Four-time Tony Award winner Angela Lansbury will host the Acting Company's annual Halloween fundraiser, this year honoring Juilliard School speech consultant, Elizabeth Smith.
The masked-ball benefit occurs tonight, Oct. 28, at the Copacabana club on NY's West 57th St, which has been done up in spooky holiday style by costumer Barbara Matera and prop builder Martin Izquierdo. The theme of this "Mischief Night Masquerade?" "Ghosts Of Theatre Past."
As part of the party fun Lansbury will auction off the famed bicycle she rode on TV's "Murder She Wrote." (Lansbury's brother, Edgar, heads the Acting Company board of directors).
Also appearing will be Jeffrey Wright (Angels In America), costumer Bob Mackie, actresses Laura Linney, Dana Ivey, Marilyn Seldes and Kathleen Chalfant, and playwright Michael Weller, with music provided by the Manhattan Rhythm Kings. Sigourney Weaver, currently starring in Sex And Longing on Broadway, will present the John Houseman Award to Smith.
The Acting Company was founded in 1972 by John Houseman, best known for his work with Orson Welles and as Professor Kingsfield on TV's "The Paper Chase." Houseman, and that year's acting class at Juilliard, went around the country bringing the classics to audiences who didn't necessarily have access to that kind of theatre. According to press representative Richard Kornberg, Elizabeth Smith was with the troupe from the beginning and has helped train such performers as Kevin Kline, Robin Williams, and Kate Nelligan in her role for Broadway's Plenty. Previous recipients of the Houseman Award include Joseph Papp, Jane Alexander and Uta Hagen.
Prices for the benefit range from $3,500-$10,000 for a table, and $200 $500 for individual tickets. For more information on the 6:30pm benefit, call (212) 564-3510.