Carmello will star as Rebecca, the role created on Broadway by Teresa Stratas; Edelman will play Nathan. The duo join the previously announced Eden Espinosa as Bella, David A. Austin as Ben, Harvey Fierstein as Avram, Lainie Kazan as Rachel, Struan Erlenborn as David, Max von Essen as an American and Stacia Fernandez as Rosa with Aaron Berk, David Josefsberg, Ciaran Sheehan, Lisa Jolley and Colin Hanlon. MTV news correspondent Sway will host the evening.
The one-night-only event is being co-presented by artistic producer Jamie McGonnigal and The Joey DiPaolo AIDS Foundation. Altar Boyz' Stafford Arima will direct the concert, which will feature musical direction by Avenue Q’s Mark Hartman. The creative team will also include 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. Gregg Edelman, seen Off-Broadway in Flight, received Tony nominations for his performances in City of Angels, Anna Karenina, 1776 and the revival of Into the Woods. His other Broadway credits include Cats, Oliver!, Les Misérables, Anything Goes, Cabaret, Falsettos, Passion and Wonderful Town.
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. For sponsorship opportunities, e-mail RagsConcert@aol.com.
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.