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Go on a wacky adventure with Ivy + Bean at Walnut Street Theatre for Kids!

May 7, 2018

Philadelphia, PA: Get ready for a musical adventure with WST for Kids production of Ivy + Bean. The two unlikely best friends will capture the hearts of kids of all ages in an hour-long musical about the adventures that can be discovered with the power of friendship. Ivy + Bean runs from June 1 through 10th at Walnut Street Theatre.

Ivy + Bean is based on the series of novels of the same name by Anne Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Ivy and Bean could not be more different, and when these two get together the adventures are endless. In this lively musical, they form an unlikely friendship when Bean decides to get revenge on her bossy, older sister, but they really discover that their differences are what make their friendship so exciting.

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 on stage at the Walnut.

The Walnut will be holding a Sensory Friendly Performance, aimed at students on the autism spectrum, of Ivy + Bean on Tuesday, June 5 at 10:30am. The Education Department has already given out over 800 tickets to schools, groups, and families to attend this now sold-out performance. This performance will allow students to feel more comfortable by moving around the theatre if needed, adjusting darkness and loud sound effects, and designating a "quiet space" for audience members who need a break. There will be a "no shushing" rule, meaning students can make whatever sounds or noises they feel they need to during the show.

A special student matinee performance of Ivy + Bean is also scheduled for Friday, June 1 at 10:30am. Hundreds of students across the Delaware Valley attend WST for Kids performances and experience live theatre for the first time as part of school trips.

Jesse Bernstein returns to the Walnut to direct Ivy + Bean. Bernstein recently directed the Walnut's Independence Studio on 3 production of It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, and WST for Kid's production of Honk! Jr. As part of the Walnut's Touring Outreach program, he directed The Return of Nick Nutrition and The Boy Who Cried Bully. Bernstein has also performed at the Walnut in numerous shows including last season's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, and Broadway Bound. Nate Golden, a Walnut teaching artist, returns to WST for Kids as Choreographer, after most recently choreographing this season's productions of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Jr. and StinkyKids. The Walnut welcomes back Mark Yurkanin (Flat Stanley, StinkyKids) as the music and vocal director for this production.

Marking her debut as set designer, current Walnut Scenic Painting Apprentice Jennifer Hiyama will be creating the "pleasant like cul-de-sac" of Pancake Court. After designing StinkyKids earlier this season, current Costume Apprentice Olivia Ballard returns as costume designer to fashion the colorful costumes for Ivy, Bean, and friends. Ryan Peavey (South Pacific, Flat Stanley, StinkyKids) and J. Dominic Chacon (StinkyKids, A Christmas Carol) complete the design team as sound designer and lighting designer, respectively.

The cast of Ivy + Bean are all members of The Theatre School at Walnut Street Theatre. Playing the bookish and imaginative Ivy is Mary Kate Foley. Foley is a recent graduate of Temple University and recently toured around Delaware County with the Walnut Education Department's production of A Philly Fairytale. Her wild and goofy counterpart, Bean, will be played by Amanda Spivack. Spivack returns to the Walnut after most recently being seen in Saturday Night Fever. Bean's parents will be played by past acting apprentices, Faith Sacher (StinkyKids, Junie B. Jones ) and Jared Calhoun (StinkyKids, Junie B. Jones).

Playing Nancy, Bean's older and meaner sister, is Audrey Biehl Simmons in her Walnut debut. Ashton Carter, a past acting apprentice, completes the cast as Ivy and Bean's sporty friend, Leo.

Ivy + Bean is live on stage at the Walnut June 1 through 10. Media partners for this production are Courier-Post and Mix 106.1, and the production is sponsored by PWC. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting or Ticketmaster.