Philadelphia's Arden Theater Company begins its 1999-2000 season -- the twelfth for the company and the first to include seven productions -- with Tennessee Williams' offbeat, Pulitzer-winning drama, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Running Sept. 16-Oct. 17 (officially opening Sept. 21) on the F. Otto Haas Stage, Roof features three Barrymore winners: Grace Gonglewski as Maggie, Greg Wood as Brick and Tom McCarthy as Big Daddy. Arden Theater Producing Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen directs.
Williams' play tells of a woman married to an ineffectual husband and coping with the teeming family gathered to celebrate Big Daddy's 65th birthday. Director Nolen said in a statement, "What draws me to Cat [is] the combination of the familiar and the exotic, the tragic and the domestic, the essential contradictions within these amazing characters."
Supporting cast members on this Roof include Sheila Bader, Megan Bellwoar, Paul Nolan, Markeus Kitts, Brianna Steinhilber, Jack Barrett, H. Michael Walls, Ava Garvey and T.J. Steinhilber. Other Williams works include The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire and Camino Real.
Among this year's other Arden offerings are the world premiere of Michael Hollinger's Red Herring, revivals of Much Ado About Nothing and Into the Woods, and two children's shows, The Snow Queen and And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank. Following Cat will be the Philadelphia premiere of Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain on the Arcadia Stage. In the play -- a Pulitzer Prize finalist -- a famous architect's will prompts his children and their best friend to speculate about their families' history. Arden Resident Director Aaron Posner directs the run from Oct. 14-Nov. 28.
The Snow Queen, an adaption of the classic Hans Christian Andersen fable, will run on the F. Otto Haas Stage Nov. 24-Jan. 2, 2000. A co production with the Pig Iron Theater Company, Snow Queen will be directed by Pig Iron co-Artistic Director Dan Rothenberg.
Philadelphia playwright Michael Hollinger's Red Herring, a "comedy noir" set in 1952 America, is the fourth Hollinger play to receive its world premiere with Arden, following his An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boef, Incorruptible and Tiny Island. Directed by Nolen, Herring will run from Jan. 27-March 12, 2000 on the Arcadia Stage.
William Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing follows Herring, beginning performances March 2 for a run through April 2, 2000, on the F. Otto Haas Stage. Posner directs.
A second children's theatre production, And Then They Came For Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, runs April 5-May 14, 2000, on the Arcadia Stage. Written by James Still, the multi-media play tells the story of two of Anne Frank's childhood friends, both of whom survived the Holocaust. Rikiki Production co-founder Kilkenny Tremblay directs.
The Arden Theatre Company closes its '99-00 season with the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine fairy tale musical, Into the Woods. Nolen will direct, this his sixth Sondheim show for Arden, following productions of Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park With George, A Little Night Music, Company and Merrily We Roll Along. Woods runs on the F. Otto Haas Stage May 11-June 11, 2000.
Subscriptions ($155-$95) and single tickets ($32-$10) are available by calling (215) 922-1122. The Arden Theater Company is located at 40 N. 2nd Street.
-- By David Lefkowitz
, Sean McGrath and Christine Ehren