Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre offers more than an exciting Mainstage season. Each year, the Walnut produces a five-play season in its critically acclaimed Studio 3, now beginning its second decade. Located on the third floor of the Walnut, Studio 3 features an intimate flexible space that seats 80.
The season opens on a powerful note with the Philadelphia premiere of "My Left Breast" by Susan Miller (Jan. 2-14). Miller is a real-life mastectomy patient. She gives a compelling account of her struggle with breast cancer, the emotionless doctors and mind-numbing drugs. Mot importantly, Miller triumphed over her condition, and with "My Left Breast" she shares with the audience her celebration of life. This production is directed by Nela Wagman.
The second production features the husband and wife team of Jenny Turner and Donald Ewer, who collaborated on "The Caretaker" in Studio 3 last season -- the most highly praised production of the Studio series. Turner and Ewer will appear in the Philadelphia premiere of "The Return of Herbert Bracewell or Why Am I Alone When I'm With You?" by Andrew Johns (Jan. 30 - Feb. 11). Turner will also direct this delightful comedy about a senile character actor hoping for a big comeback. He doesn't realize his actress-wife has a comeback scheme of her own.
The third production is the Walnut premiere of "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds," by Paul Zindel (Feb. 27-March 10). This Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is the moving study of an embittered, vindictive widow and her two daughters. The play has been hailed as one of the most significant and affecting plays of our time. Directing will be Frank Anzalone who staged last season's studio 3 hit, "Vanities."
Two world premieres round out the season: "Bart and Fay" and "Frank Lloyd Wright.""Bart and Fay" (March 26-April 7) was written by Philadelphia sportswriter Michael Bamberger. The play is based on the friendship of ex-baseball commissioner Barnt Giamatti and his deputy and successor, Fay Vincent. Sometimes Bart and Fay were good buddies, ant other times they were fierce adversaries. But always, the two men were able to help each other through life's amazing challenges.
"Frank Lloyd Wright (April 23-May 5) is Will Stutts' latest one-man show. Stutts has been critically acclaimed for his solo productions. With his latest creation, he takes us inside the life of the most influential American architect of the 20th century. Whether it was his designs or his personal life, Wright was always a controversial figure. He had strong opinions about every facet of life, and didn't hesitate to express them.
Subscriptions to the five-play season range from $37.50 to $55. For subscriptions information, call (215) 925-6885.
-- By Ira Kamens