America's Oldest · Founded 1808

The Walnut Street Theatre celebrates Harry Warren!

December 1, 2006

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The Walnut Street Theatre salutes the man behind many of the most popular songs in American history. This holiday season, in addition to celebrating with a fabulous production of Broadway's smash hit 42nd Street, the Walnut offers a tribute to the show's brilliant composer, Harry Warren. The Songs of Harry Warren, coming to the Walnut Street Theatre on December 11, 2006, promises an evening of enjoyable music alongside fascinating stories about Harry Warren's public and private life. All tickets are $8 and can be purchased online at or by calling 215-574-3550.

The Walnut Street Theatre wishes to celebrate this extraordinary composer. Join us for an insider's look at the life of one of the greatest American composers of the 20th century with The Songs of Harry Warren. To give this extraordinary composer his due, the Walnut enlists The Songs of Harry Warren performer and creator Sheila Weiler, a Philadelphia singer, actress and comedienne. Sheila is joined by singer/performer John Sannuto, who is also an Associate Professor of Theatre at Long Island University. Accompanist Jeff McDonnell serves as musical director. Harry Warren's granddaughter, Julia Riva, will be in attendance to help provide a family member's perspective on the most successful American songwriter in history.

The Songs of Harry Warren is the brainchild of Philadelphia actress Sheila Weiler. The program first began as a special presentation at the New York Sheet Music Society, commemorating the 112th birthday celebration of songwriter Richard Whiting. Whiting, a contemporary of Harry Warren's, was a major contributor to the early days of American songwriting in Tin Pan Alley. Whiting's daughter, Margaret (a star in her own right), joined with Sheila Weiler to present The Songs of Harry Warren in New York last November. Now, The Songs of Harry Warren comes to Philadelphia.

Born in 1893, Warren was one of twelve children born to poor Italian immigrants in Brooklyn. Warren worked in near-obscurity throughout his prolific career as a songwriter. His name may not be familiar, but his songs, including "Chattanooga Choo Choo" (the first Gold record in history), "That's Amore," and "You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me" are universally familiar. 42nd Street brought many other enduring hits: "We're In the Money," "Shuffle Off To Buffalo," and "Lullaby of Broadway."

Warren won his first Academy Award for 42nd Street's "Lullaby of Broadway" in 1935, and then won twice more in 1943 and 1944. Overall, he was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, and his hit songs dominated the charts for decades. Forty-two of his songs appeared on the popular program "Your Hit Parade," with twenty-one songs reaching the number one slot, and up to four songs in the top ten at one time. Harry Warren had more Academy Award nominations and top ten songs than Richard Rogers, Irving Berlin, or the Gershwins. Warren's most successful partnership occurred in the Hollywood of the 1930s, where Warren met lyricist and longtime Philadelphia resident Al Dubin. Together, the two men would write dozens of successful shows and songs in one of the most prolific creative collaborations in the history of American music.

Audiences of 42nd Street will want to take advantage of this special one night event. Bring 42nd Street a bit closer to home with an inside look at its fascinating composer. This program is supported by the Humanities-and-the-Arts initiative, administered by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and funded principally by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. The Songs of Harry Warren will be at the Walnut Street Theatre on Monday, December 11 at 7 pm. Tickets are only $8.