Arden Theatre Company, now celebrating its 25th Anniversary Season, begins its 15th year of Arden Children's Theatre with Cinderella. This version written by Charles Way and directed by Whit MacLaughlin will run from tonight, November 28, 2012 through January 27, 2013 on the Arden's F. Otto Haas Stage at 40 N. 2nd Street. Arden Children's Theatre is best enjoyed by families with children ages 5 and older.
Join the Arden for a retelling of the classic story that will inspire and surprise the entire family. A defiant prince in disguise meets a strong-willed Cinderella in this adventurous adaptation – featuring a great bit of magic and set to the music of Mozart.
"Arden Children's Theatre has been a beloved cornerstone of our work for 14 years," says Terrence J. Nolen, Arden's Producing Artistic Director. "We're proud to have introduced thousands of families and schools to these great stories on our stage. Beyond being a wonderful story for the whole family, this Cinderella has the added excitement of including the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who appears as a young court composer in the story."
The Arden dedicates the same resources to theatre productions for families as their mainstage work, especially by hiring the same designers and actors. Last year's holiday production of Charlotte's Web, became the highest attended show in the company's 25 year history, with over 34,000 audience members . In 2011, Arden Children's Theatre was awarded two Barrymore Awards for the 2011 production of The Flea and the Professor, including Outstanding Production of a Musical.
At the helm of this production is Whit MacLaughlin who has directed multiple award-winning Arden Children's Theatre shows, including Charlotte's Web, The Borrowers, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (nominated for four Barrymore Awards), The BFG, and A Year with Frog and Toad (nominated for five Barrymore Awards).
The creative team who will welcome the audience into this 18th Century Kingdom are designer David P. Gordon (Charlotte's Web, Barrymore Award winner for If You Give a Mouse a Cookie), costume designer Rosemarie E. McKelvey (Charlotte's Web, Barrymore Award winner for Something Intangible and Caroline, or Change), lighting designer Brian J. Lilienthal (James and the Giant Peach, Sleeping Beauty), and sound designer Jorge Cousineau (Frog and Toad, The BFG).
The cast consists of a diverse range of Philadelphia artists, both Arden veterans and newcomers. Making her Arden debut as Cinderella is Mary Toumanen (seen locally with The Bearded Ladies, Applied Mechanics, Lantern Theater Company and Azuka Theatre). Her father Sigmund is played by Joe Guzman (Women in Jep, Private Lives), who marries stepmother Maria played by Susan Riley Stevens (Closer, Three Days of Rain). Her daughters are Aloysia played by Alex Keiper (The Flea and the Professor, Tulipomania: The Musical), and Constanze played by Miriam White (Arden debut). Cinderella meets Prince Sebastian played by Peterson Townsend (The History Boys, Our Town), whose father King Leopold, played by Benjamin Lloyd (Cyrano), never gets out of bed. Their court composer is a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, affectionately called Wolfie, who is played by Matteo Scammel (Arden debut). Rounding out the cast is Kala Moses Baxter (Gee's Bend, The Piano Lesson) as the Fairy Godmother.
Following every performance of Cinderella, children participate in a post-show question and answer session with the cast, and then have an opportunity to meet the actors in the lobby. All children also receive a free commemorative show poster to take home. Weekday performances are held at 10am to accommodate thousands of schoolchildren. Over 2,500 students will attend the production free of charge through the Arden for All program, which also provides books, transportation and in-school lessons from professional teaching artists to communities with little or no arts access.
Cinderella begins performances tonight, November 28, with previews through December 1. Opening night is set for 7pm Saturday, December 1, 2012. Closing is set for Sunday, January 27, 2013. Cinderella is sponsored by PECO. The 2012/13 season of Arden Children's Theatre, which includes Pinocchio in the spring, is proudly sponsored by Comcast and Sprout.