America's Oldest · Founded 1808

WST's Inaugural Gala Concert Series: A Few of My Favorite Things

April 2, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - The Walnut Street Theatre is pleased to announce that it will celebrate multiple honorees this year with the 2010 Edwin Forrest Award at its landmark 201st Anniversary Gala. This year's Gala marks an exciting change in programming from previous years, introducing the inaugural Gala Concert. Aptly titled "A Few of My Favorite Things," the evening will begin with a 90-minute concert featuring some of the Walnut's (and Philadelphia's) favorite performers. Scheduled to perform are such Philadelphia theatre luminaries as Mary Martello, Jennie Eisenhower, Michael Philip O'Brien, Ben Dibble, Joilet Harris and Fran Prisco (just to name a few). Join us as your favorite Walnut performers sing their personal favorite Broadway numbers and share behind-the-scenes stories! Ticket prices range from $25 - $250 and are available at the Walnut Box Office, online at or by phone at 215-574-3550.

The Gala Concert will take place on the Walnut Street Theatre Mainstage (9th and Walnut Sts.) at 7PM on Friday, May 14. Following the Gala Concert, a VIP After-Party will be held in the Conrady Lobby of Thomas Jefferson University's Dorrance H. Hamilton Building (1001 Locust Street, between 10th and 11th).

This event is held every year to honor members of the business community and the artistic community with the Edwin Forrest Award for their contributions to American Theatre. This year the Walnut honors longtime Walnut sponsor Citizens Bank and Charles Abbott, a Barrymore Award Winning Actor/Director whose history with the Walnut stretches back over 28 years. The award was created in 1990 in honor of the leading American Actor of the nineteenth century, Edwin Forrest, a Philadelphia native who made his debut at the Walnut in 1820.

Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania is a state-chartered bank with more than 180 branches in the greater Philadelphia region. Widely recognized for its partnerships with government, business and community organizations which provide innovative responses to the needs of the community, Citizens Bank has been extremely generous to the Walnut Street Theatre over the past 13 seasons. Beginning with its first production sponsorship of The Goodbye Girl in 1997, Citizens Bank has sponsored one production per season each year since. In addition to this critical sponsorship support, Citizens Bank has provided the Walnut with a wealth of excellent executives to serve on its Board of Trustees. Currently, Citizens Bank Executive Vice President Ed Ryan serves as the Walnut's Board Chair.

Accepting the Award on behalf of Citizens Bank will be Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, Citizens Bank's President and CEO for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Fitzpatrick, a native of Philadelphia, is extremely active in the community at large. Mr. Fitzpatrick serves on many varied boards, including LaSalle University, the University of the Sciences, the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, the Franklin Institute, the Greater Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Office of Catholic Education of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition. In an expanded leadership capacity, Mr. Fitzpatrick serves as the chairman of the Committee of Seventy and Chairman of the CEO Ambassadors for 21st Century Skills.

Actor and Director Charles Abbott has been involved with the Walnut Street Theatre since its beginnings as a non-profit producing company in 1983. Over the past 27 seasons, Mr. Abbott has served in many different capacities (Actor/Director/Choreographer) for an astounding 28 productions. Mr. Abbott has been honored with Barrymore nominations five times, winning for his Direction of 42nd Street (2007) and his lead performance in Cabaret (1996). He has served as the Artistic Director for Maine State Music Theatre for the past 19 seasons, and has appeared onstage in numerous Broadway and National Touring productions. According to Walnut Street Theatre President and Producing Artistic Director Bernard Havard, "Charles and I have been colleagues and friends for almost 40 years now, and I have always been amazed at his artistry, his energy, and his creativity." A man of immense talent and professionalism, Charles Abbott is the personification of artistic excellence and a natural selection for the Edwin Forrest Award.

The Walnut Street Theatre's 201st Anniversary Gala Concert will definitely be on of your new "Favorite Things." We hope to see you there for a spectacular evening of songs, stories and stars! All proceeds from this event benefit the Walnut Street Theatre's Education and Outreach programming, which reach over 110,000 children annually in the Delaware Valley.

The gala is being chaired by Walnut Trustees Mrs. Camille Andrews (Haddonfield, NJ), Mr. Albert A. Giagnacova (Yardley, PA) and Mr. Jon Sirlin (Philadelphia, PA).