This year's event — in which patrons view commissioned scenes throughout Playwrights Horizons' home on West 42nd Street — has a musical twist, with the stories being told exclusively through song.
Renamed Songs on 5 Stories, the evening will feature Elizabeth Berkley (Sly Fox on Broadway, last season's Hurlyburly), Judy Blazer (Jack's Holiday at PH, last season's Bernarda Alba), Michael Esper (Manic Flight Reaction at PH, the recent subUrbia), Trey Lyford (all wear bowlers), Tony Award winner Andrea Martin (Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, My Favorite Year), two-time Tony Award nominee Kelli O'Hara (My Life with Albertine at PH, The Pajama Game, The Light in the Piazza) and Mary Testa (The Wax, Lucky Stiff and In Trousers all at PH, last season's See What I Wanna See).
The evening will feature original music by the theatre's alumni and current writers: Tony Award winners Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island), five-time Tony Award nominee Michael John LaChiusa (See What I Wanna See, The Wild Party), Tony Award winner Adam Guettel (The Light in the Piazza, Floyd Collins), Obie Award winner Ricky Ian Gordon (My Life With Albertine, Dream True), Scott Frankel & Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and Michael Friedman & Rinne Groff (Playwrights Horizons commissioned artists).
The evening will celebrate the theatre’s home at 416 West 42nd Street and benefit the company's 2006-2007 season musical theatre activities.
Songs are being written specifically for the evening, inspired by and performed in locations around the theatre company's five-story headquarters. "While noted for its two state-of-the-art theatres, the building will host each number in such site-specific, non-traditional locations as the costume shop and the trap room under the Mainstage," according to PH.
The numbers will be performed concurrently, each repeated several times in its own location. Attendees will travel throughout the building in small groups in order to see each work, and each will be performed by separate casts. Everyone will have the opportunity to view all six performances.
"The Stories on 5 Stories Fall Benefit has rapidly become one of my favorite Playwrights Horizons events," stated artistic director Tim Sanford. “Here in one compact, festive evening, audiences experience the breadth of diverse, adventurous voices that defines who we are. The uniqueness of the experience, with small groups traveling throughout our building with staff members as guides, gives our patrons both a thrilling backstage glimpse behind the scenes, and remarkably intimate face to face interaction both with our staff and the performers."
He added, "This year we celebrate the opening of Grey Gardens on Broadway by honoring our long and rich tradition of producing new musicals. We've invited nine of musical theatre's brightest names to continue the tradition and create original songs for the evening. We look forward to new theatre music premiering throughout our five floors at this festive event."
Tickets for Songs on 5 Stories can be reserved online by visiting the Playwrights Horizons website www.playwrightshorizons.org or by calling (212) 564-1235, extension 3154.