Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura in the TV version of the "Prairie" books, will play Ma in the workshop of the new 20-character musical with Patrick Swayze, recently seen in the London revival of Guys and Dolls, as Pa. The cast will also boast Sara Chase as Laura, Michael Arden as Almanzo, Sara Ford as Nellie and Olivier Award winner Jenny Galloway as Mrs. Brewster. The new musical features a book by Beth Henley, music by Rachel Portman and lyrics by Donna DiNovelli. Francesca Zambello, who will helm the upcoming Denver world premiere of Disney's The Little Mermaid, will direct the staged readings of Prairie.
The design team includes Adrianne Lobel (sets), Natasha Katz (lighting) and Martin Pakledinaz (costumes).
Producers of the April 16 and 17 by-invitation-only Manhattan workshop include Ben Sprecher and wife Amy Sprecher; co-producers are Louise Forlenza, Bob Boyett and Wendy Federman.
The producers hope to launch a spring 2008 national tour of Prairie prior to arriving in New York.