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2010/11 Press Releases
Arden Theatre Company presents Ghost-Writer
A new play by Michael Hollinger, Directed by James J. Christy, September 9 – November 7, 2010, On the Arcadia Stage
August 11, 2010

Philadelphia, PA Arden Theatre Company opens its 2010/11 season with the world premiere of Michael Hollinger’s Ghost-Writer. This marks the seventh Hollinger premiere at the Arden, and the first since Opus in 2006, which received the Barrymore Award for Best New Play and was one of the top ten most-produced plays in American regional theatre during the 2009/10 season.

In Ghost-Writer, novelist Franklin Woolsey dies mid-sentence, but his secretary Myra continues to take dictation. Attacked by skeptics, the press and Woolsey’s jealous widow, Myra sets out to prove she is more than just an artful forger. Is she trying to steal Woolsey’s legacy now that she cannot have his love, or might she truly possess a gift the world can’t understand? This restrained love story takes place in New York City in 1919, at a time when women were first becoming secretaries, but didn’t have the vote; novelists held on to their 19th century success as the foremost form of entertainment; and an artist’s slight touch on the arm of his muse is more thrilling than a kiss.

The Arden has a sixteen-year history of producing Hollinger’s new work, which started in the 1994 with An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf. “Michael and the Arden have grown together,” says Producing Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen. “We’ve developed more of his plays than any other writer, so it is only fitting that this new work begins our 2010/11 season, a year in which we will introduce three new plays to Philadelphia audiences.”

In creating Ghost-Writer, Hollinger asks the question: where do ideas come from? “This story hits close to home because I am a writer,” Hollinger says. “I’ve found that the most important work often happens unconsciously, so I was intrigued by the act of creation and the mystical aspects of the process. With each of my plays, I’ve tried to explore new theatrical forms, themes and time periods, something my long-term artistic relationship with the Arden has allowed me to do.”

The cast features Philadelphia actress Megan Bellwoar as Myra Babbage. Her previous Arden credits include Dancing at Lughnasa, The Weir, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Translations. Bellwoar and playwright Hollinger are married, and Ghost-Writer marks Bellwoar’s first appearance in one of Hollinger’s works. Directing Ghost-Writer is James J. Christy, who was recently nominated for a Barrymore for his direction of Rabbit Hole at the Arden. Christy has a long-standing relationship with both Bellwoar and Hollinger that dates back to their graduate studies at Villanova University where he was their teacher and mentor. Christy has since directed Bellwoar in Translations and The Weir at the Arden had has directed Hollinger’s An Empty Plate at Access Theatre in new York and Red Herring at Actors’ Theatre of Louisville.

Also in the cast is Doug Rees, who plays Franklin Woolsey, and appeared in the Arden’s productions of An Empty Plate and Opus, as well as Opus’ acclaimed Off-Broadway production. New York based actress Patricia Hodges makes her Arden debut as Vivian Woolsey. The design team includes Set Designer David Gordon, who has designed Hollinger’s plays Incorruptible and Tiny Island, designer Charlotte Chloe Fox Wind (recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Theatre Artists and former Arden Professional Apprentice), lighting designer Jerold R. Forsyth (An Empty Plate, 2007), and sound designer Jorge Cousineau, winner of the 2008 Lucille Lortel Award for Sound Design of Opus.

The final dress rehearsal of Ghost-Writer on Wednesday, September at 8pm is open to the public as a Pay-What-You-Can performance, with all proceeds collected donated to the Sue Winge Marketing Internship, which is administered collaboratively by Villanova’s Theatre Department and the Arden, and was established in memory of Sue Winge, a former employee of both companies, who died in March 2009.

Ghost-Writer previews begin on Thursday, September 9. Preview performances run September 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14. Opening night is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 15. Closing is set for Sunday, November 7, 2010.

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 may be made by calling the Arden’s Box Office at 215.922.1122.

WHAT:
Ghost-Writer
A new play by Michael Hollinger
Directed by James J. Christy

SUMMARY:
Ghost-Writer follows Myra Babbage, novelist Franklin Woolsey’s devoted secretary who continues to take dictation after he dies mid-sentence. Attacked by skeptics, the press and Woolsey’s jealous widow, Myra sets out to prove she is more than just an artful forger. Is she trying to steal Woolsey’s legacy now that she cannot have his love, or might she truly possess a gift the world can’t understand?

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

WHEN:
September 9 – November 7, 2010
Preview performances: September 9 – 14, 2010
Opening night: 7pm Wednesday, September 15, 2010

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:
Meghan Bellwoar (Resident of Elkins Park, PA) - Myra Babbage
Patricia Hodges (Resident of New York, NY) - Vivian Woolsey
Douglas Rees (Resident of New York, NY) - Franklin Woolsey

ARTISTIC STAFF:
Michael Hollinger - Playwright
James J. Christy - Director
David Gordon - Set Designer
Chloe Fox Wind - Costume Designer
Jerold R. Forsyth - Lighting Designer
Jorge Cousineau - Sound Designer
Ed Sobel - Dramaturg
Alec Ferrell - Stage Manager

PRODUCTION SPONSOR: Fox Chase Bank
HONORARY PRODUCERS: Fred and Emily Anton
OPENING NIGHT SPONSORS: Harmelin Media, Hatboro Beverages, Stephen Starr Events
This play is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award.


# # #
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 – March 6, 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 29, 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 and five-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, 52 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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