America's Oldest · Founded 1808

Walnut Street Theatre Announces Its 211th Season!

January 8, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA –Walnut Street Theatre, America’s Oldest Theatre and a National Historic Landmark, is pleased to announce its landmark 211th season of live entertainment and its 37th season as a not-for-profit producing theatre company. The line-up includes three exciting musicals, a hilarious comedy of manners by Oscar Wilde, and a timely political melodrama. As a self-producing regional theatre, the Walnut has become not only the most popular theatre company in Philadelphia, but also the most subscribed theatre company in the world.

Producing Artistic Director Bernard Havard is proud to reveal the 2019-20 Mainstage season noting, “I’m so proud to announce our 211th Season, filled with timeless classics and thrilling musicals. We are honored to; once again, showcase Philadelphia’s sensational artistic talent, both on stage and behind the scenes. Our world-class professional productions are created right here in Philadelphia at America’s oldest theatre."

Audiences will be treated to the monstrously funny musical based on the classic Gene Wilder film, Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein; an ogre-sized holiday treat with Shrek The Musical; a tongue-in-cheek Oscar Wilde comedy of manners, A Woman of No Importance; an intense, winner-takes-all peek behind the political curtain in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man; and a breathtaking romantic thriller filled with Whitney Houston’s greatest hits, The Bodyguard.   
It’s Alive! (And it’s Hilarious!) The Walnut opens its 211th season with the monstrously mad musical, Mel Brooks’ YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, from the creators of the record-breaking Broadway sensation, The Producers! Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced "Fronk-en-steen") reluctantly inherits his infamous family’s estate in Transylvania. Urged on by a hunchbacked sidekick, Igor (pronounced "Eye-gore"), and a leggy lab assistant, Inga (pronounced normally), Frederick finds himself fulfilling his grandfather’s corpse-raising legacy. This electrifying musical stage adaptation of Mel Brooks' brilliantly funny film will leave you in stitches! (September 3 – October 20, 2019)

Next, the holiday season becomes a little greener with everybody’s favorite ogre in SHREK THE MUSICAL, the award-winning Broadway musical based on the Oscar-winning movie. A reclusive ogre finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking Donkey and a feisty princess. Throw in a short-tempered wannabe King, a cookie with an attitude, and over a dozen other classic fairy tale misfits, and you've got the makings of a riotously dysfunctional road trip. Featuring all-new songs and outrageous humor, Shrek The Musical is ogre-sized holiday fun for the whole family! (November 5, 2019 – January 5, 2020)

Next up, audiences will embark to Victorian England for Oscar Wilde’s A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE. A beautiful, wealthy American woman travels to England seeking to marry a titled aristocrat. The incomparable Oscar Wilde employs this deceptively simple plot to masterfully mock British society – and the Englishness of the English. In this classic comedy of manners, Wilde holds an unfiltered mirror up to the bourgeois life of Victorian England, while extolling the virtues of robust – and refreshing – American values. Cultures clash, long-held secrets are exposed, and A Woman of No Importance has the final word, as the master of biting wit satirizes the roles we play. (January 14 – March 1, 2020)

The season will continue with the Tony Award-winning play, Gore Vidal’s THE BEST MAN. Philadelphia.  The 48 hours leading up to the presidential nomination.  Two candidates and their advisors play an intense winner-take-all game of political cat and mouse.  Promoting virtually identical policies, the two men’s personalities define their true differences: One is a wit and scholar with lofty principles. The other is young, ruthless – and the perfect TV-friendly candidate.  The Best Man will have you hanging on every unpredictable twist, turn, play, and ploy, as secrets are revealed and allegiances are bought and sold. In this time when politics are fiercely debated, The Best Man should not be missed! (March 10 – April 26, 2020)

Our season will conclude with the international smash hit musical, THE BODYGUARD, based on the blockbuster film and featuring the songs of Whitney Houston. The award-winning romantic thriller that produced the best-selling soundtrack of all time comes to the stage! When a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard is hired to protect a superstar singer, each expects to be the one in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love. The Bodyguard features hits including, “I’m Every Woman,” "So Emotional," “Run to You,” "One Moment in Time," "Saving All My Love," "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," and one of the greatest songs of all time – "I Will Always Love You.” (May 12 – July 12, 2020)

The only way to guarantee the best seats is to subscribe. Subscriptions are available now for as little as $100 a season! Individual tickets go on sale in early August.
All show titles, dates and subscription prices are subject to change. For information on season subscriptions, call the Walnut at 215-574-3550 ext. 6 (10AM – 10PM) or visit our website at