America's Oldest · Founded 1808

See AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS Prior to Its National Tour!

January 7, 2013

Ensemble. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Philadelphia, PA: Walnut Street Theatre’s Independence Studio on 3 brings audiences Mark Brown’s adaptation of Jules Verne’s masterpiece Around the World in 80 Days. Philadelphia audiences will be the first to experience this wild adventure before it travels as the third national tour of a Walnut Street Theatre production. Around the World in 80 Days begins in Philadelphia with previews on January 15th, opens January 17th and runs through February 3rd in the intimate Independence Studio on 3.

Its 1872 in London and Phileas Fogg believes that, with modern transportation, it's now possible to travel Around the World in 80 Days. He accepts a challenge of proving it can be done at the local Reform Club. The race against time begins and it's a whirlwind journey filled with exotic locales, daring adventures, narrow escapes and great fun. Beware! There's villainy, secret plots, a damsel in distress and narrow escapes that will keep audiences on the edge of their seat — at least until they begin to roll in the aisle with laughter.

Fascinated by the rapid circumnavigation that the technological advances of the 19th century created, French writer Jules Verne completed his popular classic adventure novel in 1873. Verne was a pioneer of the science fiction genre and is the second most translated author in the world, following Agatha Christie. His work, Around the World in 80 Days, has been adapted several times, including the 1956 Oscar Award-winning film and the 1989 Emmy nominated three-part TV mini-series. Award-winning writer and actor, Mark Brown’s adaptation of the novel premiered in 2001 at the Utah Shakespearean Festival.

Fresh off of the Walnut’s mainstage as Mayor Shinn in Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, Bill Van Horn is at the helm of this production as Director. Van Horn has appeared in several WST productions, including Curtains and Fiddler on the Roof. He has directed productions for all three Walnut series, including his adaptation of A Christmas Carol; Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple and the Walnut’s first touring production, The Glass Menagerie. He also wrote and starred in the Walnut’s acclaimed Independence Studio on 3 productions of O Captain, My Captain: Whitman’s Lincoln in 2009 and the world premiere of The Prince in 2010 (co-written with Armen Pandola).

Leading the way across the map from London to Bombay to Yokohama to San Francisco with steampunk style is a seasoned creative team. Set Designer Andrew Thompson has designed for WST productions including Proof, The Glass Menagerie, My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra and Side by Side by Sondheim. He is joined by Costume Designer Mary Folino (The Mousetrap) and Sound Designer Zachary Brown (Plaid Tidings). Amanda Kircher, who began at the Walnut as an apprentice, returns as Lighting Designer.

The cast of Around the World in 80 Days features an impressive array of talent. Anthony Lawton (Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, Of Mice and Men) plays the well-traveled Phileas Fogg. His French valet Passaportout will be played by Damon Bonetti (The Glass Menagerie). Sarah Gliko joins the cast as the beautiful Aouda. Walnut audiences will remember Gliko from Love Story, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story and The Ugly One. Fix, the Detective from Scotland Yard, will be John Zak (Amadeus; Red, White and Tuna). Bill Van Horn rounds out the cast as the actors bring to life a variety of 30 characters with speedy quick changes that add to hilarity throughout the travels of the play.

Following the success of the first two national tours of Walnut Street Theatre productions, The Glass Menagerie and last season’s Proof, Around the World in 80 Days is the third Walnut production to embark on a tour. The Walnut celebrates Philadelphia’s finest talents and is proud to share them with America. The tradition continues next season when the Walnut tours the award-winning Driving Miss Daisy. For more information about Walnut Street Theatre national tours, visit

Season sponsor for the 2012-2013 Independence Studio on 3 Season is The Independence Foundation. Media season sponsors are Philadelphia Weekly and WRTI Radio. Tickets are $30 - $40 and are now available at 215-574-3550 or 215-336-1234. Tickets are also available at or