The award, which will be presented every other year, will be presented June 1 at a ceremony and concert that benefits the Arden's educational and outreach programs. Sondheim will be present to accept the award.
The recipient of the Master Storyteller Award is chosen by the Master Storyteller Award Selection Committee, chaired by Arden board member Eileen Heisman.
"The Arden's mission is to present the works of great stories by great storytellers," producing artistic director Terrence J. Nolen said in a statement. "We have presented more Sondheim productions —13 in our 27 year history — than any other artist. I can think of no one more appropriate to receive this award than Mr. Stephen Sondheim."
Arden Theatre Company's productions of Stephen Sondheim's works include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (2006), A Little Night Music (1995 & 2013), Assassins (2008), Company (1997), Into the Woods (2000), Merrily We Roll Along (1998), Pacific Overtures (2003), Passion (May 2015), Sunday in the Park with George (1994 & 2010) and Sweeney Todd (1993 & 2005). In the fall of 2008, they produced the Royal National Theatre's version of Candide, with additional lyrics by Sondheim.
"The Arden has always been the leading producer of my work in Philadelphia," Sondheim added. "No one knows better than I their passion and commitment to contemporary musical theatre. At a moment when so many larger organizations are producing traditional and anodyne shows in meek response to this time of economic uncertainty, it is heartening for every serious and experimental composer, lyricist and librettist to know that the Arden exists." The Otto Haas Stage is located at 40 N. 2nd Street in Philadelphia. Tickets will go on sale to the public March 2. Call (215) 922-8900, ext. 49, (215) 922-1122 or visit ardentheatre.org/support/masterstoryteller.html for more information.