Chita Rivera & John Cullum to Headline THE VISIT Actors' Fund Broadway Concert Tonight
The Actors Fund and the Vineyard Theatre present the one-night-only benefit concert performance of Kander & Ebb's THE VISIT, starring Broadway stage legends and Tony Award winners Chita Rivera and John Cullum. Directed by Carl Andress with choreography by Tony Award winner Ann Reinking and musical direction by David Loud, the performance will take place tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Broadway's Ambassador Theatre (219 West 49th Street), current home to the celebrated revival of Kander & Ebb's worldwide smash Chicago.
THE VISIT is a new musical based on the classic Friedrich Dürrenmatt play (adapted by Maurice Valency) with a book by Terrence McNally, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Claire Zachanassian (Rivera) was driven from her hometown in disgrace when she was 17, having been betrayed by her lover Anton Schell (Cullum). Several decades and seven husbands later, Zachanassian has become the richest woman in the world, yet her hometown has fallen on hard times. When Zachanassian returns with an offer to save the town, salvation comes with an outrageous price tag.
THE VISIT had its world premiere at Chicago's Goodman Theatre and was subsequently produced at The Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. This one-night-only concert event of THE VISIT is sponsored by United Airlines, the New York Marriott Marquis and The New York Times.
Tickets for the one-night-only benefit go on sale to the general public on Monday, October 17. (Tickets are available now for Actors Fund and Vineyard members). Tickets are priced at $500, $250, $150, $100 and are available by calling (212) 221-7300 ext. 133, by emailing email@example.com or by visiting www.actorsfund.org. VIP tickets and sponsorship packages are also available.
Chita Rivera (Claire Zachanassian). An accomplished and versatile actress/singer/dancer, Chita Rivera has won two Tony Awards as Best LeadingActress in a Musical and received seven additional Tony nominations. She recently starred in the Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer's Life, a dazzling new musical celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terrence McNally anddirected by Graciela Daniele. She recreated her starring role in The Visit, the new Kander/Ebb/McNally musical at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA (originally done at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago in 2001). She also starred in the revival of the Broadway musical Nine with Antonio Banderas. She trained as a ballerina (from age 11) before receiving a scholarship to the American School of Ballet from legendary George Balanchine. Chita's first appearance (age 17) was in the chorus of Call Me Madam. Her electric performance as Anita in the Broadway premiere of West Side Story (1957) brought her stardom, which she repeated in London. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, Jerry's Girls and (original Broadway casts) Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr. Wonderful. On tour: Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Zorba, Can-Can with The Rockettes. Chita was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on August 12, 2009. She received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in Washington, DC in December, 2002 and is the first Hispanic ever chosen to receive this award. Chita has recently recorded and released a new CD entitled And Now I Swing and is on a nationwide concert tour of Chita Rivera: My Broadway. Her most treasured production is her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer Lisa Mordente.
John Cullum (Anton Schell). The past several seasons have been busy for the multiple Tony winner, including his acclaimed turn in Kander and Ebb's The Scottsboro Boys (On Broadway as well as the Vineyard Theatre premiere). Feature films include Night Listener with Robin Williams, and the Evangelist Preacher in Betty Page. On TV he again assayed Attorney Moredock "The Tennessee Weasel" now Judge Moredock on "Law & Order: SVU." Theatregoers recently enjoyed John as Beverly Weston, the patriarch in August: Osage County (simultaneously playing in Heroes for the Keen Company). John's best known to television audiences as Holling the bartender on Northern Exposure, and Dr. Greene's (Anthony Edwards') father on "ER." His distinguished stage career includes Tony awards for Shenandoah and for On the Twentieth Century. Tony nominations for his first starring role On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and for his most recent Broadway appearance in Urinetown, The Musical. Audiences have relished Cullum's performances in such legendary shows as Camelot, Burton's Hamlet (directed by Gielgud), Man of La Mancha, 1776, Deathtrap, The Boys in Autumn with George C. Scott, Aspects of Love and Show Boat. More recently he's played Cardinal Law in Sin-The New Group and LynDon Johnson in Conscientious Objector- Kean Company. He ruled in the title role of Shakespeare's Cymbeline- Lincoln Center and used his singing talents in Candide-NY City Opera, Purlie-Encores, and 110 in the Shade-Manhattan Theatre Club. His films include: Night Listener, Betty Page, Inherit the Wind (last major performance for both George C. Scott and Jack Lemmon), Secret Life of Algernon, 1776, The Day After, The Prodigal, Sweet Country, Marie, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, All the Way Home, and Hawaii.
