"Blame It on the Summer Night": All-Star Rags Concert Sings Dec. 11

News   "Blame It on the Summer Night": All-Star Rags Concert Sings Dec. 11 Current Mamma Mia! leading lady Carolee Carmello will spend her night off from that ABBA hit playing an immigrant named Rebecca in the 4th Annual World AIDS Day Concert presentation of the Charles Strouse-Stephen Schwartz- Joseph Stein musical Rags at the Nokia Theater.
Rags co-stars Carolee Carmello and Michael Rupert.
Rags co-stars Carolee Carmello and Michael Rupert. Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The star-studded cast for the one-night-only event also includes Michael Rupert as Avram, Lewis Cleale as Saul, Gregg Edelman as Nathan, Eden Espinosa as Bella, John Treacy Egan as Big Tim, Lainie Kazan as Rachel, David A. Austin as Ben and Struan Erlenborn as young David with Aaron Berk, Max von Essen, Stacia Fernandez, Adam Heller, Lisa Jolley, David Josefsberg, Colin Hanlon, Peter Lockyer, Stuart Marland, Anne L. Nathan and John Schiappa. MTV news correspondent Sway will host the evening.

The evening is being co-presented by artistic producer Jamie McGonnigal and The Joey DiPaolo AIDS Foundation. Altar Boyz' Stafford Arima directs the concert, which features musical direction by Avenue Q’s Mark Hartman. The creative team also includes Traci Klainer (lighting design), Walter Trarbach and Tony Smolenski (sound design), David Korins (set design), Michael Bottari and Ronald Case (costume design) and Patricia Wilcox (choreography).

Rags, which features music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Joseph Stein, played Broadway’s Mark Hellinger Theatre in August 1986. Although the run was brief, the musical garnered five Tony nominations and boasted a cast that included Teresa Stratas, Judy Kuhn, Terrence Mann, Lonny Price, Marcia Lewis, Dick Latessa and Larry Kert.

The musical, according to press notes, tells the story of "Rebecca, an immigrant who finds herself and her young son, David, very much alone in the brand new world of America. Through Rebecca's encounters and relationships with others experiencing similar struggles, Rags tells of the American experience when the 'melting pot' was an ideal many hoped to be a part of." The lush score features such tunes as "Brand New World," "Blame It on the Summer Night," "Dancing with the Fools" and the title tune.”

Carolee Carmello, who is currently starring in the Broadway company of Mamma Mia!, received a Tony nomination for her work in Lestat and a Drama Desk Award and a Tony nomination for her performance in Lincoln Center’s Parade. She has also starred on Broadway in Kiss Me, Kate; The Scarlet Pimpernel; 1776; City of Angels; and Falsettos. Carmello received an Obie Award for her work in the Off-Broadway musical Hello Again, and her other Off Broadway credits include Elegies, A Class Act, john and jen, Das Barbecü, I Can Get It for You Wholesale and The Vagina Monologues. Proceeds from the concert will benefit The Joey DiPaolo AIDS Foundation and Camp TLC (Teens Living with a Challenge), a residential summer camp program for teens living with HIV/AIDS. For additional information about JDAF/Camp TLC, visit www.jdaf.org.

Rags tickets are available by visiting www.ticketmaster.com or the Nokia Theatre box office (Broadway and 44th Street). For sponsorship opportunities, e-mail RagsConcert@aol.com.

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Jamie McGonnigal and Kate Shindle founded the World AIDS Day Concerts in 2003 to “help raise awareness of the health holiday, and to establish community within the theatre community.” Children of Eden was the first all-star concert, followed by mountings of Pippin and The Secret Garden. For information on the World AIDS Day events visit www.WorldAIDSDayConcert.org.

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