Walnut Street Theatre Premieres Eric Conger's BEAUTIFUL BOY Tonight

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Walnut Street Theatre Premieres Eric Conger's BEAUTIFUL BOY Tonight

Walnut Street Theatre's 2013-2014 Independence Studio on 3 season continues with a World Premiere play by Eric Conger, BEAUTIFUL BOY. The Walnut is proud to have served as a home for many World Premieres, including Eric Conger's Eclectic Society. Directed by David Stradley, BEAUTIFUL BOY began previews on February 18th, opens tonight, February 20th and continues through March 9th in the Walnut's Independence Studio on 3.

In BEAUTIFUL BOY, when Bill's adoptive parents die and he is laid off from his job, he feels lost. His instinctive need to find out who he is and where he comes from grows stronger. The search for his birth parents takes him from Missouri to Connecticut. What he finds shocks and disturbs him, but is he disappointed? This funny, suspenseful play tackles the plight of grown children lost in a closed system, where parents' rights trump their children's need to know.

Author Eric Conger debuted his first full-length play, The Eclectic Society, at the Walnut in 2010. He is thrilled to back with this new work, BEAUTIFUL BOY. Inspired by true events, this piece is personal for Conger, who notes "There is an element of longing within many adopted persons that grows into a primal quest for self-identity. The search for birth parents is fueled not only by a need for love, but by a desire for understanding in a physical sense. Who am I, where did I come from? This play explores one man's journey toward himself. I hope it will give audiences a new appreciation of what it means to be adopted." A graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Paris, Conger appeared on the Walnut stage in 1985 as Oliver in As You Like It, and on stages across the nation.

At the helm of the production is Director David Stradley. Stradley returns to the Walnut after directing WST for Kids productions of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; A Christmas Carol; and Miss Nelson is Missing. His work has also been seen on the stages of Delaware Theatre Company, Act II Playhouse, Delaware Shakespeare Festival, Philadelphia Shakespeare Company and Lost Nation Theater.

Jeffrey Coon joins the cast of BEAUTIFUL BOY as Bill. A Philadelphia favorite, Coon has been seen on both of the Walnut's stages. His most recent performance was Professor Harold Hill in last season's popular Meredith Willson's The Music Man. Alicia Roper (Enchanted April) returns to the Walnut as Bill's wife Rita, among other characters, and Carla Belver (The Heiress) as Sister Richie. Elena Bossler (Deirdre/ Bonnie/Clerk) and Phillip Brown (Carl/Clerk/Bernard) make their Walnut debuts in this production.

The scattered information Bill collects on his journey for his birth parents gives inspiration to the creative team led by Set Designer Glen Sears. Sears has designed many sets for the Walnut including The Mousetrap, Doubt - A Parable and Prescott Method: Easy Steps to Perfect Bread Baking, Every Time. Costume Designer Amanda Wolff returns for Beautiful Boy following her design work for WST for Kids production of Seussical Jr. Beyond the stage, Wolff's designs have been featured on ABC's Dancing With the Stars. Also joining Sears is Lighting Designer Dominic Chacon (Proof, Honor and the River), Sound Designer Elizabeth Atkinson (Sophie Tucker: The Last of the Red Hot Mamas) and Video Designer Michael Long.

Season sponsor for the 2013-2014 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 WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.com.

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