Ervin Drake to Be Honored by Musical Mondays Theater Lab Feb. 10; Kudisch, Raines, Pedi, Ross Will Sing | Playbill

News Ervin Drake to Be Honored by Musical Mondays Theater Lab Feb. 10; Kudisch, Raines, Pedi, Ross Will Sing
Broadway and cabaret stars will celebrate composer-lyricist Ervin Drake — who scored the Broadway musicals Her First Roman and What Makes Sammy Run? and penned "It Was a Very Good Year," among other standard tunes — in a Feb. 10 benefit luncheon to support Musical Mondays Theater Lab in Manhattan.

Held at Sardi's, the Ervin & Edith Drake Celebration, in honor of Drake and his wife, will include performances by Broadway's Marc Kudisch and Ron Raines (who will duet on "The Dangerous Age" from Her First Roman), Christine Pedi (singing "A Room Without Windows" from What Makes Sammy Run?), as well as cabaret favorites Steve Ross (singing Sammy's "Just for Today" and the standard "I Believe"), Karen Saunders (singing "Good Morning, Heartache") and KT Sullivan (singing her own take on "Tico Tico," for which Drake contributed English lyrics).

Richard Skipper will make a special appearance as "Carol Channing," singing new Drake lyrics to "Widow's Weeds" just for the occasion.

Drake will sing and play "The Father of Girls," which he wrote about his daughters. He'll also sing "Who Are These Strangers?," about contributions that gays and lesbians have made to the arts over the centuries.

The emcee is WOR's Joey Reynolds. Schele Williams directs with musical direction by Christopher Berg.

Expect "songs, roasting, toasting and a silent auction," according to MMTL. Rick Carnes, president of he Songwriters Guild, will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Drake, who lobbied Congress to extend copyright law for songwriters to improve songwriters royalties.

For more information about Drake, visit

The luncheon will be held 12:30 PM Feb. 10 at Sardi's Eugenia Room, fourth floor, 234 West 44th Street.

Proceeds from the event support the programs of the not-for-profit Musical Mondays Theater Lab (MMTL), which "develops new works for the musical theatre through a multi-step reading program," according to its mission.

Tickets range from $150 (for regular table seating) to $250 (for premium table seating) and $2,500 (for tables of ten and program recognition).

For tickets or more information, call SmartTix at (212) 868-4444 or visit


The Drake benefit committee includes co-chairs Pat Addiss and Sandi Durell, Jean Banks, Janet Barbash, Rose Billings, Bob Blume, Linda Amiel Burns, Linda Burson, Myra Chanin, Frank Evans, Jae French, Joyce Galley, Bick Goss, Jonathan Herzog, Peter Jones, Michael Kerker, Kailee Scales, Laura Slutsky and Schele Williams.

At MMTL, "Works vary in style from traditional to avant garde and are selected from professional recommendations as well as formal and informal associations with organizations like the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) and The BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. Works are initially given a table reading for a select group of musical theater professionals who then work with the writers prior to the next stage of presentation. Subsequent public staged readings are presented in accord with the Actors' Equity Reading Code using professional New York actors, directors and musical directors. These staged readings can be either an abridged version of a work, a first act of a work or a complete musical. In the MMTL developmental process, works can progress from shorter presentations to complete readings."

To date, nine of the works developed by this process have gone on to other venues (Off-Broadway and regional theatre) and three of the writers (or writing teams) have been commissioned to write new works for both not-for-profit and the commercial theatre.

Shows seen in MMTL's process include Wanda's World (ending a run at the 45th Street Theatre this weekend) and Next to Normal, formerly known as Feeling Electric, now playing Second Stage.

MMTL produced Back Home: The War Brides Musical at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2007.

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