Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Broadway Stars to Perform at Westport's Gala

Westport Country Playhouse’s Gala 2009 will feature a star-studded evening of entertainment Monday, Nov. 2, highlighted by special salutes to Mary Rodgers Guettel, composer, and Elisabeth Morten, Playhouse board of trustees chairman.

Honorary gala co-chairs are Anne Keefe and Joanne Woodward, former Playhouse artistic directors. Proceeds, in part, will support the Woodward Intern and Apprentice program, recently named in recognition of Ms. Woodward’s interest in training the next generation of theater artists. The Playhouse’s intern and apprentice program has been in existence since 1946.

A special tribute will be made to Ms. Rodgers Guettel, who began her theatrical career as a Playhouse intern in 1950, and went on to write the music for the Broadway hit, “Once Upon a Mattress.” She is the daughter of composer Richard Rodgers. Stephen Sondheim, who also was in the 1950 Playhouse intern class, and Christopher Plummer, will be present to honor Ms. Rodgers Guettel.

Ms. Morten will be honored for spearheading the Playhouse’s successful, multi-million dollar renovation in 2005. She has served as chairman and president of the Playhouse board of trustees since 1999, having joined the board in 1996. Ms. Morten is a Tony Award voter and theatrical producer.

A musical performance, entitled “An Enchanted Evening---The Music of Richard Rodgers,” will feature Broadway stars James Naughton, Tony Award winner for “Chicago” and “City of Angels”; Kelli O’Hara, Tony Award nominee for “South Pacific,” “The Pajama Game” and “The Light in the Piazza”; Steven Pasquale, who created the role of Fabrizio in Adam Guettel's “The Light in the Piazza” and appears on FX's "Rescue Me.”; Karen Ziemba, Tony Award winner for “Contact”; and others.

A cocktail reception and silent auction will begin at 5:45 pm, followed by the performance and tributes at 7:30 pm with dinner at 9.

Gala co-chairs are Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler and Cindy and John Vaccaro. The performance is produced by Kevin Duncan with musical direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell.

Benefit tickets start at $500. Reservations are limited by the size of the theatre. For more information or ticket purchases, call Kim Maresca, special events associate, at (203) 227-5137, ext. 138, or email kmaresca@westportplayhouse.org.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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