Five former Broadway actors are struggling to get into Musical Theatre Heaven in The Grave White Way, a new musical by Joe Patrick Ward (Hysterical Blindness and Other Southern Tragedies), reading April 16 and 17 at the Lamb's Theatre. The musical comedy, a hit in Los Angeles last season with Off-Broadway aspirations for the next, features a unique gimmick — every night, a theatre celebrity made a guest appearance to plead the pathetic thespians' case.
In Los Angeles, The Grave White Way's immortal souls were begged for by Tony winner and three time Tony nominee Rene Auberjonois ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," City of Angels), Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Loretta Devine, The Phantom of the Opera's Davis Gaines, Jason Graae, three time Tony nominee Harry Groener (Cats, Crazy For You), Cats' Ken Page, Amy Pietz, Godspell and Pippin composer Stephen Schwartz, Yeardley Smith, Ragtime's Camille Saviola, Kevin Spirtas, Billy Porter, Fosse's Jane Lanier and The Life's Lillias White. Legendary musical theatre performer John Raitt (the original Oklahoma!, Carousel and The Pajama Game) performed the opening night.
Bat Boy's assistant director Sarah Gurfield directs the reading with musical staging and choreography by Kay Cole (Reprise!'s Sweeney Todd). Composer Ward will accompany the show.
The Grave White Way features Stephanie J. Block, Jim Caruso, Craig A. Curtis, Amy Turberg, Shannon Stoeke and Patrick Quinn as The Supreme Being.
Industry professionals are invited. For reservations, call (212) 760-1145. The readings will be held at 3 PM on April 16 and 11 AM on April 17. — By Christine Ehren