Past and future Mama Roses, Tyne Daly and Bernadette Peters, as well as Jonathan Hadary and Tony winner Chita Rivera are among the previously announced performers who will honor legendary stage writer-director Arthur Laurents at the benefit for New Jersey's George Street Playhouse, which will be held at New Brunswick's Hyatt Regency Hotel.
A star of numerous Hollywood motion pictures, Lauren Bacall was last on Broadway in Waiting in the Wings. She earned Tony Awards for her performances in the Broadway musicals Applause and Woman of the Year and also appeared on The Great White Way in Goodbye Charlie and Cactus Flower. Liz Callaway received a Tony nomination for her work in the Broadway musical Baby. Her other theatrical credits include roles in Merrily We Roll Along, Miss Saigon, Cats and this season's The Spitfire Grill, for which she received a Drama Desk nomination. Callaway will also star next season in the new Broadway musical, The Look of Love. Stephen Pasquale also appeared in this season's The Spitfire Grill, and his other stage credits include the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of The Wild Party as well as Spinning Into Butter and the national tours of West Side Story and Miss Saigon.
Arthur Laurents, the award-winning book writer of Gypsy, West Side Story, Anyone Can Whistle and Hallelujah, Baby!, has been an active collaborator at New Jersey's George Street Playhouse for years, since the production of his drama Jolson Sings Again. More recently, he directed Chita Rivera in his play Venecia, and his latest work, Claudio Lazlo, was presented at the Playhouse last season. A production of Do I Hear a Waltz?, Laurents' collaboration with Stephen Sondheim, was also produced at the George Street in 1998. George Street Artistic Director David Saint recently commented in a statement, “Arthur has been a best friend to the Playhouse and a monumental force on all that is great in the American theatre. His presence at George Street has always been the highlight of our season, and we’re delighted to celebrate his incredible life and work.”
In addition to his book-writing credits, Laurents has directed such musicals as Nick & Nora, I Can Get It For You Wholesale and La Cage aux Folles, earning a Tony Award for his direction of the latter. His screenwriting credits boast "The Turning Point," "Rope" and "The Way We Were." The May 4 gala will also honor the New Jersey State Bar Foundation with the 2002 Thomas H. Kean Arts Advocacy Award, and the theatre company will announce the launch of its New Words/New Works Fund, a project that aims to provide funds restricted to the development of new plays for the American stage.
The evening at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (Two Albany Street, New Brunswick, NJ) will begin at 5:30 PM with a cocktail reception and silent auction. Dinner will be served at 7:00 PM, followed by the celebrity performances. Tickets to the gala range from $275-$1,000. For more information, contact Carole Mansley at (732) 846-2895, ext. 144.