A spokesperson for the White Plains Performing Arts Center confirmed that Carmello will play Aimee Semple McPherson in the new musical, which will begin performances at the White Plains theatre Oct. 14. Carmello will take a leave of absence from Mamma Mia! during the show's ten-performance run (through Oct. 23). Hurricane Aimee features book and lyrics by Kathie Lee Gifford, music by David Pomeranz and additional music by Gifford and David Friedman. The musical concerns the colorful life of twentieth-century evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. A reading in May 2004, directed by Eric Schaeffer, also featured Carmello as McPherson, who was internationally famous for her sermons and healings in the early twentieth century.
The piece has been developing quietly in private readings for a few years (Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole was involved in 2003). McPherson (1890-1944) famously disappeared for a time, claiming she was kidnapped. The musical uses her trial (on charges of corruption of morals, conspiracy to manufacture evidence and obstruction of justice) as a frame to tell her life story, from child bride to superstar religious figure.
Carolee Carmello, currently playing Donna Sheridan in Broadway's Mamma Mia!, received a Drama Desk Award and a Tony nomination for her performance in Lincoln Center’s Parade. She has also starred on Broadway in Urinetown; Kiss Me, Kate; The Scarlet Pimpernel; 1776; City of Angels; and Falsettos. Carmello received an Obie Award for her work in the Off-Broadway musical Hello Again, and her other Off Broadway credits include Elegies, A Class Act, john and jen, Das Barbecü, I Can Get It for You Wholesale and The Vagina Monologues.
The White Plains Performing Arts Center is located at 11 City Place in White Plains, NY. Visit www.wppac.com for more information.