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2014/15 Press Releases
Arden Theatre Company presents Passion
Book by James Lapine
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Terrence J. Nolen
Production Co-Conceived by Jorge Cousineau and Terrence J. Nolen
On the F. Otto Haas Stage
May 21 June 28, 2015
April 22, 2015

(Philadelphia, PA) Arden Theatre Company closes its 27th season with PASSION by composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. Terrence J. Nolen directs. PASSION runs from May 21, 2015 – June 28, 2015, on the Arden’s F. Otto Haas Stage at 40 N. 2nd Street in Philadelphia.

A tale of love and obsession set in 19th century Italy, PASSION finds a handsome army captain, assigned to a remote outpost far from his married lover, pursued by a mysterious, ailing woman with a dangerous obsession.
PASSION won the 1994 Tony Award for Best Musical and boasts one of Sondheim’s most lush and romantic scores. It is Sondheim’s third collaboration with Librettist James Lapine, who adapted PASSION from the 1981 film Passion d’Amore. The show opened on Broadway in May, 1994, and ran for eight months. PASSION received a recent revival by New York’s Classic Stage Company in 2013, directed by John Doyle. PASSION was a very personal piece for Mr. Sondheim, and was one of only three of his works originally conceived by him.

The Arden is a frequent producer of the works of Stephen Sondheim, having produced 13 Sondheim shows in its 27-year history, more than any other artist. On Monday, June 1, 2015, Mr. Sondheim will accept the Arden’s inaugural Master Storyteller Award at a ticketed award ceremony and concert in his honor. For tickets and information visit www.ardentheatre.org/support/masterstoryteller.html.

Director Terrence J. Nolen says of PASSION, “I’ve directed a lot of Sondheim and the Arden has obviously made an ongoing commitment to producing his works. When I interviewed Mr. Sondheim in 2013 at the Grand Opera House in Delaware, I learned a little more from him about PASSION and decided to revisit it. I’m always struck by the complexities in Sondheim’s characters, his points of view and his relentless pursuit of the truth. PASSION is such a beautiful, specific and yes, challenging piece, and I finally felt that I understood it more and was compelled to do it.”

The Arden’s 2010 Production of Sunday in the Park with George was hailed by the Wall Street Journal as “one of the strongest Sondheim productions of the last decade.” Other Arden Sondheim productions include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (2006), A Little Night Music (1995 & 2013), Assassins (2008), Company (1997), Into the Woods (2000), Merrily We Roll Along (1998), Pacific Overtures (2003), Passion (May, 2015), Sunday in the Park with George (originally produced in 1994), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1993 & 2005). In the fall of 2008, the Arden produced the Royal National Theatre’s version of Candide with additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

Stephen Sondheim Biography
Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Road Show (2008, originally titled Bounce), Passion (1994), Assassins (1991), Into the Woods (1987), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979), Pacific Overtures (1976), The Frogs (1974), A Little Night Music (1973), Follies (1971, revised in London 1987 and in New York 2001), Company (1970), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962); as well as lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Do I Hear a Waltz (1965), and additional lyrics for Candide (1973).  Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), and Putting it Together (1992, 2000) are anthologies of his work.  For film he composed the scores for Stravinsky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (Academy Award, 1990).  He wrote the songs for television’s Evening Primrose (1966), co-authored the film The Last of Sheila (1973) and the play Getting Away with Murder (1966), and provided incidental music for the plays The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation to a March (1961), and Twigs (1971).  He won Tony Awards® for Best Score of a Musical for Passion, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, A Little Night Music, Follies, (1971), and Company.  All of these shows won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, as did Pacific Overtures and Sunday in the Park with George, the latter also receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1985).  Mr. Sondheim is on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, having served as its president from 1973 to 1981, and in 1983 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1990, he was appointed the first Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University, and in 1993 was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. He published two books: Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes and Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany. In 2014, Into the Woods was made into a major motion picture and was recognized with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture in a Musical or Comedy.

Schedule and Events
Passion opens to the press on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, and runs through Sunday, June 28, 2015. A full calendar of events can be found here. Opening Night Sponsors are Harmelin Media, Hatboro Beverages and JPM Catering.

Single ticket prices are $36-$50, with discounts available for groups of 15 or more, seniors, students, military, and educators. Three and Five-Show Mainstage Subscriptions are now on sale for the 2015/16 Season and range in price from $84 - $200. Call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, or view details and order online here, or visit the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.

