As depicted in Pam Gems' play, Stanley, painter Stanley Spencer may have been profligate with his sexuality, but that doesn't mean those connected with the Broadway production are taking 1990s concerns over sex lightly. They and Circle In The Square (where the show is housed) are co-sponsoring a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Sunday, March 23, at 10 PM. The cabaret evening will take place at the Triad, 158 West 72nd St. in New York.
Hosting will be comic actress Marilyn Sokol (Grease!, Schlemiel The First), with guests including Tovah Feldshuh (Yentl, Sarava and the current Names), Christine Pedi (Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back) and Alix Korey (No Way To Treat A Lady). Also on the bill are the improv troupe "The Onionburglars" and actress Barbara Walsh (Falsettos, Big, Blood Brothers), replacing previously announced Sheila MacRae.
Steven Brinberg, well-known on the cabaret scene, will offer "Evergreen/You Don't Bring Me Flowers" from his impersonation show, Simply Barbra. He'll also team with Pedi's impersonation of Liza. Feldshuh will do Sophie Tucker material she honed in Tovah! Out Of Her Mind, while Korey will sing "a new Andrew Lloyd Webber song." Bruce Coyle will serve as musical director for the evening.
Though most of the Stanley cast will be in the audience that night, only Alison Larkin (Elsie) will perform at the benefit.
"I'm doing a small piece from my one-woman show called "Half And Half," Larkin told Playbill On-Line, pronouncing the first "half" a la Henry Higgins and the second "half" like a midwestern farmer. "The show takes place half in England and half in Tennessee. It's a comedy/drama loosely based on an adopted British comedian's search for her American birth mother in Bald Mountain, Tennessee." Larkin worked on the piece at New York Theatre Workshop's "O Solo Mio Festival" in January, while a production at the HBO Workspace in LA, led to development deal with Jim Henson productions. "They're developing their first sitcom without muppets -- around me," said Larkin. "Apparently I have muppet-like qualities." The actress is also in discussion to mount Half And Half at a NY theatre in June.
"I'm looking forward to Sunday," added Larkin about the benefit, "but that will be more stand-up comedy. I've also written a song, "Culture Conflict," especially for Sunday night with my composer, Gary Schreiner. Also in Stanley I have to wear a wig that makes me look as plain as possible. Now I get to wear my own hair!
Theatregoers can see Larkin -- real hair and all -- in the BC/EFA benefit, for only $15 cover, $5 minimum. For reservations call (212) 799-4599.