In the play, "college sweethearts Dex and Julie reunite 25 years later when Dex arrives to collect an award from their Pennsylvania alma mater," according to Philadelphia's Arden. "Michael 'Dex' Dexter is a hotshot New York lawyer infamous for defending superstars and deviants. Dr. Julie Chernitsky is a recently widowed English professor with a biting wit. Memories of their romance are rich, and things heat up fast. Filled with snappy contemporary dialogue and surprising twists, Dex & Julie Sittin' in a Tree is a must for everyone who has fantasized about a different outcome with a former love."
Dex & Julie Sittin' in a Tree unfolds inside Julie's rural Pennsylvania cabin.
James J. Christy, who has staged nine other Bruce Graham plays, directs in Arden's intimate Arcadia Theater. Opening is Jan. 17.
Playwright Graham, of Media, PA, wrote the play with actress Jennifer Childs in mind.
Graham stated in production notes, "A new play can be really stressful, but working on Dex & Julie Sittin' in a Tree has been very comfortable and collaborative. I've worked with several members of the cast, crew and design team before. A two-character play is a challenge. You don't have the luxury of that third actor there to bail you out!" Graham was inspired to write Dex & Julie Sittin' in a Tree after returning to his own alma mater, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, to receive their Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000. Last winter, he workshopped the play as part of the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase at the Arden, which is supported by the Independence Foundation and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.
"New play development is one of the most important things we do here at the Arden," stated Terrence J. Nolen, Arden Theatre Company's producing artistic director and co-founder.
Graham is a playwright as well as a Hollywood screenwriter. Graham's play Coyote on a Fence was called "provocative theater that stirs the mind" by The New York Times and ran on London's West End in a production starring Ben Cross. Graham’s one-man show, The Philly Fan, was recently revived for a third run. His other plays include According to Goldman, Moon Over The Brewery, Belmont Avenue Social Club and Desperate Affection. His Hollywood screenwriting credits include "Anastasia" and "Steal This Movie."
Last seen in the Arden's Dancing at Lughnasa, Jennifer Childs is a two-time Barrymore Award winner and the artistic director of Philadelphia's 1812 Productions, for which she has created and directed original work since 1997. She will return to Arden Theatre Company in April to direct the Arden's spring family musical, Ferdinand the Bull.
John Lumia, winner of the 2000 F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Artist, is renowned for his electrifying solo performances including Spin Cycle, Amputation Nation, Cryptome and Anti-matter.
Dex & Julie Sittin' in a Tree's creative team also includes dramaturg Michele Volansky; scenic designer James Wolk; Barrymore Award-winning costume designer Janus Stefanowicz; Barrymore Award-winning lighting designer Jerold R. Forsyth; and Barrymore Award-winning sound designer Jorge Cousineau.
The Arden is located at 40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia. For tickets call (215) 922-1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org.