Theatre for a New Audience, most recent producers of King John at Off-Broadway American Place Theatre and the proud parents of Julie Taymor's The Green Bird, turns 21 in 200 and has chosen to celebrate on William Shakespeare's birthday, April 4, at Laura Belle. Jazz legend Cleo Laine will sing for the occasion from her "WordSongs" album, a collection of the Bard's poetry set to jazz compositions by her husband and band leader, John Dankworth.
Laine, Grammy nominated in the Female Jazz Vocalist (an honor she won in 1983 for her third live at Carnegie Hall album), Popular and Classical categories, has done some Shakespeare herself, appearing in A Midsummer Night's Dream in London. Her other theatrical credits include West End appearances in Show Boat and Colette, London productions of Flesh to a Tiger, Valmouth, Women of Troy and Hedda Gabler and a Los Angeles critic's nominated turn as the Witch in Into the Woods.
Expected guests include cabaret's Kitty Carlise Hart and filmdom's John Turturro. Victor Garber (Wise Guys, Art) will be the celebrity guest auctioneer, who will weld the gavel over such prizes as opening night tickets for The Green Bird and an evening at Copenhagen, followed by dinner with stars Michael Cumpsty and Blair Brown.
Benefit tickets run from $425 and up. Laura Belle is located at 120 West 43rd Street. For further information, contact Rickie Brucker or Allyson Holleb at (212) 957-3005.
-- By Christine Ehren