2003 Tony Nominee Ebersole to Play Evangelist McPherson in Reading of New Musical

News   2003 Tony Nominee Ebersole to Play Evangelist McPherson in Reading of New Musical Christine Ebersole, who is currently starring in Talking Heads at the Minetta Lane Theatre, will be part of a reading of a new musical by Kathie Lee Gifford, David Pomerantz and David Friedman.

Ebersole spoke about the new work — entitled For Heaven’s Sake — at the May 14 Tony Awards Nominees Press Reception. Said the Tony winning Ebersole, “I’m working with Kathie Lee Gifford and David Pomerantz on a new musical about Aimee Semple McPherson (1890 1944), who was an evangelist. It’s about her life. She was a very famous evangelist in Los Angeles; she was actually more famous than Chaplin and had more press than Garbo in her day. She started the Foursquare Church — it has millions of followers in the world today. She was a great healer; there were many documentations of her healings, and she was this great theatrical evangelist. She would put on these big shows, and 10,000 people would flock to the church at the Angelus Temple in Los Angeles. “She was a controversial figure because there was a disappearance. People were looking for her, and she claimed that she was kidnapped. People thought she was off having an affair. And she died of a drug overdose at 53.”

Kathie Lee Gifford, who starred on Broadway in the Stephen Sondheim revue Putting It Together, is writing the book and lyrics, and David Pomerantz the music. Composer David Friedman has also written tunes as well, and Ebersole will be playing evangelist McPherson. “We’re going to have another reading of it to see where it goes,” said Ebersole.

Christine Ebersole recently appeared in Lincoln Center’s revival of Dinner at Eight, for which she received a 2003 Tony nomination for Best Performances by a Featured Actress in a Play. She has also starred on Broadway in 42nd Street (Tony Award), The Best Man, Getting Away with Murder, Harrigan 'n Hart, Camelot, Oklahoma!, On the Twentieth Century, I Love My Wife, Angel Street and in the City Center Encores! productions of A Connecticut Yankee, Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, Lady in the Dark and Allegro. Ebersole received an Emmy nomination for her work on TV's "One Life to Live," and her other screen credits include "Tootsie," "Amadeus," "Mac and Me," Will & Grace," "Ally McBeal," "The Cavanaughs" and "Rachel Gunn." Her solo recording, "Live at the Cinegrill," is available on CD.