Arden Theatre Company Presents A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, 5/23

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Arden Theatre Company Presents A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, 5/23

Arden Theatre Company closes its 25th season with A Little Night Music, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler. Directed Terrence J. Nolen, A Little Night Music will run on the Arden's F. Otto Haas Stage from May 23 through June 30, 2013.

The Tony Award-winning A Little Night Music marks the 11th production of a Sondheim work at the Arden, making him the most-produced writer in the company's 25-year history. "Our mission is to tell great stories by great storytellers, and Sondheim is one of the best," says Terrence J. Nolen, the Arden's Producing Artistic Director. "Given our long history with his work, it was fitting to close our anniversary season with his masterpiece A Little Night Music." Past Sondheim productions at the Arden, all directed by Nolen, include: Sunday in the Park with George, Assassins, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along, Company, and A Little Night Music, which won the first Barrymore Award for outstanding musical in 1995. On May 8, 2013, Nolen will interview Sondheim about his long and influential career at the Wilmington Grand Opera House.

The company's familiarity with Sondheim's work extends to the creative team, which reunites on this production following Sunday in the Park with George in 2009, which was hailed as one of the Best Musicals of the Year by the Wall Street Journal. This seasoned creative team includes scenic designer James Kronzer (Candide, Clybourne Park), costume designer Rosemarie E. McKelvey (Candide, The Threepenny Opera), lighting designer Thom Weaver (Next to Normal, August: Osage County), sound designer Jorge Cousineau (Next to Normal, Candide), and choreographer Nikki Cousineau (Next to Normal). Music director Eric Ebbenga (Next to Normal, The Threepenny Opera) leads an ensemble of eight musicians in the orchestrations by Jason Carr, who orchestrated the recent Broadway revival of A Little Night Music and has created updates specific to the Arden's production. Written by Sondheim in 1973, the score is set entirely as a waltz in 3/4 time, and features one of Sondheim's most well-known songs "Send in the Clowns."

In this story of regret, loss, and life, the characters in A Little Night Music assemble for a weekend away in the country. The cast of 15 actors includes Grace Gonglewski (August: Osage County, A Moon for the Misbegotten) as Desiree and Ben Dibble (Assassins, Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods) as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm. Also returning to the Arden are Sally Mercer (Something Intangible), Karen Peakes (Women in Jep, A Prayer for Owen Meany) Christopher Patrick Mullen (Candide, Assassins), Alex Keiper (Cinderella, Tulipomania: The Musical), Jake Blouch (Superior Donuts), and Elisa Matthews (Winesburg, Ohio; Café Puttanesca). Making their Arden debuts are local actors Patti-Lee Meringo (recent graduate of DeSales University with numerous PA Shakespeare Festival credits), Jim Hogan (recent graduate of Penn State, Spring Awakening at Mazeppa) and thirteen-year-old Sara Fisher (Music Man at the Walnut). Rounding out the cast are Eric Jon Mahlum (Wicked on Broadway) and Teri Bibb (Phantom of the Opera on Broadway), Sarah Kleeman (Spring Awakening National Tour), and Derrick Cobey (The Scottsboro Boys on Broadway)

A Little Night Music previews begin on Thursday, May 23, 2013. Preview performances run May 23, 24, 25, 26 and 28. Opening night is set for 7pm Wednesday, May 29. The final performance is scheduled for June 30, 2013. Single ticket prices are $36-$48, with discounts available for seniors, students, military and educators. Groups of 15+ enjoy significant discounts; please inquire about group rates. Mainstage Subscriptions are on sale for $84-$135. Call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, order online at www.ardentheatre.org, or visit the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.

A Pay What You Can performance will be held on Wednesday, May 22 at 8pm with all proceeds benefiting Upper Darby Summer Stage, one of the nation's oldest youth theatre programs . Founded in 1976, Summer Stage welcomes over 700 young people from the Delaware Valley into their program each summer. Arden co-founders Amy Murphy and Terrence J. Nolen are among the many alumni of Summer Stage who have gone on to professional theatre careers.

Post-show discussions will be held following performances on June 6 at 8pm, June 12 at 6:30pm, June 16 at 2pm, June 19 at 6:30pm, and June 23 at 2pm.

The Arden is wheelchair accessible and provides assisted listening devices and large-print programs at every performance. Open Captioned and Audio Described performances will take place on Friday, June 14 at 8pm and Saturday, June 15 at 2pm. Reservations are required for accessible seating and may be made by calling the Arden's Box Office at 215.922.1122.

The Scene, the Arden's young professionals networking event, will be held on Friday, May 24. Tickets are $30 and include a pre-show reception at the Arden, a ticket to the show, and a post-show party with the staff and cast. Tickets are available online at www.ardentheatre.org/thescene or by calling 215.922.1122 and mentioning The Scene.

Teen Arden, a program for area teenagers passionate about theatre, hosts Drama, Bites, Access! on Friday, May 31. Tickets are $10 and include a pre-show party at the Arden, a ticket to the show, and a post-show meet and greet with members of the creative team and cast of A Little Night Music. Tickets are available online at www.ardentheatre.org/tickets/teenarden or by calling 215.922.1122. Teen Arden is made possible by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation.

Arden Drama School offers a special Showtime Workshop during the performance on Sunday, June 9 at 2pm. Kids in grades K-5 can take a $30 acting class while parents or grandparents attend the performance. Further details can be found online at www.ardendramaschool.com or by calling 215.922.1122. Arden Drama School is sponsored by Susquehanna Bank.

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