America's Oldest · Founded 1808

WINDY CITY: A Musical Adventure sure to make "The Front Page!"

August 25, 2006

The Walnut Street Theatre opens its 198th season, A Season of Romance, with WINDY CITY. Featuring an outstanding and catchy score written by award-winning composer Tony Macaulay, WINDY CITY has everything a good front page story should: love, laughter, mystery and madcap mayhem. The production runs September 5 through October 22 on the Walnut Street Theatre Mainstage.

Ace reporter Hildebrand "Hildy" Johnson wants to do the impossible. He has a new fiancée, a new job in the movie business and a new life waiting for him on the West Coast. All he has to do is quit the Chicago Examiner and leave his scheming editor, Walter Burns. Easier said than done however, as the devious Burns won't let his top reporter go that easily. On Hildy's last day, the boys in the press room are awaiting news on Earl Williams, a mentally unhinged murderer who has a date with the executioner in the morning. Sensing one last big scoop, Hildy works feverishly to knock out one more story before his new life begins. What follows is total calamity as the condemned Williams escapes from police custody. Will Hildy finish his story before his train and his fiancée leave for the West Coast? What has become of the fugitive Earl Williams? And what does Walter Burns have up his sleeves to keep Hildy from leaving the Examiner? Bullets and comic barbs fly left and right as the show rumbles like an "L" Train to its hilarious conclusion.

WINDY CITY is based on "The Front Page", written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. It has become one of the most often-told tales in American popular culture over the past 80 years, having spawned numerous incarnations, including the original 1928 stage production and the films HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell) and THE FRONT PAGE (1974, starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, directed by Billy Wilder). In the early part of the 1980's Tony Macaulay and Dick Vosburgh collaborated on bringing a musical version of this classic story to life. WINDY CITY premiered on London's West End in 1982. The production blended the best of musical theatre with a "film noir" feel to create something sharply satirical and thrilling.

Composer Tony Macaulay is a prolific songwriter, to put it mildly. He has sold more than 52 million records worldwide. Twenty-four of his songs have been Top-20 hits ('Build Me Up, Buttercup,' 'Don't Give Up On Us Baby' and 'Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)' just to name a few). He has twice been honored by the British Film Academy as "Songwriter of the Year." Mr. Macaulay has won the British Academy Award a staggering nine times. His music can be heard in many recent films including THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, SHALLOW HAL and STARSKY AND HUTCH. Writer and lyricist Dick Vosburgh is a New Jersey native who has become a well known journalist, broadcaster and playwright. He has written for Bob Hope, Carol Channing and Peter Sellers, and has received two Tony nominations for his work on the 1980 Broadway production of A DAY IN HOLLYWOOD, A NIGHT IN UKRAINE.

When Bernard Havard (the Walnut's Producing Artistic Director) decided to produce WINDY CITY, Macaulay took it upon himself to update the show for a new audience. To hear from Mr. Macaulay himself, "The characters inhabit an intriguing, colorful world; rich in texture with a love story at its center"