FRECKLEFACE STRAWBERRY to Play Walnut Street Theatre

Walnut Street Theatre for Kids' production of Freckleface Strawberry, The Musical, reminds audiences that what makes us different makes us special! Based on the book by Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore, the whole family will love this hour-long musical full of fun, friends and freckles! Extended by popular demand, read the book then see it LIVE on stage at Walnut Street Theatre March 31st through April 16th, 2016.

Strawberry is a little girl who loves being seven and doing all the things seven-year-olds do. But not all seven-year-olds have freckles, and Strawberry is getting teased by her friends for having them. She wishes she were like everyone else. As it turns out, all of her friends have differences too. Together, they learn it doesn't matter whether you like basketball or ballet, whether you have big ears or big freckles - our differences are what make us unique, and we should celebrate them! Filled with lovable characters and songs, this musical is great fun for everyone!

Walnut Street Theatre for Kids encourages families to read the stories together at home, then come to the theatre to experience them in a whole new way! WST for Kids takes great pride in sparking imagination, inspiring creativity and starting important conversations by linking literature and the arts.

Thousands of children attend WST for Kids performances every year, and for many, it is the first time they experience live theatre; something they'll never forget! Freckleface Strawberry, The Musical has special student matinee performances March 31st and April 1st, 6th, 7th and 8th. The Walnut invites school groups to come enjoy a show that will also help them make important connections between learning and live theatre.

Before she became one of Hollywood's leading ladies, Freckleface author Julianne Moore was just your average kid, whose red locks and freckly face earned her the nickname "Freckleface Strawberry." But for Moore, it wasn't just innocent teasing from her playmates. "Kids hate anything that makes them feel different. I was like 'ugh, why can't I look like that?'" That childhood insecurity inspired the Freckleface Strawberry series, which has developed into six books, two apps and a hit Off-Broadway musical. Adding to Moore's series about a fun-loving seven-year-old named Strawberry is award-winning illustrator LeUyen Pham. Pham paints the picture of a spunky young girl who is learning to love herself in a colorful, relatable way.

Freckleface Strawberry, The Musical was adapted for the stage by Gary Kupper and Rose Caiola. Kupper wrote the show's music and lyrics and Caiola conceived it for the stage. She is also the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, where Freckleface made its world premiere in 2009. The Tony Award-winning Broadway producer felt a special connection to this show. "It reaches out to everyone - children and adults alike. Everyone has faced some type of prejudice in their childhood whether it had to do with race, religion or the clothes they choose to wear."

Brian Kurtas is thrilled to take on dual roles of Director and Choreographer for this production. Kurtas, the Walnut's Casting Director, noted: "My responsibilities usually end before a production begins rehearsals. Now as the Director/Choreographer, I am looking forward to the challenge of guiding the entire show from script to the opening performance!" Regionally, Kurtas has served on the directing and choreographic teams for I Love A Piano, Damn Yankees and Ragtime. He is also a teacher at the Theatre School at Walnut Street Theatre. The Walnut welcomes back Mark Yurkanin (Zombie in Love, A Christmas Carol) as the Music and Vocal Director for this production.

Making her Walnut debut as Scenic Designer is Emily Graver, who creates a set that shines as brightly as Strawberry's red hair and freckles! Creating a fun, youthful wardrobe are Walnut Costume Apprentices Susan Benitez and Sarah Mitchell. Benitez says Pham's illustrations inspired the costumes' animated feel. "Kids relate to cartoons, and can figure out who a character is and what they stand for simply by what they look like. Making the ensembles relatable was important." Two Walnut veterans, Sound Designer Mark Valenzuela (Zombie in Love, O Captain, My Captain: Whitman's Lincoln) and Lighting Designer J. Dominic Chacon (Shrek The Musical, Jr., A Moon for the Misbegotten) join Graver for this production.

The cast of Freckleface Strawberry, The Musical are all members of The Theatre School at Walnut Street Theatre. In the role of Freckleface Strawberry is Kathryn Miller, who was most recently seen in the WST for Kids' production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. She is joined by fellow Carol cast members, including Jared Calhoun (Danny/Frankie Freckle), Devon Fields (Harry/Don Fontaine) and Donovan Lockett (Teacher/Mom/Jane). Nate Golden returns to the Walnut as Jake/Fredo Freckle. Golden appeared in last season's Schoolhouse Rock, Jr. Alanna Smith joins the cast as Ballet Girl/Francine Freckle. Smith appeared on the Walnut's stage earlier this season in A Christmas Story, The Musical. Katie Johantgen (Zombie in Love) completes the cast as Emily.

Freckleface Strawberry, The Musical runs at the Walnut March 31st through April 16th. Open captioning will be available for the Friday, April 8th performance. The Wednesday, April 6th performance will be ASL interpreted and Audio Described. The media sponsor for Walnut Street Theatre for Kids is Courier Post and Mix 106.1. Tickets are only $14-$16 with group discounts available for groups of ten or more. Study guides are available for teachers and school groups on the Walnut's website. For tickets and information, please call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets can also be purchased online at Ticketmaster or by visiting the Walnut's website at www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org.



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