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2015/16 Press Releases
Arden Children's Theatre presents
Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates
A World Premiere by Laura Eason
Based on the book by Mary Mapes Dodge
Directed by Whit MacLaughlin
On the F. Otto Haas Stage
November 24, 2015 – January 31, 2016
October 21, 2015

(Philadelphia, PA) Arden Children's Theatre presents the World Premiere of HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES by playwright, director and screenwriter Laura Eason and adapted from the novel by Mary Mapes Dodge. The first of two Children’s Theatre offerings during the 2015/16 Season, HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES runs from November 24, 2015 – January 31, 2016, on the Arden’s F. Otto Haas stage at 40 N. 2nd Street in Philadelphia.

A great skating contest is announced, and the winner will receive a shiny pair of silver skates. But will Hans Brinker and his sister Gretel, with their hand-carved wooden skates, be able to compete against children who own fine steel blades? Set against a backdrop of frozen canals in 19th century Holland, this new production celebrates the importance of grit and determination, the value of generosity, and the thrill of flying down the ice on a pair of skates.

Laura Eason is a playwright with a growing national and international reputation with over 20 full-length plays to her name (both original works and adaptations.) She is also a musical theatre book writer. Her show Sex With Strangers was produced in 2014 by Second Stage Theater in New York City, and has become a regional hit with twelve scheduled productions around the country during the 15/16 Season. As a screenwriter, Eason writes for the Emmy Award-winning TV series House of Cards, and is the show’s Executive Story Editor on season four. Ms. Eason’s notable works for family audiences include Around the World In 80 Days and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. She is an Ensemble Member and former Artistic Director of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre.

Arden Producing Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen says, “Arden Children's Theatre is dedicated to creating world class theatre for kids. We commissioned Laura to write HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES because we want our most exciting playwrights to be writing work for kids. Good writers can write for many mediums, and Laura’s breadth of experience is exemplary of that.”

The story of HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES originates from the 1865 novel by Mary Mapes Dodge. It has been adapted through the years into a 1962 made-for-television Disney film, a 1969 NBC made-for-television musical film, and a 1998 very loose modern homage called Brink, a made–for-television Disney Channel Film.

In the heartwarming tale of HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES, audience members will be transported to 19th Century Holland, a world of windmills and sheets of ice. The culmination is the thrilling race for the coveted silver skates. Live, original music by harpist/violinist Jay Ansill will accompany the skating sequences, creating a magical effect to delight audience members of all ages.

Adds Nolen, “We went back and forth with Laura when deciding what to adapt. There was a Dickensian quality to the story of HANS BRINKER that we were attracted to. The Brinker family struggles with poverty and yet both Hans and Gretel, the lead characters, remain hopeful and openhearted despite their situation. The setting of the story – a world where people travel on skates - and the thrill of the build to a great race is what solidified our choice.”

Ms. Eason says, “I am excited to be working on this project at the Arden Theatre Company and with Director, Whit MacLaughlin. We are all very likeminded in that we approach plays for family audiences the way we approach work on any other project. We bring our full arsenal of theatrical tools. Whit is a theatrical visionary, and I am honored to have someone with his ingenuity and skill to help bring this story to life.”

The ensemble cast features Rachel Camp, Lauren Hirte, Ciji Prosser, Brian Ratcliffe, Matteo Scammell, Ed Swidey and Steven A. Wright.

HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES was commissioned and developed under the auspices of the Arden’s Independence Foundation New Play program. The Arden is excited to be working in partnership with the Delaware River Waterfront and Blue Cross Riverrink.



Schedule and Events
Previews of HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES begin on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 and continue through Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 12noon. The show opens on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 7pm and runs through Sunday, January 31, 2016. Opening Night Sponsors are Franklin Fountain and JPM Catering. The production sponsor is PECO.

HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES includes weekday matinee performances for students and weekend performances for families. Single ticket prices are $20 - $36, with discounts available for groups of 20 or more, seniors, students, military, and educators. Arden Children’s Theatre 2-play subscriptions are available for $26 - $50. Call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, visit www.ardentheatre.org, or walk-up at the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.

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 62 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.



LISTINGS EDITORS:

WHAT:
HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES
A World Premiere by Laura Eason
Based on the book by Mary Mapes Dodge
Directed by Whit MacLaughlin
November 24, 2015 – January 31, 2016
Press Opening: Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 7pm
F. Otto Haas Stage

SUMMARY:
A great skating contest is announced, and the winner will receive a shiny pair of silver skates. But will Hans Brinker and his sister Gretel, with their hand-carved wooden skates, be able to compete against children who own fine steel blades? Set against a backdrop of frozen canals in 19th century Holland, this new production celebrates the importance of grit and determination, the value of generosity, and the thrill of flying down the ice on a pair of skates.

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

WHEN:
October 22 – December 13, 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
$20 - $36 depending on age and the performance chosen
Group discounts available for 20+
Student Rush tickets at the door 30 minutes before curtain for $10 cash, pending availability (must present valid student ID)

CAST:
Rachel Camp - Dame Brinker/Katrinka Vos Lauren Hirte - Gretel Brinker Ciji Prosser - Heidi van Gleck Brian Ratcliffe - Hans Brinker Matteo Scammell - Peter von Holp/Vollenhoven Ed Swidey - Brinker/Announcer Steven A. Wright - Doctor Boekman/Carl Voost

ARTISTIC TEAM:

Director
Whit MacLaughlin

Scenic Designer
David Gordon

Costume Designer
Rosemarie E. McKelvey

Lighting Designer
Thom Weaver

Sound Designer/Composer
Lindsay Jones


SPECIAL EVENTS and PERFORMANCES
Post-show question and answer sessions follow each performance. Audience members can also meet and greet cast members in the lobby following each performance.

The Arden is wheelchair accessible and provides assisted listening devices and large-print programs at every performance. ASL shadow interpreted performances by Hands Up will take place on Friday, January 15 at 10am and Saturday, January 16 at 4pm. Reservations are required for accessible seating and can be made through the Arden’s Box Office at 215.922.1122.

Remaining shows in the Arden’s 2014/15 Season include:
Funnyman, a World Premiere by Bruce Graham – January 14 – March 6, 2016
Two Trains Running by August Wilson – March 10 – April 10, 2016
The Stinky Cheese Man, Based on the book by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith – April 6 – June 12, 2016
The Secret Garden, Book and Lyrics by Marsha Norman, Music by Lucy Simon – May 12 – June 19, 2016
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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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