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2010/11 Press Releases
Arden Theatre Company presents Wanamaker's Pursuit
A new play by Rogelio Martinez, Directed by Terrence J. Nolen, On the Arcadia Stage, March 31 – May 22, 2011, Part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, inspired by the Kimmel Center
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March 1, 2011

(Philadelphia, PA) Arden Theatre Company concludes its 2010/11 main stage season with Wanamaker’s Pursuit by Rogelio Martinez, a new work commissioned as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, inspired by the Kimmel Center. Directed by the Arden’s Producing Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen, Wanamaker’s Pursuit runs from March 31-May 22, 2011.

Grounded in history, but a work of fiction, Wanamaker’s Pursuit takes a prominent Philadelphian to Paris to discover himself. Young Nathan Wanamaker arrives in Paris in search of fashions for the family department store and instead finds Paul Poiret, the father of modern fashion, and the first truly fabulous party of the 20th century. Surrounded by Poiret’s extravagances, Picasso’s art and the allure of a woman, Nathan soon finds himself having to make the difficult choice of what he must bring back to Philadelphia and what he must leave behind.

“This is the story of a young man who travels to Paris to make his reputation and earn his place within his very prosperous family," says Nolen. "While there he encounters a world of art and artists unlike anything he has ever experienced. We are thrilled to partner with the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts to premiere this beautiful new play by Rogelio Martinez.” Nolen has directed many new works on the Arden’s stage, including Barrymore Award winners Opus and Red Herring by Michael Hollinger and Something Intangible by Bruce Graham.

Playwright Rogelio Martinez, who came to the United States from Cuba on the Mariel Boat Lift when he was 9, can relate to finding oneself in the midst of a new culture. “History has given me so much to play with for the piece,” comments Martinez, who wanted to write about Wanamaker’s upon learning of its connection to Philadelphia. “I love locking a play into a specific time, because there is so much you can discover. During the research and writing process, I kept thinking ‘you can’t make this stuff up!’” Martinez previously collaborated with Nolen on the world premiere of When Tang Met Laika at the Denver Center Theatre. He holds an MFA in playwriting from Columbia University, is an alumnus of New Dramatists and has had work developed at the Public Theater and Mark Taper Forum, among others.

Martinez also adds “While this is Nathan's story, during the writing of this play each of the characters Nathan encounters in Paris – from Gertrude and Leo Stein, to Paul Poiret and Pablo Picasso – has made a case for themselves to have a more prominent role in the play.” The actors bringing this mix of fictional and historical characters to life includes New York-based actor Jürgen Hooper as Nathan Wanamaker and Wilbur Edwin Henry (Orson’s Shadow at Philadelphia Theatre Company) as Paul Poiret, both in their Arden debuts. Returning to the Arden are Geneviève Perrier (Go, Dog. Go!, Barrymore award winner for Skylight at Lantern Theater Co) as Denise Poiret, Catharine K. Slusar (The Borrowers, A Prayer for Owen Meany) as Gertrude Stein, David Bardeen (Molly’s Delicious) as Leo Stein, and Shawn Fagan (Wittenberg, Romeo and Juliet) in a variety of roles including Pablo Picasso.

The design team responsible for creating the Parisian world for this production that features not only the Mona Lisa but a one-of-a-kind dress built during each performance are: set designer James Kronzer (Sunday in the Park with George, Barrymore award winner for Something Intangible and The Baker’s Wife), costume designer Richard St. Clair (Barrymore award winner for Sleeping Beauty at the Arden, many credits with the Opera Company of Philadelphia), lighting designer F. Mitchell Dana (Barrymore winner for Something Intangible) and sound designer Jorge Cousineau (winner of the 2008 Lucille Lortel Award for Sound Design of Opus).

The final dress rehearsal of Wanamaker’s Pursuit on Wednesday, March 30 at 8pm is open to the public as a Pay-What-You-Can performance, with all proceeds collected donated to Moore College of Art and Design, a college for women devoted to teaching art and design and to educating women for lifelong learning and involvement in the visual arts.

Wanamaker’s Pursuit previews begin on Thursday, March 31, 2011. Preview performances run March 31, April 1, 2, 3 and 5. Opening night is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6. Closing is set for Sunday, May 22, 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, May 20 at 8pm and Saturday, May 21 at 2pm. Reservations are required for accessible seating and may be made by calling the Arden’s Box Office at 215.922.1122.

WHAT:
Wanamaker’s Pursuit
By Rogelio Martinez
Directed by Terrence J. Nolen

SUMMARY:
Paris, 1911. A world on the brink of change. Young Nathan Wanamaker arrives in search of fashions for the family department store and instead finds Paul Poiret and the first truly fabulous party of the 20th century. Surrounded by Poiret’s extravagances, Picasso’s art and the allure of a woman, Nathan soon finds himself having to make the difficult choice of what he must bring back to Philadelphia and what he must leave behind.

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

WHEN:
March 31 – May 22, 2011
Preview performances: March 31-April 5, 2011
Opening night: 7pm Wednesday, April 6, 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:
David Bardeen (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) - Leo Stein
Shawn Fagan (Resident of New York, NY) - Picasso, LaRue, Guide, Franz Reichelt, Fencing Instructor
Wilbur Edwin Henry (Resident of Millburn, NJ) - Paul Poiret
Jürgen Hooper (Resident of New York, NY) - Nathan Wanamaker
Geneviève Perrier (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) - Denise Poiret
Catharine K. Slusar (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) - Gertrude Stein

ARTISTIC STAFF:
Terrence J. Nolen - Director
James Kronzer - Set Designer
Richard St. Clair - Costume Designer
F. Mitchell Dana - Lighting Designer
Jorge Cousineau - Sound Designer
Stephanie Cook - Stage Manager

Wanamaker’s Pursuit is produced under the auspices of the Arden's Independence Foundation New Play Showcase.
This play is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.
Part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, inspired by the Kimmel Center


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

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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
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.
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The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), inspired by the Kimmel Center, launches the city’s art and cultural scene onto the world stage with a three-week festival offering performances, exhibits and events for loyal fans and casual attendees. Based on the philosophy of collaboration, innovation and creativity, PIFA’s programs represent every arts discipline and include more than 100 partners. Offerings include newly commissioned works, classical performances and exhibits, surprising partnerships featuring local and international artists and exciting explorations of traditional, non-traditional, new and emerging art forms. In homage to the artistic energy of Paris 1910-1920, PIFA celebrates works from that era and new creations inspired by the brashly innovative spirit of the period. The festival was made possible by an extraordinary grant from Philadelphia philanthropist Leonore Annenberg, whose vision for a city-wide celebration of the arts shaped its philosophy and programming. PIFA takes place April 7-May 1, 2011.
©2011 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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