Brooke Shields joins the cast of the one-night-only benefit performance of Disney’s The Happiest Millionaire. The special 50th anniversary production of the classic film, benefitting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, will play two performances at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street) on Sunday, December 3rd at 7 pm and 9:30pm.
Shields joins Lesley Ann Warren and Joyce Bulifant (reprising their roles from the film), Tony Award-nominee Dana Ivey, Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins, two-time Tony nominee Brad Oscar, Luca Padovan, Sam Poon, Cherish Myers, John Charles McLaughlin as John Lawless, the Biddle’s Irish everyman butler, Nicholas Barasch, Cameron Bartell, Christopher Carothers, Tyler Fauntleroy and Jason Pintar.
Shields will portray Mrs. Sarah Duke (of Duke University fame), the elegant and charmingly overbearing mother of Angier Duke, played by Barasch, love interest to young Cordy Biddle. Ms. Shields will share the stage with Ivey as Aunt Mary, elder matriarch of the Biddle family and Mrs. Duke’s rival in early 20th century sophistication.
Adapted by Doug Thompson and Alex Beck, from the screenplay by A J Carothers, The Happiest Millionaire is produced by Happiest Musical LLC, Doug Thompson, and Brice Corder, with direction by Alex Beck, musical staging by Justin Henry, musical direction by Mark Hartman (Avenue Q, Sondheim on Sondheim, Silence! The Musical), and casting by Caralie Chrisco.
The Happiest Millionaire, which first premiered in 1967, was the final live action Disney production to be overseen by Walt Disney himself. Containing over 80 minutes of Golden Age Disney music and dance, the fantastic score was written by Mary Poppins composers and Disney legends, Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman. Originally starring such icons as Fred MacMurray, Greer Garson, Gladys Cooper and Geraldine Page, The Happiest Millionaire also welcomed the Hollywood screen debuts of Tommy Steele, John Davidson and Lesley Ann Warren. Set in 1916 Philadelphia, the film is based on the real lives of eccentric renaissance man, alligator collector and boxing enthusiast, Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, and his daughter Cordy, a fiercely independent fighter who, like all Disney princesses, wants to discover the world on her own terms.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway Cares also awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states, providing life-saving medication, healthy meals, counseling and emergency assistance. For more information, please visit broadwaycares.org.