Ziemba, Rae and Astin Star in Leading Ladies in DC

By: Aug. 16, 2005
Karen Ziemba and Charlotte Rae will be two of the Leading Ladies at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. John Astin will join the two stars in the run of the Ken Ludwig comedy, which will play from September 23rd through October 23rd. It will be a reunion for Rae and Astin--both appeared in the historic Theatre de Lys production of The Threepenny Opera in 1954.

As with many of Ludwig's plays, the world of Leading Ladies is one of performers. In the comedy, two out-of-work Shakespearean actors hatch a scheme to open the purse of a wealthy older lady--by pretending they're her heirs. Mark Rucker (the film version of Die, Mommy, Die!) will stage the show, while Rene Auberjonois, Daniel Frith, Patrick Kerr, Lacey Kohl and Ian Kahn will also be featured. Leading Ladies' design team comprises John Coyne (scenery), Michael Gilliam (lighting), Judith Dolan (costumes) and John Gromada (sound).

Ziemba has starred on Broadway in Steel Pier, Chicago, Crazy For You and A Chorus Line in addition to her numerous regional credits. The triple-threat star was Tony-nominated for her performances in Never Gonna Dance and Steel Pier, but won the 2000 Best Featured Actress Tony for Contact. Rae made her Broadway debut in 1952's Three Wishes for Jamie, and has also appeared in The Golden Apple, Li'l Abner and Boom Boom Room; she received Tony nominations for Pickwick and Morning, Noon and Night. She is also well-known for her work on the TV shows "Diff'rent Strokes" and "The Facts of Life." Astin is also best-known for his TV work--he starred as Gomez in "The Addams Family." In addition to The Threepenny Opera, he has appeared on Broadway in Major Barbara and Tall Story.

Ludwig received a 1989 Tony Award nomination for the farcical Lend Me a Tenor, his most popular play to date; he was also nominated for his book of the musical Crazy For You. Other plays include Moon Over Buffalo, an adaptation of Twentieth Century and the regional play Shakespeare in Hollywood. He has also written the book of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

For more information, visit www.fordstheatre.org.