Swayze, Gilbert in 'Little House' Workshop

Patrick Swayze and Melissa Gilbert will star as Pa and Ma in an April workshop presentation of Prairie, a musical version of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie. Gilbert played Laura in the long-running television series of Little House for NBC from 1974-83.

Beth Henley, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Crimes of the Heart, wrote the book, Donna DiNovelli wrote the lyrics, and Academy Award-winner Rachel Portman (Emma) composed the music. Francessa Zambello will direct.

The musical is produced by Ben Sprecher, who is producing this season's Moon for the Misbegotten; his wife, Amy Sprecher, a longtime producer of children's programming (TLC and the Discovery Channel); Louise Forlenza (Moon for the Misbegotten, Lennon), Bob Boyett (Monty Python's Spamalot, The History Boys, Journey's End), and Wendy Federman (Moon for the Misbegotten).

The workshop will run April 17 and 17 in New York and will be closed to the public. The producers are hoping for a national tour in spring 2008 before it lands in New York.

Andrew Salomon