"Little House on the Prairie: The Musical" star Melissa Gilbert helped build a house with fellow cast members at a Habitat for Humanity - New York City build site. The special build in the South Bronx was part of an announcement of a nationwide effort between Habitat for Humanity International and "Little House on the Prairie: The Musical" to raise awareness about the need for affordable housing.
"Habitat for Humanity is truly one of the most important, most wonderful organizations in this country and around the world," said Ms. Gilbert. "An enduring message of 'Little House on the Prairie' - the importance above all of a home and a strong family -- is exactly the mission of Habitat. There couldn't be a more perfect match between a show and an organization. As we travel across the country during the next year, we are looking forward to getting involved in a variety of ways in each city to do our part to aid in Habitat's mission to bring affordable housing to those in need."
The musical begins its 34-week, 25 city tour in October, and will make a minimum donation of $1,500 per market to the work of Habitat for Humanity through June 2010. In addition, the cast and crew will help local Habitat for Humanity affiliates build homes in each location.
"Habitat for Humanity New York City is tremendously blessed to partner with Melissa Gilbert and the cast of 'Little House on the Prairie: The Musical', as they launch the newest version of this classic story -- and help build Habitat-NYC's Big Co-op in the South Bronx," said Josh Lockwood, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity-New York City. "Today, decent shelter is as critical to families as it was to the Ingalls family so many decades ago and this alliance furthers our mission to provide affordable housing and sustainable communities for families worldwide."
Melissa Gilbert, who played the lead role of "Laura Ingalls" in the hit television series based on the beloved children's books by the same name, continues her legacy on the prairie and will now be playing the role of Ma Ingalls.
"We are extremely grateful to Melissa Gilbert, the cast and producers of 'Little House on the Prairie: The Musical' for supporting our mission and engaging audiences across the country to build greater awareness of the need for affordable housing," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. "The Ingalls family's struggles in difficult conditions parallel the challenges many families face today in trying to secure better futures for themselves and their children. It's our hope this new interpretation of an ageless classic will remind fans both young and old of the importance of a safe, simple and decent home."
"Little House on the Prairie" has remained a celebration of early Americana for more than 70 years. The musical premiered at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in a developmental production in August 2008.