America's Oldest · Founded 1808

Walnut Street Theatre announces landmark 200th anniversary season!

August 4, 2008

PHILADELPHIA, PA: In the coming year, the Walnut Street Theatre, America's oldest theatre and the State Theatre of Pennsylvania, will celebrate its landmark 200th season of live entertainment and its 26th season as a not-for-profit producing theatre company. Boasting over 56,000 subscribers, The Walnut is not only the most popular theater company in Philadelphia, but also the most subscribed theatre company in the world!

Bernard Havard, Producing Artistic Director, is proud to announce the 2008-2009 Mainstage season - a year of American stories by American authors. The upcoming season will include three magnificent and beloved musicals - get ready for Rodgers and Hammerstein's STATE FAIR, HAIRSPRAY and Mel Brooks' THE PRODUCERS. To round out this thrilling season, the Walnut also offers two Award-winning plays. Expect all the masterfully engaging emotion, complexity and raw power of Tennessee Williams' A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE along side the screwball antics of Garson Kanin's BORN YESTERDAY. In addition to these productions, there will be numerous events announced to celebrate the Walnut Street Theatre's 200th anniversary!


The Walnut opens this historic season with Rodgers and Hammerstein's salute to all things American: STATE FAIR (September 2 - October 19)! Join the Frake family in their three day adventure at the Iowa State Fair. While parents Abel and Melissa are hoping to win a few blue ribbons, siblings Margy and Wayne are more interested in finding romance on the midway. Wonderful surprises are waiting for everyone in this Broadway musical based on the Academy-Award winning film. Including such timeless tunes as "It Might As Well Be Spring," "You Never Had It So Good" and "It's a Grand Night for Singing," STATE FAIR will be a bright blast of song, dance and humor; a wonderful start to our 200th anniversary season.

The holiday season at the Walnut will be filled with big songs, big hair and big dreams thanks to our production of HAIRSPRAY (November 4 - January 4). This Broadway hit tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a girl with one passion in life: to dance on The Corny Collins Show. When her chance arrives, she grooves her way into instant stardom and the eyes of teen dream Link Larkin. But with the program's scheming producer against her, Tracy will need the help of her best friend Penny, her big (hearted) mother and the sassy Motormouth Maybelle to show the world what it takes to make dreams come true. HAIRSPRAY started out as John Waters' cult classic film, was reborn as a Broadway blockbuster, and has found an even larger audience on the big screen! Now the Walnut Street Theatre presents its own version of this Broadway sensation.

Coming next: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (January 13 - March 1). In 1947, Broadway's hottest young writer brought a new play to the Walnut Street Theatre prior to Broadway. It was a passionate and dramatic tale with performances so raw, they changed the American approach to acting for generations to come. Tennesee Williams' masterpiece went on to become a hit on Broadway and on screen. Set in the French Quarter of New Orleans, we follow the nervous adventures of a faded Southern Belle, Blanche DuBois. This journey of delicate indiscretions, lost dreams and brutish actions leads Blanche to madness, aided by her handsome, masculine brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski. One of the greatest dramas of the 20th century returns to where it all began as part of the Walnut's 200th Anniversary celebration.

Next up is a bit of lighter fare: BORN YESTERDAY (March 10 - April 26). One of the original screwball comedies, Garson Kanin's BORN YESTERDAY tells the story of Harry Brock, a business tycoon who goes to Washington, trying to break into the "special interest" business. He realizes that his fiancée, Billie Dawn, may need a make-over to fit his new, inside the beltway image. Brock hires a D.C. journalist to give this seemingly dim-witted blonde a crash course in politics, history, literature and (of course) true love. This classic from the Golden Age of comedy proves that the more things change, the more they stay the same. After all: Washington politics, all-American humor and true love weren't born yesterday, you know.

Our final production will be an all-new production of Mel Brooks' THE PRODUCERS (May 12 - July 12). Mel Brooks' adaptation of his own 1968 comedy classic opened on Broadway to unanimous raves and earned a record-breaking twelve Tony Awards. This musical comedy is the story of scheming producer Max Bialystock and his mousy accountant Leo Bloom. Bloom discovers that under the right circumstances they could make more money producing a Broadway flop than they could with a hit. The two set out to produce the worst Broadway musical of all time. But what are they going to do when the show turns out to be a hit? THE PRODUCERS is a big, over-the-top, fun-filled musical comedy, and a spectacular finale to our once-in-a-lifetime season!


The only way to guarantee the best seats is to subscribe"