The Actors Fund announced today that the critically acclaimed, Tony Award®-nominated play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife by Charles Busch, will once again be performed for a one-night only benefit reading on Monday, November 18, 2019, at 7:30 pm at The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th St.). The evening will star Charles Busch in the title role, originally played by Linda Lavin, and assembles the entire original all-star Broadway cast including Linda Lavin, Michele Lee, Tony Roberts and Anil Kumar as well as original director Lynne Meadow. All proceeds will benefit The Actors Fund.
The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife was originally produced by Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director; Barry Grove, Executive Producer), Carole Shorenstein Hays, Stuart Thompson and Douglas S. Cramer.
The acclaimed production ran from November 2, 2000 – September 15, 2002, playing 25 previews and 777 performances. The show received Tony Award nominations for Best Play, Best Actress in a Play (Linda Lavin) and Best Featured Actress in a Play (Michele Lee). The show was also nominated for a Drama Desk Award ® for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Actress in a Play (Linda Lavin).
While most of the cast will reprise their original Broadway roles for this reading, Linda Lavin, who originally played “Marjorie”, will play the role of “Frieda”. The playwright himself, Charles Busch, will assume the role of “Marjorie”. “Frieda” was originally played by the late actress Shirl Bernheim.
“In 2017, I attended The Actors Fund Gala honoring Hal Prince, and after that evening, I was inspired to organize something special to support The Actors Fund,” Lavin said. “I called up Charles with the idea of revisiting his perfect play. I loved playing the role of ‘Marjorie’, but I thought for this special one-night event, it would be marvelous having our playwright, Charles Busch, who has had a long award-winning career playing female roles, play her. So I urged him if we were going to do this, he had to play the role of Marjorie as he had found that character as a performer before he even expanded it into a play. I had played ‘Frieda’ at The Red Barn Studio Theatre in Wilmington, NC (the theater my husband Steve Bakunas and I created) and thought it would be fitting and exciting for me to play it again. It honestly feels like we were all together just doing this play the other day and I can’t believe we are lucky enough to come together and do this one more time – led again by the incredible Lynne Meadow – to benefit such a wonderful and important organization.”
“I am honored and thrilled to be able to have this play come back to Broadway for one night to support such a special organization,” Busch said. “I am thankful to Lynne Meadow for giving us the Friedman Theatre and for once again leading us with her brilliant direction of this play. I am really excited and touched that Linda suggested that I play ‘Marjorie’ for this performance. She’s a character near and dear to my heart and I am thankful that I get to play her now on the stage alongside my dearest costars and friends.”
Tickets range from $75 - $250, with premium seating available for $500 and $1,000 including a private post-show reception. For tickets, call 917.281.5933 or visit actorsfund.org/AllergistsWife.