Armen Pandola

Armen Pandola

Armen Pandola won the Walnut Street Theatre's Forrest Award for his play, Forrest: A Riot of Dreams, which premiered there in 2006. In 2011, he was commissioned by the Walnut to write a play about Dean Martin. His Dino! Dean Martin at the Latin Casino, a play with music about one of America's great entertainers, premiered at the WST in May, 2013.

Pandola was born and raised in South...
Armen Pandola won the Walnut Street Theatre's Forrest Award for his play, Forrest: A Riot of Dreams, which premiered there in 2006. In 2011, he was commissioned by the Walnut to write a play about Dean Martin. His Dino! Dean Martin at the Latin Casino, a play with music about one of America's great entertainers, premiered at the WST in May, 2013.

Pandola was born and raised in South Philadelphia, winning a KYW student reporter's award while at Bishop Neumann High School. He wrote a weekly column for his school paper and was a city and state champion debater.

Receiving a Schubert Fellowship in Playwriting, he attended the University of Miami (FL).

In addition to being a playwright, he has written regular articles about theatre, art, film, books, politics and society for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Broad Street Review and numerous other publications.

His trilogy about America post-9/11, Terror at the While House, Devils Also Believe and Homeward Bound, has been produced in Philadelphia and New York. He has had over a dozen plays produced in the last ten years, including Zelda & Scott: Boats Against the Current, Mrs. Warren's e-Profession, The Gift of Giving, Hedda Without Walls, The Prince (co-written with Bill Van Horn) and Friends for Life.

Plays

  • The Rising
    The funniest nightmare you’ll ever have.
    It’s 2033.
    “60 Minutes” turns into “60 Seconds” as the public’s attention span disappears but not their sick sense of humor.
    Topsy Kardashian is having a secret affair with the Pope.
    Google has purchased the IRS from the government.
    The murder rate is the highest ever and The Gold House (formerly White) boasts, Number 1 again!...
    The funniest nightmare you’ll ever have.
    It’s 2033.
    “60 Minutes” turns into “60 Seconds” as the public’s attention span disappears but not their sick sense of humor.
    Topsy Kardashian is having a secret affair with the Pope.
    Google has purchased the IRS from the government.
    The murder rate is the highest ever and The Gold House (formerly White) boasts, Number 1 again!
    In the midst of all this chaos, a revolutionary group called The Rising is killing politicians. Assassinating at least one corrupt politician a day, The Rising boosts its membership into the millions. While the government denies that The Rising even exists, their high-profile daily assassinations can’t be ignored forever. In a world that is just an explosion away, The Rising is happening now.
  • DINO! AN EVENING WITH DEAN MARTIN AT THE LATIN CASINO
    We begin 1978 with tickets to Dean Martin at the Latin Casino! When a severe blizzard blankets the East Coast, Dino's band gets stuck out of town. Rather than disappoint his fans, Dean Martin brings us an intimate evening filled with personal stories and classic songs including, "Ain't That A Kick In The Head," "Everybody Loves Somebody," "That's Amore" and more. For...
    We begin 1978 with tickets to Dean Martin at the Latin Casino! When a severe blizzard blankets the East Coast, Dino's band gets stuck out of town. Rather than disappoint his fans, Dean Martin brings us an intimate evening filled with personal stories and classic songs including, "Ain't That A Kick In The Head," "Everybody Loves Somebody," "That's Amore" and more. For a short while, the man behind the legend reveals the humor, warmth and casual cool that marked his rise from his Italian-only speaking immigrant childhood to become one of the biggest legends in entertainment.
  • REDEMPTION
    Berlin, 1945. War engulfs the world. It destroys a German family, but amid the chaos and ruins, a man finds a way to do what is necessary to remain human.
  • THE PRINCE
    CO-WRITTEN WITH BILL VAN HORN
    Premiered and commissioned by the Walnut Street Theatre January 2010

    When a political boss gets indicted by the FBI for corruption, an old friend shows up to defend him. A very humorous look at a very serious problem – The Prince is about those politicians we love to hate. One reviewer summed up the audience reaction: "As a whole the show provides a...
    CO-WRITTEN WITH BILL VAN HORN
    Premiered and commissioned by the Walnut Street Theatre January 2010

