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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels opens the Walnut's 201st Season!

September 24, 2009

Ben Dibble, Jessica Rush and Paul Schoeffler are a bunch of dirty, rotten scoundrels...but a lot of fun to watch! (photo: Mark Garvin)

Philadelphia, PA: The Walnut Street Theatre opens its landmark 201st season with the Philly premiere of Broadway's smash hit, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS. With Direction and Choreography by Barrymore Award-winner Richard Stafford, this all-new production of DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS begins previews on September 8th, opens on September 16th and runs through October 25th on the WST Mainstage.

Get ready to be taken for a ride! DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS is the story of two suave and shameless con-men (Ben Dibble and Paul Schoeffler) with two very different styles. When it becomes apparent that the French Riviera isn't big enough for the both of them, they make a winner-take-all wager over the fortunes of a naïve American soap heiress (Jessica Rush). The first one to "clean her out" can make the other clear out and keep the Riviera and its unsuspecting tourists to himself. What ensues is a battle royale of deceit, fake accents and freakishly funny circumstances.

The book for DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS is written by Jeffrey Lane, based on the 1988 hit comedy of the same name starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. Lane's collaboration with the music and lyrics of David Yazbek (The Full Monty) creates a heady mix of differing musical styles, hilarious routines and jokes ranging from the scatological to the cerebral. Opening in 2005, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS garnered an amazing 11 Tony Award Nominations during its run, including "Best Musical."

At the helm of this production as both Director and Choreographer will be Richard Stafford. Mr. Stafford's previous Walnut credits include Direction/Choreography for Beauty and the Beast and Cats, as well as Choreography for The Goodbye Girl, La Vie En Bleu and Evita. Richard's talents have been on display both nationally and internationally, serving as the Dance Supervisor on the original Broadway run of Cats and Choreographer for Broadway's In My Life. In addition to numerous regional theatre credits, He has also served as Director/Choreographer for multiple national tours and international productions of Cats. Joining Richard is Music and Vocal Director Douglass G. Lutz, who has guided numerous Walnut productions in the past few years, among them The Producers, State Fair, 42nd Street, Peter Pan and many more.

The bright lights, breezy beaches and swank fashions of the French Riviera will be brought to life by a spectacular team consisting of designers very familiar with the Walnut. Scenic Designer Robert Andrew Kovach (The Producers, Hairspray, Peter Pan) is joined by Lighting Designer Paul Black (The Producers, Hairspray and Peter Pan), Costume Designer Colleen Grady (The Producers, Hairspray, West Side Story, many others) and Sound Designer Nick Kourtides (The Producers).

The cast of DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS is an exceptionally strong and enormously talented ensemble of actors, most with strong ties to Broadway and the Walnut Street Theatre. Going head to head as con-men Lawrence Jameson and Freddie Benson are Walnut vets Paul Schoeffler and Ben Dibble. Paul, most recently scene at the Walnut in Les Miserables in his Barrymore-nominated portrayal of Inspector Javert, joins the cast directly from his role as Hertz in Broadway's smash Rock of Ages. Ben Dibble, currently nominated for two 2009 Barrymore Awards, returns to the Walnut directly after his crowd-pleasing turn as Leo Bloom in The Walnut's 2009 season finale, The Producers. Completing our con-artist romantic triangle is Jessica Rush as soap heiress Christine Colgate. DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS marks Jessica's first turn at WST, after performing on Broadway in the recent revival of Guys and Dolls (Martha) and the First National Tour of Mamma Mia! (Sophie). Also featured are Maggie Anderson (Sophie), Barrymore Award Winner Mary Martello (Muriel) and the always hilarious Fran Prisco (André Thibault).

The ensemble of DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS is a talented mix of actors from Philadelphia and New York. Newcomers J. David Anderson, Alan Bennett, Bree Branker, Dan Dunn, Jenny Florkowski, Amanda Paulson and Emily Tyra are joined by Walnut vets Anne Connors, Joe Jackson, Stanley Martin, Kerri Rose, Jonathan Stahl, Ryan James Stauffer and Mollie Marie Walsh.

DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS runs at the Walnut September 8 through October 25. This production is sponsored by Stradley Ronon. Media Sponsors are B101 and NBC 10.