Artistic producer and musical director Seth Rudetsky confirmed that Mazzie will play Lily Garland and Sills will be Oscar Jaffe in the Sept. 26 concert at the New Amsterdam Theatre. "Be prepared for Douglas Sills to take [all the songs] up two whole steps," an enthusiastic Rudetsky told Playbill.com.
Rudetsky said that the one-night-only event will also feature the talents of Christopher Sieber (as Bruce Granit), Brad Oscar (as Oliver Webb) and Brooks Ashmanskas (Owen O'Malley). "There are going to be cameos as well," said Rudetsky. "One of the reasons I'm so excited about this concert is we're going to have a big fat string section." The cast, in fact, will be accompanied by a 26-piece orchestra.
Rudetsky, who conceived the idea for the Actors' Fund's annual concerts (Dreamgirls, Funny Girl, Chess, Hair), said this year's concert will be directed by Peter Flynn with choreography by Denis Jones.
On the Twentieth Century features a book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Cy Coleman. The original Broadway production opened at the St. James Theatre in February 1978, playing 449 performances before closing in March 1979. The original company, directed by Harold Prince, included Madeline Kahn, John Cullum, Kevin Kline and Imogene Coca. The musical won 1978 Tonys for Score (Coleman, Comden and Green), Scenic Designer (Robin Wagner), Book (Comden and Green) and actors Kline and Cullum.
A three-time Tony Award nominee for her performances in Kiss Me, Kate; Ragtime; and Passion, Marin Mazzie's other theatrical credits include Into the Woods, Big River, The World Goes 'Round, the City Center Encores! production of Out of this World and Off-Broadway's The Trojan Women: A love Story, where she met husband Jason Danieley. Mazzie also starred in the London production of Kiss Me, Kate, where she earned an Olivier Award nomination for her work. Douglas Sills recently starred in the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Moonlight and Magnolias, and he was last on Broadway as Orin Scrivello D.D.S. in the Jerry Zaks-directed production of Little Shop of Horrors. Sills made his Broadway debut as Percy in Frank Wildhorn's The Scarlet Pimpernel, earning Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations as well as a Theatre World Award for his performance. He starred in the Kennedy Center's mounting of A Little Night Music, the first national tours of The Secret Garden and Into the Woods and the Los Angeles premiere of Chess. A two-time Drama-Logue Award winner, the actor has appeared in numerous regional theatre productions, and his TV credits include "Murphy Brown," "Sisters," "Coach," and "Party of Five."
The Actors' Fund of America, a nonprofit organization founded in 1882, provides for the social welfare of all entertainment professionals. Its headquarters and The Aurora Residence are located in New York City, and its nursing home and assisted living care facility are in Englewood, New Jersey.
Tickets for the one-night-only benefit are priced $75-$2,500 and are available by calling (212) 221-7300, ext. 133 or by e-mailing email@example.com. For more information visit www.actorsfund.org.
The all-star Hair concert, presented Sept. 20, 2004, raised more than half a million dollars for the Actors' Fund of America. Among those taking part in the one-night-only event were Shoshana Bean ("I Believe in Love"); Laura Benanti ("Initials"); Kathy Brier, Orfeh and Ann Harada ("Black Boys"); Liz Callaway ("Good Morning Starshine"); Paul Castree and Darius de Haas ("What a Piece of Work Is Man"); Chuck Cooper ("Colored Spade"); Gavin Creel ("Going Down"); Lea DeLaria ("Donna"); Raúl Esparza ("Hair"); Harvey Fierstein ("Air"); Ana Gasteyer ("Dead End"); Annie Golden ("Frank Mills"); Jackie Hoffman; Jennifer Hudson ("Easy to Be Hard"); Ledisi, Brandi Chavonne Massey and Shayna Steele ("White Boys"); Norm Lewis ("Let the Sunshine In"); Michael McKean; Euan Morton ("Manchester, England"); Julia Murney ("Where Do I Go?"); Nancy Opel; Adam Pascal ("I Got Life"); Billy Porter ("Abie Baby"/"Four Score"), Jai Rodriguez ("Sodomy"); RuPaul ("My Conviction"); Christopher Sieber and John Tartaglia ("Don't Put It Down"); Toxic Audio ("Electric Blues"); Lillias White ("Aquarius"); and Harris Doran as Claude. A recording of the concert, taped after the event, was recently released on Sh-K-Boom Records.