Lucie Arnaz (They're Playing Our Song, Pippin) is set to direct the 29-hour AEA reading that will feature Blackhurst (Hello, Dolly!) as Hazel in a cast that also features Paul Shaefer as George Baxter, Jessica Keenan Wynn as Dorothy Baxter, Colin Crest as Harold Baxter, Warren Kelley as Bonkers Johnson, Ava-Riley Miles as Benedetta Bomicino, Bonale Fambrini as Scotty Fuyu and Ethan Khusidman as Reuben Steuben, along with Lance Roberts, Romelda Benjamin, Gerard Salvador, Erin Sullivan, Sharone Sayegh and Kevin Spiritas as the Narrator/Newscaster.
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.
The industry presentations will take place Oct. 24 and 25 at the June Havoc Theatre.
Here's how it's 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."