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Welcome to the Arden Theatre Company blog, where we share behind-the-scenes stories and current happenings with you. You will hear from the Arden staff as well as actors and other visiting artists, and we hope to hear from you, too. If you have an idea for a topic, please post a comment about it. We can't wait to hear what you think!

By: Emily Poworoznek, Marketing Intern

It’s our intern Fen’s birthday! What better way to celebrate then with episode 2 of The Fen Show! In this episode, Fen goes behind the scenes in the Haas Theatre, the green room and the rehearsal hall. Check it out:

Playwright Rogelio Martinez on the set of our 2011 Season Production of “Wanamaker’s Pursuit”

In conjunction with the March 27th international celebration of World Theatre Day, Rogelio Martinez, playwright of last season’s Wanamaker’s Pursuit, weighs in on the state of theatre today:

THE CRY OF AN ANGRY CHILD

It’s 3:00 in the morning and I can hear my four month old crying in her room. She’s hungry. Never mind that she ate two hours ago, she’s hungry now. She’s hungry and she’s letting us know. Afterwards I lie awake wondering what it must be like to have such strong needs. Surprisingly enough, this leads me to thinking about theatre today, and its struggle to survive.

Many believe that it’s long past the dawn of theatre. Some would argue that we’ve reached night and it’s lights out for everyone involved. However, the optimist in me believes we may be nearing another dawn. There’s no doubt that theater today is fighting for relevance. Today the cries our profession makes have never been sharper, louder. Like a child awake in the middle of the night, theatre can’t exist on its own. Secretary of State Clinton made famous an African proverb in her book, It Takes A Village. In today’s world, it is going to take more than a village to give theatre a new dawn. In fact, it is going to take a new attitude.

The new attitude I speak of has to do with understanding and embracing the basics of theatre. Theatre happens when the ideas of a few clash with the beliefs and sentiments of many. It is in that magical space between creator and audience where theatre happens. Unlike any other art form, theater needs an audience to come alive. Good theater unifies an audience early on. In other words, an audience of 5, 50, 250 suddenly finds that they are one. For two hours (shorter, longer) good theatre makes an audience whole. The power an audience feels when they’re united is exhilarating. It is inspiring. Theatre reminds audiences that at heart we are all social creatures.

Theatre’s uniqueness is what will guarantee it a new dawn. Technology is constantly helping us find new ways to be entertained, to engage the world around us. Alone. The price we pay for all this great technology is our relationship with others. Good theater continues to remind us that we are part of a larger whole. For theater to exist there must be at least two people in the audience collectively working as one.

What is theatre’s angry cry but the cry for us not to distance ourselves from others.

Rogelio

This morning CBS Philly’s Lindsey Lewis named the Top Upcoming Local Philadelphia Actors to look for this season. Among them were Arden Theatre Company alum Steve Pacek, Alex Keiper and Krista Apple!

Steve Pacek as Reverend Jim with Julia Gibson in our 2012 Production of "Clybourne Park".

Steve Pacek has been seen in many wonderful Arden productions such as James Joyce’s The Dead, Pacific Overtures, Franklin’s Apprentice, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie (Barrymore nomination), The Borrowers, and most recently Clybourne Park. We are so excited to have him back in the spring where he will be playing multiple roles in our next Children’s Theatre production of Robin Hood.

Alex Keiper as the Cannibal Princess in the 2011 Children's Theatre Production of "Flea and the Professor".

Alex Keiper was last seen on our stage  in the 2011 Children’s Theatre production of The Flea and the Professor. Her feisty portrayal of the Cannibal Princess earned her a Barrymore Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical. She will back this May for Arden’s upcoming new musical Tulipomania with Jeffrey Coon, Ben Dibble, and Joliet F. Harris. Alex is also a member of the Arden Theatre Drama School Faculty, and she will be teaching our Acting and Musical Theatre classes on Saturdays now until May 15!

Krista Apple as Lady Montague with Frank X as Lord Montague in our 2010 Production of "Romeo and Juliet

Krista Apple first made her Arden debut in the 2008 production of Our Town In Old City. She was later in seen as Lady Montague/Balthasar in our recent production of Romeo and Juliet. When she is not busy acting, Krista is a writer for both American Theatre magazine and The Phiadelphia Theatre Initiative. Krista is also a fantastic teaching artist and will be teaching our Arden Drama School Teens this spring for an One Day Acting Worksop.

By: Emily Poworoznek, >sickness Marketing Intern

In this episode, Fen gives a behind the scenes look at the set of Cyrano. Featuring interviews with Glenn Perlman and Martin Stutzman.

Eric Hissom as the title character in "Cyrano" running now through April 15, 2012.

by Catherine Logan, Marketing Assistant

It is no secret here at Arden Theatre Company how much I love the story of Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. I knew that once I heard the announcement of our 2011-12 Season, Cyrano Translated and Adaptated by Michel Hollinger and Aaron Posner would be my favorite production this year. This classic story of unrequited love, beautiful daring poetry, and exciting swordplay captured my heart at a very young age when I read Rostand’s famous work in Mr. Leventhal’s Honors English class in Middle School.

