Whoopi Goldberg Joins Spalding Gray Cast for June 5 Benefit Performance

News   Whoopi Goldberg Joins Spalding Gray Cast for June 5 Benefit Performance Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg joins the cast of Off-Broadway's Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell at the Minetta Lane Theatre June 5.
Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg

Goldberg is playing the role of "Career" for one performance only to celebrate what would have been the late Gray's birthday. She will be joined onstage by Spalding Gray co-stars Kathleen Chalfant, Hazelle Goodman and Frank Wood.

The performance will benefit several charities and will feature the presentation of the second annual Spalding Gray Award (given to an up-and-coming avant-garde company or artist) and The Ross School Award (presented to a middle school student and a high school student who show strong skills in writing monologues).

Bette Midler serves as the Honorary Chair of this performance.

Stories to Tell was co-created by Gray's widow, Kathleen Russo, and Lucy Sexton, who also directs. The show, according to press notes, "unfolds chronologically, from recollections of childhood swimming trips with his mother (who also committed suicide) and tales of awkward adolescent sexual encounters, to the joy Gray took in being a father himself." The production includes diary extracts as well as excerpts from Sex and Death to Age 14; Terrors of Pleasure; Swimming to Cambodia; Impossible Vacation; Gray's Anatomy; Monster in a Box; It's a Slippery Slope; Morning, Noon and Night; and Life Interrupted.

Previously titled Leftover Stories to Tell, the work played UCLA's Freud Playhouse in June 2006 with a cast headed by Teri Garr, John C. Reilly, Tony Shalhoub and Frances Conroy. The Naked Angels Production is being presented by Eric Falkenstein and Michael Alden. The production, which was originally scheduled to close May 13, is now open-ended.

Spalding Gray won an Obie Award for Swimming to Cambodia and filmed the monologue with director Jonathan Demme. Other works include Morning, Noon and Night; Monster in a Box; Gray's Anatomy; and It's a Slippery Slope. He performed on Broadway in Our Town and Gore Vidal's The Best Man. After a series of bouts with depression, Gray took his own life in 2004 by jumping from the Staten Island Ferry into the waters of New York Harbor.

Tickets, priced $65-$110, are available by calling (212) 307-4100 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com. The Minetta Lane Theatre is located in Manhattan at 18 Minetta Lane, just off Sixth Avenue.