Gotham’s Primary Stages wraps up its 25th anniversary season with a celebrity benefit stage reading performance that will be of particular interest to those who were fans of The Godfather and Oz. (I plead guilty to both). Tom Fontana, the creative catalyst behind the HBO prison series, has written Godfather IV. He will preside over two performances, with proceeds benefitting Primary Stages and Writers Guild of America’s East Foundation. Fontana is president of the latter.
Playing themselves, former Oz stars Chris Meloni, Lee Tergesen and Dean Winters sit at a diner, musing about their own careers and those of screen immortals. When Meloni dares to knock the plausibility of the horse-head-in-the-bed scene in The Godfather that befell Hollywood mogul Jack Woltz when he refused to cast Don Corleone’s godson singer Johnny Fontane in the lead of a picture, the other two reenact the scene by sneaking a horse’s head into Meloni’s bed. Unexpected complications ensue from the horseplay. Linda Laundra is directing, and other Oz castmembers taking part include Eamonn Walker, Mike Doyle, Zeljko Ivanek, David Laundra, Kristin Rohde, Catherine Wolf, Fontana and Terry Kinney, who played Oz‘s long-suffering prison head Tim McManus. Two performances are on for May 2.