John Kander and Fred Ebb (Music; Lyrics). The John Kander and Fred Ebb collaboration of four decades has created what many would consider Broadway standards and contemporary classics: Flora the Red Menace, Cabaret(Tony Award), The Happy Time, Zorba, 70 Girls 70, Chicago, The Act, Woman of the Year (Tony Award, Best Score), The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman (TonyAward, Best Score), Steel Pier, Curtains and The Scottsboro Boys. Their collaboration also transferred itself to movies and television as they wrote original material for the Academy Awards, "Liza with a Z" (Emmy Award), HBO's "Liza Minnelli's Stepping Out"
(Emmy Award), Funny Lady (Oscar Nominated for "How Lucky Can You Get"), Lucky Lady, New York, New York, Stepping Out and Chicago(Oscar nominated for Best Song). In the mid 80's the song "New York New York" becoming the official anthem of New York City.
Terrence McNally (Book) was awarded the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. He is the winner of Tony Awards for his plays LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! and MASTER CLASS and his books for the musicals RAGTIME and KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN. In 2010 The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presented Terrence McNally'S NIGHTS AT THE OPERA, a three-play festival of his work. His other plays include FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE: LIPS TOGETHER, TEETH APART; CORPPUS CHRISTI; A PERFECT GANESH; THE RITZ; IT'S ONLY A PLAY; SOME MEN; GOLDEN AGE; DEUCE; THE LISBON TRAVIATA; BAD HABITS; THE STENDHAL SYNDOME; DEDICATION OR THE STUFF OF DREAMS; NEXT; UNUSUAL ACTS OF DEVOTION; SWEET EROS; WITNESS; WHERE HAS TOMMY FLOWERS GONE? and his first play...AND THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT. He has written the books for the musicals THE FULL MONTY, A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, THE VISIT and THE RINK. He won an Emmy Award for Best Drama with his teleplay ANDRE'S MOTHER. He wrote the screenplays for FRANKIE AND JOHNNY, LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! and THE RITZ. He wrote the libretto for the opera DEAD MAN WALKING with music by Jake Heggie. Among his many awards are a Citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Play, four Drama Desk Awards, three Hull-Warriner Best Play Awards from the Dramatists Guild, two Obies, two Lortel Awards and two Guggenheim Fellowships. Mr. McNally has been a member of the Dramatists Guild since 1965 and served as its Vice-President from 1985 to 2001. He lives in Manhattan with his spouse, Tom Kirdahy.
THE ACTORS FUND. The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone - performers and those behind the scenes - who works in performing arts and entertainment, helping more than 12,000 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund's programs include social services and emergency assistance, health care and insurance, housing, and employment and trainingservices. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund has - for nearly 130 years - been a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition. Visit www.actorsfund.org.
THE Vineyard Theatre. One of the nation's leading non-profit-theatre companies dedicated to new plays and musicals and bold programming, Vineyard Theatre has consistently premiered provocative, groundbreaking works including the Pulitzer Prize-winning productions of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women and Paula Vogel's How I Learned To Drive, as well as Tarell Alvin McCraney's Wig Out!, The Civilians' This Beautiful City, Nicky Silver's Pterodactyls and Raised in Captivity, the Laura Nyro musical Eli's Comin', Colman Domingo's A Boy and His Soul, Adam Rapp's The Metal Children, Will Eno's Middletown and Christopher Shinn's Picked. The Vineyard most recently produced its Developmental Lab Production of Now. Here. This., followed by a Lab Production of the Broadway-bound ON a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Vineyard Theatre produced the world-premiere of the musical Avenue Q and received the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2004. The Vineyard continues as a producer of the show musical now at New World Stages in New York. The Vineyard produced the world premiere of the musical The Scottsboro Boys -- with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, book by David Thompson, with direction and choreography by Susan Stroman -- in March 2010 and on Broadway last season. The Vineyard also produced [title of show] on Broadway in 2008following the musical's debut at the theatre in 2006. Productions announcedthus far for The Vineyard's 2011-12 season include the world-premiere of Nicky Silver's play THE LYONS starring Linda Lavin, now playing through October 30; a co-production with Naked Angels of the world-premiere of Zayd Dohrn's play Outside People, beginning performances in December, and a Lab Production of the musical The Landing (formerly Andra) by the legendary John Kander and his new collaborator Greg Pierce starring David Hyde Pierce. Douglas Aibel is Artistic Director of Vineyard Theatre; Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell is Executive Producer; Sarah Stern is Co-Artistic Director; and Rebecca Habel is Managing Director. For more information or to become a member of Vineyard Theatre, visit www.vineyardtheatre.org.