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Leslie Arden is a Canadian musical theatre composer, lyricist and librettist. She has been described as "arguably Canada's most talented Musical Theatre writer". She is best known for her work The House of Martin Guerre (co-book by Anna Theresa Cascio) produced by Theatre Plus (1993), the Goodman Theatre (1996) in Chicago and the Canadian Stage Company (1997). Her musical The Boys are Coming Home was part of the American Music Theatre Project at North Western University and was showcased by the National Alliance of Musical Theatre in New York City. Theatre critic Richard Ouzanian says she is "the creator of some of the most sophisticated work on our stages". The Toronto Star has commented that her work is “beautifully crafted” and USA Today states she is a “major talent”. She also wrote the Chalmers Award-winning The Happy Prince. She collaborated with esteemed Canadian playwright Norm Foster for her latest musical "Ned Durango". It had its world premiere at Theatre Orangeville in May 2011.
She was born Leslie Arden Jenkins in Beverly Hills, California to Canadian singer Cleone Duncan and her American performer husband, Paul Howard Jenkins. Her parents moved to Toronto and divorced when she was 6 years old. Arden says: "I was an only child and all my parents worked, so I spent a great deal of time on my own. I grew up liking dark things and high stakes and real drama."
Early in her career she took classes with Lehman Engel, who had been a musical director for over 100 Broadway productions, in Toronto. In 1990, she was chosen along with 12 other participants to study with legendary musical theatre composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim at Oxford University. The sessions were organized by theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh.
She is the Artistic Director and co-founder of The Children’s Trio, a company dedicated to theatre for young audiences. She is currently playwright-in-residence at the renowned Stratford Festival of Canada and is working on a new musical for Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. She is also working on a new musical about Moll Flanders.
Her other works include:
Harvest Moon Rising (book by Peggy Sample)
The Prince and the Pauper (with Joey Miller)
A Meeting of Minds: Leslie Arden and Friends
The Last Resort (book by Norm Foster)
The Greatest Gift
The Princess and the Handmaiden
- Leslie Arden, www.northernriver.com
- "Leslie Arden: The long road to creative freedom" http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/theatre/article/725055--leslie-arden-the-long-road-to-creative-freedom
- Broadway North: The Dream of a Canadian Musical Theatre Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc. ISBN 1-897045-08-5
- "Theatre Orangeville Archives 2010-2011" http://www.theatreorangeville.ca/2010_11.php
- Atkey, Mel. (2006) Broadway North: The Dream of a Canadian Musical Theatre Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc. ISBN 1-897045-08-5
- Leslie Arden, www.canadiantheatre.com