Philly's Arden Has New Musical Café Puttanesca Sept. 11-Nov. 2; Pittsburgh Parallel Staging on the Menu

News   Philly's Arden Has New Musical Café Puttanesca Sept. 11-Nov. 2; Pittsburgh Parallel Staging on the Menu Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia has the world premiere of the new musical, Café Puttanesca, opening its 2003-04 season, Sept. 11-Nov. 2, but a second staging is already in the works.

In a unique situation, a second cast will be rehearsed in Philly by the same director (and one of the same actors) in preparation for the Pittsburgh bow of the show later this fall.

The original musical has music and lyrics by Barrymore Award-winner Michael Ogborn (Baby Case) and book by Ogborn and Terrence J. Nolen, the director.

The Arden run plays the intimate Arcadia Stage. Official opening is Sept. 16.

"Café Puttanesca is set in a post-war Amsterdam café," according to production notes. "A rag-tag collection of prostitutes, soothing the wounds of World War II, have gathered to laugh, cry and revel by sharing their favorite 'on-the-job' stories. When asked what inspired him to write a musical on this topic, composer and lyricist Ogborn replied, 'Who can resist a bunch of whores singing, dancing and telling dirty jokes?'"

The cast includes Tracie Higgins (as The Duchess), Mary Martello (as The Baroness) and Jilline Ringle (as The Marquesa), with Tony Braithwaite (as The Owner) in his sixth Arden production. The cast also includes Elisa Matthews (as The Cook) and Vince DiMura (as The Piano Player, and the show's musical director). Designers are Bob Phillips (scenic), Karen Gilmer (costume), James Leitner (lighting) and Nick Rye (sound).

The "parallel production" will run at City Theatre in Pittsburgh Nov. 20-Dec. 28. Jilline Ringle and several members of the design team will recreate their Arden Café Puttanesca work for it. Lenora Nemetz is also in the Steel Town company.

Tickets range $22-$40. Arden Theatre Company is at 40 N. 2nd Street in Philadelphia.

For information, call (215) 922-1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org.