Librettist/lyricist Howard Ashman never worked with playwright/librettist Terrence McNally, but their names will be linked on Monday, Sept. 29, in a gala event at Joe’s Pub in New York hosted by the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which presents its annual Ashman award to McNally for “art and activism” that “have profoundly affected the visibility and understanding of HIV/AIDS.” Ashman, the Grammy and Academy Award-winning lyricist whose work is still represented on Broadway with Aladdin, died in 1991 due to complications from AIDS, and the award in his name is given annually to honor theatre professionals who have made a difference in the fight to end the epidemic.
Broadway legends including Tyne Daly, Chita Rivera and Jerry Mitchell will honor McNally’s achievements at “Part of Our World,” a cabaret evening benefiting GMHC. The evening will feature songs from musicals with lyrics written by Ashman, from Little Shop of Horrors and his Oscar-winning work in Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, to lesser-known gems (is it too much to hope for a rendition of “30 Miles From the Ohio”?). Songs from McNally-penned musicals—Ragtime, The Full Monty and Kiss of the Spiderwoman—will also be showcased. Click here to watch a clip from the 2013 cabaret. McNally’s It’s Only a Play is about to open on Broadway, in a newly revised version starring Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Rupert Grint and Megan Mullally.