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Independence Studio on 3 Opens With "A Marvelous Party" - NOËL AND GERTIE Plays Now Through December 31

November 10, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA: Walnut Street Theatre's 2011-2012 Independence Studio on 3 season opens with the celebration of a friendship that became part of show business history, NOËL AND GERTIE. Directed by Will Stutts, who will also play Noël Coward, the production begins with previews on November 22nd, opens December 1st and continues through December 31st in the Walnut's Independence Studio on 3.

Noël Coward was a talented actor, playwright and composer who entertained audiences with Private Lives and Blithe Spirit. Gertrude Lawrence was a celebrated actress who triumphed on stage in Lady in the Dark and The King and I. Together, they formed a memorable friendship and defined an era in show biz. Their delightful mischief, wit, backstage stories and popular songs, including "Someday I'll Find You," "Mrs. Worthington" and "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," take center stage in NOËL AND GERTIE.

NOËL AND GERTIE was first performed in 1983 at the King's Head in London. It then transferred to the West End where it ran for nine years. The 1998 New York production starred James Warwick as Noël and Twiggy as Gertie.

Playwright Sheridan Morley wrote the hit play NOËL AND GERTIE after completing biographies of Noël Coward in 1969 and Gertrude Lawrence in 1981. It was developed from the intimate stories shared in these biographies, and highlights Coward's popular songs and excerpts from his plays and personal journals. Morley's in-depth knowledge of two of this century's greatest stage personalities allows their professional and personal relationships to shine in throughout the play.

Director Will Stutts, who plays Noël Coward, is no stranger to the Walnut's Independence Studio on 3. Much of the work of this "master of the one man show" (Philadelphia Inquirer) has been produced on the Studio 3 stage including world premieres of Barrymore, Frank Lloyd Wright, Kemble vs. Butler, The Gift, Edwin Forrest, Eye of the Storm, Summons to Sheffield and his highly entertaining Will Stutts' Tallulah! Having previously charmed Walnut audiences as Noël Coward in Noël Coward at the Café de Paris, an elegant, debonair, witty Stutts will play opposite his leading lady, Susan Wilder (Gertrude Lawrence). Wilder has graced the Walnut's Mainstage with her comedic performances in Born Yesterday and The Constant Wife. This is the second production this pair will perform in together at the Walnut, having performed together in Stutts' Summons to Sheffield in 2003. Coincidently, Noël Coward and Gertrude Lawrence only performed together in two productions throughout their lives, Private Lives and Tonight at 8:30. Stutts and Wilder will follow the musical direction of Walnut newcomer Owen Robbins.

Behind the scenes, the creative designers for NOËL AND GERTIE include Walnut veterans Scenic Designer Andrew Thompson (Afterplay, Side by Side by Sondheim, Elliot: A Soldier's Fugue, My Way) and Costume Designer Mark Mariani (Collected Stories, Visiting Mr. Greene, Afterplay). New to the Walnut, Lighting Designer Chris Hallenbeck and Sound Designer Cory Neale will also help to transform Studio 3 into a 1930's art deco memory.

The Walnut's production of NOËL AND GERTIE coincides with their production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic family musical The King and I. Gertrude Lawrence created the role of Anna in the 1951 Broadway production.

Season sponsors for the 2010-2011 Independence Studio on 3 Season are The Independence Foundation and Macy's. Media season sponsors are Philadelphia Weekly and WRTI Radio. Tickets are $30 and are now available at 215-574-3550 or 215-336-1234. Tickets are also available at or