Don’t miss your chance to see “The King” like never before when the new musical Elvis – A Musical Revolution makes its Philadelphia premiere opening the Walnut’s 215th ‘legendary’ season of live entertainment.
Directed and choreographed by two-time Tony AwardTM-nominated director Jeff Calhoun, the production begins previews October 3, and opens October 11. Originally scheduled to end October 29th, this production is extended through November 5. Mark your calendars as tickets for this show and all shows in the Walnut’s 215th season go on sale to the public Sunday, September 10th. Subscriptions and group ticket sales are available now.
This exciting new musical celebrates the cultural icon who changed the history of music. Experience Elvis’ pivotal moments with those who knew him best, including his parents Vernon and Gladys, Colonel Parker, Ann-Margret, Priscilla, and the R&B pioneers who influenced his music. You’ll be “All Shook Up,” with dozens of his greatest hits, including “Hound Dog,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” Don’t miss “The King” as you have never seen him before!
The Walnut’s production will feature 17 versatile performers, both WST regulars and newcomers, who will bring this heart-pounding rock and roll story to life. Elvis – A Musical Revolution has a book by Sean Cercone and David Abbinanti, and is based on a concept by Floyd Mutrux, with arrangements and orchestrations by David Abbinanti.
Two-time Tony-nominee Jeff Calhoun makes his Walnut debut with this production. Calhoun was nominated for Tony’s as choreographer for the Broadway revival of Grease (1994) and director of the Broadway musical adaptation of Disney’s Newsies (2012). Calhoun directed both the world premiere and international stage productions of Disney’s High School Musical and Disney’s High School Musical 2. Calhoun’s other Broadway credits include Annie Get Your Gun (1999), Bells Are Ringing (2001), the revival of Big River, (2003), Brooklyn The Musical (2004), Grey Gardens (2006), Bonnie & Clyde (2011) and the revival of Jekyll and Hyde (2013). On London’s West End he directed Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5. Chris Burcheri returns for his fourth season to provide music and vocal direction. During the 2022-2023 season, Burcheri took the podium for Rocky, the Musical, Cinderella, and Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville.
Marking his debut at the Walnut Street Theatre, Lucas Pastrana takes on the role of the legendary ‘King of Rock and Roll,’ Elvis Presley. Pastrana’s Off-Broadway credits include Kinky Boots, while his Regional credits encompass The Music Man, Oklahoma!, Pippin, Urinetown, and Sweeney Todd. Hailing from Philadelphia, Jenna Pastuszek makes her mainstage debut having previously showcased her talent in the Walnut’s Independence Studio on 3 series. Pastuszek takes on the roles of both Priscilla Presley, wife and central figure in the life of Elvis, and Dixie, one of his early girlfriends. Pastuszek’s previous Walnut credits include Winter Wonderettes and Bad Jews. Playing the role of Elvis’ mother, Gladys, is Walnut veteran Rebecca Robbins. Audiences will recognize Robbins as Marie from last season’s holiday production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, among many other past roles. Returning to portray Elvis’ father, Vernon, is Paul L. Nolan, last seen on the Walnut stage in And Then There Were None. Sharing the role of Elvis as a child are Joey Caroto (weeknights) of West Chester, PA and Hunter Silverman (weekends) of Philadelphia, PA.
Returning to the Walnut are Chali Cooke (Legally Blonde, Matilda) as Betty, Edward C. Smith (Memphis) in the role of Roy Brown, and Tiara Greene (Escape to Margaritaville) and Chris Fitting (Escape to Margaritaville) in the ensemble.
Making their Walnut debuts are Ken Sandberg (Regional: Million Dollar Quartet, The Legend of Georgia McBride), Kelly Briggs (Broadway: CATS, Les Misérables) , Asa Somers (Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen, Next to Normal), Christopher McCrewell (National Tour: The Prom), and Meredith Beck (Regional: Sound of Music, South Pacific). Sandberg takes on the role of Scotty Moore, Elvis’ iconic guitarist and an early key music collaborator, while Briggs assumes the character of Colonel Parker, Elvis’ longtime manager and noted shaper of his career. Somers adds depth as Sam Phillips, and Beck and McCrewell in the ensemble. Also making their Walnut debuts in various roles are Kara Haller, James Kern, and James David Larson. Haller portrays Marion, Kern embodies Ronnie, and Larson steps into the persona of Bill Black.
Scenic Designer Roman Tatarowicz (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Rocky, the Musical, Blithe Spirit) makes his WST return to capture the heart-stopping electricity of the 50’s and 60’s rock-and-roll scene. Tatarowicz will be joined by Lighting Designer Michael Gilliam (Broadway: Bonnie and Clyde, Brooklyn, Big River) and Sound Designer Ed Chapman (The Little Mermaid, Shrek The Musical). Costume Designer Mary Folino (Little Mermaid, Beehive, Shrek The Musical, Young Frankenstein) will be giving the characters onstage the signature “Elvis era” look.
Elvis – A Musical Revolution begins October 3 and runs through November 5, 2023. Open captioning will be available for the Sunday, October 15, 7pm performance. Season sponsors are Philadelphia Council on the Arts and PNC Arts Alive. This production is sponsored by Independence Blue Cross and CBIZ. Season Dining Partner is Buca D’oro Ristorante and Parking Partner is Parkway Corporation. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.com.
Posts contain affiliate links, and I earn from qualifying purchases.