Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey (from left), Marilu Henner and Diane Rehm at a reading of “Surviving Grace” in Boston in 2015. | Provided Photo

Da Coach, Marilu Henner & Loni Anderson on same stage? Only in Chicago

SHARE Da Coach, Marilu Henner & Loni Anderson on same stage? Only in Chicago
SHARE Da Coach, Marilu Henner & Loni Anderson on same stage? Only in Chicago

A group of high-profile individuals — including two famous actresses, a couple of well-respected broadcasters and a Super Bowl-winning coach — will be the star attractions of a special reading of the first act of an acclaimed Off-Broadway play about Alzheimer’s.

Loni Anderson, Chicago native Marilu Henner, NPR alumDiane Rehm, retired WGN-Channel 9 anchor Robert Jordan and “Da Coach” himself,Mike Ditka, will portray various characters in “Surviving Grace,” the late sitcom writer Trish Vrandenburg’s quasi-autobiographical play about her mother, Bea Lerner, and her battle with Alzheimer’s. Hosted by Northwestern University, the sold-out ensemble reading takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Mary Galvin Recital Hall, Northwestern University, Evanston.

In addition to her writing career on such shows as “Designing Women” and “Family Ties,” Vrandenburg also was a co-founder of Us Against Alzheimer’s, a national advocacy organization committed to stopping the disease by 2020.

Mike Ditka | Sun-Times File

Mike Ditka | Sun-Times File

Since the debut of “Surviving Grace” at the Kennedy Center in Washington in 2001 and the next year Off-Broadway, celebrity readings of the play’s first act have been staged in cities across the country. Starring have been actors including Carol Burnett, Louis Gossett Jr. and Elliott Gould as well as less conventional cast members, including singer Helen Reddy, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and journalist Terry Moran.

To donate or learn more information, go to

The Latest
Gomez was a few days shy of 27 when a 14-year-old attacked him at the Cicero Green Line station, authorities said. His family described him as fiercely protective, fighting for custody of his son and planning on becoming a police officer.
Cubs catcher quickly moves past latest ejection — his third since last July 24 — and deals with losing and an uncertain future. “I’m really good where I’m at right now.”
A man was wounded by a security guard during a shootout at Millennium Park.
White Sox’ Grandal, Anderson, Yankees’ Donaldson at center of dustup; no punches or ejections
The suspects fired one gunshot but did not strike the security guard, police said.