BC/EFA and AmFAR are geared up for a reunion of Charity Charitys for charity June 15.
Tickets are sold out for the 8 PM event at Avery Fisher Hall at New York's Lincoln Center for the event, which will feature a lineup of some two dozen major theatre stars performing the various parts in the show in relay. Tickets ranged $1000-$50; for information on the event call (212) 806-1600.
Though two record companies had bid to record the event, event spokesperson Judy Jacksina said June 12 that negotiations had fallen through and there will be no recording. That's too bad, considering the lineup of promised talent:
Among those confirmed to appear: Gwen Verdon (the original 1966 Charity), Debbie Allen (the 1986 revival Charity), Helen Gallagher (the original Broadway Nickie), Chita Rivera (Nickie in the film version), Bebe Neuwirth (the 1986 revival Nickie), John McMartin (the original Broadway Oscar), Carol Channing, Betty Buckley, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lillias White, Donna McKechnie, Hinton Battle, Jim Dale, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Goulet, Jerry Orbach, Marisa Tomei, Pamela Isaacs, Charles Nelson Reilly, Dom Deluise, Marla Maples, Carol Arthur, former NY Mayor Ed Koch and former NY Mayor David Dinkins.
For this production, Verdon, Rivera, Neuwirth, Allen and McKechnie will alternate in the role of Charity. Gallagher, Neuwirth and Rivera will share the roles of Nickie and Helene. Dale, Mitchell and McMartin will alternate as Oscar. Robert Goulet and Jerry Orbach will share the role of Vittorio Vidal. Other casting: Channing as the Good Fairy. Deluise as Herman, Battle as Big Daddy, Maples as Ursula, Tomei as Rosie. Others will appear in smaller roles, or in cameos.
Composer Cy Coleman told Playbill On-Line that the hooker chorus of The Life will sing "Big Spender" and the Broadway Chorus singers will perform "I'm a Brass Band" and "The Rhythm of Life."
Coleman, who wrote the show with lyrics by Dorothy Fields and book by Neil Simon, said he envisions the show being performed with different actors playing the characters in each scene. He said he wants Verdon, who originated the role, to perform the show's hit, "If My Friends Could See Me Now," which became her signature song. He said Verdon will recreate some of Bob Fosse's choreography for the benefit. She'll get a "Musical Staging by" credit.
John Bowab will direct the one-night-only event.
The event is being co-sponsored as a fundraiser by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR), their first collaboration on an event since "A Celebration of Angela Lansbury" in November 1996.
-- By Robert Viagas