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Arden Theater Players

What We Do

Arden Theater Players is proud to announce its first official season of 2 productions in the Stuart Community Room of the Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest, Illinois. With this announcement comes the invitation you can read about here for collaboration, interns, and a place for both professionals and budding artists to thrive. Productions will be small, intimate, musically rich, and audience driven. By that I simply mean theater that will please, move and inspire. The emphasis will be on content and talent - so much so that elaborate sets and costumes won't be a vital part of production. The Stuart Room at Gorton is perfect for such theater. You might be interested in and qualified to participate as a benefactor, an intern, a professional, or a budding young artist thirsty for experience. Read further about such opportunities and we will be happy to interview and speak with you.

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Our Mission

Mission - Believing in musical theater as one of America's truly original art forms, Arden Theater Players seeks to offer high quality, intimate performances of the best cabaret style musicals to come off Broadway. Nurturing both professional and exciting young artists, ATP celebrates the passionate "dance" between performers and audience to create inspiring and entertaining theater experiences.

Our History

In 2014 my passion for theater, especially musical theater, moved me to start a company for local small cabaret style shows combining advanced promising students and professionals. Some new colleagues with deep pockets and influence that I shared the vision with got onboard with me and Arden Theater Players was born. That first summer in August of 2014 a production of "Side By Side By Sondheim" was my first choice to produce. My producers secured a space, complete with dinner theater possibilities and I secured the cast of 10 very talented artists to do what was originally conceived as a three-person review of Sondheim's music for London audiences up through 1980. It is a show rich with history, comedy, and pathos - tuneful and accessible and very gratifying to sing.

After the rights were secured and paid for and rehearsals began, things unfortunately began to unravel with agreements falling apart, the loss of the venue, no place to rehearse, and other hard lessons to learn. In short, the production was excellent, but a few thousand dollars were lost in the wake of those issues and it sucked the wind out of my vision. The show was poorly attended, I lost my producers, and was totally unprepared for it. So chose to stay positive, let it go and thought - "this just wasn't meant to be". Looking back now with several independent projects under my artistic belt, my own branded website, my own YouTube channel, and some journeys through a couple of other startups, I am wiser and more prepared - and still very passionate. I am more organized and more savvy about venues and promotion. I am also more discreet about building arts relationships and who will be on this renewed journey with me.

 

To be sure, no start up is easy, without challenges, and the need to be creatively thinking outside the box. I feel more prepared than ever for this renewal and ready to enliven the North Shore with quality musical theater as an art form - resting lovingly in the arms of experience and fueled by my original passion. 

 

Welcome! Explore with me if musical theater is your art of choice - as audience, supporter, fellow artist creator, or combination thereof. 

 
Our Star Performers
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Ron Arden

CEO & Artistic Director

A “renaissance man” in the truest sense, for over 30 years he has performed, taught, and conducted as an artist marked by excellence and passion.

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Donna Engelhardt

Donna's love for classical singing began when she was awarded the Kenosha Symphony Youth Scholarship while in college and was invited to perform her audition piece "Una Voce Poco Fa" with them on a subscription concert.  

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Chris Engelhardt

Singing and performing throughout his childhood, Chris Engelhardt graduated from Luther College with a vocal performance degree. After college, Chris and three other Luther graduates formed an acapella quartet named "World A Fair".  The group moved to Europe and spent two successful years performing in various theaters and galas throughout Germany. 

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Tania Joy Gibson 

Tania is a former Miss Illinois 1996 and competed at the Miss America Pageant at 19 years old. She is a singer and stage actress having performed throughout the Chicagoland area, Vegas, Kansas City, Toronto, and Texas.