The star-packed April 26 celebration of American playwrights, The Playwright's the Thing, a benefit evening of readings of the work of Christopher Durang, Terrence McNally and Wendy Wasserstein, raised $248,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The fundraiser included a cavalcade of scenes and monologues from plays by the trio, but also the debut of a new piece written by all three, merging their most indelible characters. The performance at the Broadhurst Theatre included:
* Steve Martin and Stockard Channing reading a scene from Durang's Beyond Therapy.
* Nathan Lane, David Hyde Pierce, Swoosie Kurtz, Stockard Channing, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin and Paul Rudd in a scene from McNally's It's Only a Play.
* Christine Baranski, Robert Klein and Jane Alexander in a scene from Wasserstein's The Sisters Rosensweig. * An original piece, Dr. Gorgeous Radio Show, written by the three playwrights especially for the evening.
In the new piece, Dr. Gorgeous (from Wasserstein's The Sisters Rosensweig), played by Christine Baranski, has an hilarious encounter with Sister Mary Ignatius (from Durang's Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You), played by Elizabeth Franz (the play's original star), and Buzz (from McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion!), played by Nathan Lane, the original Buzz.
Other performers included Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Martha Plimpton, Audra McDonald, Betty Buckley, George Wendt, Brian Dennehy, Debra Monk, Lorraine Toussaint and Zoe Caldwell.
-- By Kenneth Jones