Originally published on Theaterscene.net Jan 21, 2009. Original link: http://web.archive.org/web/20090208082245/http://theaterscene.net/ts/articles.nsf/FI/3A1F43633DFA21248525754700197BBC
The stars will come out and shine for the Drama League’s 25th Annual All Star Benefit Gala February 2nd at Rockefeller Center’s spectacular Rainbow Room.
The Drama League, founded in 1916, is an association of theatre professionals and patrons dedicated to encouraging the finest in professional theatre and has since then developed into the theatre’s premiere service organization.
This year’s fundraiser will honor Broadway producers Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley , whose producing credits include Sunday in the Park with George, Legally Blonde, The 39 Steps, Cyrano De Bergerac, Jay Johnson: The Two & Only and the recent revival of American Buffalo. Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Will Rogers Follies and La Cage aux Folles, and the 25th Anniversary of The Drama League Directors Project, the nation’s leading career development program for early and mid-career theatre directors. Founded by former Drama League President Julia Hansen, The Directors Project is aimed at identifying and helping young, talented directors to bridge the gap between academic training and professional success. Notable alumni of The Directors Project include Christopher Ashley, Mark Brokaw, Michael Mayer, Diane Paulus, John Rando and Alex Timbers.
Naturally a prestigious organization such as this attracts the best of the best to perform in their annual one night only entertainment. This year’s event is directed by Johanna McKeon and Roger Danforth, choreographed by Tony Award winner Cady Huffman and written by Stephen Cole.
irst run through of number from Will Roger’s Follies, choreographed by original star Cady Huffman and featuring her co star from that show, Keith Carradine
Photos by Grace Wood
On January 14th, a freezing morning, in one of many bare bones rehearsal studios in Midtown Manhattan, music director David Krane assembled the stars in their first rehearsal re-creating numbers from The Will Rogers Follies. A medley from La Cage aux Folles with Lee Roy Reams delivering his unique “I Am What I Am”, and Gypsy’s “You Gotta Get a Gimmick” (featuring Julie Halston as Electra in the role she played in the 2003 Gypsy revival, Cady Huffman as Mazeppa and Daphne Rubin-Vega as Tessie Tura).
Nicknamed by those in the industry “the eternal chorus boy”, the ageless Lee Roy Reams struts his stuff in La Cage Aux Folles anthem “I Am What I Am”
In addition to Cady Huffman, Keith Carradine, Julie Halston, Bailey Hanks, Lee Roy Reams, the original “Cagelles” from the 1983 Broadway production of La Cage aux Folles and the original Broadway cast of The Will Rogers Follies, the gala will present musical bon bons from Chita Rivera, Donna Murphy, Cheyenne Jackson, Christine Ebersole, Kerry Butler, Nancy Opel and this just in, Tony Award winner Julie White, Equus’ Kate Mulgrew, Spring Awakening’s Lauren Pritchard and Skylar Astin. And who knows what other luminaries will join the cast between now and Feb 2nd?
Keith Carradine reminisces about Will Rogers Follies, in which he starred, with Theaterscene editor Jeannie Lieberman bemoaning the fact that the show should indeed be revived but, alas, no longer with him.
Set for Monday, Feb 2nd, the evening will begin at 7 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction/raffle. The evening continues at 8 p.m. with an elegant seated dinner in the main dining room, followed by the performance.
Tickets, priced $900-$2,500, are available by calling Roger Calderon at (212) 244-9494, ext. 5. For more information visit http://www.dramaleague.org .
Proceeds will benefit The Drama League