As part of Arden Children's Theatre, Arden Theatre Company presents a new musical based on Hans Christian Andersen's final tale: The Flea and the Professor, written by JorDan Harrison with music by Richard Gray, lyrics by Harrison and Gray. Directed by Obie Award winner Anne Kauffman, this play for families will be on stage May 4-June 12, 2011.
A young professor loses everything in the world but the flea who lives in his vest. And that turns out to be plenty. He and the flea become the best of friends, start a circus act, and set off to tour the world. Together the heroes must overcome shipwrecks, cannibals, and tickling. Adapted from the last story by the author of The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and The Emperor's New Clothes, this new musical odyssey celebrates the excitement of the unknown with catchy songs and fantastical stage magic that will entertain children and parents alike.
"The Arden has presented thirty-two new works for our main stage series, and we are thrilled that this production is our first new play for kids." says Terrence J. Nolen, Arden's Producing Artistic Director. "We commissioned JorDan Harrison four years ago to write a new play for us and were so excited when he decided to write for Arden Children's Theatre. Jordan's voice embraces whimsy, humor and great theatricality. He is the perfect writer to bring this story by Hans Christian Andersen to life."
"We are deeply committed to creating world-class productions for kids and are thrilled that so many first rate artists share this passion," adds Nolen. The cast includes Barrymore Award-winning actors Scott Greer as The Flea and Rob McClure as The Professor. Greer recently made his Off-Broadway debut in Wittenberg to rave reviews; McClure appeared on Broadway in Avenue Q and at Center City Encores in Where's Charley? They are joined by 2011 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow Mary Martello as the Cannibal Queen, Alex Keiper as The Cannibal Princess and Aaron Cromie as The Sea Captain/The Loyal Subject. Rounding out the cast are New York-based actors Kim Sullivan as Cannibal King/Hans Christian Andersen and Annie McNamara (Elevator Repair Service's GATZ at The Public Theater) as The Storyteller.
One of the hottest young writers on the regional theatre scene, writer JorDan Harrison has been produced at Berkeley Rep, the Humana Festival and Portland Center Stage and has received numerous prestigious fellowships, awards and commissions. Composer Richard Gray's children's musicals have been produced by Seattle Children's Theatre and he has twice been a finalist for the Fred Ebb Foundation Award for new musical theatre artists.
Obie Award winning director Anne Kauffman returns to Philadelphia to direct Flea after her Barrymore Award-winning production of Becky Shaw at The Wilma Theater. New York-based designers Louisa Thompson (set) and Olivera Gajic (costumes) work with Philadelphia based lighting designer Thom Weaver (Barrymore Award nomination for Blue Door), 2010 Tony Award winning sound designer Rob Kaplowitz (Barrymore Award nomination for Blue Door), musical director Dan Kazemi (Barrymore Award for Avenue X at 11th Hour Theatre Company) and choreographer Jenn Rose (Barrymore Award nomination for Avenue X).