America's Oldest · Founded 1808

Get Ready For An Evening With The 'King of Cool.' DINO! Extended Through June 30!

May 31, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA: Walnut Street Theatre’s 2012-2013 Independence Studio on 3 season concludes with a world premiere musical celebration of Dean Martin’s life, DINO! An Evening with Dean Martin at the Latin Casino. Written by Armen Pandola and directed by Fran Prisco, the production begins with previews on April 30th, opens May 2nd and has been extended through June 30th in the Walnut’s Independence Studio on 3.

It’s 1978 and Dean Martin is scheduled to perform at the Latin Casino. A severe blizzard blankets the East Coast, and Dino's band gets stuck out of town. Rather than disappoint his fans, Dean Martin treats them to a special performance as he weaves personal stories through his classic hits, including "Ain't That A Kick In The Head," "Everybody Loves Somebody" and "That's Amore.” For a short while, the man behind the legend reveals the humor, warmth and casual cool that marked his rise from his gritty childhood in Steubenville, Ohio to become one of the biggest legends in entertainment.

DINO! is a world premiere play by South Philadelphia’s Armen Pandola. Most recently at the Walnut, he both co-wrote and performed in the 2010 world premiere of The Prince. He also received the Walnut Street Theatre’s Edwin Forrest Playwriting Award in 2006 for Forrest: A Riot of Dreams. Pandola is a lifelong fan of Dean Martin, having grown up listening to his many hits and watching his popular TV show. He noted, “In this play, audiences will get a rare look at Dino Paul Crocetti, the man who loved family, golf and singing. The songs Dean made famous had a huge impact on his life, on and off stage. Each song tells us a part of his incredible story, going from an Italian-only speaking childhood to becoming the coolest star in the world. Dean brought his own style to many of the most popular songs of all time, marking them forever as ‘Dino songs.’ They’ll be heard throughout the evening.”

Fran Prisco returns to the Walnut in the role of director. He is no stranger to the theatre having most recently performed on the Mainstage as Marcellus in Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. Prisco also directed and performed in the wildly popular Studio 3 production of My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra in 2011. David Jenkins (Plaid Tidings, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s A Grand Night for Singing) joins Prisco as music and vocal director.

With effortless charm and style, Nat Chandler returns to the Walnut to play Dean Martin. Walnut audiences will remember Chandler as the title roles in Phantom and Camelot. His Broadway credits include Sir Percival Blakeney in the Tony nominated musical The Scarlet Pimpernel. He was last seen on Broadway in the Stephen Sondheim tribute Children and Art, and appeared in the City Center Encores! production of The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936. Off-Broadway, Chandler played the role of Roy Darwin in the Obie Award-winning Counsellor at Law and created the role of Tony Toscanini in Tales of Tinseltown. He has toured nationally in productions including The Phantom of the Opera (Raoul), Camelot starring Robert Goulet (Lancelot), The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber with Sarah Brightman and The King and I starring Yul Brynner (Lun Tha). As an actor, a concert performer and an opera singer, Chandler has performed on stages including Huntington, Colonial and Wang Center (Boston); The MUNY (St. Louis); The Fox (Atlanta, Detroit and St. Louis); Saenger Theatre (New Orleans); Sacramento CLO (Sacramento); Heinz Hall (Pittsburgh); Meyerson Symphony Hall (Dallas); The Jackie Gleason (Miami); The Kennedy Center (Washington, DC); Auditorium Theatre (Chicago); Forrest Theatre (Philadelphia); Maine State Music Theatre (Brunswick, ME); Fulton Theatre (Lancaster) and The Goodspeed Opera House (East Haddam, CT).

Led by Set Designer Glen Sears (The Prescott Method, The Mousetrap, Plaid Tidings), the creative team will transform Studio 3 into a lounge inspired by the Latin Casino in all its golden glory. Lighting Designer Amanda Kircher returns having designed for Walnut’s touring production of Around the World in 80 Days. Costume Designer Mary Folino (The Mousetrap, The Prescott Method) will recreate Dino’s sleek 1970’s style. Zachary Brown (Around the World in 80 Days, Ethel!) returns to the Walnut as Sound Designer.

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 $35 - $45 and are now available at 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available at or