Ogborn and Hollinger's Tulipomania Musical Will Sprout in Philly Workshop June 4-6

News   Ogborn and Hollinger's Tulipomania Musical Will Sprout in Philly Workshop June 4-6 Playwright Michael Hollinger and composer-lyricist Michael Ogborn, two favorite sons of Philadelphia's Arden Theatre Company, will hole up with artistic director Terrence J. Nolen and a handful of actors June 4-6 to explore act one of their new musical about the tulip craze of the 17th century.

Stranger subjects have been explored — Urinetown, anyone? Or how about Ogborn's local musical hit Baby Case, about the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's infant son?

Tulipomania (as they're calling the new show) is "based on the Dutch tulip craze of the late 1630s, when prices skyrocketed and citizens left solid professions to speculate in bulbs."

Ogborn, who will serve as musical director for this early workshop, calls Tulipomania "a musical comedy about obsession," concerning a man "who sacrifices everything he owns for the love of a tulip."

Scott Greer, Mary Martello, Ben Dibble, Jeff Coon and Meghan Heimbecker are among performers working through the nascent piece, a commission by Arden, which has not announced a production date.

This workshop is made possible in part by a grant from the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT). A second Arden workshop is expected before the end of the year. *

Hollinger's works include An Empty Plate in the Café Du Grand Boeuf, Incorruptible, Red Herring and Tooth and Claw.

A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Michael Hollinger "is a classically trained violist who later became captivated by playwriting." He received his masters in theatre at Villanova University, where he is now an assistant professor. Hollinger won the Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play. The world premiere of Opus played an extended run at Arden, followed by other separate regional productions (Pittsburgh's City Theatre, Florida Stage and Cincinnati's Ensemble Theatre Co.). It will make its New York City premiere at Primary Stages in 2007-08.

Ogborn's Baby Case, his musical fantasia about the hype surrounding the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son, had its world premiere at Arden, as did Café Puttanesca, a musical about a gathering of prostitutes who swap war stories. Café Puttanesca also played City Theatre. Terrence J. Nolen, Arden artistic director, helmed Opus and the earlier Ogborn shows.

Greer and Martello won Barrymore Awards for appearing in Ogborn musicals (Baby Case and Café Puttanesca, respectively).

For more information about Arden, the resident Equity company, visit www.ardentheatre.org.

For more about Michael Ogborn's work, visit michaelogborn.com.