Reaching for a Rhyme for Tulip, Ogborn and Hollinger Create New Musical About 17th Century Craze

News   Reaching for a Rhyme for Tulip, Ogborn and Hollinger Create New Musical About 17th Century Craze What seeds are Philadelphia writers Michael Hollinger and Michael Ogborn sowing for the Arden Theatre Company? Not seeds, as it turns out — tulip bulbs.

An Arden spokesperson confirmed to Playbill.com that playwright Hollinger (Opus) and composer-lyricist Ogborn (Baby Case) have been commissioned to write Tulipomania, a new musical "based on the Dutch tulip craze of the late 1630s, when prices skyrocketed and citizens left solid professions to speculate in bulbs."

The writers plan to workshop the musical in 2007 as they prepare for its world premiere at Philadelphia's Arden Theatre Company, which commissioned the piece. No dates for the full production have been announced.

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 recently played an extended run at Arden and is in residence at Pittsburgh's City Theatre (through April 9).

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 Ogborn shows, and will direct Tulipomania. On May 22, Hollinger and Ogborn will appear in the Arden's free "Salon" series on the topic of "The Commission Mission." They'll discuss the genesis of the project, give progress report and possibly share a song, according to the Arden.

The Salons were "created to deepen the connection between artists and audiences" and "provide an interactive, informal and entertaining opportunity for up-close-and-personal dialogue between the public and the region's premier theatre professionals."

Salons are held at Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia. For more information about the resident Equity company, visit www.ardentheatre.org.

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