Kerry Butler Joins Hazel Musical Reading, Starring Blackhurst

News   Kerry Butler Joins Hazel Musical Reading, Starring Blackhurst
Cabaret performer and stage actress Klea Blackhurst will repeat her role as wisecracking housemaid Hazel in a second New York City reading of a musical based on Ted Key's cartoon character Hazel — best known for her appearance in a 1961-66 TV sitcom of the same name. Now titled Hazel: A Musical Maid in America, the show will give four invitation-only performances May 28 and 29 at the Lyric Theatre performance space.

Klea Blackhurst
Klea Blackhurst

She will be joined by Tony nominee Kerry Butler (Xanadu) as Dorothy Baxter, Ed Watts as George Baxter and Tony nominee Craig Bierko (The Music Man) as Bonkers Johnson.

Lucie Arnaz (They're Playing Our Song, Pippin) will direct, as she did at a previous New York reading last October.

The musical, which was first announced to be in development for Broadway in 2010, is written by composer Ron Abel (the musicals Rockwell: Life on a Palette, Twist of Fate, Blame It on the Movies) and lyricist Chuck Steffan (the musical Is This Your Life?).

Lissa Levin, a Kleban Award-winning playwright and Emmy-nominated producer, wrote the book.

Here's how the show is billed: "Hazel is based on one of the most beloved and enduring characters in American popular culture. Hazel, a saucy maid with a wry sense of humor, timeless wisdom, and a heart of gold, was created by cartoonist Ted Key and has been adored for over 60 years. She first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1943 as a single-panel cartoon and continued to delight readers of all ages until the magazine went out of print in 1969. Hazel was also brought to life by the inimitable Academy Award winner Shirley Booth on a TV sitcom of the same name, and ran for five well-received, award winning seasons. Hazel’s humanity, common sense, and warmth will touch all audiences as a musical, as it has from the beginning."

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