With book and lyrics by Kathie Lee Gifford, music by David Pomeranz and additional music by Gifford and David Friedman, Saving Aimee will play the New York theatre Oct. 14-23. Carmello will star in the title role as twentieth-century evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.
In addition to Carmello and Lacey, the cast — under the direction of Eric Schaeffer — will also feature Raissa Katona Bennett, Don Bovingloh, Dan Cooney, Angela DeCicco, Aisha de Haas, Matthew Gumley, Will Erat, Steve Horst, Joseph Kolinski, Matt Loney, Ellyn Marie Marsh, Victoria Matlock, Mike McGowan, James Moye, Gabi Nicole, Cristina Marie Norrup, Joe Paparella, Jim Price and Harry Winter.
Saving Aimee, previously titled Hurricane Aimee, has been developing quietly in private readings for a few years. Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole was involved in 2003. A reading in May 2004 also featured Carmello as McPherson, who was internationally famous for her sermons and healings in the early twentieth century.
The upcoming musical, according to production notes, traces McPherson's life from "her birth in 1890, through her dogmatic and repressive childhood in a 'Salvation Army' family, to her conversion to Pentecostalism at 17, her widowhood at 19, her ascension to personal and spiritual power as the charismatic leader of the Four Square Gospel Church and finally, to the tabloid headlines of her trial for corruption of morals and her ultimately tragic death of an accidental overdose in 1944."
The creative team for Saving Aimee also includes Paul Raiman (musical direction), Christopher d'Amboise (choreography), Jim Kronzer (set design), Anne Kennedy (costume design), Chris Lee (lighting design) and Joanna Staub (sound design). Florence Lacey was most recently seen Off-Broadway in Kathie Lee Gifford's Under the Bridge. She has performed the title role in Evita over 3,000 times, on Broadway and in touring companies around the world; she received the Drama-Logue Award for her work in that Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in Los Angeles. Lacey has also appeared on Broadway in Les Misérables; Hello, Dolly!; and The Grand Tour and Off Broadway in Sweetfeet, Elizabeth and Essex and Styne After Styne. Her other theatrical credits include John Brown's Body, A Streetcar Named Desire, Carousel, Gypsy, Follies and One Red Flower. Lacey is the recipient of the Pittsburgh Drama League Award and the MAC Award.
The White Plains Performing Arts Center is located at 11 City Place in White Plains, NY. Tickets, priced $30-$45, are available by calling (888) 977-2250. Visit www.wppac.com for more information.