Conceived and organized by Playbill.com columnist Wayman Wong, the 7 PM concert will feature direction by Alan Muraoka and musical direction by Seth Rudetsky. Recent Avenue Q star John Tartaglia will host, and he will be joined by the Johnettes: Jennifer Barnhart, Kelley McKinnon, Telly Leung and Lucas Steele.
Kimball, who starred as Milky White in the revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods, will perform that musical's "Giants in the Sky," while von Essen will reprise his Baker's Wife show-stopper, "Proud Lady." Those previously announced to perform at the one-night-only event include Tom Andersen, Scott Coulter, Tom D'Angora, Tim Di Pasqua, Brian and Ted Farley, Barrett Foa, Cheyenne Jackson, Matthew Morrison, Jai Rodriguez, Christopher Sieber and Ben Strothmann. (Due to a last-minute scheduling conflict, Danny Gurwin has withdrawn.)
In a statement, writer Wong said, "In January 2003, Playbill.com first asked me to start 'The Leading Men' column to showcase the great guys of Broadway and cabaret. By June 2005, we figure that we'll have interviewed 100 of them. What better way to celebrate that landmark than to feature a dozen of those terrific talents and raise money for a great cause? It ought to be a blast.'' The evening will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Chad Kimball, who memorably portrayed the cow Milky White in the revival of Into the Woods, also appeared on Broadway in Good Vibrations and in Frank Wildhorn's The Civil War. His other theatrical credits include productions of Baby, Finian's Rainbow, Chess, Godspell, Sweeney Todd, Equus, The Winter's Tale and Three Sisters. The actor-singer is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory.
Max von Essen recently starred opposite Alice Ripley in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of The Baker's Wife. He also recently appeared Off-Broadway in Finian's Rainbow and in the York Theatre's all-star benefit concert of Children of Eden. On Broadway the actor has been seen in Dance of the Vampires, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Misérables; his Off-Broadway credits include The Fantasticks and John & Paul. Von Essen's regional credits are numerous and include Dorian the Musical, My Fair Lady, Hair, Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Though currently sold out, some in-house seats might be released later this week. Tickets are $40; call (212) 239-6200. Joe's Pub is located within the Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street.