What better way to begin Arden Theatre Company's 10th anniversary season than with a brand new romantic comedy? "Since our first production ten years ago was the off-beat world premiere adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Who Am I This Time," said artistic director Terrence J. Nolen in a statement, "it seemed especially fitting to start this season with another premiere production."
That premiere is Craig Wright's Molly's Delicious, set in a rural Minnesota city in 1965. When an unmarried, pregnant woman is sent to live with her aunt and uncle, they try to match her up with the local mortician. Maggie Siff plays the woman torn between two fellas. Tom Teti and Marcia Saunders, best known for their work at the People's Light & Theatre Company, are the relatives. Ian Merrill Peakes plays the Coast Guard sailor who captures the girl's heart; Harry Bergman is the mortician.
Molly's Delicious began previews Sept. 25 and opened Sept. 30, for a run through Nov. 9.
Minneapolis-based author Wright has received fellowships from both McKnight and the NEA. His other plays include 1991's Big Numbers.
Director Aaron Posner praises Molly's Delicious for its "innocence and optimism...that make it almost mythical. [Wright] has created a snapshot of an America that we all recognize -- but that probably never really existed." Designing the comedy will be Chris Pickert (set), Andrew Billiau (lighting), Duncan Busser (props) and Bonnie Doyle (costumes). Ceal Phelan serves as dialect coach, Michael Hollinger as dramaturg.
Following Molly will be Michael Hollinger's Tiny Island (Nov. 20-Jan. 4, 1998), then Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler with Grace Gonglewski (Jan. 22-March 8, 1998), then William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (April 2-May 3, 1998), and finally, Stephen Sondheim & George Furth's Merrily We Roll Along (May 28-June 28, 1998).
For tickets ($18-$28) and information on Molly's Delicious at Arden Theatre on North 2nd St. in Philadelphia, call (215) 922-8900.
--By David Lefkowitz