John Kander offered a preview of his new musical, based on Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth," at the annual Drama League benefit gala Feb. 5 in New York.
The event was a tribute to director Jerry Zaks, who is scheduled to stage the new show. A New York workshop for the project is planned as soon as Zaks completes his current assignment -- directing Nathan Lane in the Broadway revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Wilder's allegorical play follows the Antrobus family of New Jersey through hurricane Ice Age -- and man-made disaster -- showing both the self-destructiveness and tenacity of humankind.
Performers from Zaks' past, present and future paid tribute in song at the $800 a plate Drama League event, which benefitted the League's Directors Project. Lane, whom Zaks also directed in the Broadway Guys and Dolls revival, sang "Comedy Tonight" as a solo. The event was hosted by Marlo Thomas, who appeared in Zaks' production of Six Degrees of Separation. Christopher Durang and Dana Ivey did a scene from Durang's The Baby With the Bathwater. Leslie Uggams sang "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" from Zaks' Anything Goes revival.
The cast of Zaks' Smokey Joe's Cafe did numbers from that current revue. The entertainment was staged by Albert Stephenson.
The League's Young Directors Project helps train directors, then sponsors them in a New York production. Young directors who wish to be considered for the Project can write to Julia Hansen, the President of Drama League of New York, at 165 West 46th St., Suite 601, New York, N.Y. 10036, or visit their website at http://www.echonyc.com/~dlny.