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Arden Theatre Company’s mission is to bring great stories by great storytellers to the stage, in the classroom, and the community and the theatre’s 36th season seeks to exemplify that mission. The 2023/24 season includes two musicals, a regional premiere, a Philadelphia premiere and a World Premiere by a celebrated local author.
The season opens with Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins, a provocative and prescient musical by the master of the American musical. Next, is the Philadelphia premiere of What the Constitution Means to Me, a wildly successful and very funny play by Heidi Schreck. Then the theatre kicks off 2024 with the world premiere of Lorene Cary’s Ladysitting, a new play based on her acclaimed memoir about caring for her 101 year old Nana. Next, the Arden will mount the Philadelphia premiere of a play that triumphed in London and New York, The Lehman Trilogy, an audacious and sweeping story about family and power. The season closes with the glorious musical Once on This Island, with a soaring score that speaks to renewal, transcendence and possibility. This musical was postponed in 2020. Arden Producing Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen will direct Assassins and The Lehman Trilogy. Jennifer Childs, Producing Artistic Director of 1812 Productions is directing What The Constitution Means to Me. Zuhairah McGill, Artistic Director of First World Theatre Company, is directing Ladysitting and Amina Robinson is directing Once on This Island. Subscriptions are on sale now.
“We are thrilled to announce a season that will highlight our commitment to great stories brought to life by brilliant Philadelphia artists,” said Nolen. “A new play by acclaimed Philadelphia writer Lorene Cary. The work of Philadelphia directors with whom we have important ongoing relationships: Jen Childs, Amina Robinson, and Zuhairah McGill. New productions of The Lehman Trilogy and What the Constitution Means to Me with all-Philadelphia casts (and the only theatre to produce Heidi Shreck’s play several blocks from where the Constitution was written). Plus two brilliant musicals that will open the season with a bang and end it with a soaring show that we are rescheduling after a three-year delay. We can’t wait to bring Philadelphia artists and audiences together for an exciting and ambitious new season of great stories by great Philadelphia storytellers.”
September 21 – October 15, 2023
Opening Night: September 27
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by John Weidmen
Directed by Terrence J. Nolen
The Arden returns to the genius work of Stephen Sondheim with this audacious musical that speaks to the moment we are in as a country in a prescient and powerful way. This show tells the story of a group of Americans consumed by grievance and a desperate need to be heard – featuring a thrilling score by the master of the American musical. Bold, original, and surprisingly funny, Assassins is a musical not to be missed.
October 26 – December 3, 2023
Opening Night: November 1
What the Constitution Means to Me
By Heidi Schreck
Directed by Jennifer Childs
Fifteen-year-old Heidi Schreck earned her college tuition and developed a deep love of the Constitution by winning debate competitions around the country. In this hopeful, heartfelt, and endearingly funny play, Shreck reimagines how this living document affected her past and how it will shape the next generations of Americans.
January 18 – February 25, 2024
Opening Night: January 24
By Lorene Cary
Directed by Zuhairah McGill
This world premiere play, by acclaimed Philadelphia writer Lorene Cary, explores the life and last year of Lorene’s Nana – a fiercely strong and independent woman, who now needs the care of others. Ladysitting captures the ruptures, love, and forgiveness that can occur in family as she journeys through stories of five generations of their African American ancestors and bears witness to her grandmother’s 101 vibrant years of life.
March 7 – April 7, 2024
Opening Night: March 13
The Lehman Trilogy
By Stefano Massini
Adapted by Ben Power
Directed by Terrence J. Nolen
Weaving together nearly two centuries of family history, The Lehman Trilogy charts the humble beginnings, outrageous successes and devastating failure of the financial institution that would bring the global economy to its knees. Join the Arden for this Philadelphia premiere of this Tony Award-winning new play – an epic theatrical triumph featuring 3 actors in an extraordinary feat of storytelling.
May 16 – June 16, 2024
Opening Night: May 22
Once on This Island
Lyrics and Book by Lynn Ahrens
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Directed by Amina Robinson
In search of her place in the world with guidance from the island gods, Ti Moune, a fearless young woman of the French Antilles, risks it all on a remarkable journey to reunite with the one who has captured her heart. Exhilarating and irresistible, Once on This Island is a radiant musical reminding audiences that a beautiful story simply told has the power to help us weather the storm and allow our spirits to sing.
They are available online at www.ardentheatre.org, by phone at 215.922.1122, or in person at the box office at Arden Theatre Company at 40 N. 2nd Street.