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Studio 3 presents Quiara Hudes' Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue!

February 4, 2010

Edward Furs, Ephraim Lopez and Nick Anselmo. Photo by Tom Miller.

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The Walnut Street Theatre's 2009-2010 Independence Studio on 3 season continues with the Philadelphia premiere of Quiara Alegria Hudes' Pulitzer Prize Finalist: Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue. Directed by José M. Avilés, the production starts on February 23rd, opens February 25th and continues through March 14th in the Walnut's Independence Studio on 3.

At the age of eighteen, Philadelphian Elliot Ortiz (Ephraim López) joined the marines and was shipped off to Iraq. By the age of nineteen, he received the Purple Heart. On leave to recover from his wounds, Elliot returns a hero to the city of Brotherly Love. As Elliot comes to terms with his own memories of war, the military experiences of his father and grandfather come to light, proving that history often repeats itself in interesting ways. As Elliot's tale moves back in time, the stories of his father (Nick Anselmo), mother (Johanna Carden) and grandfather (Edward Furs) move forward until past and present collide, creating a connection of love, beauty and rebirth from the destructive nature of war. Melding poetic dreamscape with stream-of-consciousness narrative, Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue explores the unspoken connections across time and generations.

Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue premiered in 2006, produced by Page 73 Productions in NYC and was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times praised the production as "a rare and rewarding thing: a theater work that succeeds on every level," while Time Out New York hailed the play as "poignant and achingly evocative both utterly realistic and profoundly moving."

Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue was written by West Philadelphia native Quiara Alegria Hudes. This production marks the first time Quiara's work has been produced in her hometown. Her works include Yemaya's Belly, Water by the Spoonful, 26 Miles and Barrio Grrrl! Hudes wrote the book for the Tony Award-Winning In The Heights, which garnered Tony and Pulitzer nominations for Hudes herself and the HOLA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting. Currently, Hudes' projects include an adapted screenplay for a film version of In The Heights. She is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and serves as a board member/mentor for Philadelphia Young Playwrights.

The cast of Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue includes Ephraim Lopez (Elliot), Nick Anselmo (Pop), Johanna Carden (Ginny) and Edward Furs (Grandpop). Walnut audiences will remember Ephraim and Nick from their roles in A Streetcar Named Desire (Ephraim as Pedro) and The Buddy Holly Story (Nick as Ritchie Valens) respectively. Ephraim has worked locally with the Arden and Azuka, while Nick has appeared locally and in NYC. He currently directs the theatre and professional residency programs at Drexel University. Edward Furs (Grandpop) makes his Walnut debut. His work in film, TV and theatre encompasses 30 years experience, recently including work on Ugly Betty, Flight of the Conchords, The Sopranos and Michael Clayton. Johanna Carden (Ginny), also at the Walnut for the first time, has worked locally with Abingdon Theatre, Philadelphia Young Playwrights and Teatro Legasi.

Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue is directed by Philadelphia native José M. Avilés. José has worked as an actor, director and theatre arts educator for over 20 years. As an actor, he has performed at the Wilma Theater, PTC, Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, InterAct Theatre Company and Venture Theatre. In addition to working at WST, Jose has taught at the Wilma Theater and Taller Puertorriqueño. José most recently directed the world premiere production of The Domestication of Women; A House wares Party in Two Acts for Straw Flower Productions and Freedom Riders and Mean Girlz R Bullies 2 for the WST critically acclaimed Touring Outreach Company. He is currently the Theatre School Coordinator at WST and founder, artistic and producing director of Teatro del Sol.

Behind the scenes, the Walnut welcomes back Scenic Designer Andrew Thompson (Side by Side By Sondheim), Costume Designer Mary Folino (The Prince), Lighting Designer Shelley Hicklin (Barrymore Award Winner - Of Mice and Men) and Sound Designer Mark Valenzuela (Honor and the River).

Season sponsors for the 2009-2010 Independence Studio on 3 Season are The Independence Foundation and Macy's East. Media season sponsors are Philadelphia Weekly and WRTI Radio.