Founded in 1988, Arden Theatre Company is dedicated to bringing to life great stories by great storytellers–on the stage, in the classroom, and in the community. Five productions are staged each season as part of the Mainstage series and two productions through Arden Children’s Theatre, the city’s first resident professional children’s theatre program. New work is produced through the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase. The Arden’s Education Department includes: Arden for All (AFA), a theatre access and education program for underserved young people; Arden Drama School, the after-school, Saturday, and summer camp classes for students in grades pre K-12; Teen Arden, an immersive after-school access program for Philadelphia-area based teenagers; and the Arden Professional Apprentice Program, a nationally renowned comprehensive theatre management training program. The Hamilton Family Arts Center is the new facility dedicated to education programs and new play development.

The Arden has received numerous honors including 62 awards and 301 nominations from the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre.  The Arden is a winner of four “Theatre Company of the Year” designations (Philadelphia Inquirer), five Philadelphia Magazine “Best of Philly” awards and three “Best of Philly Kids” awards, the City Paper’s Reader’s Choice Award and the prestigious “Great Friend to Kids Award” from the Please Touch Museum for Arden Children’s Theatre work. For accessibility efforts, the Arden was named a “Keystone of Accessibility” by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Arden Theatre Company is a professional, nonprofit 501(c)(3) theatre company and a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the League of Resident Theatres, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Old City Arts Association. The Arden also participates in The Barrymore Awards, a program of Theatre Philadelphia.

LISTINGS EDITORS:

WHAT:
PASSION
Book by James Lapine
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Terrence J. Nolen
Production Co-Conceived by Jorge Cousineau and Terrence J. Nolen

SUMMARY:
The Arden’s 14th production by the master of the American musical, Stephen Sondheim, is an intoxicating musical that boasts one of Sondheim’s most ravishing scores. Set in 19th century Italy, a handsome army captain, assigned to a remote outpost far from his married lover, finds himself pursued by an ailing, homely woman with a dangerous obsession. PASSION reunites the creative team behind the Arden’s Sunday in the Park with George, which was hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “one of the strongest Sondheim productions of the past decade.”

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

WHEN:
May 21 June 28, 2015

TICKETS:
Call the Box Office at 215.922.1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org or walk-up at the box office, 40 N. 2nd Street
$36-$50 for adults depending on the performance chosen
Group discounts available for 15+
Student Rush tickets at the door 30 minutes before curtain for $10 cash, pending availability (must present valid student ID)

CAST:
Ben Cherry - Sergeant Lombardi
Ben Dibble - Colonel Ricci
Jennie Eisenhower - Clara
Liz Filios - Fosca
Darren Michael Hengst - Lieutenant Barri/Mother
Larry Lees - Lieutenant Torasso/Father
John Charles McLaughlin - Private Augenti/Mistress
Ben Michael - Giorgio
Michael Philip O’Brien - Major Rizzoli/Ludovic
Frank X Doctor - Tambourri

ARTISTIC TEAM:
Scenic Designer
Jorge Cousineau

Costume Designer
Rosemarie E. McKelvey

Lighting Designer
Thom Weaver

Sound Designer
Daniel Perelstein

Video Designer
Jorge Cousineau

Music Director
Ryan Touhey

Associate Music Director/Conductor
Amanda Morton

Choreographer
Niki Cousineau

Stage Manager
Alec E. Ferrell


SPECIAL EVENTS and PERFORMANCES

A Pay What You Can performance on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 benefits Old City District.

Post-show discussions will be held following performances on Thursday, June 4 at 8pm, Sunday, June 7 at 2pm, Wednesday, June 10 at 6:30pm, Wednesday, June 17 at 6:30pm, and Sunday, June 21 at 2pm.

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, June 19 at 8pm and Saturday, June 20 at 2pm. Reservations are required for accessible seating and may be made by calling the Arden’s Box Office at 215.922.1122.

Made possible by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, Teen Arden hosts Teen Night on Sunday, March 22 at 2pm. $10 tickets include a pre-show party and a post-show meet and greet with members of the creative team and cast. Buy tickets at http://www.ardentheatre.org/tickets/teenarden.html  or call 215.922.1122.

Remaining shows in the Arden’s 2014/15 Season include:
The Jungle Book, A world premiere by Greg Banks – April 15 – June 21, 2015
Passion, Book by James Lapine, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim – May 21 – June 28, 2015

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©2015 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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