Walnut Theatre Announces THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
Walnut Street Theatre continues its 210th anniversary season with Simon Stephens' Tony Award-winning Best Play, THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. Directed by Bill Van Horn, the play begins previews on March 12th, opens on March 20th, and runs through April 28th on the Walnut's Mainstage.
Fifteen-year-old Christopher is on a mission. After the untimely death of his neighbor's dog, the brilliant but unique boy is compelled to investigate the crime. See the world through Christopher's eyes as he embarks on an extraordinary journey where he challenges assumed truths and discovers life-changing secrets. Based on Mark Haddon's best-selling novel, THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME is a thrilling, heartwarming, and uplifting adventure story for every one of us.
Mark Haddon's novel was released in 2003 and won the Whitbread Book Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. The title quotes Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle's 1892 "The Adventure of Silver Blaze." Haddon created Christopher's distinctive voice after imaging a deadpan and factual description of a dead dog. From there, the character was created - a character so specific, quirky, and clever but so unable to deal with the world around him that the reader needs to fill in the blanks.
"He has a serious difficulty with life in that he really doesn't empathize with other human beings," said Haddon. "He can't read their faces. He can't put himself in their shoes. And he can't understand anything more than the literal meaning of whatever's said to him."
For several years Haddon claimed his novel was unadaptable, due to the complexities of Christopher's character. Then, in 2007, he approached friend and playwright Simon Stephens about rewriting the show for the stage. The resulting work opened in the West End in 2012 and won seven Olivier Awards (tying with Matilda the Musical). The set and direction were designed to physically place the audience in a dimensional representation of Christopher's mind in a space that came to life through projections and stage magic. Instead of being told in first-person like Haddon's novel, it was told through Christopher's writings read aloud by his teacher Siobhan.
A year after THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME opened in London, it transferred to Broadway. The Broadway production won five Tony Awards, including Best Play and was lauded as "a demonstration of the power of theater to transport us to exotic places" by Richard Zoglin fromTIME Magazine. The show has since enjoyed a UK, US, Australian, and International Tour and productions in Mexico, Seoul, South Africa, and Belgium.
The Walnut Street Theatre's production will be directed by Bill Van Horn. At the Walnut, he recently directed A Christmas Carol, Peter and the Starcatcher, Around the World in 80 Days, and The Glass Menagerie. He has also appeared on stage in numerous other Walnut productions, including: Annie, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Story, Mary Poppins, Elf, and Fiddler on the Roof.
Making his Walnut debut is 17-year-old Austin Nedrow as Christopher Boone. A Lancaster native, Nedrow is currently a senior at Conestoga Valley. He has performed in several shows at the Fulton Theatre and Maine State Music Theatre and teaches at Prestige Gymnastics and the Vikto Yeliohin International Ballet Academy.
Playing Christopher's parents are Ian Merrill Peakes and wife, Karen Peakes. The two are Walnut stage veterans, both appearing in Mainstage shows this season. Karen was most recently seen as Maria Merelli, the feisty and stubborn wife of an opera star in Ken Ludwig's A Comedy of Tenors. Ian also donned a dress and wig on the Mainstage this season for his portrayal of Miss Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical. This show will mark Ian Merrill Peakes' 12th at the Walnut including Harvey, Ideal Husband, Baskervilles, Of Mice and Men, and 128th professional production. Karen Peakes has been seen inLast of the Red Hot Lovers, Private Lives, Of Mice and Men, and Born Yesterday.
Christopher's teacher Siobhan will be played by Alicia Roper who has been seen at the Walnut in Beautiful Boy, Enchanted April, The Constant Wife, andThe Philadelphia Story. She has performed in theatres across the country including Yale Repertory, Cleveland Play House, Seattle Children's Theatre, and Mark Taper Forum.
The remaining thirty characters will be played by a multi-talented ensemble of six, all of whom have recently appeared onstage at the Walnut. Philadelphia actor Greg Wood, whose Walnut credits include Noises Off, The Humans, Private Lives, Other Desert Cities, God of Carnage, The King & I, and Amadeuswill take the stage with his wife, Susan Riley Stevens. Stevens was most recently seen in Noises Off, and also appeared in A Streetcar Named Desire, Fallen Angels, God of Carnage, The Gift, Harvey, and The Prescott Method.
Sarah Gliko, Dan Hodge, Justin Lujan, and Jane Ridley complete the ensemble. Gliko was most recently seen on the Philadelphia stage in Philadelphia Theatre Company's production of The Bridges of Madison County. At the Walnut, she has performed in Baskerville, Around the World in 80 Days, andBuddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Dan Hodge was also seen in Baskervilles, also playing a myriad of memorable characters. He has also performed in Peter and the Starcatcher, The Mousetrap, and The 39 Steps. Jane Ridley last took the Walnut stage in The Other Place. Curious Incident marks her fifth show at the Walnut Street Theatre. Justin Lujan rounds out the ensemble in his Walnut Mainstage debut!
Building Christopher's world through the use of pipework and screens is a production team led by set designer Roman Tatarowicz. Tatarowicz, an OB-GYN by trade, modeled the intricate piping that covers the stage after the neurons in the brain of a child on the autism spectrum. His designs have been seen onstage at the Walnut in The Humans, Oleanna, Tell Me On A Sunday, and Souvenir.
Tatarowicz is joined by Costume Designer and Costume Shop Manager Mary Folino, whose work at the Walnut this season includes Holiday Inn, A Comedy of Tenors, and Matilda. Ryan O'Gara joins the team as lighting designer. He has served as associate lighting designer for over 25 Broadway productions including Hamilton and Come From Away and has designed for Lincoln Center, Bristol Riverside, and Paper Mill Playhouse. Award-winning Sound Designer Christopher Colucci (A Comedy of Tenors, The Humans, Peter and the Starcatcher) and Projections Designer Christopher Ash complete the design team. Ash has designed for theatres and operas across the world from Paris to Canada and worked on the Broadway productions of Saint Joanand Sunday in the Park With George.
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME is supported by PNC Arts Alive. Their generosity will allow the Walnut to welcome different audiences to the theatre. On Thursday, April 11 at 11:00am, the Walnut will produce a subsidized sensory-friendly performance of the show - specifically aimed at special needs pre-teens, teenagers, and adults who might not otherwise be able to attend a traditional performance. Curious Incident will mark the first sensory friendly Mainstage show at the Walnut Street Theatre. Throughout the run of the show, the Walnut will also be offering discounted tickets to school groups.
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME runs at the Walnut March 12 - April 28. Open captioning will be available for the 7pm performance on Sunday, April 7. This production is sponsored by PNC Arts Alive, Drinker Biddle, and Frank and Ramona Gwynn. Media Partners are 6ABC and Metro. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.