Cole Porter will be the subject of the 13th annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (STAGE), which takes place March 14-16 at the Luckman Theatre at Cal State in L.A. Proceeds will go to AIDS Service Center and Project Angel Food, both AIDS and HIV charitable organizations.
Starring in the four-performance event (list as of March 12) will be Davis Gaines (Phantom Of The Opera, Betty Garrett (On The Town), Joanna Gleason (Into The Woods), Harry Groener (Crazy For You), Jane Powell Seven Brides For Seven Brothers), Linda Purl (1991's The Baby Dance Off-Broadway), Dorian Harewood (TV's "L.A. Law"), The Plaids (Forever Plaid), David Hyde Pierce (TV's "Frasier"), KT Sullivan (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), Debby Boone (The Sound Of Music), Pat Suzuki, Gedde Watanabe (film: Gung Ho), Carole Cook, Bill Hutton, Dale Kristien, Jane Carr, Loretta Devine, Joely Fisher, The Tonics, Lu Leonard, Jamie Anderson, Carolee Carmello, Mary Jo Catlett, Mara Getz, Joey Gian, Marilynn Lovell Matz, Brad Maule, Linda Michele, Megan Mullally, Pamela Myers, Michelle Nicastro, Deborah Nishimura, Calvin Remsberg, Tim Stone, Kirby Tepper, Gretchen Wyler, Matt Zarley and Jim J. Bullock.
Varese Sarabande will record "Cole Porter: A Musical Toast" for release on a double CD, with 15 percent of the proceeds going to the above charities. (The company also recorded, and will release, 1996's tribute to Stephen Sondheim.)
Director and co-producer David Galligan told the Los Angeles Times the concerts will occur at the Luckman Theatre instead of the Doolittle (1996's venue) because stagehand rates at the latter were too high. "The entire Luckman package costs less than the stagehands' wages at the Doolittle," said Galligan. His Southern California directing credits include Triplets In Uniform, Blame It On The Movies, Alone Together and Trouble In Tahiti.
Ron Abel will serve as musical diretor, as he did for the first ten editions of the STAGE benefit. Begun in 1984 with a tribute to Leonard Bernstein, STAGE has since honored Jule Styne, Jerry Herman, the Gershwins and others. AIDS Service Center provides free, direct services to people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles; Project Angel Food prepares and delivers nutritious meals -- over 280,000 in 1996 -- to those living with AIDS.
For tickets ($30-$150) and information on Cole Porter: A Musical Toast call (818) 441-5002.
--By David Lefkowitz