Arden Cabaret Series Presents Tell Me A Story: ‘Tis The Season Curated by Hillary Rea and Featuring Arden Favorite Artists

November 18, 2016

Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10 at 8pm

(Philadelphia, PA) Arden Cabaret Series presents TELL ME A STORY: ‘TIS THE SEASON on December 9 and 10 at 8pm in the Arden’s 100-seat Studio Theatre at the Hamilton Family Arts Center, 62 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.

In TELL ME A STORY: ‘TIS THE SEASON, Arden artists that include favorites like Jen Childs and Bi Jean Ngo, will share tales and memories inspired by the holidays and underscored by music that will include traditional holiday carols as well as other styles.

Curator and host, Hillary Rea, is an award-winning storyteller and founder of Tell Me A Story. She will work with the performers (listed below), coaching them to tell personal stories from their own lives and experiences that center around the holidays. Rea is a New York City Moth storyslam winner and performs and teaches locally.

Arden Associate Artistic Director, Matthew Decker, says “We are thrilled that Hillary is bringing her work with Tell Me A Story here to the Arden to work with our artists. She specializes in helping artists find an authentic voice, and creates a special feeling in the room. It’s exciting when you watch an artist being truthful and Hillary is an expert at bringing that out of people. A great example of this kind of work in action is Garrison Keillor or This American Life’s Ira Glass.”

He adds, “Whereas traditional cabarets are a selection of songs with a bit of banter, this evening is more storytelling with a few songs and carols and musical underscoring. We still accomplish our goal of offering a unique and intimate conversation with Arden artists, and to see a side to them we perhaps have not seen before.”

Participating artists include:

Hillary Rea (Curator and host) is an award-winning storyteller and founder of Tell Me A Story. She is the host of Fibber and Tell Me A Story’s live show. Hillary is a New York City Moth StorySlam winner and has performed her stories since 2009. Past shows include How I Learned Series, Story Collider, The Soundtrack Series, Real Characters, Speakeasy DC and more. Hillary is a 2016 Independence Foundation Fellow in the Arts and was a 2011 Artist-in-Residence for Elsewhere Artist Collaborative in Greensboro, NC.

Barbara Browne (Piano) Barbara teaches piano at Cabrini College, coaches and accompanies voice students as staff pianist at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and plays for opera and music theatre productions including those of The Savoy Company of Philadelphia. In 2015 she joined the faculty of the Luzerne Music Center as piano instructor and collaborative pianist. She plays solo at live music venues and coordinates the Fine Arts Concert Series at Cabrini. A Conservatory Dean’s Talent Award winner at Oberlin Conservatory, she earned a degree in English and studied piano with Robert McDonald.

Jen Childs is the Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director of 1812 Productions. For 1812 she has created over twenty original works of comedic theater including the popular This is the Week That Is political shows and the currently running holiday musical, The Carols. Her recent solo show, I Will Not Go Gently, earned her a Barrymore Award for Leading Actress in a Musical.

Valerie DiMambro: Valerie DiMambro has been performing in the New York and Philadelphia regions since 2006. She is an autobiographical comedian and storyteller – using her own personal shortcomings and triumphs to get this party started. She is the two-time winner of the Moth Story Slam – Chicago.

Nisse Greenberg is an educator and storyteller who teaches for The Moth and produces the Story Collider. He is also very interested in doing creative work in busy places. He likes the bustle. He’s the creator of innovative storytelling shows like Bad Feelings, Drawn Out, and VHS Presents and has been featured on Mortified!, The Liar Show, Soundtrack Series, and lots of others. He’s very uncomfortable writing this. He wants you to think he’s good before he is in front of you because then it’s easier for him. Right now he is working on his second solo show “Nisse Greenberg’s An #Adult.” Check out his playground at

Bi Jean Ngo is an actress and educator in Philly. She’s appeared onstage at Arden, InterAct, Walnut Street, Lantern, and 1812 Productions and is the recent recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award for an emerging Philadelphia theatre artist. Bi is the Creative Director of Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists. She is a current TCG Fox Fellow with host company, Lantern Theater Co.

Cathy Simpson has been a company member of the People’s Light Theatre Co. for more than 20 years, and a member of the “Freedom Rising” Company at the National Constitution Center for nearly 10 years. She has worked at Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philly Shakes, Hedgerow Theatre, the Arden, The Wilma, Flashpoint Theatre and Theatre Horizon. Her regional credits include, Arena Stage, The Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, Source Theatre, Wooly Mammoth, Olney Theatre Center, Theatre of the First Amendment, St. Louis Black Rep, St. Louis Rep, Indiana Repertory Theatre and a debut with Revolution Shakespeare. Cathy is a two time Helen Hayes Nominee, a three time Barrymore nominee and a Barrymore Award winner for the Freedom Theatre production of The Old Settler, a Kevin Kline winner for the St. Louis Black Rep production of, A Song for Coretta and the Excellent Performer Award for world competition in Toyama Japan. Cathy also has numerous film, television and radio credits.

Bradley Wrenn is an actor, producer and writer based in Philadelphia. He is co-artistic director of The Berserker Residents. His work has been presented at the Abraham’s Art Center, The San Francisco Mime Troupe and The Annenberg Center. As an actor in Philadelphia he has performed with: Mum PuppetTheatre, Enchantment Theater Company, Theater Horizon, Shakespeare in Clark Park and Lantern Theater Co.

Tickets and Reservations

Premium tables are available for $200 and seat four patrons each. General admission table seating is also available for $30 per person. All seating is BYOB, and the Arden supplies complementary corking service and cups, upon request.

Theatre meals and light snacks are available for pre-purchase from Wedge and Fig for $15. Boxed meals can be picked up at the box office up to one hour before the show’s start time to be enjoyed before or during the show. Details here.

Arden donors and subscribers receive a $5 ticket discount. For tickets, call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, visit here or walk-up at the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.

Next up in the Arden Cabaret Series is Tell Me A Story: A Cabaret of Holiday Stories and Songs (December 9th and 10th), curated by Hillary Rea and featuring favorite Arden artists to share personal stories and songs about the holidays. Mary Martello performs February 17th and 18th and Ben Dibble performs March 17th and 18th.

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 331 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.

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