Photo Coverage: Kerry Butler & Megan Sikora at Women of Influence Awards
Kerry Butler and Megan Sikora attended the T.J. Martell Foundation's Women of Influence Awards on May 1 with the creative team behind their new off-Broadway play, Under My Skin. The show will donate $1 per ticket sold in May to the T.J. Martell Foundation, which raises money for cancer, leukemia and AIDS research.
Under My Skin, written by Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser, is in previews at the Little Shubert Theatre on West 42nd St. and slated for a May 15 opening. In this romantic comedy that tackles the health-care issue, an angel causes the wealthy head of an HMO and a financially struggling single mother to switch bodies. "A serious medical crisis, caring, coping, falling in love and maybe seeing things from a different perspective after walking a mile in another's stilettos" ensue, according to the show's blog.
Sternin and Fraser are husband-and-wife TV producers best known for the sitcoms The Nanny and Who's the Boss? At Thursday's luncheon, Fraser told BWW that Under My Skin was partly inspired by Nanny star Fran Drescher (currently on Broadway in Cinderella). "After The Nanny wrapped, Fran was diagnosed with uterine cancer. It took her eight doctors to finally get a diagnosis," said Fraser. "We started thinking about that: This is a woman with chutzpah and money and it took her eight doctors. What if it was a woman who had neither influence, money or the balls to demand a diagnosis? And then we married [it to] our romantic comedy -- and we ended up with the guy with killer cramps."
Under My Skin had a previous production at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2012 and has had numerous readings in New York and southern California since 2007. Sikora has been involved the entire time. "At first it was just, 'This is hilarious and fun,'" she said Thursday. "Then I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is about something really important.' As they've continued to develop it, it's gotten more and more poignant. And the specific issue of insurance and people being covered has gotten really stressful for everybody in America lately. It's focused more on that in this incarnation, and I love where it's landed. I think it's a beautiful, heartwarming story." Sikora and Matt Walton are the only holdovers from the Pasadena run. The New York cast also includes Butler, Kate Loprest, Dierdre Friel, Edward James Hyland, Andrew Polk, Allison Strong, Justin Adams, Kate Fahrner and John Michalski.
Hoda Kotb of the Today show was a recipient of a Women of Influence Award, along with Z100 program director Sharon Dastur, Radio One chair Cathy Hughes and designer Randi Rahm. The luncheon, held at the JW Marriott Essex House on Central Park South, was hosted by radio personality Robin Quivers. For more about the foundation, go to tjmartell.org. For more on the play, go to undermyskintheplay.com.
Bottom photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for T.J. Martell Foundation; others by Adrienne Onofri.