charles Way: December 1, 2010 – January 30, 2011
  • A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O’Neill: January 6 – February 27, 2011
  • Superior Donuts by Tracy Letts: March 3 – April 3, 2011
  • Wanamaker’s Pursuit, a world premiere by Rogelio Martinez, part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, inspired by the Kimmel Center: March 31 – May 22, 2011
  • The Flea and the Professor, a world premiere musical by Jordan Harrison with music by Richard Gray, based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen: May 4 – June 12, 2011
Three-show subscriptions for the 2010/11 season are now available. Subscribers enjoy significant savings on tickets, the best choice of seats and a liberal ticket exchange policy. Call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, order online at wwww.ardentheatre.org, or visit the box office.

Founded in 1988, Arden Theatre Company is dedicated to bringing to life the greatest stories by the greatest storytellers of all time. We stage five productions each season as part of our mainstage series and two productions through Arden Children’s Theatre, the city’s first resident professional children’s theatre program. We create and produce new work through our new-work development program, the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase. The Arden Professional Apprentice program trains future theatre leaders, and our theatre classes through Arden Drama School teach children and teens about the craft of making plays. Our access program, Arden for All, makes our work available to the entire community through subsidized tickets and books for economically disadvantaged young people. We also offer sign language-interpreted, captioned and audio described performances and Pay-What-You-Can final dress rehearsals that benefit other nonprofits.

The Arden has received seven Philadelphia Magazine “Best of Philly” Awards, the Arts and Business Council’s Arts Excellence Award, five City Paper “Reader’s Choice” Awards, four Philadelphia Inquirer “Theatre Company of the Year” citations, 53 awards and 250 nominations from the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia’s Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, and was named “Best Theatre Company” by Philadelphia Weekly in 2009.
©2009 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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