August 3, 2016
(Philadelphia, PA) Arden Theatre Company opens its 29th season with Aaron Posner’s STUPID FUCKING BIRD, “sort of” adapted from Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. Posner, an Arden co-founder and former Artistic Director who has directed nearly 40 productions for the company, also directs his show for the first time. STUPID FUCKING BIRD runs September 15 through October 16, 2016, on the F. Otto Haas Stage at 40 N. 2nd Street in Philadelphia.
Called “The best Chekhov adaptation in two decades” by LA Weekly, STUPID FUCKING BIRD is an irreverent, contemporary, and very funny remix of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, whose missed opportunities, feelings of unrequited love and misplaced dreams are now set squarely in the bustle of 21st century life.
STUPID FUCKING BIRD was a finalist for The Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Critics Association New Play Award and the winner of the 2014 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play. Critically acclaimed from coast to coast, it was named by American Theatre Magazine as one of the Top 10 Most-Produced Plays of the 2015/16 Theatre Season. Plans to produce it internationally in Australia, Argentina and Sweden are underway.
Arden Producing Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen says, “We’re thrilled to be producing the Philadelphia premiere of STUPID FUCKING BIRD, and are especially delighted to have Aaron back to direct it. One of the reasons this play has been celebrated is that it captures so much of what is extraordinary about Chekhov, but through Aaron’s very unique perspective.”
Posner has adapted more than 13 works for the stage, many of which he premiered at the Arden. He self-describes this play to be a “sort of” adaptation.
He says, “After writing the adaptations that I started doing at the Arden like The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev, STUPID FUCKING BIRD was my first time writing something much more original. There are no lines from Chekhov. My goal is not to serve Chekhov, but to use his work as my playground. In this case, the playground he stakes out is the tricky, human, day-to-day shit of life. Not being loved by the right person, hard family dynamics, everything he writes about are issues that go deep and wide for everyone, and are ones that I have strong connections to and feelings about.”
He adds, “I’m excited to direct this show for the first time at the Arden, my artistic home. I wrote the role of Emma with actress Grace Gonglewski in mind, so the opportunity to direct it with Grace is very gratifying.”
STUPID FUCKING BIRD is the first of three Chekhov re-imaginings Posner has written. His LIFE SUCKS (Uncle Vanya) premiered at Theater J in Washington, D.C. in January, 2015, and will also be running at Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago this Fall, and his NO SISTERS (Three Sisters) will premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., in March, 2017. Another of his loose adaptations, DISTRICT MERCHANTS (William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice), will run at South Coast Repertory in Orange County this Fall.
Other Posner adaptations include Who Am I This Time? & Other Conundrums of Love (adapted from Kurt Vonnegut short stories), The Chosen and My Name Is Asher Lev (adapted from the Chaim Potok novels, both of which premiered at the Arden and have gone on to more than 100 combined professional productions in the US, Canada, Australia and elsewhere...), Sometimes a Great Notion (adapted from Ken Kesey), a nine-actor Cyrano (with Arden favorite Michael Hollinger), a musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s A Murder, A Mystery and A Marriage (with Arden favorite James Sugg), and The Tempest and Macbeth (both with Teller of Penn & Teller).
Posner has won numerous awards as both director and playwright including two Barrymore Awards, five Helen Hayes Awards, an Outer Circle Critics Award, The John Gassner Prize, An Eliot Norton Award, A Bay Area Theatre Critics Award and more. He has directed at major regional theaters from coast to coast. Posner is currently an Artistic Associate at Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C.
The cast includes Cindy De La Cruz, Grace Gonglewski, Dan Hodge, Alex Keiper, Karl Miller, Reynaldo Piniella and Greg Wood.
Schedule and Tickets
STUPID FUCKING BIRD begins previews on Thursday, September 15, 2016, opens to the press on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, and runs through Sunday, October 16, 2016. A Pay What You Can performance takes place on Wednesday, September 14th. The Opening Night sponsor is Harmelin Media; reception sponsors include Lagunitas Brewing Company.
Single tickets go on sale August 15, 2016. Ticket prices are $36-$52, with discounts available for groups of 15 or more, seniors, students, military, and educators. Visit www.ardentheatre.org, call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, or visit the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.
Special Events and Performances
Post-show discussions will be held following performances on Thursday, September 29 at 8pm, Sunday, October 2 at 2pm, Wednesday, October 5 at 6:30pm, Sunday, October 29 at 2pm and Wednesday, October 12 at 6:30pm.
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, October 7 at 8pm and Saturday, October 8 at 2pm. Reservations are required for accessible seating and may be made by calling the Arden’s Box Office at 215.922.1122.
About the Arden
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 63 awards and 307 nominations from the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. The Arden is a winner of four “Theatre Company of the Year” designations (Philadelphia Inquirer), six 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.
STUPID FUCKING BIRD
Written and Directed by Aaron Posner
With Original Songs by James Sugg
“sort of” adapted from The Seagull, By Anton Chekhov
In this irreverent, contemporary, and very funny remix of The Seagull, Arden co-founder Aaron Posner scoops up Chekhov’s tale of unrequited love, missed opportunities, and misplaced dreams and sets it down squarely in the bustle of 21st century life. This new play has been showered with awards and critical acclaim and is one of the most produced plays in the country – now it comes to Philadelphia.
Arden Theatre Company
40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia 19106
F. Otto Haas Stage
September 15 – October 16, 2016
Press Opening: Wednesday, September 21, 2016
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)
Emma Grace Gonglewski
Doyle Trigorin Karl Miller
Con Aubie Merrylees
Nina Cindy De La Cruz
Sorn Greg Wood
Dev Dan Hodge
Mash Alex Keiper
Author and Director
Remaining shows in the Arden’s 2016/17 Season include:
The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew Lopez, October 13 – December 4, 201
A Year With Frog and Toad, Music by Robert Reale, Book & Lyrics by Willie Reale, November 23, 2016 – February 5, 2017
John by Annie Baker, January 12 – February 26, 2017
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, March 2 – April 9, 2017
The Light Princess, Adapted by Tony Lawton from the story by George MacDonald, Music by Alex Bechtel, April 5 – June 28, 2017
Gypsy by Arthur Laurents, Music by Jule Styne, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, May 18 – June 25, 2017
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