Arden has a 16-year history of producing Hollinger's works. Ghost-Writer plays Arden's Arcadia Stage to Nov. 7. Opening night is Sept. 15.
Bellwoar is the wife of the playwright. This marks her first appearance in any of his plays. Her previous Arden credits include Dancing at Lughnasa, The Weir, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Translations.
Directed by Barrymore Award nominee James J. Christy, the cast also features Doug Rees, who plays Franklin Woolsey; and Patricia Hodges as Vivian Woolsey.
Ghost-Writer is the seventh Hollinger premiere at the Arden (starting in 1994 with An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf), and the first since Opus in 2006. Opus received the Barrymore Award for Best New Play and was one of the top ten most-produced plays in American regional theatre during the 2009-10 season.
In Ghost-Writer, according to Arden notes, "novelist Franklin Woolsey dies mid-sentence, but his secretary Myra continues to take dictation. Attacked by skeptics, the press and Woolsey's jealous widow, Myra sets out to prove she is more than just an artful forger. Is she trying to steal Woolsey's legacy now that she cannot have his love, or might she truly possess a gift the world can't understand? This restrained love story takes place in New York City in 1919, at a time when women were first becoming secretaries, but didn't have the vote; novelists held on to their 19th century success as the foremost form of entertainment; and an artist's slight touch on the arm of his muse is more thrilling than a kiss." Hollinger said in a statement, "This story hits close to home because I am a writer. I've found that the most important work often happens unconsciously, so I was intrigued by the act of creation and the mystical aspects of the process. With each of my plays, I've tried to explore new theatrical forms, themes and time periods, something my long-term artistic relationship with the Arden has allowed me to do."
The design team includes set designer David Gordon; designer Charlotte Chloe Fox Wind; lighting designer Jerold R. Forsyth; and sound designer Jorge Cousineau.
For more information, visit www.ardentheatre.org, or visit the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.