UPDATE Eric McCormack will join the previously announced Mary-Louise Parker in the virtual performance of Paula Vogel’s The Baltimore Waltz, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, premiering on Thursday, April 29 as part of the virtual Spotlight on Plays series. Brandon Burton has also joined the cast.
Also announced today was the April 8 premiere date of Pearl Cleage’s Angry, Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous.
PREVIOUS, March 23 Meryl Streep, Mary-Louise Parker and Carla Gugino have joined the line-up of actors taking part in this year’s virtual Spotlight on Plays series benefitting The Actors Fund, with Streep reuniting with her Sophie’s Choice co-star Kevin Kline on Sarah Ruhl’s Dear Elizabeth.
Parker is set to perform in Paula Vogel’s The Baltimore Waltz. Gugino will be teamed with the previously announced Ellen Burstyn in Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine.
Others previously announced, in addition to Kline and Burstyn, are Kathryn Hahn, Keanu Reeves, Debbie Allen, Bobby Cannavale, Audra McDonald, Phylicia Rashad, Heidi Schreck, Alia Shawkat, Heather Alicia Simms and Alicia Stith.
The Spotlight on Plays series, launched last year on the Broadway’s Best Shows website, features actors performing the works remotely, with the readings pre-recorded and edited. The series, which begins Thursday, benefits The Actors Fund.
The series begins Thursday, March 25, with Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play at 8pm ET/5pm PT, and continues wit Pearl Cleage’s Angry, Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous on Thursday, April 8 at 8pm ET/5pm PT. Additional casting and dates will be announced soon.
The Spotlight on Plays events are livestreamed on Stellar and available for a strictly limited amount of time. Season subscriptions and individual ticket information is available on the Broadway’s Best Shows website.
Today’s announcement from producer and series creator Jeffrey Richards included new information about which plays each actor would perform. The line-up, with provided synopses, is:
- THE THANKSGIVING PLAY
Leigh Silverman (Lifespan of a Fact) directs Bobby Cannavale as “Jaxton,” Keanu Reeves as “Caden,” Heidi Schreck as “Logan” and Alia Shawkat as “Alicia.”
Larissa FastHorse’s wickedly funny comedy finds a troupe of terminally “woke” teaching artists scrambling to create a pageant that manages to celebrate both Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month.
- ANGRY RAUCOUS AND SHAMELESSLY GORGEOUS
Camille A. Brown (Choir Boy) directs Debbie Allen as “Betty,” Phylicia Rashad as “Anna,” Heather Alicia Simms as “Kate” and Alicia Stith as “Pete.”
Pearl Cleage’s comedy is all about aging gracefully and gorgeously. Anna Campbell, now 65, sparked controversy when she bared it all on stage years ago. When a theatre festival asks to re-stage the work with a younger actress in her role, dramatic and comic fireworks ensue.
- WATCH ON THE RHINE
Sarna Lapine (Sunday in the Park With George) directs Ellen Burstyn as “Fanny Farrelly” and Carla Gugino as “Sara Muller.”
Written by Lillian Hellman and set during the rise of Hitler’s Germany, Watch on the Rhine is a play about an American family, suddenly awakened to the danger threatening its liberty. Hellman’s drama won the 1941 New York Drama Critics Circle Award.
- OHIO STATE MURDERS
Kenny Leon (A Soldier’s Play) directs Audra McDonald as “Suzanne Alexander.”
Adrienne Kennedy’s Ohio State Murders is an unusual look at the destructiveness of racism in the U.S. When Suzanne Alexander, a fictional African American writer, returns to Ohio State University to talk about the violence in her writing, a dark mystery unravels.
- DEAR ELIZABETH by Sarah Ruhl
Kate Whoriskey (Ruined) directs Meryl Streep as “Elizabeth” and Kevin Kline as “Robert.”
Based on the compiled letters between poets Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, Dear Elizabeth maps the relationship of the two poets from first meeting to an abbreviated affair– and the turmoil of their lives in between.
- THE BALTIMORE WALTZ by Paula Vogel
Lileana Blain-Cruz (Marys Seacole) directs Mary-Louise Parker as “Anna.”
A comic and dramatic fantasia based on the love and adventures of a brother and sister, one of whom has a fatal disease. Winner of the 1992 Obie Award for Best New American Play.
- THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG by Wendy Wasserstein,
Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage County) directs Kathryn Hahn as “Gorgeous Teitelbaum.”
Three very different sisters reunite after a lengthy separation and discover humanity, respect, and love in this definitive serious comedy about sisterhood.