For the Eric Schaeffer-directed reading, Carolee Carmello (Parade) plays McPherson, who was internationally famous for her sermons and healings in the early 20th century. Composer David Pomeranz penned the score, with additional music by Gifford and David Friedman (Listen to My Heart).
Gifford is the TV talk show host and Broadway and TV actress who appeared in Broadway's Putting It Together, under the direction of Schaeffer.
Gifford is vocal about being a person of great religious faith, so it's not surprising the subject of McPherson would intrigue her.
The piece has been developing quietly in private readings (Christine Ebersole was involved in 2003). Playbill On-Line has learned Hurricane Aimee may have its world premiere in a regional theatre in 2004 05.
McPherson (1890-1944) famously disappeared for a time, claiming she was kidnapped. The musical uses her trial (on charges of corruption of morals, conspiracy to manufacture evidence and obstruction of justice) as a frame to tell her life story, from child bride to superstar religious figure. Pomeranz, a pop song writer known for "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again" and "The Old Songs," also wrote songs for the musicals Time, Little Tramp and A Tale of Two Cities.
Friedman's songs have been recorded by Gifford, Nancy LaMott and others. His work was recently heard in the Off-Broadway revue, Listen to My Heart.