    When a political boss gets indicted by the FBI for corruption, an old friend shows up to defend him. A very humorous look at a very serious problem – The Prince is about those politicians we love to hate. One reviewer summed up the audience reaction: "As a whole the show provides a wonderful 90 minutes of laugh out loud comedy for all in the audience. If you're looking for a fun night at the theater The Prince is your show.
  • DARK ENERGY
    A playwright threatens to blow up a theatre if his play is not produced. The company begins to do his domestic dramedy and slowly the play breaks down and reality takes over. One member of the cast is going to die – and there is nothing anybody can do about it.
  • AMERICAN IDOL PRESIDENT
    When a presidential candidate Richard Carey's wife is caught with drugs in her handbag, the spinning begins. Carey wants to remain in the race, but his two children and wife have a different agenda. When the media arrive en mass to witness the expected crash of Carey's candidacy, the show is as funny as it is frightening
  • HOMEWARD BOUND
    A group of wounded US Army vets are stuck in a hospital in Germany, waiting to be shipped back to the States. When two wounded Iraqis arrive, they discover a way to help each other to make it home. One commentator wrote, 'Homeward Bound is about the terrible changes that many of us must go through to re-think who they are and how they must live in the world."
  • DEVILS ALSO BELIEVE
    A critic wrote:' Devil Also Believe is about the rigged beliefs that are fracturing America, dividing it as it has never been divided before. In this controversial, emotional drama, we see the effects of 9-11 on an American family as each of them are driven by their beliefs to respond to the War on Terror that holds hostage America's soul. '
    A Smith Play finalist for best new play
  • TERROR AT THE WHITE HOUSE
    One reviewer stated: 'Terror at the White House is one of those rare plays that remind you that theatre can be the soul of a society. It takes the joint of political tension in today's world and makes you see it as immediate human frailty and suffering. In the echo of plays like Antigone, The Plow and the Stars and The Crucible Armen Pandola's play stings with lines and situations that put you at...
    One reviewer stated: 'Terror at the White House is one of those rare plays that remind you that theatre can be the soul of a society. It takes the joint of political tension in today's world and makes you see it as immediate human frailty and suffering. In the echo of plays like Antigone, The Plow and the Stars and The Crucible Armen Pandola's play stings with lines and situations that put you at the edge of your seat and the brink of your judgment. You have to squirm when the President's advisor tells him "The truth is not an option." The final confrontation of the family with the vise (and vice) of political necessity is as chilling and potent a theatrical moment as you are likely to remember. This play deserves to be seen and thought
  • MUMMER MADNESS
    Pat has a passion in life – and it's not his lovely wife or daughter. Every year, he builds a costume and parades up Broad Street in the New Year's Mummers Parade. Then, one year, his wife leaves him and he's having trouble supporting her and his habit. Along comes cousin James, producer of independent films. To fund his new romantic political thriller – All The Presidents Men meets The Way We...
    Pat has a passion in life – and it's not his lovely wife or daughter. Every year, he builds a costume and parades up Broad Street in the New Year's Mummers Parade. Then, one year, his wife leaves him and he's having trouble supporting her and his habit. Along comes cousin James, producer of independent films. To fund his new romantic political thriller – All The Presidents Men meets The Way We Were – he has to use the Mummers in his film. The union of movies and mummers is an idea made in heaven, if your idea of heaven is drinking a boilermaker while watching Swan Lake.
  • FRIENDS FOR LIFE
    "Four buddies since grade school meet to plan a re-union. Along the way, they tell some stories, remember some good times and find out a thing or two they didn't know before. A funny, touching one-act play about friends and the price we pay for trying to hold on to them."
  • HEDDA WITHOUT WALLS
    Hedda Without Walls, is about an amateur theater company's production of the Ibsen play. The actors who play the characters in Hedda share the stage with their fictional counterparts. The story of a woman trying to take control of her life is intertwined with the stories of a group of actors, each of whom is seeking to find his or her own place in this world. When the actress playing Hedda decides that she...
    Hedda Without Walls, is about an amateur theater company's production of the Ibsen play. The actors who play the characters in Hedda share the stage with their fictional counterparts. The story of a woman trying to take control of her life is intertwined with the stories of a group of actors, each of whom is seeking to find his or her own place in this world. When the actress playing Hedda decides that she will kill herself on stage at the end of the play – just as Hedda does, the fun begins. Imaginative, funny, terrifying – these are some of the words used to describe the experience of Hedda Without Walls.
  • MRS. WARREN'S e-PROFESSION
    This modern adaptation of G.B.Shaw's classic moves the action to the Philadelphia Main Line where Mrs. Warren has a small mansion bought and paid for by her earnings as the proprietor of an on-line porno site which she has turned into "clickanddate.com", an online "dating" service with branches all over the world. The rest of the characters are updated, such as the right-wing Rev....
    This modern adaptation of G.B.Shaw's classic moves the action to the Philadelphia Main Line where Mrs. Warren has a small mansion bought and paid for by her earnings as the proprietor of an on-line porno site which she has turned into "clickanddate.com", an online "dating" service with branches all over the world. The rest of the characters are updated, such as the right-wing Rev. Gardner, now minister of "The Church of Christ the Avenger." He is trying to obtain financing for his "Guns for Christ" movement. While based on Shaw's masterpiece, this is a thoroughly modern Mrs. Warren and friends.
  • DREAMSVILLE
    Dreamsville is about the American Dream - to make a quick buck and live on easy street for the rest of your life. It’s about the dreams that fuel the engines of commerce and selfishness and caring and hope that make our times unique.
    All of the characters have their own dreams, some as distant as the Milky Way, some as close as a the summer heat.
    Joey is a chef with talent, but he loses it all...
    Dreamsville is about the American Dream - to make a quick buck and live on easy street for the rest of your life. It’s about the dreams that fuel the engines of commerce and selfishness and caring and hope that make our times unique.
    All of the characters have their own dreams, some as distant as the Milky Way, some as close as a the summer heat.
    Joey is a chef with talent, but he loses it all when his coke habit overtakes his ability to turn pasta into big bucks. Now, he is coming back, with a big deal that is going to put him back in the game.
    Tommy was always a two-bit gangster but he loves Joey and loves his sister, Tracy. His dream is for the three of them to make it big – nothing specific, just BIG. Then they will live happily ever after…
    Tracy has a dream too – to marry Joey and raise a family. She would do anything to make her dream come true.
    George, alias Shaky, knows what it is to be afraid – thus his name. He grew up wanting more than he had the stomach to grab, but now he found his way and his dream is just around the corner of the last big score.
    Kelly knows what he wants – more. If other people get in the way, he knows what to do – step over them.

