America's Oldest · Founded 1808

Now on the Mainstage: Fallen Angels!

February 5, 2010

Susan Riley Stevens and Karen Peakes. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Philadelphia, PA: The Walnut Street Theatre continues its landmark 201st season with Noël Coward's FALLEN ANGELS. Champagne, romance and laughter are on the menu in this prime example of English comedy. The production will feature performances from Susan Riley Stevens, Karen Peakes, Bill Van Horn, Greg Wood, Dan Olmstead and Jennie Eisenhower. With Direction by Malcolm Black, this all-new production begins previews on March 16th, opens March 24th and runs through May 2nd on the WST Mainstage.

Jane and Julia are the best of friends. They live in the same very posh section of 1920s London, and are both married to loving (if slightly inattentive and dull) husbands. When the boys head out of town on a golfing weekend, Jane and Julia go from BFF to "frenemies" when a very dashing and very French mutual ex-boyfriend shows up. Each will go to any length to see this mysterious and debonair former lover, even at the expense of the other. What follows is an extremely funny set of circumstances fueled by jealousy, misinformation, and A LOT of alcohol. They say that "all's fair in love and war." You haven't seen anything yet! Full of wit and ribald humor, FALLEN ANGELS shocked audiences when it premiered, and can hold its own against anything you might see on stage, screen or television today.

A man with a renowned "talent to amuse," Noël Coward began a life in the theatre as an actor at the age of 12. The multitalented Englishman first appeared before American audiences in his own hit play, The Vortex (1925). Fallen Angels debuted the next year at the Globe Theatre (now called the Gielgud Theatre) starring Tallulah Bankhead. Fallen Angels premiered on Broadway in 1927 and was revived in 1956. Today it lives on as a prime example of British comedy written by a young man (Coward was just 27 at the time of its creation) entering his prime as a playwright. Other plays in the Coward canon include Private Lives, Design for Living, Hay Fever, Bitter Sweet and the recently revived Blithe Spirit.

Directing FALLEN ANGELS is Walnut Street Theatre veteran Malcolm Black. Malcolm's experience ranges all across the United States and elsewhere. His extensive credits at the Walnut span over 25 years, and include Damn Yankees, The Constant Wife, Trying, Enchanted April and last season's production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He is joined in this endeavor by Set and Lighting Designer Paul Wonsek. Paul's experience at the Walnut has included the intricate Set and Lighting Designs for A Streetcar Named Desire, Enchanted April, The Constant Wife, Trying and Lost in Yonkers. Award-winning Costume Designer Ellis Tillman also boasts come impressive credits: he has created over 60 Costume Designs, including the costumes of A Streetcar Named Desire, Enchanted April, Lost in Yonkers and The Constant Wife. Ellis is a nine-time nominee and three-time winner of the Carbonell Award for Excellence in Theatre. The production staff also includes Sound Designer Christopher Colucci, who has created the soundscapes for close to a dozen Walnut Street Theatre productions. Christopher was awarded the 2008 Best Sound Design Barrymore Award for 1812 Productions' Suburban Love Songs.

The cast of FALLEN ANGELS includes a number of well-known Philadelphia actors we are proud to welcome back. Appearing as "desperate housewives" Jane and Julia are Karen Peakes and Susan Riley Stevens. Karen and Susan return to the Walnut after having recently appeared in Born Yesterday (Karen) and A Streetcar Named Desire (Susan) respectively. Jane's husband (Willy) is portrayed by Bill Van Horn, who has appeared recently in the Walnut's Studio 3 in the world premiere of The Prince. Juila's husband (Fred) is portrayed by Greg Wood. (Note: Greg and Susan Riley Stevens, playing a married couple in the show, are married in real life!). Rounding out the cast as Maurice is Dan Olmstead (Of Mice and Men) and Jennie Eisenhower as Saunders. Fallen Angels marks Jennie's first appearance here since her Barrymore Award-winning turn in last season's Studio 3 production of Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits.

FALLEN ANGELS runs at the Walnut March 16 through May 2. This production is sponsored by Blank Rome, LLP. Media Sponsors are B101, NBC 10 and the Philadelphia Inquirer.