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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!

On June 9, members of the Sylvan Society gathered for an exclusive backstage tour, >pharm led by members of the Arden’s Production staff.  They began with a tour of the Robin Hood set – learning what the green mulch is made from, >click and how the arrows miraculously appear onstage during the show.  They made their way down to the Haas for a tour of the Tulipomania set, including a rare opportunity to learn how to make it rain onstage.  The evening commenced in a fun barbeque at the Arden’s Scene Shop located off Cuthbert Street.  Sitting amongst power saws and old set pieces, they enjoyed hot dogs, burgers and even a surprise birthday cake!


Our all around Intern Fen is back with Part II of this exciting Backstage Access of Robin Hood!


By Angela DuRoss, Development Director

On Wednesday, May 30th, we opened our final show of the season, Tulipomania: The Musical.  Arden board member Lynn Haskin and her husband Don hosted a Sylvan Society cocktail party before the show at their home in the Moravian.  Guests then headed over to the theatre for the 7pm curtain.  President and CEO of Fox Chase Bank, Tom Petro, joined Terry Nolen and Amy Murphy for a few remarks prior to the show.  Tulipomania: The Musical is the fifth show for which Fox Chase Bank has served as the Production Sponsor.  The show opened to a full and enthusiastic house.  Afterwards, guests enjoyed the company of the cast and Arden friends for a post-show reception with tasty bites from 12th Street Catering and libations courtesy of Hatboro Beverage.

Here are some photos from the evening!


Our all around intern Fen went Behind the Scenes of Robin Hood in Episode Three of The Fen Show. Check it out!

by Catherine Logan, >look Marketing Assistant

I have always told people if I didn’t work in the theatre, my dream job would be a food critic. Philadelphia is known for being such a “foodie town”, and I am so proud to be part of a culture that is known for super pretzels, whiz wit cheesesteaks, and now recently – milkshakes!

I have lived in Center City for three years, and every summer I look forward to burgers and milkshakes at Square Burger in Franklin Square. Not only can you get a Tastykake Milkshake (oh yes it’s real), you can enjoy a “Shake of the Month” which is a different yummy concotion every month. It has always been my dream to design a “Shake of the Month” at Square Burger, little did I know that my dreams would come true!

Through a partnership with Historic Philadelphia and Arden Theatre Company, I was able to create the “Sherwood Forest Very Berry Shake” in honor of our Children’s Theatre Production Robin Hood. This yummy shake is made with Vanilla Ice Cream, Strawberries and Blueberries. Better run out and get it now as it is only here for the month of May!

Here are some photos of the Robin Hood Cast and Crew grabbing a burger and shake!

By Megan Staples, Development Assistant

The Arden happily celebrated the opening night of Robin Hood on Saturday, April 28th by turning the lobby into our own Sherwood Forest! We welcomed community partners Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and its Plant One Million booth, Ricochets Gymnastics Club lead our child guests through a tumbling obstacle course, and Historic Philadelphia came as well to help spread the word about Franklin Square and Square Burger’s Sherwood Forest Very Berry Shake (on sale through the month of May!). Arden staff helped the kids transform into merrymen with crafts and face painting! Then, our competitive guests moved on to the bow and arrow competition in the upstairs lobby. Kid-friendly food and beverages were provided by 12th Street Catering and Hatboro Beverages. After the show, families enjoyed green apple sorbet over vanilla ice cream topped with caramel sauce, courtesy of The Franklin Fountain.

Here are some photos from the evening:

By Angela DuRoss, Development Director

Our 2012 fundraising event, the Arden Spring Gala, took place on Saturday, April 21. Over 100 guests gathered at The Rittenhouse Hotel to honor the inaugural members of the Cornerstone Society: Frederick W. Anton, III, Gerard J. Conway, Sr., Carole Haas Gravagno, and Aaron Posner. These four individuals have been part of the Arden’s story since its founding twenty-four years ago, and their support, connections, contributions, wisdom and guidance have helped us to become the theatre company we are today.


The evening began with cocktails and a silent auction in the swank Cassatt Lounge of the Rittenhouse. Guests then moved upstairs to the ballroom for dinner, where Alex Keiper opened the evening with a spirited rendition of “Life of the Party” from Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party. Throughout the evening, Amy Murphy and Terry Nolen individually recognized each honoree with great stories of their history with the Arden, as well as fond memories.  Each honoree received a hand-crafted paperweight, modeled after the Arden marquee.   Harkening back to the early days of the Arden, Anne Robinson sang “Song for Old Lovers” from Jacques Brel is Alive and Well, and John Stovicek sang “The Mason” from Working.


