Sandy Duncan, Kelly Bishop, Randy Graff, Karen Ziemba and Jason Danieley will lead the Nov. 15 all-star reading of Kaufman and Hart classic comedy, You Can't Take It With You for the benefit of the Friends of New York Theatre Outreach program. Bill Tatum will direct the evening to be held at the Broadway Grill Restaurant.
Epic Proportions star Kristin Chenoweth was originally slated to perform, but was unable to because of another commitment. Stepping into her role of Essie Carmichael will be Tony winner Graff (City of Angels).
Duncan, who appeared in The Boyfriend and Peter Pan and stars now in Chicago as Roxie Hart, will read the part of playwright mother Penny with her own real life husband Don Correia as her husband Paul. Gordon Connell (the original company of Hello, Dolly!) performs the role of Grandpa with Tony Award winner Bishop (A Chorus Line, Proposals) taking the place of his wife Jane Connell as the Grand Duchess. Ziemba (Contact, Chicago) plays Alice Sycamore with Danieley (Candide, Floyd Collins) as Tony Kirby. James Brennan of the recent PBS Crazy for You will read Boris Kolenhov.
Also in the cast are John Bolton (Contact, Titanic) as Ed, Jane Summerhays ( Dream, Me and My Girl) as Mrs. Kirby, Keith Charles as Mr. Kirby, Kathel Carlson as Gay Wellington, Greeg Sullivan as Donald, G.W. Reed as Mr. DePinna and W. Ann Gissendanner as Reba.
There will be a special auctioning of the roles of Henderson and the "Three Men" characters to the highest bidders (minimum bid is $250). The Friends of New York Theatre, sponsors of the annual FANY Awards, use their Outreach program to provide a means of seeing shows for those unable to access Broadway theatre because of lack of funds, immobility or other obstacles. It is their belief, in the words of executive director Steve Ridgeway, that "Live theatre is not a luxury; it is a necessity and should be available to and enjoyed by everyone."
Tickets for the reading with benefit party to follow are $60 with reading only tickets for $25. The doors open at 6:30 PM with the reading to follow at 7:30 PM. Members of Friends of New York Theatre will receive a discount on the price. For more information on the Friends of New York Theatre, visit the FANY Awards Website at http://www.fanyawards.com.
-- By Christine Ehren