209th Anniversary Season · America's Oldest · Founded 1809

Kids Will Dream Big with SKIPPYJON JONES at WST for Kids! Begins Mar. 31

March 2, 2017

Philadelphia, PA: Get ready for musical adventure at WST for Kids as Skippyjon Jones follows his dreams center stage. This lively Siamese kitten, whose ears are big and whose dreams are bigger, will capture the hearts of kids and their grown-up friends in an hour-long musical about the power of imagination. Skippyjon Jones runs from March 31 to April 22 at Walnut Street Theatre.

Skippyjon Jones is based on the series of novels of the same name by Philadelphia-based author Judy Schachner. Skippyjon, a small Siamese cat whose big ears make him look like a Chihuahua, longs to be different. When his Mama sends him to his room to think about behaving like the cat he really is, Skippyjon transforms himself into Skippito Friskito, the greatest canine sword fighter in Old Mexico. His wild imagination leads him on a quest to save a friendly pack of Chihuahuas from Alfredo Buzzito, the gigantic, bean-stealing bee. Will Skippyjon be a ‘fraidy-cat or the top dog? Skippyjon Jones teaches young audiences that good things come when we face our fears, follow our dreams and dare to be different.

WST for Kids takes pride in bringing families together through reading and the arts. Parents and grandparents can read the books together with their favorite kids, then watch them come to life at the Walnut. The Walnut is thrilled to announce that Skippyjon Jones author and illustrator Judy Schachner will be visiting Walnut Street Theatre on April 1 to meet with fans and sign copies of her famous books in the theatre lobby following each of the three performances that day.

Three special student matinee performances of Skippyjon Jones are scheduled for Friday, March 31, Thursday, April 6 and Friday, April 7. Thousands of students across the Delaware Valley attend WST for Kids performances and experience live theatre for the first time as part of school trips.

Ashley Kerns is excited to return to the role of Director for Skippyjon Jones. Earlier this season, Kerns directed Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jr. as well as last year’s WST for Kids productions of Zombie in Love and Shrek The Musical Jr. Currently, Kerns is Walnut Street Theatre’s Assistant Director of Education and a teacher at The Theatre School at Walnut Street Theatre. Nate Golden, a Walnut teaching artist, returns to WST for Kids as Choreographer, after most recently choreographing last season’s productions of Zombie in Love and Miss Nelson Has a Field Day. The Walnut welcomes back Mark Yurkanin (Zombie in Love, Freckleface Strawberry) as the Music and Vocal Director for this production.

Marking her debut as Set Designer, current Walnut Properties Apprentice Greer Duckworth will be mirroring Skippyjon’s imagination with a vibrant Mexican village on stage. After designing A Christmas Carol earlier this season, Abigail Stenner returns as Costume Designer to fashion the cat and canine costumes in the show. Ryan Peavey (South Pacific, A Christmas Carol) and J. Dominic Chacon (Miss Nelson Has a Field Day; Garfield, The Musical With Cattitude) complete the design team as Sound Designer and Lighting Designer, respectively.

The cast of Skippyjon Jones are all members of The Theatre School at Walnut Street Theatre. Playing the title role of Skippyjon is Walnut Acting Apprentice Alexa Cepeda, who made her debut earlier this season in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Joining her on stage are current Walnut Acting Apprentices Anne Bragg (Jilly Boo/Tia Mia), Dana Orange (Scar/Mirror Chihuahua/Alfredo Buzzito) and Austin Turner (Emcee/Don Diego).

Marissa Barnathan will play Ju-Ju Bee, Poquito Tito and Stick, after being seen on Walnut’s stage in A Christmas Carol, Pinkalicious and Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly. Following his role as Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, Jared Calhoun returns to the stage as Momma Bird, Sir Mew Mew, Chihuahua and Bee. Jamie Beth Weist, who accompanied Calhoun earlier this season as Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, will play Jezebel and Pintolito. Performing most recently at the Walnut as Cogsworth in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jr., Samantha Deutsch will take fanciful flight as Bird, Princess, Chihuahua and Bee in this production. Marking her WST debut, Rachel Gitel completes the cast as Mama Junebug Jones and Rosalita.

Skippyjon Jones is live on stage at the Walnut March 31 through April 22. Media partners for this production are Courier-Post and Mix 106.1, and the production is sponsored by The Mutual Fire Foundation, Inc. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.