NoŽl Coward's Star Quality, With Bebe Neuwirth, Brian Murray, Alison Fraser, Shimmers in NYC Reading Aug. 13

By Kenneth Jones
August 13, 2012

Two-time Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth and Tony nominee Brian Murray star in a reading of Noël Coward's 1968 showbiz comedy Star Quality — a play that was not produced in the author's lifetime — on Aug. 13 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.



The free presentation at 6 PM in the Bruno Walter Auditorium is produced by the new collective Noël and Company, which has offered readings of The Women of His World (a commissioned piece), The Vortex, Design For Living and The Mousetrap.

The troupe bills the play this way: "Star Quality is a hilarious back stage comedy about an undeniably temperamental actress (forgiven only in light of her supreme 'star quality'), the naive young playwright, a rather novice director, his jaded assistant and the ensuing hijinks. An ideal homage to the theatre for anyone who works in, loves and/or hates it…"

Keith Merrill, artistic director of Noël and Company, directs. N&C's producing director is Mary Ellen Ashley and managing director is Christopher John Stegmayer.

The cast also includes Sandra Shipley, David Graham Jones, Max Gordon Moore, Alison Fraser, Roger DeWitt, Andy Prosky and Alex Rice. Emily Eden is the reader, Erin Gilbreth is the stage manager and Brendan Carmody is the production stage manager.

Neuwirth won Tony Awards for her work in the revivals of Chicago and Sweet Charity. Her Broadway credits include The Addams Family, Fosse, Damn Yankees, Little Me, Dancin' and A Chorus Line. She won two Emmy Awards for her work on "Cheers," and was nominated for playing the same character (Lilith) on "Frasier."

Murray is a Tony nominee for his work in The Crucible (200), The Little Foxes (1997) and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1968). 

Star Quality, the play, is presented in conjunction with the exhibition "Star Quality: The World of Noël Coward." The exhibition and associated programs are part of the Noël Coward in New York 2012 Festival, which celebrates the life and work of playwright-songwriter-actor-director Noël Coward. For more information, visit noelcowardinnewyork.com.

Seating for the reading is on a first-come, first-served basis. Bruno Walter Auditorium is at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, 111 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. For more information, visit noelandcompany.org or nypl.org/lpaprograms.