America's Oldest · Founded 1808

Now in Studio 3: Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)

April 1, 2010

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The Walnut Street Theatre's 2009-2010 Independence Studio on 3 season concludes with an all-new production of Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart's genre-hopping tribute to some of Broadway's greatest: The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!). In a comic satire of musical theatre genres, one story becomes five musicals, each in the distinctive style of a different master of the form, from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim. The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) starts on May 4th, opens May 6th and continues through June 27th in the Walnut's Independence Studio on 3.

The plot is simple: June, an ingénue who can't pay the rent, is threatened by her evil landlord. Will the handsome leading man come to her rescue? In an evening of variations on a theme, this basic plot is musicalized the way Rodgers and Hammerstein might have envisioned it, taking place in Kansas in August, complete with a Dream Ballet. The story is then done in the style of Stephen Sondheim, featuring the landlord as a tortured, artistic genius who slashes the throats of his tenants in revenge because they don't appreciate his art. When presented in the style of Jerry Herman, the story becomes a splashy star vehicle, while the Andrew Lloyd Webber version is a rock musical, with borrowed themes from Puccini. The story is re-told one last time in the style of Kander and Ebb, set in a speakeasy in Chicago. What you get in the end is a funny and flagrantly tongue-n-cheek valentine to the Great White Way: The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)

Creators Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart began their collaboration in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. For The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) they were honored with a 2004 Drama Desk nomination for Best Musical, as well as individual nominations for Best Music and Best Lyrics. The show ran Off-Broadway for 583 performances and also was performed on London's West End. In addition, the show received a 2004 Lucille Lortel nomination for Best Musical and a 2005 Drama League nomination for Best Musical.

The cast of The Musical of Musicals includes Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Sarah Gliko, Rebecca Robbins, Craig Fols and Alex Bechtel. Carl Clemons-Hopkins (Willy) has been seen previously at the Walnut in this season's powerful mainstage production of The Eclectic Society. Elsewhere, Carl has garnered rave reviews in recent productions of Little Shop of Horrors and Avenue X (11th Hour) and last summer's Philly Fringe production of Topdog/Underdog. Sarah Gliko (June) was a member of the Walnut's Barrymore-Nominated Ensemble for 2008's The Irish and How They Got That Way. Sarah has been seen elsewhere performing for the Arden Theatre Co. (James Joyce's The Dead), Media Theatre (Pump Boys"