America's Oldest · Founded 1808

Walnut Street Theatre’s One-Night-Only Gala Concert America Sings!

April 12, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Walnut Street Theatre is pleased to announce that it will honor Walnut Street Theatre Trustee Ronald Bowlan with the 2018 Edwin Forrest Award at the theatre's annual Gala. The evening's events will begin with a 90-minute concert filled with Philadelphia's most cherished stars singing America's musical favorites and patriotic numbers. Performers include: Schyler Conaway, Christopher DeProphetis, Jennie Eisenhower, Melissa Joy Hart, Jessica Johnson, Jesse Jones, Mary Martello, Kathryn Miller, Cary Michele Miller, Ellie Mooney, Nichalas L. Parker, Lyn Philistine, Chris Sutton, and Julia Udine. Fran Prisco will take the stage as emcee for the evening.

All proceeds from the Gala benefit the Walnut Street Theatre's award-winning Education and Outreach programming, which has grown to reach over 172,000 students, teachers and families annually in the Delaware Valley. One of these programs is the Professional Apprenticeship Program which offers 32 seasonal apprenticeship opportunities for recent graduates. This season's Acting Apprentices Hallie Hargus, Daniel Ison, Sarah Owens, and Daniel Wisniewski will join in the Gala performances on stage to showcase their talents.

The Gala Concert, America Sings! will take place on Walnut Street Theatre's Mainstage at 7:00PM on Friday, May 4. Following the Gala Concert, attendees who support at the VIP level will attend an after party in the Jefferson Alumni Hall Atrium on the Thomas Jefferson University Campus (1020 Locust Street, between 10th and 11th Streets).

This gala is held annually to recognize members of the business and artistic communities with the Edwin Forrest Award for their contributions to American Theatre. The award was created in 1990 in honor of the leading American actor of the nineteenth century, Edwin Forrest. Forrest is a Philadelphia native who made his debut at the Walnut in 1820 and performed in several Shakespearean productions at the theatre. This year the Walnut celebrates the contributions of Walnut Street Theatre Trustee, Ronald Bowlan.

Ron's association with the Walnut Street Theatre began in 1982. At the time, he was working with Carrier Air Conditioning and the Walnut was one of his customers. He believed tickets to the theatre would impress his arts-loving girlfriend, Dolores, and purchased tickets to see Mass Appeal. It worked, as Ron and Dolores will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary this year.

Over the years, Ron and Dolores have made Philadelphia theatre a major part of their lives. They hold several subscriptions to local theatres (including a Walnut subscription of over 25 years) and have taken many trips to see shows on Broadway. They were able to introduce their granddaughter to the theatre by bringing her to the Walnut's holiday shows and behind-the-scenes tours.

Ron grew up in Wichita, Kansas and attended a junior college in western Kansas before being recruited to play on the varsity football team at Clemson University. While completing his degree in Recreation and Parks Administration, he played center on the football team and served as long snapper on special teams. He then re-enrolled at Clemson to earn a degree in Mechanical Engineering. His first job out of college, with Carrier Air Conditioning, brought him to Philadelphia.

In addition to having served on the Walnut board since 2011, Ron serves on the board of the Center City District and is currently the chairman of the board for the Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. He is also the Senior Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate at Thomas Jefferson University. His responsibilities in that positon span the many hospitals and university campuses of Jefferson. He manages all campus master planning activities, design, construction, real estate management, parking, security, environmental health and safety and university housing. Ron has worked at Jefferson for 21 years and previously served in similar roles at Einstein Health System and Lankenau Hospital.

The Walnut is happy to honor Ron for his dedication to Walnut Street Theatre.

The Walnut will also be celebrating House Manager Angelia Evans for her 25 years of committed service at the theatre. To celebrate this milestone, the theatre is offering $25 tickets to the America Sings concert with the goal of raising $5,000 for the Education Department in her honor.

The Gala Committee Co-Chairs are Walnut Street Theatre Donors Ramona Gwynn (Malvern, PA) and Jocelyn Williams (Moorestown, NJ).