America's Oldest · Founded 1808

Academy Award Winner Ron Harwood's Quartet opens in Studio 3!

March 9, 2008

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The Walnut Street Theatre's 2007-2008 Independence Studio on 3 season continues with Quartet, a wickedly funny and joyous play about the eccentricities of age, art and the celebratory power of the human spirit. Written by Academy award-winning author and playwright Ronald Harwood, Quartet starts on March 25, opens on March 27 and closes on April 13.

Cecily (Drucie McDaniel, Reggie (Tom Markus) and Wilfred (John Peakes) are former opera stars living yout their golden years in an English countryside home for retired performers. The one event everyone in the home looks forward to is the October 10th concert to celebrate the birthday of Giuseppe Verdi. This year's concert is going to be a little different, however. The threesomes' best laid plans are thrown into disorder with the arrival of Ms. Jean Horton (Wendy Scharfman). Jean, the biggest opera star to ever come to stay at the home, is instantly recruited into the proceedings, whether she wants to be a part of things or not. As the concert approaches, the foursome hit upon a seemingly foolproof plan guaranteed to make this birthday concert one for the ages. Tensions mount, doubts arise and old hurts resurface...but at the end of all things the show must go on! With a bit of luck and a lot of ingenuity, this quartet will bring down the house.

Playwright Ronald Harwood is one of the most accomplished and critically celebrated of all contemporary dramatists. He has spent the majority of his career dividing his time between prolific careers as a playwright, scriptwriter for theatrical films, and author of teleplays. Among his many accomplishments, he won his first Oscar for scripting Roman Polanski's period drama The Pianist (2002), adapted Gabriel García Márquez's beloved novel Love in the Time of Cholera (2007) and adapted quadriplegic Jean-Dominique Bauby's memoir The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. His work on that film scored him his third nomination from the Academy for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Cast of Quartet consists of four actors very familiar to Walnut audiences. Drucie McDaniel (Cicily Robson) was last seen on stage at the Walnut in the Studio 3 production of Moll. Other Philadelphia productions include shows at the Wilma, Interact, 1812 and Delaware Theatre Co. among others. Tom Markus (Reginald Paget) performed in the Walnut's 2006 Studio 3 production of Enigma Variations, and directed last year's taut production of Bookends. John Peakes (Wilfred Bond) endeared himself to Walnut audiences as Officer Krupke in West Side Story and as theatre producer Abner Dillon in 42nd Street. Wendy Scharfman (Jean Horton) rounds out the cast, having recently played the formidable Mrs. Graves in the Walnut's 2007 production of Enchanted April. Together this talented foursome makes beautiful music together.

Directing Quartet is Walnut Street Theatre veteran Malcolm Black. Malcolm's experience ranges all across the United States and elsewhere. Opera is a subject near to Malcolm's heart, as his early days in the theatre were spent working for the world renowned Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. His extensive credits at the Walnut include Damn Yankees, The Constant Wife, Trying, last season's Enchanted April,, and Morning's At Seven for the Walnut Street Theatre Company's first-ever season 25 years ago. He is joined in this endeavor by Set Designer Glen Sears (Natural History, Flight: A Musical Journey with David Jackson, A Christmas Carol), Lighting Designer Shon Causer (Mr. Bailey's Minder, Vivien, Greater Tuna) Costume Designer Colleen Grady (West Side Story, Peter Pan, many others) and Sound Designer Ryk Lewis (Peter Pan, Man of La Mancha, Carousel, and Of Mice and Men).