Hong Chau and Christopher Abbott in Annie Baker's "John" at the Signature Theatre. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Arden Theatre Sets New Plays, Classics, and a World Premiere for 2016–17 Season

The season will feature Shakespeare, Annie Baker, Matthew Lopez, Stephen Sondheim, and more.

PHILADELPHIA: Arden Theatre Company has announced its 2016–17 season, featuring new plays and a world premiere musical for young audiences.

 “Our 29th season exemplifies our commitment to bringing a variety of work to our stages,” said producing artistic director Terrence J. Nolen in a statement. “New plays by some of today’s most exciting contemporary voices, classic stories reimagined by directors with whom we have treasured ongoing relationships, and one of the greatest American musicals of all time.”

The season will begin with Stupid F*cking Bird (Sept. 15–Oct. 16), by the company’s co-founder Aaron Posner, a comedic retelling of Chekov’s The Seagull set in the 21st century. The play will feature original songs by James Sugg, and Posner will direct.

Next up will be Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride (Oct. 13–Nov. 27), about an Elvis impersonator who loses his job and takes up a gig in a drag act when he learns that his wife is pregnant. Emmanuelle Delpeche will direct.

The season will continue with Annie Baker’s John (Jan. 12–Feb. 26, 2017), about a young couple who visit at bed and breakfast in Gettysburg and meet a cheerful innkeeper. Matthew Decker will direct.

Next will be Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (March 2–April 2, 2017). Matt Pfeiffer will direct.

Next will be Gypsy (May 18–June 25, 2017), with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, about burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee and her childhood performing in the vaudeville circuit under the direction of her overbearing stage mother. Terrence J. Nolen will direct.

In addition, the theatre will produce two shows for young audiences. The first TYA production of the season will be A Year with Frog and Toad, the musical by Robert Reale and Willie Reale (Nov. 23, 2016-Jan. 29, 2017). The musical is about the friendship between the cheerful Frog and the grumpy Todd. Actors Jeff Coon and Ben Dibble will play the two friends. Whit MacLaughlin will direct.*

Following will be the world premiere of The Light Princess (April 5–May 28, 2017), adapted by Tony Lawton from the book by George MacDonald with music by Alex Bechtel. The musical is about a teenager who is not bound by gravity and floats in the air, unable to touch the ground.

Arden Theatre Company, founded in 1988, brings educational productions and programs to the artists, audiences, and students of the greater Philadelphia region.

*This post originally credited Peter Pan as the first TYA production of the season. The Arden has replaced it with A Year with Frog and Todd.

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