Cleale and Egan Join Rags Benefit Concert

News   Cleale and Egan Join Rags Benefit Concert Spamalot's Lewis Cleale and The Producers' John Treacy Egan will be part of the 4th Annual World AIDS Day Concert presentation of Rags, which will be held Dec. 11 at the Nokia Theater.

Cleale will play Saul and Egan will be Big Tim in the star-studded company, which also boasts the previously announced Carolee Carmello as Rebecca, Gregg Edelman as Nathan, 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, Anne L. Nathan 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.”

Lewis Cleale has been seen on Broadway in Spamalot, Amour, Once Upon a Mattress and Swinging on a Star, earning a Drama Desk nomination for his work in the latter. His other stage credits include A New Brain, Time and Again and the City Center Encores! mounting of Call Me Madam. John Treacy Egan has played the roles of Max, Roger DeBris and Franz Liebkind in The Producers, and he also appears in the film version of the musical hit. He was an original cast member in the Broadway mounting of Jekyll & Hyde, and his other theatrical credits include tours of Kiss Me, Kate and Cats and the Off-Broadway staging of Bat Boy. Egan's TV credits include "Law & Order" and "As the World Turns."

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.

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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.