Ziemba, Rashad, Cooper and Anderson Join Dec. 12 Wonderful Life Reading

Karen Ziemba, Phylicia Rashad, Chuck Cooper and Nancy Anderson have signed on to appear in the all-star benefit reading of the musical version of It's A Wonderful Life, presented by The Actors' Fund of America. Based on the beloved 1946 Frank Capra classic, the evening will be held at the Shubert Theatre on December 12th at 7 PM.

Tony Award-winner Ziemba (Contact, Chicago) will serve as the evening's host, Tony Award-winner Rashad (Gem of the Ocean, A Raisin in the Sun) will play Millie Bailey, Tony Award-winner Chuck Cooper (The Life, Lennon) will portray Uncle Billy and Nancy Anderson (Wonderful Town, A Class Act) will be seen as Violet; they join the previously-announced Brian Stokes Mitchell (Man of La Mancha, Kiss Me, Kate) as George Bailey, David Hyde Pierce (Spamalot, "Frasier") as Clarence, Philip Bosco (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Copenhagen), as Joseph, Marian Seldes (Dinner at Eight, Deathtrap) as Mrs. Hatch, Michael Berresse (The Light in the Piazza, Kiss Me, Kate) as Harry Bailey, Marc Kudisch (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Thoroughly Modern Millie) as Sam Wainwright, Ronn Carroll (Oklahoma!, Annie Get Your Gun) as Tom Bailey, and Dominic Chianese ("The Sopranos") as Mr. Potter. Judy Kuhn (Les Miserables, She Loves Me) has replaced Lauren Ambrose ("Six Feet Under") as Mary Bailey.

The musical version of It's A Wonderful Life features a book and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and music by Joe Raposo (with additional music by Harnick and Jerry Depuit). In the holiday classic, the suicidal George Bailey is confronted by Clarence, an aspiring angel whose mission is to make him change his mind. Carl Andress will direct, and Denis Jones will provide the choreography, with 
choral arrangements by Raposo, Harnick and Jeffrey Saver and dance music arrangements by Saver.

The film version of It's A Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra and co-written by Capra, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, is based on The Greatest Gift, a short story by Philip Van Doren Stern. The movie starred James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore, among others.

Tickets for the benefit reading, which range from $75 to $1,000, can be purchased by calling (212) 221-7300, ext. 133. For more information, visit www.actorsfund.org.

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