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Arden Theatre Company’s inaugural play for The Writers’ Room receives developmental production
Wendy MacLeod’s Women in Jep to run July 5-15, 2012
June 13, 2012

(Philadelphia, PA)Arden Theatre Company presents the inaugural production for The Writers’ Room, an innovative playwright residency program, with Women in Jep by Wendy MacLeod. This new comedy, written during a four-month residency in Philadelphia receives a developmental production on the Arden’s Arcadia Stage from July 5-15, 2012. The Writers’ Room is funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative and the Independence Foundation through its New Theatre Works Initiative.

The Writers’ Room, led by Arden Associate Artistic Director Edward Sobel, is designed to allow the writer to stay in closer contact with her original creative impulse and have a more holistic relationship with the larger institution than most new play development processes currently allow. The culmination of this residency is the developmental production of Women in Jep, a comedy in which two friends wonder if their divorced friend’s new boyfriend may be a serial killer. Edward Sobel, who directs the production, says “The developmental production is more than a workshop or reading, but not yet a full Arden production. Actors are ‘off-book’ and there are design elements, but the emphasis is on the actors and the development of the play text. Wendy has come up with the perfect project to inaugurate this new program. It’s a delightful comedy, now ready to be further explored through some exposure to an audience. We look forward to learning more, and being able to adjust the play and production as audiences respond to it over this two week test-drive.”

The cast for the developmental production of Women in Jep features Grace Gonglewski (August: Osage County, A Moon for the Misbegotten) as Liz, the divorcee who has fallen in love with her dentist Jackson, played by Joe Guzman (Private Lives, Much Ado About Nothing). In a farcical twist of casting, Guzman also plays Kirk, the detective investigating the recent murder of Jackson’s dental hygienist. Karen Peakes (A Prayer for Owen Meany) and Genevieve Perrier (Wanamaker’s Pursuit) play Liz’s skeptical friends Mary and Jo, and Laura Giknis (Arden premiere) plays Liz’s college-aged daughter Amanda, with Aubie Merrylees (Charlotte’s Web) rounding out the cast as Trenner, Amanda’s on-again/off-again snowboarding boyfriend.

The design team will create the multiple Salt Lake City locations of the play on the Arcadia Stage, including set designer Maura Roche, lighting designer J. Dominic Chacon (both former Arden apprentices), costume designer Alison Roberts (August: Osage County), and sound designer Daniel Perelstein (Robin Hood).

Playwright Wendy MacLeod’s play The House of Yes became an award-winning Miramax film starring Parker Posey. Her other works for the stage include Sin and Schoolgirl Figure, both of which premiered at The Goodman, Juvenilia and The Water Children, both of which premiered at Playwrights Horizons, and Things Being What They Are, which premiered at Seattle Repertory Theatre and had an extended run at Steppenwolf in Chicago. Her new play Find and Sign premiered in January at the Pioneer Theater where it was called “both entertaining and thought-provoking” by the Salt Lake Tribune. Her prose has appeared in Salon, POETRY magazine, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, The Awl and on All Things Considered. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, she is the James E. Michael Playwright-in-Residence at Kenyon College.

With The Writers’ Room, Arden audiences have had an unusual opportunity to participate in the new play development process. Forty-five audience members purchased “Inside the Writers’ Room” passes in May, entitling them to access throughout the writing, rehearsal, and performance process of Women in Jep. Pass holders engage in conversation around the work, becoming personally invested in the play and creating an artistic experience unlike any other in the Philadelphia region.

Tickets for Women in Jep are available for $15 to the general public, $10 for Arden subscribers, and $5 for students with valid ID by calling 215.922.1122 or visiting www.ardentheatre.org/writersroom.

The Arden considers this development production a work in progress and as such we respectfully request that press not be assigned to review the performance. For interviews with artists or tickets to a performance, press should contact Leigh Goldenberg at lgoldenberg@ardentheatre.org, 215.922.8900 x43.

WHAT:
Women in Jep

By Wendy MacLeod
Directed by Edward Sobel

SUMMARY:
What if you thought your divorced friend’s new boyfriend was a serial killer? A comedy of dentists, denial, and dealing with being alone

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

WHEN:
July 5-15, 2012
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm

TICKETS:
Call the Box Office at 215.922.1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org
$15 Tickets
$10 for Arden Subscribers
$5 for students with valid ID

CAST:
Laura Giknis (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) - Amanda
Grace Gonglewski (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) - Liz
Joe Guzman (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) - Jackson/Kirk
Aubie Merrylees (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) - Trenner
Karen Peakes (Resident of Merchantville, NJ) - Mary
Genvieve Perrier (Resident of Philadelphia, PA) - Jo

ARTISTIC STAFF:
Wendy MacLeod - Playwright
Edward Sobel - Director
Maura Roche - Set Designer
Alison Roberts - Costume Designer
J. Dominic Chacon - Lighting Designer
Daniel Perelstein - Sound Designer
Katharine M. Hanley - Stage Manager
Rebecca Wright - Producer for The Writers’ Room

The Writers’ Room is made possible by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative and the Independence Foundation through its New Theatre Works Initiative.

Additional support provided by The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

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

Founded in 1988, Arden Theatre Company is dedicated to bringing to life great stories by great storytellers on stage, in the classroom, and in the community. 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 recently announced an expansion with the Hamilton Family Arts Center, a 22,000 square foot building located three doors north of the Arden at 62 N. 2nd Street. Once renovations are complete in 2013, this building will be a home for process and innovation, including seven classrooms for Arden Drama School, a rehearsal hall, an 80-seat Studio Theatre, Lobby, Parent Lounge, and Teacher Resource Center, and a Crafts Studio for construction of set and props. Details about the Hamilton Family Arts Center can be found online at www.ardentheatre.org/new.

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, 58 awards and 272 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.
©2012 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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