Hairspray's Winokur and "Six Feet Under"'s Ambrose Join All-Star "Sunset Boulevard" Reading

News   Hairspray's Winokur and "Six Feet Under"'s Ambrose Join All-Star "Sunset Boulevard" Reading Original Hairspray star Marissa Jaret Winokur and "Six Feet Under" actress Lauren Ambrose have joined the starry cast of the upcoming benefit reading of the screenplay of "Sunset Boulevard" at Los Angeles' Pantages Theatre.

Ambrose will play Betty Schaefer, the role originated on screen by Nancy Olson. Tony winner Winokur will portray Connie, the young woman at Artie's New Year's Eve party who won't get off the phone or stop giggling.

Ambrose and Winokur join the previously announced Anjelica Huston as faded silent-screen star Norma Desmond, Patrick Wilson as doomed screenwriter Joe Gillis, Sir Ben Kingsley as Max, Stanley Donen as Cecil B. DeMille, Stefanie Powers as Hedda Hopper, Noah Wyle as Artie Green, Steve Guttenberg as the First A.D., James Cromwell as Sheldrake, Charles Durning as L.A. Homicide Captain, Wilmer Valderrama as the Paramount gate guard, and Ed Begley Jr. as Morino, Joe Gillis' agent.

The April 4 benefit — directed by Peter Hunt — is part of the Actors' Fund of America's second annual "Screenplays on Stage" fundraiser. Show time is 4 PM.

The classic screenplay "Sunset Boulevard" was penned by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman, Jr. David Rambo will adapt the reading for the one-night-only event. Rambo also adapted the screenplay for "All About Eve," which raised $300,000 for the Actors' Fund in March 2003.

The 1950 film "Sunset Boulevard," directed by Billy Wilder, concerned an out of-work screenwriter named Joe Gillis who happens upon the home of former silent-screen star Norma Desmond. William Holden and Gloria Swanson starred in the film, which won three Academy Awards. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black's musical version debuted in London with Patti LuPone as Norma. Other Normas included Betty Buckley, Elaine Paige, Glenn Close, Diahann Carroll, Petula Clark, Helen Schneider, Linda Balgord and Debra Byrne. Tickets for the "Sunset Boulevard" reading range from $28-$2,500. Priority tickets are now on sale by calling (323) 933-9266, ext. 35 or 54.

The Actors' Fund of America is the only national non-profit organization that provides for the social welfare of all entertainment professionals. For more information, visit www.actorsfund.org.

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