Running Numbers: Alison’s “Arden Top Ten”

March 30, 2011

 By: Jessica West, ambulance Associate Production Manager & Alison Roberts, Costume Supervisor

 After I figured out my “Arden Top 10”, I started to wonder how my list would differ from other long time staff members.  Would we have some of the same favorites?  I asked the Arden’s Costume Supervisor, Alison Roberts, to choose her “Arden Top 10”.  Alison and I both started the 2000-2001 Season.  I started as an Arden Professional Apprentice (Class 8 for all you alums out there) and Alison has held the Costume Supervisor position since 2000.  While my involvement with Arden productions has been in many different capacities over the years, she has built costumes for 70 Arden productions to date.  That’s a lot of clothing!  In her 10 ½ years at the Arden, she has only missed 2 productions (Loot and Winesburg, Ohio).  Those 2 absences must be excused though because they brought us Max Perlman, the intelligent and well spoken 5½ year old son of Alison and our Technical Director, Glenn Perlman.  A burgeoning artist in his own right, Max is one of our children’s theatre test audience members and his opinion is highly regarded here at the Arden as a young connoisseur of theatre.  Ask him about Go, Dog.  Go!.  I think it may be his benchmark for quality theatre and you won’t be disappointed with the engaging conversation you have with him.

 So without further ado, I give you…

 Alison’s Arden Top 10  (in date order, not in order of preference) 

 1. Superior Donuts (2010-2011 Season)

 I just finished designing costumes for this, so it’s hard not to put it on the list.  The first time I read it, I was so impressed with the writing I couldn’t wait to start working on it. The cast that Ed Sobel and the artistic department put together is a really wonderful cast and they brought all the characters to life so well.  They made my job easy.  I enjoyed watching this from rehearsals to opening night.

 2. A Moon for the Misbegotten (2010-2011 Season)

 This show was really special to me because of the collaboration I had with Grace Gongleski and Matt Pfeiffer. We met far in advance to discuss how the show wanted to look and it was truly a group effort.  I felt very proud of the work we did.

 3. Blue Door (2009-2010 Season) 

 This story is so important for everyone to hear.  It was so specific to a time, but at the same time completely universal.  Brilliant writing and gorgeous lighting and amazing acting.

 4. Go Dog, Go. (2007-2008 Season)

 When we first announced we were doing this show I really had no idea how a book that short was going to be an hour long show.  It was so cute and so imaginative and funny-I loved it! Plus, it was my son’s first Arden Children’s Theatre show so seeing it through his eyes made it more special.

 5. A Prayer for Owen Meany (2006 -2007 Season)

 I love John Irving, so I knew I was going to like this show.  The actors were excellent and it was a pleasure to bring that story to the stage.

 6. A Year with Frog and Toad (2004-2005 Season & 2008-2009 Season)

This is probably my all time favorite show.  The music was wonderful and the costumes, designed by Richard St Clair, were so creative and charming.  It was also heartwarming and fun. I am a self-proclaimed Frog and Toad groupie. We traveled to another theatre to see their production and we still listen to the soundtrack in the car (even without the kids).

 7. Sweeney Todd (2004 – 2005 Season)

 The set, designed by David Gordon, was incredible.  I loved how the whole set was turned to the side of theatre space and incorporated multiple levels of the space.  The singers and music were outstanding and I learned lessons about using fake blood on costumes that I have carried through to this day.

 8.  Picasso at the Lapin Agile (2000-2001 Season)

 Hilarious script and gorgeous set by Bob Phillips. The costumes, by Marla Jurglanis were beautiful and I still use the corset pattern that I developed during that show. 

 9. Jungle Book (2000-2001 Season)

 This was my first experience with Arden Children’s theatre and I was blown away at how much it was produced just like the other shows. The music, by Michael Ogborn, was so charming and the set was like a huge jungle gym! It was also my first production with Jilline Ringle who played Baloo and so that also makes the memory of the show special.

 10. Opus (2005-2006 Season)

 A beautifully written story. I enjoyed how much I cared about the characters and was engrossed in their struggles.

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