Walnut Street Theatre opens its 204th season with the American premiere of Erich Segal’s LOVE STORY, the musical. With direction and musical staging by Annabel Bolton, the production is described as "a delicate story of life and love" and begins previews on September 4th, opens on September 12th and runs through October 21st on the WST Mainstage.
Inspired by Erich Segal's best-selling iconic novel of the same name, and one of the most romantic films of all time, this life-affirming musical will have audiences remembering the first time they fell in love. When Oliver Barrett IV wanders into a library in search of a book, he discovers Jenny Cavilleri. They came from different worlds. He was a Harvard man, she was Radcliffe. He was rich, she was poor. But they fell in love. This is their story.
Love Story, the musical originally premiered at Chichester's Minerva Theatre in June, 2010. In December of 2012, following a sell-out season at the Chichester Festival, the production transferred to the Duchess Theatre in London’s West End. The show features music by Howard Goodall, book by Stephen Clark and lyrics by Clark and Goodall. Goodall is an EMMY, BRIT, Gramaphone and BAFTA award-winning composer of choral music, stage musicals, film and TV scores. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s 2011 New Year’s Honours for services to music education. The Walnut produced the American premiere of his classic British musical The Hired Man in 1990. Clark’s award-winning work includes writing the lyrics for the re-worked version of Martin Guerre for Cameron Mackintosh, (UK and US tours), which won him an Olivier Award.
Love Story, the musical marks Annabel Bolton’s directorial debut at the Walnut. Having worked on the original production, Bolton commented “This very emotional story lends itself so well to being a musical and particularly with Howard Goodall's brilliant and evocative score. I am delighted to be directing it here with this great production team at the Walnut. It is an American story after all!”
Hailing from London, Bolton is no stranger to the states having worked with Matthew Warchus on The Norman Conquests both at London’s Old Vic Theatre and on Broadway. More recently, Bolton was a director for The 24 Hour Celebrity Gala at The Old Vic Theatre. She has worked as Associate and Assistant Director for productions including Complicit for Kevin Spacey, Speed-the-Plow for Mathew Warchus (Old Vic), Lord of the Rings (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) and Stones in his Pockets (UK tour). Joining Bolton is Musical and Vocal Director Douglass G. Lutz, who has guided numerous Walnut productions in the past few years, among them Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I, Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof and Oliver!.
The clean, elegant set will be designed by the 2012 Olivier Award-winner Peter McKintosh, whose work has been seen by an international audience. His work on Broadway’s The 39 Steps was recognized with a Tony nomination for Best Set Design. McKintosh is joined by a spectacular team of designers including Lighting Designer Shon Causer (The Mousetrap, Studio 3’s Ethel!, The Glass Menagerie) and award-winning Costume Designer Colleen Grady (Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, Amadeus, Fiddler on the Roof). Rounding up the creative team is Sound Designer, and Walnut new-comer, Will Pickens.
The cast includes Walnut debuts by Alexandra Silber, Will Reynolds, Charles Pistone and Jane Labanz. Silber has performed lead roles on stages in London’s West End (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Woman in White, Fiddler on the Roof, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel), as well as The Kennedy Center and Broadway (Terrence McNally's Master Class). Silber joins the cast as Jenny Cavilleri playing opposite Reynolds as Oliver Barrett IV. Reynolds’ credits include the North American Tour of Mamma Mia!, A Room with a View at The Old Globe and Big River at Goodspeed Opera House. Charles Pistone (Phil Cavilleri) has been seen in the Broadway revival of Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella (Cast Album), the Broadway production of Saturday Night Fever, Kiss of the Spiderwoman (London and New York productions), the First National Company of Les Miserables. Labanz (Alison) has appeared both on Broadway and in National Tours with productions including Anything Goes; Cats; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; 42nd Street; Bye, Bye Birdie; Easter Parade and Dr. Dolittle. Love Story, the musical welcomes back Walnut veteran Paul L. Nolan playing Oliver Barrett III. Nolan was last seen as Major Metcalf in the Walnut’s best-selling play, The Mousetrap.