Arden Kass is an award-winning playwright, lyricist, screenwriter and independent producer of live theatre. Born and raised in New York, Arden studied poetry and comparative literature at Cornell, slogged through every paid writing gig imaginable, then pledged her heart and considerable passion to the pursuit of theatre and film projects that feel personally satisfying and meaningful. Her theatre projects largely focus on the lives and experience of women. Her all-women vaudeville with music, Behold Her: Five Thousand Years of Jewish Women and Beauty, produced at the 2018 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, is in development for a commercial run in New York. Her drama Appetite was a 2014 semi-finalist for the O’Neill Theatre Conference. It received an industry presentation at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art with a cast including Miriam Margolyes, Tamsin Grieg, Jemma Redgrave, and Jason Isaacs. She has been a finalist at Red Bull Theatre and the Humana Festival. Current projects include two musicals: Daddy’s Girl, featuring a feminist academic and her showman father who invented the push-up bra, and Alpha Gals, an all-ages, rock & hip-hop update on the myth of Athena and Arachne. Arden writes screenplays with Mark Gallini, has worked as a freelance scriptwriter and copywriter, published essays and features, written A & E Biography episodes on rock stars and performed her humorous monologues on WXPN Radioʼs Morning Show. Arden belongs to the Dramatists Guild, Playwrights Gallery and BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York and has raised two wonderfully functional young adults, each with a lively social consciousness.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA:
MORE ABOUT ME:
In 2014, appalled by the (politically motivated) decline in educational resources, programs and facilities in Philadelphia schools, I conceived and co-created a live documentary-style play dramatizing the real-life consequences of the dismantling of Pennsylvania’s public education system. Crafted from over 100 interviews with Pennsylvania residents, School Play premiered at the National Constitution Center, popped up in well-trafficked public spaces and toured the state for several weeks in 2015. The activist and educational aspects of this project, and its profound emotional impact on audiences and students energized and delighted me and is one of my proudest accomplishments. It drew on all the skills I had amassed in a long and diverse career. I would do more of this work in a heartbeat, but this time, with sufficient funding. And yes, I believe theatre has the power to change hearts and lives. To answer a related question, I deal with disappointment by re-immersing myself in my work, worshipping in art museums and spending time outdoors, preferably in the Southwest. I may not be as hip as I was at 27 or 37, but I am a hell of a lot smarter.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON:
I just finished a new play, tentatively titled Ms. Unpopularity. When a theatre organization faces accusations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination post Me Too, it sparks a series of interconnected personal reckonings and reassessments. 5 women, 1 (possibly pre-recorded!) man
Women, drama, humor, historically inspired, site-specific, myth, interdisciplinary, Jewish, food, feminism, musical, all-ages, verse, lyrics, magical realism, monologues, lingerie, cake
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