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), opening May 11 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre. Their hope lies with their various talents, but that's definitely not enough; instead, theatre celebrities must make an appearance to plead the pathetic thespians' cases.
Set to beg for The Grave White Way's immortal souls are 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) performs the opening night.
Bat Boy's assistant director Sarah Gurfield directs with musical staging and choreography by Kay Cole (Reprise!'s Sweeney Todd). The company features Craig A. Curtis as Greg, Joshua Finkel (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Les Miserables) as Jacob, Lesli Margherita (Reefer Madness) as Lindsey, Amy Rutberg (The Civil War) as Amanda and Shannon Stoeke as Sheldon.
The Grave White Way runs through June 17. Tickets are $27.50-$30. The Hudson Backstage Theatre is located at 6537 Santa Monica Boulevard. For reservations, call (310) 289-2999. The Grave White Way is on the web at http://www.gravewhiteway.com. For a schedule of celebrity appearances, visit http://www.gravewhiteway.com/ celebrityschedule.htm.