Bette Midler, Nathan Lane and David Hyde Pierce will be the co-chairs of an April 19 Drama Dept. benefit honoring playwright Paul Rudnick, to be held at the Laura Pels Theatre (1530 Broadway).
Rudnick is currently represented Off-Broadway with his comedy, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. His other plays include Jeffrey and I Hate Hamlet. For film, he has penned the screenplays "In and Out" and "Addams Family Values."
Midler, Lane and Pierce are all stars of Runick's upcoming movie "Isn't She Great," clips of which will be screened at the benefit. Lane and Pierce are not yet confirmed as appearing at the event, but Midler will be present, as will Sarah Jessica Parker, Julie Halston and J. Smith-Cameron, the latter three doing scenes from Rudnick's plays. A full cast for the benefit will be announced at a later date.
The three-year-old Drama Dept. is the extremely successful troupe behind recent revivals of George S. Kaufman and Ring Lardner's June Moon and the Moss Hart-Irving Berlin revue As Thousands Cheer, as well as the new plays As Bees in Honey Drown by Douglas Carter Beane and Hope Is the Thing with Feathers by Frank Pugliese.
* In other Drama Dept news:
Evan Yionoulis (Three Days of Rain, The Maiden's Prayer) will helm the Drama Dept's next production, a double bill of Richard Greenberg's The Author's Voice and Peter Hedges' Imagining Brad, said Drama Dept managing director Mike Rosenberg. The production will be staged at the Dept.'s usual haunt, the Greenwich House Theatre, probably beginning performances May 1.
Ms. Yionoulis was recently named chair of the Yale Drama School's acting department, as well as resident director at Yale Repertory Theatre, where she directed Galileo last fall. Her other credits include Greenberg's The American Plan at Manhattan Theatre Club and Phaedra at the Vineyard Theatre.
Both Greenberg and Hedges are original members of the Drama Dept., though this production will mark the first of their plays to be produced by the troupe. Neither one-act is a new work. Imagining Brad, in particular, has had several New York incarnations since its premiere roughly a decade ago. Hedges' other works include Baby Anger and Good as New. Greenberg has written such plays as The Extra Man, Eastern Standard and Night and Her Stars. He was last represented in New York with Three Days of Rain at Manhattan Theatre Club. His The Last Hurrah is scheduled to be produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company this season, with Peter Frechette starring and David Warren directing.
The Drama Dept.'s most recent production, last fall's Hope Is the Thing with Feathers, proved to be its first critical failure. Other Dept. production include Uncle Tom's Cabin and Kingdom of Earth.
Also featured for this season are the new Beane play, Country Club. Added to next season's roster is the world premiere production of Adam Baum and the Jew Movie by Daniel Goldfarb.