Scott Greer to Lead Arden Theatre's 2014-15 Season Opener LA BETE; Runs 9/11-10/12

Scott Greer to Lead Arden Theatre's 2014-15 Season Opener LA BETE; Runs 9/11-10/12

Arden Theatre Company begins its 27th season of great stories with La Bête by David Hirson, under the direction of Emmanuelle Delpech. The production appears on the Arden's F. Otto Haas Stage from September 11 through October 12, 2014.

A crisis befalls a 17th century acting troupe when they are ordered to add an outrageous street performer to their ranks in this uproarious comedy filled with dazzling displays of verbal wit and manic farce. High art meets low comedy in this tale of theatre, philosophy, and the beast that lives inside of every great egomaniac. "I'm thrilled to open our season with La Bête, featuring a tour-de-force performance by Scott Greer, one of our most cherished artists, and an extraordinary ensemble of Philadelphia actors," says Arden Producing Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen. "I'm also excited to have director Emmanuelle Delpech make her Arden debut with this brilliant--and brilliantly funny--play."

Playwright David Hirson's works have been produced on Broadway and internationally, with La Bête and Wrong Mountain as his most well-known plays. Hirson has been awarded both the John Gassner Playwriting Award of the Outer Critics Circle and London's Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy for La Bête, among numerous other honors. His work has additionally been nominated for multiple Tony and Drama Desk Awards. La Bête premiered in 1991 on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, and was subsequently produced in London's West End, where it won the Laurence Olivier Award.

Emmanuelle Delpech makes her Arden directorial debut with La Bête. Classically trained at the Ecole Superieur d'Art Dramatique de la ville de Paris, and in physical theatre at l'Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq, Delpech holds her MFA in Directing from Temple University. As a Barrymore award-winning actor, as well as a director and teacher, Delpech has accumulated significant credits both locally and internationally. She currently holds faculty positions with both the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training and Headlong Performance Institute. Delpech's clowning work and creations have been performed multiple times in the Philadelphia Live Arts festivals, as well as globally. She was named Philadelphia Magazine's Best Theatre Artist of 2011.

Scott Greer, a veteran of the Arden stage and recent winner of Philadelphia Magazine's "Best of Philly" Award for Best Theatre Talent, returns in the titular role of La Bête. Also returning to the Arden stage are Philadelphia favorites Ian Merrill Peakes (A Prayer for Owen Meany, An Empty Plate at the Café du Grand Boeuf, Something Intangible, Clybourne Park, Three Sisters, Incorruptible) playing Elomire, James Ijames (An Empty Plate at the Café du Grand Boeuf, Romeo and Juliet, Superior Donuts, The Whipping Man, Endgame, Three Sisters) as Bejart, Alex Keiper (Tulipomania, A Little Night Music, Parade, Incorruptible), Michael Doherty (History Boys, Next to Normal, Incorruptible) as Rene du Parc, Dito van Reigersberg (Grapes of Wrath, The Snow Queen) as Prince Conti, Amanda Schoonover (The Threepenny Opera, Charlotte's Web) as Dorine, Wendy Staton (Our Town) as Marquise-Therese Du Parc and Taysha Canales (Sideways Stories from Wayside School) as Madeleine Bejart. Making his Arden debut is actor Alex Bechtel (regional credits at 1812 Productions and Walnut Street Theatre) as De Brie.

The creative team behind the streets of 17th century France includes: scenic designer James Krozner (Incorruptible, A Little Night Music, Clybourne Park), costume designer Rosemarie E. McKelvey (Parade, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George), lighting designer Thom Weaver (Stick Fly, A Little Night Music, Parade), and sound designer Jorge Cousineau (over 50 Arden productions, including Parade, Next to Normal, Sunday in the Park with George).

La Bête previews begin on Thursday, September 11, 2014. Preview performances run September 11, 12, 13, 14, and 16. Opening night is scheduled for 7pm on Wednesday, September 17. The final performance is scheduled for Sunday, October 12, 2014. Single ticket prices are $36-$50, with discounts available for groups of 15 or more, seniors, students, military, and educators. Mainstage Subscriptions are on sale for $84-$200. 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, September 10 at 8pm with all proceeds benefitting Villanova's Sue Winge Internship in Arts Marketing.

Post-show discussions will be held following performances on September 25 at 8pm; October 1 and 8 at 6:30pm; and September 28, October 5, and October 12 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, October 10 at 8pm and Saturday, October 11 at 2pm. Reservations are required for accessible seating and may be made by calling the Arden's Box Office at 215.922.1122.

Teen Arden, a program for area teenagers passionate about theatre, hosts Teen Night at the Arden! on Sunday, September 28 at 2pm. 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 La Bête. Tickets are available online at http://www.ardentheatre.org/tickets/teenarden.html or by calling 215.922.1122. Teen Arden is made possible by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation.

Founded in 1988, Arden Theatre Company is dedicated to bringing to life great stories by great storytellers on stage, in the classroom, and in the community. We stage five productions each season as part of our mainstage series and two productions through Arden Children's Theatre, the city's first resident professional children's theatre program. We create and produce new work through our new-work development program, the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase. The Arden Professional Apprentice program trains future theatre leaders, and our theatre classes through Arden Drama School teach children and teens about the craft of making plays. Our access program, Arden for All, makes our work available to the entire community through subsidized tickets and books for economically disadvantaged young people.

In Fall 2013, the Arden completed an expansion with the Hamilton Family Arts Center, a 22,000 square foot building located three doors north of the Arden at 62 N. 2nd Street. This building is a home for process and innovation, including six classrooms for Arden Drama School, a rehearsal hall, an 80-seat Studio Theatre, Lobby, Parent Lounge, and Teacher Resource Center, and a Crafts Studio for construction of set and props. Details about the Hamilton Family Arts Center can be found online at www.ardentheatre.org/new.

The Arden has received seven Philadelphia Magazine "Best of Philly" Awards, the Arts and Business Council's Arts Excellence Award, five City Paper "Reader's Choice" Awards, four Philadelphia Inquirer "Theatre Company of the Year" citations, 58 awards and 276 nominations from the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia's Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, and was named "Best Theatre Company" by Philadelphia Weekly in 2009.

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