Walnut Street Theatre's 2011-2012 Independence Studio on 3 season concludes with A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING. Directed by Bruce Lumpkin, the production begins with previews tonight, May 1st, opens May 3rd and continues through June 24th in the Walnut's Independence Studio on 3.
Broadway's tribute to the genius of Rodgers & Hammerstein is truly A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING. This Tony-nominated Best Musical shows how wonderfully timeless their music is. Reinterpretations of their familiar songs include an Andrews Sisters-esque "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out-a My Hair," "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?" sung by a lovelorn young lad and "Shall We Dance?" performed as a comic pas de deux. Within one evening, audiences will enjoy over 30 songs from Rodgers & Hammerstein shows, including Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music and Cinderella.
Having originally been performed in a cabaret style at New York's Rainbow and Stars, A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING was so popular it made the move to Broadway and opened at the Criterion Center Stage Right in 1993. The original Broadway production, directed by Walter Bobbie, was nominated for two Tony Awards (Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical) and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revue.
The musical, dramatic and comedic talents of four Philadelphia actors (Jennie Eisenhower, Rebecca Robbins, Michael Philip O'Brien and Fran Prisco) will bring a fresh spirit to the treasured lyrics and remarkable melodies of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Eisenhower was last seen at the Walnut starring as Mollie Ralston in the record breaking production of The Mousetrap. Among her additional Walnut credits is a Barrymore Award-winning performance in Forbidden Broadway on the Independence Studio on 3 stage. Fran Prisco brings his smooth swagger back to the Walnut after having both performed in and directed last season's extremely popular production of My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra. Michael Philip O'Brien makes his Studio 3 debut, having performed on the Walnut's Mainstage in Godspell, Man of La Mancha and Les Misérables, among others. Rebecca Robbins returns to the Walnut after appearing in this season's Aspects of Love. Robbins will bring the same elegance to A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING as she has to other Walnut favorites including The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Cats, Beauty and the Beast and La Vie En Bleu.
Directing A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING is Walnut veteran Bruce Lumpkin. Lumpkin has directed numerous Mainstage and Studio 3 productions, including the highly acclaimed productions of Miss Saigon and Fiddler on the Roof. Additional Walnut Mainstage productions include Man of La Mancha, West Side Story, Evita, Grand Hotel, State Fair, and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel. Joining Lumpkin is his partner, both in theatre and real life, Choreographer Michelle Gaudette. Gaudette has previously choreographed at the Walnut for productions including Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof, State Fair, Man of La Mancha, Carousel and Evita. Musical Director and Pianist David Jenkins make his Walnut premiere with this production.
Setting the tone for the elegant 1940's cabaret, the Walnut welcomes back Scenic Designer Robert Kramer (The Price, Forbidden Broadway, The Fantasticks), Lighting Designer Adam Macks (Forbidden Broadway), Sound Designer Zachary Brown (Ethel!) and Costume Designer Mary Folino (The Mousetrap, My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra).
Season sponsors for the 2011-2012 Independence Studio on 3 Season are The Independence Foundation and Macy's. Media season sponsors are Philadelphia Weekly and WRTI Radio. Tickets are $35 and are now available at 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available at WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.com.