We have received an overwhelming amount of feedback for this production. Here is what some of our audiences have to say:

 
We loved Cyrano. What a great adaptation and what great acting. You know what they say about a great show. Make them laugh, Make them cry and send them home happy. –Dennis, Havertown, PA
 
I was very very pleased with the play. Each character was wonderful and unique. The actor portraying Cyrano was magnificent.  Kudos to him. –Gail, Cherry Hill, NJ 
 
Wow! I attended with my husband and my daughter who is 9. Cyrano is a favorite story with all of us. We really, really enjoyed the show which prefectly captured the comedy and tragedy of the story. –Lhianna, Philadelphia, PA
 

Roxane (Jessica Cummings) falling in love with Christian (Luigi Sottille). Little Does she know it is Cyrano (Eric Hissom) who is teaching Christian how to woo her.

This is the third or fourth production of the play that I’ve seen, not counting reading Rostand in French and the various films.  They are all different.  Yours was probably the funniest. This is not a put-down of Eric Hissom, who did a terrific job in the lead, but usually the actor who plays Cyrano is a really good-looking fellow who just has a large nose, whereas in your production, Hissom looks more like an ordinary guy, proboscis or no, so he is more believable in the role. –Joan, Blackwood, NJ

 

I had come home for spring break from my college (University of Southern California) really craving a good night of theatre…and Cyrano was that and much more.…my only complaint about Cyrano was that it ended. –Zach, Philadelphia, PA
 

 

by Emily Poworoznek, Marketing Intern

Hello There,

This is my first official blog post on The Arden’s blog so I should probably introduce myself to the readers out there.

Roxane (Jessica Cummings) and Christian (Luigi Sottile) during the romantic balcony scene.

My name is Emily Poworoznek and I am the Marketing Intern here at Arden Theatre Company. I am currently a senior psychology major and theatre minor at Villanova University and loving every moment of my internship at the Arden.

As a student, I tend to be pretty careful about how I spend my money. I’m always looking for a great deal. Arden Theatre Company offers $5 student rush tickets if you arrive at the theatre 5 minutes before a show, subject to availability. Make sure you bring your student ID to the box office and tickets are limitied to one per ID. Students can come see quality regional theatre for $5! Such a great deal!

Eric Hissom as the title role of "Cyrano" running now until April 15, 2012.

The Arden’s production of Cyrano opened this past week and is already receiving great reviews. Check out this great article in The Philadelphia Inquirer by Theatre Critic Howard Shapiro! Put that Student ID to good use and don’t miss the opportunity to see the Arden’s adaptation of this romantic French classic.

By Angela DuRoss, look Development Director

Last evening was the opening night of Cyrano, a new adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner.  Sylvan Society members enjoyed a cocktail party prior to the performance at Ristorante Panorama, >clinic one of the Arden’s longtime Dining Partner restaurants.  Frederick W. Anton, III, honorary producer of the production, said a few words during the curtain speech.  The audience celebrated after the show, along with the cast and design team, with a delicious spread by 12th Street Catering and libations from Hatboro Beverage.

Here are some photos from the evening!

 

By Ed Sobel, >advice Arden’s Associate Artistic Director and Director of Clybourne Park

When Bruce Norris was a young boy growing up in Texas, he saw a production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and it had a deep impact on him.  He notes that, as a white child, he was provoked to see himself in the role of “oppressor”.  Some 40 years later, in response to those feelings, he wrote Clybourne Park, now running on our Arcadia stage. We thought it might be valuable to return to Norris’ inspiration, and so last night the Arden hosted a free reading of Hansberry’s play, performed by group of Philadelphia and New York actors and led by director Lee Kenneth Richardson.

The reading, which coincided with the 53rd anniversary of A Raisin in the Sun opening on Broadway, was attended by many who have seen Clybourne Park.  Even in this simple form, with actors at music stands and minimal rehearsal, the power of Hansberry’s storytelling and her ability to capture the complex relationships between her family of characters resonated with rich vibrancy.  Like Norris, Hansberry drew on personal experience when writing the play (her father moved their family into an all-white neighborhood when she was young, and the resulting court case went on to be adjudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court.) Hearing Raisin juxtaposed with Norris’ rendering of another side of the story literally just upstairs, added an additional charge.

Here are a few photos from the evening:

The Arden will present a full production of A Raisin in the Sun, under the guidance of long-time Arden collaborator Walter Dallas as part of our subscription season next Spring.  If last night’s reading is any indication, it promises to be a moving and rewarding experience.

by Catherine Logan, >here Marketing Assistant

A friendly First Friday audience watching the performance and enjoying their free beer from Boxcar Brewing Company.

My favorite event each month at Arden Theatre Company is “First Friday”. The first friday evening of each month, for sale Old City galleries and local businesses open their doors and welcome the neighborhood in to show new work, promote new and upcoming artists, enjoy a glass of wine, and listen to musicians play on the sidewalks.

Our next “First Friday” is March 2, 2012 5:30pm-8:00pm. We will be giving out FREE BEER from Boxcar Brewing Company (21+ While Supplies Last) in the lobby. We will be featuring Boxcar’s Winter Ale and IPA.

A view from the street look into the Independence Foundation Studio First Friday performance.

There will also be a short improv performance from The N Crowd 6:00pm-7:30pm. We are extremely excited about this group performing in our Independence Foundation Studio as one of the performers, Tara Demmy, is a former APA Class of 18.

We hope you will stop by to say hello, grab a free beer, and enjoy a laugh filled evening of improv!

©2009 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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