(Philadelphia, PA) Arden Theatre Company continues its 28th season with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson’s Two Trains Running, from March 10 – April 10, 2016, on the Arden’s F. Otto Haas Stage at 40 N. 2nd Street in Philadelphia.
Two Trains Running is part of August Wilson’s Century Cycle, a 10-play series he wrote about African American life in each decade of the 20th century. Praised by Variety as “a work by a writer at the peak of his powers,” Two Trains Running is set in 1969 as the civil rights movement is sweeping across Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Memphis Lee’s diner is scheduled to be torn down, a casualty of the city’s renovation project. Struggling to cope with a rapidly changing world, Memphis and the diner regulars fight to hang on to their solidarity and sense of community. Two Trains Running is a masterpiece about everyday lives in the shadow of great events, and unsung men and women who are anything but ordinary.
At the helm of Two Trains Running is Director Raelle Myrick-Hodges. Myrick-Hodges began her career at the Arden Theatre Company as an Arden Professional Apprentice (APA) in 1998. She says coming back to direct at the Arden is like “coming home.” Myrick-Hodges is the first former APA that the Arden has hired to direct a Mainstage show.
After her apprenticeship year at the Arden, Myrick-Hodges co-founded Philadelphia’s Azuka Theatre Company, now in its seventeenth year. She was the Artistic Director at Brava Theater in San Francisco where she produced and presented more than 40 works from 2008 – 2012. Myrick-Hodges directed Georgia Shakespeare Festival’s critically acclaimed production of Macbeth. Myrick-Hodges’s credits at PlayMakers Repertory include The Mountaintop, A Raisin in the Sun, I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady From Rwanda, and Topdog/Underdog. Raelle considers herself a hybrid artist in visual art and theatre. Currently she is the Curator of Performance Arts for the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, working with such artists as Denis O’Hare, Lisa Peterson, Meshell Ndegeocello, The Rude Mechanicals and Arturo Sandoval among others. She is a founding member of Elephant Room, a newly created performance ensemble founded by six national African American hybrid artists. www.elephantroomarts.com.
This is Myrick-Hodges first time directing a Wilson play. She says, “At first I was wary. So many male voices and only one female depiction, yet I had never read a work that reminded me so much of conversations I’ve had with African American men in my own family.” She adds, “This is the easily one of the most important plays I will ever get to direct.” She will also direct his Fences later this year at the California Shakespeare Theater.
Of Wilson she says, “Black men discussing themselves with no outside commentary is very rare. It is what makes Wilson such an important writing artist – he gave space to the black community without comment by mainstream society.”
Myrick-Hodges is also greatly excited to be directing Johnnie Hobbs, Jr. in the lead role as Memphis saying, “He is a master at understanding history while simultaneously sharing its contemporary nature.” Hobbs, Jr. was honored late last year with the Barrymore Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Rounding out the cast is Darian Dauchan, Kashmir Goins, Kes Khemnu, E. Roger Mitchell, Lakisha May, U.R. and Damian J. Wallace.
Schedule and Events
TWO TRAINS RUNNING begins previews on Thursday, March 10, 2016, opens to the press on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, and runs through Sunday, April 10, 2016. A Pay What You Can performance on Wednesday, March 9th benefits Face to Face in Germantown. The Opening Night sponsor is Harmelin Media and reception sponsors are JPM Catering, Wines ‘Til Sold Out and Lagunitas Brewing Company.
Single ticket prices are $36-$50, with discounts available for groups of 15 or more, seniors, students, military, and educators. Call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, or view details and order online here or visit the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.
Founded in 1988, Arden Theatre Company is dedicated to bringing to life great stories by great storytellers–on the stage, in the classroom, and in the community. Five productions are staged each season as part of the Mainstage series and two productions through Arden Children’s Theatre, the city’s first resident professional children’s theatre program. New work is produced through the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase. The Arden’s Education Department includes: Arden for All (AFA), a theatre access and education program for underserved young people; Arden Drama School, the after-school, Saturday, and summer camp classes for students in grades pre K-12; Teen Arden, an immersive after-school access program for Philadelphia-area based teenagers; and the Arden Professional Apprentice Program, a nationally renowned comprehensive theatre management training program. The Hamilton Family Arts Center is the new facility dedicated to education programs and new play development.
The Arden has received numerous honors including 63 awards and 307 nominations from the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. The Arden is a winner of four “Theatre Company of the Year” designations (Philadelphia Inquirer), six Philadelphia Magazine “Best of Philly” awards and three “Best of Philly Kids” awards, the City Paper’s Reader’s Choice Award and the prestigious “Great Friend to Kids Award” from the Please Touch Museum for Arden Children’s Theatre work. For accessibility efforts, the Arden was named a “Keystone of Accessibility” by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Arden Theatre Company is a professional, nonprofit 501(c)(3) theatre company and a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the League of Resident Theatres, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Old City Arts Association. The Arden also participates in The Barrymore Awards, a program of Theatre Philadelphia.