    Nobody is a hero or a villain in Dreamsville – just people who want to find a place to be happy, a place where it’s safe and simple, a place where there’s no yesterday and no tomorrow – where it’s all today, all the time. Dreamsville.
  • FORREST! A RIOT OF DREAMS
    FORREST! A RIOT OF DREAMS
    BY ARMEN PANDOLA
    Forrest: A Riot of Dreams, won the Walnut Street Theater’s Edwin Forrest Playwriting Competition. It was presented at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia, PA in March, 2006. One reviewer wrote:

    Armen Pandola's witty, well-constructed play centers on the tempestuous relationship between Forrest and his British wife, Catherine...
    FORREST! A RIOT OF DREAMS
    BY ARMEN PANDOLA
    Forrest: A Riot of Dreams, won the Walnut Street Theater’s Edwin Forrest Playwriting Competition. It was presented at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia, PA in March, 2006. One reviewer wrote:

    Armen Pandola's witty, well-constructed play centers on the tempestuous relationship between Forrest and his British wife, Catherine Sinclair. Both are headstrong, egotistical and selfish, and two decades later they're in divorce court. The culture war, celebrity divorce trial and media madness at the heart of Forrest make the play abundantly topical. And Forrest also resonates because of its deeper themes: ambition, jealousy and the struggle for power in relationships between men and women.

    Forrest lived a life full of public triumphs and private disasters. His enormous fame made him the first American ‘star.’ In 1849 a crowd of Forrest fans rioted at the Astor Theater where rival British actor, William Macready, was performing and burnt the theater to the ground. Twenty-two people were killed and scores injured in the deadliest riot in NYC up to that time. The riot is dramatized in the play. In an imaginative way, the play inter- weaves the story of Forest's personal and public lives. At the center of the play are two journalists of the times, an aristocratic theater critic who hates Forrest and an Irish immigrant court reporter who adores him. While there are eight characters, three of the actors play double parts, adding a rich layer of irony to the play.
  • THE GIFT OF GIVING
    A young couple, Jim and Della, struggle to make it in NYC – she's an actor and he's a writer – they're not exactly on the road to financial freedom. The stories of their lives become entwined with those of a sultry literary agent and a lovable curmudgeon boss – and with the stories that Jim writes. A funny, heart-warming play that takes place in the imagination of its characters and the audience.
  • ZELDA & SCOTT: BOATS AGAINST THE CURRENT
    The story of the dreams that Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald chased over two continents and three decades, and the destruction of their lives in pursuit of those dreams. Concentrating on the relationship that formed the focal point of both their lives, this production explores one of the most legendary romances of all time. While Zelda is often seen as an appendage to Scott's career, this play reveals that...
    The story of the dreams that Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald chased over two continents and three decades, and the destruction of their lives in pursuit of those dreams. Concentrating on the relationship that formed the focal point of both their lives, this production explores one of the most legendary romances of all time. While Zelda is often seen as an appendage to Scott's career, this play reveals that Zelda was an artist in her own right, and that her life and dreams were as devastated by Scott's demons as his life and dreams were destroyed by hers. The Fitzgeralds were co-conspirators in making a life that created the idea of the Roaring Twenties. Scott Fitzgerald was the first to create the "flapper" character in his work and there is no doubt that Zelda was his template.