Although famous for her sexually provocative fan dancing, Rand's accomplishments in the arts were diverse. Born Harriet Helen Gould Beck, she ran away from her home in the Ozark mountains at an early age to shack up with a traveling carnival, and her performance with that company led to a brief stint with the Ringling Brothers' Circus. Director Cecil B. deMille, who directed her in King of Kings, gave the performer the pseudonym by which she's known today. Rand left her mark on "high" culture as a member of the Adolph Bohm Chicago Ballet and she elevated the "low" art of burlesque to mainstream palatability. (Invoking the Greek muse of dance, she fancied herself a "terpsichorean artiste.")
Tony Stevens will direct writer Deborah Grace Winer's tribute to Rand. Among the notables expected to pay homage to the legend include Bebe Neuwirth, Rex Reed, Kelly Bishop, Carleton Carpenter, Marge Champion, Mercedes Ellington, Carlin Glynn, Michael McGrath, Donna McKechnie, Patrice Munsel, and Julie Wilson; they will all be wearing Paul Foltz's costumes. In addition, Ricky Ritzel and Aaron "Hot Rod" Morishita -- a.k.a. The Lounge-O-Leers -- will offer musical selections.
Tickets for the June 27 benefit range in price from $35 to $75 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 212-840-2824 or by clicking here.