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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!

In honor of the poetry in At the Old Place, >cure and our recent 25th Anniversary Season, we’re going to share a few poems submitted by audience members in response to A Little Night Music.

By Jeanne Cummings-Flanagan

mom and dad
dirt poor
lay hands in dirt
planted  a seed
grew me
showered me
to learn
to laugh
to cry
to triumph
potted me
and took me
to first show
a theatre bud
a theatre tree
can’t get enough
of the great white way
the avenue of the arts
like a tree
needs sun
and water
the darkness is
waiting for
the sun
the stage lights
rain on me
until another season


In honor of the poetry in At the Old Place, >generic and our recent 25th Anniversary Season, we’re going to share a few poems submitted by audience members in response to A Little Night Music. 

True Love
By Amanda Shaffern

I sit here waiting,
waiting for my love.
Seeing my chances fading
as a stare at the skies above.

Will he ever come?
I think peacefully in my mind.
Heart is beating like a drum.
Is it my true love that I’ll find?

Time is getting close to night
while waiting patiently by the tree.
My head is putting up a fight,
but I say to myself this could be.

Time passing by,
slow but oh so fast.
Trying not to cry
realizing this might be my last.

In your life you have a lot to lose,
making decisions that are wary.
But, you never really choose
which is what makes life scary

You have one true love
you can never let go,
or you’ll end in front of
a childhood tree waiting in woe.

In honor of the poetry in At the Old Place, and our recent 25th Anniversary Season, >for sale we’re going to share a few poems submitted by audience members in response to A Little Night Music. 

By Alice Gallagher 

New again
What to say?
Remember to smile
Memorize the rhythms
Be your best
Long halls, long hours, till I’m home and safe

I am known
How strange
Admiring glances disguised as something else
He is masterful here
I am safe
I will reveal myself, my shame

You are brown and tweedy—bearded
Your eyes –sad
Your body sags
Your brain –powerful, alluring
Navigating surely—easily
You invite me—now

I am small—uncertain, wooden
What draws you in?
The paint? The sails that let me soar and sweep?
Your bulk impenetrable, unmovable
You exist in a world of duty.
Free from anchors,
I submit to my whims—now.

And soon you go back to the work and money
And I call to you, “Now!”
But there are calls –meetings
Country clubs and weekends away
Graduations, weddings
And you say, soon

Wee offerings and hope
Against tempests and turmoil
Isolation and lonesomness
And I say, “Now”
Again you leave
Parties and meetings
Renovations and trips
Illness and anxieties
And you say soon

And I cry as my heart is laid bare
And I steel myself against the pain
And I tell myself no more
It’s over Now
And you say stay with me
And you reach out for my hand
You cling and you haggle
You promise—Soon

So many years and I start to enjoy this game
You lost in a world that offers me nothing
And all along there is stillness and starlight in solitude
I drift away
And you say, “Now!”
And I say, later my love

By Courtney Riggar, Production Manager

As you may have seen the costumes for A Little Night Music are quite exquisite.  They are the from the genius brain of Rosemarie McKelvey, a costume designer local to Philly who works with us quite a bit.  Perhaps you last saw Rosemarie’s handiwork in our production of Cinderella this past winter.  Early in design meetings Terry made a point of saying “Rosemarie knows how to make everyone look just so sexy.”  A Little Night Music is proof positive of that.

The Quintet of A Little Night Music

Karen Peakes and Countess Charlotte Malcolm and Patti-Lee Meringo as Ann Egerman

Grace Gonglewski as Desiree Armfeldt


We’re not the only ones who have taken notice of Rosemarie’s talent.  She was recently asked to participate in an exhibit at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas.  The McNay Art Museum houses the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, which is one of the most comprehensive collections of Theatre History materials in the world dating back to 1600.  They were putting together an exhibit called Songs of Social Significance and they were particularly taken with Rosemarie’s designs for our production of The Threepenny Opera.  For the exhibit, they displayed Rosemarie’s sketches along with a few of our complete costumes.  It was a great honor for both Rosemarie and The Arden to be included in this exhibit.  Check it out.


You’ll see Rosemarie’s work here again next year in Parade, and I’m sure in many more productions to come.

Stephen Sondheim has influenced a generation of theatre artists and audience members. But who influenced Sondheim? He credits his mentor Oscar Hammerstein, saying that one legend of musical theatre passed the torch to another.

Sally Mercer as Madame Armfeldt. Photo by Mark Garvin

In A Little Night Music, each character holds onto memories of a person that influenced them. Whether a distant memory of a liaison for Madame Armfeldt, the rekindling of an old flame for Desiree, or discovering love for the first time like Anne – each person is molded by the people they meet, carrying those memories with them.


We want you, our audience, to share with us who has influenced you. What experience or memory has stayed with you, making you the person you are today?

Share this story with us in the form of a poem, play, story, painting, video or song – it is a Sondheim show after all, so we encourage all art forms!

  • Email your contribution to (Videos should be sent as links to content hosted online. No attachment should exceed 5MB).
  • Submit your response by Monday, July 1 at midnight.
  • Members of the Arden staff will then select 10 finalists to be featured on the Arden blog. These finalists will be open for voting by leaving a comment on the entry here on this blog or on the Arden’s Facebook page.
  • We will announce the winner by July 17, 2013.
  • 1 Grand Prize – A prize package valued at $100, plus and an invitation for two to opening night of Parade next season
  • 2 Runners Up – A prize package valued at $50 and two tickets to the run of Parade
  • All 10 Finalists will receive 2 tickets to Parade in our 2013-14 Season


Happy Creating!


The Arden reserves the right to post, share, and publicize all entries with proper credit to the creator.

On May 8th, capsule >help Terry Nolen had the rare opportunity to interview Tony and Pulitzer prize winning lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington. Prior to the interview, >medical select Arden supporters were invited to an exclusive ‘meet and greet’ reception with Mr. Sondheim. The interview precedes the Arden’s production of A Little Night Music, which marks the 12th Sondheim musical to be produced on our stages.

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