Arden artistic director Terrence J. Nolen directs the production of the James Lapine-Stephen Sondheim musical about art, artists and legacy, to run through July 4 on Arden's F. Otto Haas Stage. The physical world of the play will be filled in with projections by sound and video designer Jorge Cousineau.
Jeffrey Coon, one of Philadelphia's major musical theatre performers (a Barrymore Award winner for his work in The Baker's Wife), plays Georges/George. Kristine Fraelich ( The Civil War on Broadway, Arden's Sweeney Todd and Baby Case) plays Georges' muse and lover Dot in Act One, and then George's grandmother Marie in Act Two.
About the Arden's production, Sondheim said in a statement, "The Arden has been the leading producer of my work in Philadelphia and no one knows better than I their passion and commitment to daring musical theatre. I was doubly delighted to hear that production will use Michael Starobin's brilliant original orchestrations. At a time when so many larger organizations are producing reduced forms of shows like mine and the work of other experimental theatre composers, it is heartening to know that the Arden exists. I applaud them for their commitment to not scaling back their art, especially at this time of economic uncertainty. I give my blessings and thanks to the Arden and everything they stand for."
The creative team includes musical director Eric Ebbenga, scenic designer James Kronzer, costume designer Rosemarie McKelvey and lighting designer Justin Townsend.
The cast includes ten other actors returning to the Arden: Scott Greer, Walter Charles (original Broadway casts of Sweeney Todd and Cats), Caroline Dooner, Sherri Edelen, Liz Filios, Tim Hill, Brian Hissong, Darren Michael Hengst, Maggie Lakis and Maureen Torsney-Weir, with three artists making their Arden debuts: Sarah Dacey-Charles (Broadway's Les Miserables), Michael "Tuba" McKinsey and 10-year-old Danielle Standifer who has performed regionally at Bucks County Playhouse and Bristol Riverside Theatre. Opening night is June 2. For information, visit www.ardentheatre.org.