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Graham's SOMETHING INTANGIBLE Plays 4/9-6/7 At Arden Theater


Arden Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Something Intangible by celebrated Philadelphia playwright Bruce Graham from April 9 through June 7, 2009. This production is proudly sponsored by Fox Chase Bank. Arden Theatre Company is located at 40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia. For tickets, call 215.922.1122 or visit

Set in Hollywood in 1941, Something Intangible explores issues of family and creative genius, and how the two can tug at one another. Two very different brothers, Tony and Dale, run a movie studio famous for its cartoon dog, Petey Pup. Tony is an extravagant and gifted visionary who longs to move beyond Petey and create a feature-length animated film set to classical music. His loyal brother Dale is a plain-speaking numbers man who manages everything: unrealistic budgets, unpredictable Tony and unrelenting deadlines while trying not to lose himself or his family in the wake of Tony's feverish genius.

Barrymore award winners Scott Greer and Ian Merrill Peakes team up to star as Dale and Tony. This dynamic pair was last seen together at the Arden in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. Greer starred as Dr. Pangloss in Candide earlier at the Arden and more recently as Mitch in the Walnut Street Theatre's A Streetcar Named Desire. Something Intangible marks Peakes' 14th show at the Arden; past shows include All My Sons, A Prayer for Owen Meany and Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

Newcomer to the Arden, Walter Charles plays the dual role of banker Bartelli and superstar conductor Von Meyerhoff. Walter has appeared on Broadway in The Apple Tree, Woman in White, Big River, Boys From Syracuse, Kiss Me, Kate, Cats, Sweeney Todd ,Grease and many others, in addition to a variety of television and movie credits. The cast also features Doug Hara who plays Leo, the young animator rising through the studio's ranks. Doug was most recently seen at the Arden in Go, Dog. Go! and Sleeping Beauty, he is also an ensemble member of Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Co. and appeared in Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphosis on Broadway. Sally Mercer plays Dale's psychoanalyst, Sonia. Sally has appeared in numerous Arden productions (most recently Sleeping Beauty and The Grapes of Wrath) and at theatres throughout the Philadelphia region.

Arden Theatre Company has produced two other Bruce Graham plays: Coyote on a Fence (Philadelphia premiere 1998/99 season) and Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree (world premiere 2006/07 season). However, this is the first of Bruce's plays directed by the Arden's producing artistic director Terrence J. Nolen. "I have been a fan of Bruce's work since I saw Belmont Avenue Social Club at the Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays back in the 80's. It was a great production of a great script, and I remember thinking that it was a distinctly Philadelphian play. Since then, I've learned that wherever Belmont Avenue is performed audiences think it is about their city. That's one of the wonderful things about Bruce's work. It's both specific and universal." Nolen further notes, "The Philadelphia community is developing a reputation for fostering new plays and new playwrights. In my mind, Bruce is a pioneer in this movement. He's the original "Philadelphia playwright." I am thrilled to have this chance to direct Bruce's newest play."

Bruce Graham commented, "People often ask how long it takes me to write a play. The honest answer is I have no clue. The way I wrote this one is kind of great. I started Something Intangible on a fishing trip to Alaska my wife gave me for my 50th birthday. I wrote the first (draft of) act one in one week. My notebook smelled like bait. I had actually started making notes on this play fifteen years before. Back then it was called Those in Authority. And instead of the Wiston brothers in Hollywood 1941 it was the Van Gogh brothers in France circa 1886. Funny how a play can change in fifteen years."

A resident of South Philadelphia, Bruce Graham is both an acclaimed playwright and a Hollywood screenwriter. Graham's one-man show, The Philly Fan, was recently revived for a run at the Act II Playhouse. His plays include According to Goldman, Moon Over The Brewery, Belmont Avenue Social Club, and Desperate Affection. His Hollywood screenwriting credits include Dunston Checks In, Anastasia and Steal This Movie. He has written for the television shows Roseanne, Ring of Endless Light (2003 Humanitas Award Winner - Best Children's Teleplay), and the mini-series Hunt for the Unicorn which aired on NBC. He has won awards from the Pew Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation the Princess Grace Foundation and the Theater Association of Pennsylvania. Graham currently teaches film and theater courses at Drexel University.

Something Intangible's creative team also includes dramaturg Michele Volansky, who has worked on over 150 new plays including the Broadway productions of Buried Child and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She has served as dramaturg at Actors Theatre of Louisville (1992-95), Steppenwolf Theatre Company (1995-2000) and Philadelphia Theatre Company (2000-2004) among other theatres. The production of Something Intangible marks her fourth collaboration with Bruce Graham. Their book on playwriting, The Collaborative Playwright, is now available. Michele also recently collaborated with Aaron Posner as dramaturg for My Name Is Asher Lev.

This production marks the 30th world premiere at the Arden and the 15th play under the auspices of The Independence New Play Showcase. Launched in 1999, the New Play Showcase generates support for the creation and development of new works of American theatre. Arden productions that have been developed through the Showcase include: Wittenberg by David Davalos; The Dinosaur Musical by Robert and Willie Reale; Opus by Michael Hollinger; and Baby Case by Michael Ogborn.

Something Intangible is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award. This funding program provides selected Theatre Communications Group (TCG) member theatres with financial resources for increased rehearsal time with the full production team onsite at the theatre. Arden Theatre Company is the only theatre in the country to receive this award for two productions in one season. Both Something Intangible and My Name Is Asher Lev by Aaron Posner received this award.

The final dress rehearsal of Something Intangible on Wednesday, April 8 at 8pm is open to the public as a Pay-What-You-Can performance, with all proceeds collected donated to Greater Philadelphia Cares. Greater Philadelphia Cares supports the creation of vibrant communities by motivating people to volunteer their time, talents, and resources. All seats are general admission, first come, first served for this performance.

Something Intangible previews begin on Thursday, April 9. Preview performances run April 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14. Opening night is 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 15. Tickets are $29-48, with discounts available for seniors, students, military and educators. Groups of 10+ enjoy significant discounts; please inquire about group rates. Call the Arden Box Office at 215-922-1122, order online at or visit the box office.

The Arden is wheelchair accessible and provides assisted listening devices and large-print programs at every performance. Reservations are required for accessible seating and may be made by calling the Arden's Box Office at 215.922.1122.

Recommended for 11th grade students and older

April 9 - June 7, 2009
Pay What You Can final dress rehearsal April 8th
Preview performances: April 9 - April 14
Opening night: 7pm Wednesday, April 15
Reviewing members of the press are invited to attend opening night and may reserve tickets by contacting Janine Zappone at
TICKETS: $29-$48 for adults depending on the performance chosen

Group discounts available for 10+

Student Rush tickets at the door only five minutes before curtain for $5 cash, pending availability (must present valid student ID)

Call the Box Office at 215.922.1122 or visit


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