Goldberg Set for Stories Left to Tell Birthday Performance
Producers Eric Falkenstein and Michael Alden have announced that Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost, Sister Act, The Color Purple; Ma Rainey's Black Bottom on Broadway) will be the next guest actor to step into the acclaimed Naked Angels production of Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell. On June 5th, Goldberg will perform the role of "Career" in a special benefit performance to celebrate what would have been the late actor/monologist's birthday.
Goldberg will be joined by the ensemble cast of Stories Left To Tell, including Kathleen Chalfant, Hazelle Goodman and Frank Wood. The performance will benefit several charities and culminate with the presentation of the second annual Spalding Gray Award, an award given to an up-and-coming avant-garde artist or company. The award is selected and awarded by three prominent cultural institutions which Mr. Gray called home: PS 122 in New York City, The Walker Center in Minneapolis and UCLA Live in Los Angeles. The Ross School Award, an annual award presented to one middle school student and one high school student who shows strong skills in writing autobiographical monologues, will also be presented. Gray's oldest son Forrest currently attends The Ross School, a private K-12 school in East Hampton, NY.
Bette Midler, who has said of Stories Left to Tell, "Spalding Gray comes back to life in this wonderful evening - his talent, his love, his despair, all in one heartbreaking package," will serve as the Honorary Chair of this special performance.
The next day (June 6th), the birthday festivities continue at 7:00 p.m. at the Chelsea Barnes and Noble (675 Avenue of the Americas), where celebrated authors will read excerpts from Gray's monologues. Among those slated to participate are: Michael Cunningham (The Hours), Jonathan Ames (Wake Up, Sir!), Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist and satirist Jules Feiffer and his wife, Jenny Allen (The Long Chalkboard, with Feiffer), poet and Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Muldoon (Moy Sand and Gravel), Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, Grey Gardens) and novelist, essayist and poet Philip Lopate (Portrait of My Body). New York theater icon Charles Busch, who will be in Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell beginning May 23 (through June 3), will host the evening.
As previously announced, on Monday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m., Academy-Award winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) and Kathleen Russo (Gray's widow and creator of Stories Left To Tell) will host a special screening of Gray's Anatomy (1996) at IFC Center (323 Avenue of the Americas). A discussion with Soderbergh (who directed Gray's Anatomy) and Russo will follow, where they will be joined by Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell director Lucy Sexton and cast members Hazelle Goodman and Dylan Walsh (in the show through May 22) to discuss Gray's work and his legacy in film and theater. This is the first of two special presentations of films based on Gray's monologues; Jonathan Demme will present a screening of Swimming To Cambodia later this summer.
"Spalding Gray is one of the most revered and irreverent storytellers of our time. He became an indelible image: sitting alone at a desk on a bare stage, delivering hilarious and moving monologues that had a singular resonance with his audiences. Conceived by Russo and directed by Sexton, Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell assembles both well-known and never-before-seen work spanning Gray's extraordinary life and career," state press notes. Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell features an ensemble cast of five, including a rotating special guest actor. Since the show opened to rave reviews on March 6, Richard Kind, Fisher Stevens, Estelle Parsons, Josh Lucas, Rachel Dratch, Bruce Vilanch, Valerie Smaldone and Dylan Walsh have filled the 5th guest actor position. Future guests include Charles Busch, "Bones" star David Boreanaz (June 6-10) and "Ugly Betty" star Chris Gorham (June 12-17).
A limited number of tickets for the special performance with Goldberg are now on sale. They are priced between $65 and $110 and are available at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (212) 307-4100. In addition, tickets can be purchased directly from the Minetta Lane Theatre box office by phoning (212) 420-8000.
Tickets for the special screening of Gray's Anatomy and post-show discussion are $15 ($5 for IFC Center members). For more information, visit www.ifccenter.com or call the IFC box office at (212) 924-7771.
Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell plays Tuesdays through Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets are priced at $35 - $65 and are available by visiting www.ticketmaster.com or phoning (212) 307-4100. In addition, tickets can be purchased directly from the Minetta Lane Theatre box office by phoning (212) 420-8000.
Photo by Linda Lenzi