Walnut Street's State Fair, with Elder, Hoty and Jacoby, Begins Sept. 2 | Playbill

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News Walnut Street's State Fair, with Elder, Hoty and Jacoby, Begins Sept. 2 The waning summer seems like the ideal time for the harvest-happy Rodgers and Hammerstein musical State Fair, beginning Sept. 2 toward a Sept. 10 opening at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre.

Joe Jackson and Cary Michele Miller as Wayne and Margy Frake
Joe Jackson and Cary Michele Miller as Wayne and Margy Frake Photo by Dave Kapler

Mark Jacoby and Dee Hoty play Iowa parents who travel with their children to the title event, which comes alive with music, hog contests, mincemeat and jelly competitions and unexpected romance.

In addition to Tony Award nominees Jacoby (Ragtime, Show Boat) as Abel Frake and Hoty (The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, The Will Rogers Follies) as Melissa — plus 42nd Street veteran David Elder as a reporter who catches the eye of the Frakes' restless-as-a-willow-in-a-windstorm daughter — the cast assembled by director Bruce Lumpkin includes Cary Michele Miller as daughter Margy; Joe Jackson as son Wayne; Lee Golden as storekeeper Dave Miller; Meredith Riley Stewart as Eleanor, Wayne's girlfriend; Owen Pelesh as Harry, Margy's boyfriend; Kelley Faulkner as Emily Arden; Nicholas F. Saverine as Hank Munson, a farmer; John Peakes as The Chief of Police; and Maggie Fitzgerald and Danielle Leigh Rosenthal alternating as Violet, his daughter.

The ensemble comprisees Tim Falter, Chad Harlow, Brian Ogilvie, Maggie Anderson, Meghan Arters, Emily Cobb, Anne Connors, Jenna Edison, Isaiah Ellis, Kemper Florin, William Hartery, Danielle Herbert, Sonny Leo, Dante Mignucci, Catharine Mosier-Mills, Brandon O'Rourke, Katie O'Shaughnessey, Katelyn Rapp, Peter Schmitz, Evan Robert Smith, Beth Wheeler, S. Tyler Hoffman, Nicholas Machlan, Mark Murphy and Peter Roccaforte.


Performances play to Oct. 19. The creative team includes Douglass G. Lutz (music and vocal direction), Michelle Gaudette (choreography), Jon Savage (set design), Jack Jacobs (lighting design), Colleen Grady (costume design) and Ryk Lewis (sound design).

Based on the Philip Strong novel, State Fair was a musical film (twice — in 1945 and 1962) with a score by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II before it was adapted (by Louis Mattioli and Tom Briggs) for the Broadway stage in 1996. (There was also a 1993 non-musical movie version of the book.) The stage musical is now a popular title in regional and stock theatres. "It Might As Well Be Spring" is a standard that emerged from the film score.

For more information visit walnutstreettheatre.org.

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