Brooke Shields and Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins will take part in a pair of December 3 New York City benefit concert performances of the 1967 Disney movie musical The Happiest Millionaire, alongside the film’s original stars, Lesley Ann Warren and Joyce Bulifant.
The 50th anniversary performances will take place at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater in Manhattan at 7 and 9:30 PM December 3, as a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Also planned for the concert: five-time Tony nominee Dana Ivey, two-time Tony nominee Brad Oscar, Nicholas Barasch, Sam Poon, Cherish Myers, Luca Padovan, and others.
Shields has starred in Broadway’s The Addams Family, Wonderful Town, and other shows. Pinkins earned her Tony for Jelly’s Last Jam. Warren has enjoyed an extensive film career that included an Oscar nomination for Victor/Victoria. She also played the title role in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s TV musical Cinderella, and appeared on Broadway in 110 in the Shade. Bulifant was featured on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and in the film Airplane!
Warren will recreate her Happiest Millionaire performance as Cordy Biddle, a headstrong young woman who struggles to find her own way in the household of her wealthy but eccentric father Anthony J. Biddle (played by two-time Tony nominee Brad Oscar) in 1916 Philadelphia. Pinkins will portray Mrs. Cordelia Biddle, Cordy’s wise and understanding mother. Bulifant played Rosemary in the film.
Shields will portray Mrs. Sarah Duke (of Duke University fame), the elegant and charmingly overbearing mother of Angier Duke, played by Barasch (She Loves Me). The production will also feature John Charles McLaughlin (The Irish Rep’s Crackskull Row) as the Biddles’ Irish song-and-dance-man butler, and Cameron Bartell as Charlie Taylor, suitor to Cordy.
Ivey (Sunday in the Park with George) is set to appear as Aunt Mary; two-time Tony Award nominee Oscar (The Producers, Something Rotten!) as eccentric amateur boxer and alligator collector Anthony J. Drexel Biddle; Padovan (School of Rock) as Livingston Biddle; plus Poon (The King and I) as Tony Biddle.
The score was written by Richard and Robert Sherman, songwriters of Mary Poppins. The film also featured Tommy Steele, Fred MacMurray, Greer Garson, Geraldine Page, and John Davidson. It was the last Disney movie personally overseen by Walt Disney before his death.
The Happiest Millionaire has been adapted to the concert stage by Doug Thompson and Alex Beck, from the screenplay by A.J. Carothers. The concert is being produced by Doug Thompson and Brice Corder with direction by Alex Beck, musical staging by Justin Henry and musical direction by Mark Hartman.
Joe's Pub is located inside the Public Theatre complex at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. Tickets ($59–$249) can be ordered at Joespub.com.