Rashad, Ziemba, Cooper and Anderson Join Wonderful Life Benefit
By Andrew Gans
Phylicia Rashad, Karen Ziemba, Chuck Cooper and Nancy Anderson are the latest additions to the starry cast of the upcoming concert presentation of A Wonderful Life, which will benefit the Actors' Fund of America.
Rashad will play Millie Bailey, Ziemba will be the evening's emcee, Chuck Cooper will play Uncle Billy and Nancy Anderson will be Violet in the December 12 evening at the Shubert Theatre. Show time is 7 PM.
The foursome join the previously announced Brian Stokes Mitchell as George Bailey, Judy Kuhn as Mary Bailey, Philip Bosco as Joseph, Marian Seldes as Mrs. Hatch, Michael Berresse as Harry Bailey, Marc Kudisch as Sam Wainwright, Ronn Carroll as Tom Bailey, David Hyde Pierce as Clarence and Dominic Chianese as Mr. Potter.
Based on the famed Frank Capra film "It's a Wonderful Life," A Wonderful Life features book and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and music by the late Joe Raposo with additional music by Harnick and Jerry Depuit. Like the motion picture, the musical concerns the life of Bedford Falls resident George Bailey as he learns how those around him would be affected had he never existed.
The concert will feature orchestrations by Michael Starobin, choral arrangements by Raposo, Harnick and Jeffrey Saver and dance music arranged by Saver, who will also be the show's musical supervisor. Carl Andress will direct the one-night-only event with choreography by Denis Jones and musical direction by Lawrence Yurman.
A Wonderful Life was first presented at the University of Michigan in 1986. The 1946 film, "It's a Wonderful Life," was directed by Frank Capra and starred James Stewart as George Bailey with Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Frank Faylen, Ward Bond, Gloria Grahame, H.B. Warner, Frank Albertson, Todd Karns, Samuel S. Hinds, Mary Treen and Virginia Patton. The movie received five Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture.
The Actors' Fund of America, a nonprofit organization founded in 1882, provides for the social welfare of all entertainment professionals. Its headquarters and The Aurora Residence are located in New York City, and its nursing home and assisted living care facility are in Englewood, New Jersey. For more information, go to www.actorsfund.org.
For tickets, priced $75-$1,000, call (212) 221-7300, ext. 133. Visit www.actorsfund.org for more information.
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