The evening could not have been possible without our generous sponsors Harmelin Media, the Independence Foundation, and Karr Barth Associates and Charles and Dr. Mindy Goldberg Rose. Special thanks to Special Events Chair Ronna Hall and the entire Board of Directors for their support as well.  The gala grossed over $89,000 in support of the Arden’s programming.

Here are some photos of the Spring Gala:



by Kristina Chadwick, Charge Scenic Artist


Have you ever sat in math class wondering, “When am I ever going to use this?” Well, if you’re a Scenic Artist painting the set for a show like Robin Hood at the Arden, you’re going to have to do your math.

The painted tubes ready to go on the set.

The set for Robin Hood, which takes place in the Arcadia Theatre, is surrounded by an abstract forest comprised of many cardboard tubes, metal poles and pieces of lumber of varying diameters and widths. These tubes and boards line the walls of the Arcadia – all at a height of 14 feet from floor to ceiling – and also hang horizontally from the ceiling in a canopy of abstract branches. Additionally, the structure at the center of the set is made of steel poles. All of these tubes, poles, and boards are painted various shades of green from a bright lime color to an almost-black forest green.

(If you were to take every section of steel pole, every cardboard tube and every piece of painted lumber that decorates the stage, and then line them up end to end, they would stretch over a mile in length!)

Our Technical Director Glenn Perlman.

When preparing for a show like this one, you must know how much paint you will need to use. A good starting point is to figure the amount of square footage that needs to be covered by each type/color of paint that you need. Our Technical Director, Glenn Perlman, ordered a total of 300 cardboard tubes of varying diameters from 2 inches to 8 inches, all 14 feet in length. To find the square footage of each tube’s surface you must first find the circumference then multiply it by the length. The equation 2 x Radius x Pi (approx. 3.14) gives you the circumference. A 6-inch diameter tube would have the circumference of approximately 18.84 inches, or 1.57 feet. At a length of 14 feet with a circumference of 1.57 feet, each 6-inch diameter tube would have 21.98 square feet of surface area. There are 19 tubes of 6-inch diameter in the set for Robin Hood, meaning the total square footage of the 6-inch tubes was 417.62. One gallon of paint covers roughly 400 square feet; therefore you would need a little more than 1 gallon of paint for those 19 tubes. Similar calculations were made for the other diameters of cardboard tubes (2, 3, 4 and 8 inches), and for the various pieces of lumber and the steel pipes. 

That's Me! Starting to paint the one of many trees.

Overall, we used nearly 10 gallons of paint for the set of Robin Hood, filling the Arcadia space with almost 4,000 square feet of green!  That’s 1,000 square feet larger than a regulation Little League infield.

When you see the show, we hope you will feel inspired by the atmosphere and math all around you!!!

by Madame Elizabeth Kohl, Honors French Teacher, Council Rock High School South, Bucks County, PA

Counncil Rock High School South's French Honors III Class outside Arden Theatre Company

What a superb Cyrano!

My French classes loved the energy of the play and were abuzz today sharing their impressions of the actors…describing the drunk, the nurse, Roxane, her nanny , Christian, Montfleury, De Guiche, the narrator’s deep voice, and of course Cyrano’s illustrious panache surrounded by his valiant Gascons! We loved the words, the song, the pace  and the vivid retelling of the classic French story! We study it in French III Honors… so you see…Cyrano means a lot to us!

Merci beaucoup!

Merci mille fois to the amazing cast and crew and the Arden’s organization. We will be back and please do send us the program every year! Bien amicalement!

-Madame Elizabeth Kohl

Arden Theatre Company’s next First Friday event will be TONIGHT – Friday April 6, 2012 5:30-8:00pm. The event will include:

A First Friday crowd enjoying their free beer and performance in our Independence Foundation Studio

  • Performances from “Tell Me A Story” hosted by former APA Hillary Rea. Local actors and storytellers will reveal true stories based on a theme. Secrets are spilled, >discount confessions blurted, and memories shared. Plus one lucky audience member becomes the Wild Card Storyteller, who will tell a tale connected to the evening’s theme.
  • Cyrano-inspired flash duels from Fencing Academy of Philadelphia
  • FREE BEER from Boxcar Brewing Company (one per person, 21+ with ID)
  • Raffle to win tickets to The Scene on Friday May 25, 2012 for Tulipomania: the musical.

Students can buy $5 Tickets to CYRANO with their student ID 5 minutes before showtime at 8:00pm. Limit one per ID, subject to availability.


Stop by and enjoy a free brew on us and an exciting performance you don’t want to miss!

Don’t have any plans for the rest of the evening? Stay and enjoy the 8:00pm performance of our romantic, modern adaptation of Cyrano. This is probably your last chance to see what Philadelphia Weekly calls, “the rare production that will satisfy any theatergoer.”

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