Scandalous, the Musical About Religious Superstar, Begins on Broadway; Carolee Carmello Stars

By Kenneth Jones
13 Oct 2012

Kathie Lee Gifford
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Gifford — a singer, Broadway actress, "Today" talk-show host and humanitarian — lamented that McPherson has "fallen through the cracks of history," even though her evangelical efforts continue today.

The property's earlier titles Hurricane Aimee and Saving Aimee didn't quite hit the nail on the head, Gifford said, and the creators didn't want a marquee that suggested sermons or church. "I don't want anybody thinking that they're coming to church," Gifford told "She was a Pentecostal evangelist — and that is about as theatrical as you get. I don't want to scare off anybody. I've been obsessed by her since I first heard her name more than 40 years ago in college."

Of the title change, she told, "We've been looking for the right title as long as I've been looking for the right story."

There have been trims and rewrites since Seattle, Gifford said. "We have so much story to tell, some of the best songs had to go…if they didn't move our story forward then they had to be sacrificed on the altar."

Who is the audience for Scandalous? Gifford, herself known as a woman of faith, said she wants "a secular audience...people of faith…people interested in history and feminism…"

While explaining that the creative goal is "to be faithful to her legacy….to what her life story teaches us," Gifford quickly added that Aimee was a force of nature, a tabloid queen, a woman who knew great love (her first husband, missionary Robert Semple) and a figure of mystery (she disappeared for a month, claiming she was a victim of a kidnapping, which could not be proved).

The Neil Simon Theatre is at 250 W. 52nd St., between Broadway and 8th Ave. Tickets are $57- $127 for all performances (all prices include a $2 facility fee). For the holiday weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas, tickets are $77-$147.

Beginning Oct. 13, the pre-opening preview performance schedule is as follows: Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at 2 PM and 8 PM, Thursday at 8 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM, Sunday at 3 PM. (Schedule Exception: There are no matinee performances on Sunday, Oct. 14 and Wednesday, Oct. 17.)

Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 20, the regular weekly performance schedule is Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday at 2 PM and 7:30 PM, Thursday at 7 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.

For tickets and information, visit, and at (877) 250-BWAY.

View the Entire Photo Gallery
Carolee Carmello and cast
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN, at New 42nd Street Studios