Kathie Lee Gifford Heads to Broadway in ‘Scandalous’

Many announcements of upcoming Broadway productions have to fight for media attention – but this isn’t necessarily the case when the production’s co-writer is also a host of NBC’s “Today” show. During what co-host Matt Lauer described as a “very big announcement” on the show last week, Kathie Lee Gifford, who also co-hosts the last hour of the show, announced that a musical she wrote is heading to Broadway.

“I can’t even believe the words are coming out of my mouth,” Gifford said. “A lot of weird words have come out of my mouth over the years but we’re announcing today that a musical I’ve been writing for going on 13 years now will be coming to Broadway this fall.”

The musical is called “Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson.” The story is based on the true story of McPherson, who was a colorful evangelist in the 1920’s and a broadcasting pioneer. Gifford said she was inspired to write the musical because McPherson was the most interesting woman she ever read about.

“Scandalous beyond belief,” Gifford said. “There’s still a great mystery about her.”

The show’s official website goes on to describe the show like this:

Set in 1920’s Los Angeles, holiness collides with Hollywood in the extraordinary tale of one woman’s charismatic rise to fame amidst scandalous love affairs and growing controversy, inevitably ending in her much-publicized fall from grace.

Gifford wrote the book and the lyrics for the production, and the music is by David Pomeranz and David Friedman. The musical is expected to open on November 15 at the Neil Simon Theater, with previews beginning October 13.

Carolee Carmello will star as McPherson, and Ed Watts will be the leading man. David Armstrong will direct the production. He is the artistic director of the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle, where the musical ran in 2011. At that time, it was called “Saving Aimee.”