From left to right: Stephen King, Erica Muller (Frank's wife), Pat Conroy, Peter Straub, John Grisham, Dr. David Patterson (Frank's doctor) John McElroy, David Rapkin.
On February 2, Pat Conroy joined an impressive cast of bestselling writers debuting on stage in the heart of New York City's theater district. Together with John Grisham, Stephen King, and Peter Straub, he joined a benefit performance for audiobook narrator Frank Muller, who was badly injured in a November motorcycle accident.
The event took place at a crowded Town Hall, located on West 43rd Street. "As an aspiring writer, I never dreamed I'd be a writer who did Broadway," said Conroy.
From left to right: Pat Conroy, John Grisham, Peter Staub, and Stephen King.
Muller has recorded audiobooks by all of the event's featured authors, and many others, including Anne Rice, Cormac McCarthy, Elmore Leonard, and John le Carré.
Each author at Town Hall lauded Muller's performances as clips from audiobooks were played. Grisham and Straub read from The Summons and Black House, respectively, and King diverted from the announced program, reading instead "The Revenge of Lardass Hogan." Conroy mused on writing and spoke more personally. "Muller reads with passion and lyricism," said Conroy, "and a deep love and understanding of American literature."
Audiobook narrators, publishers, and industry members turned out for the night. Robert Allen, president of Random House Audio Publishing Group, noted the generosity of the authors participating in the event to help Muller. The unprecedented lineup of authors also drew fans and booksellers.
Audiobook producers John McElroy and David Rapkin contacted King after Muller's accident and enlisted his help in setting up the Wavedancer Foundation for the benefit of disabled performers, writers, and members of the production community. King, walking Saturday night with a distinct limp resulting from his own accident, knows the struggles of recovery -- physical and financial. Muller's wife, Erika, holding their three-year-old daughter, thanked the crowd Saturday night and, reciting a Shakespeare sonnet, left few dry eyes in the house.
Book and audiobook signings finished the evening for ticket holders who donated $150 or more to the Wavedancer Foundation.
Funds raised through Wavedancer will help the Muller family's immediate needs. Contributions (tax-deductible) can be made to The Wavedancer Foundation/Frank Muller Fund, c/o John McElroy, 44 Kane Avenue, Larchmont, New York 10538.
Frank Muller audiobooks to check out:
Black House, Stephen King, Peter Straub (Random)
Coldheart Canyon, Clive Barker (Harper)
Desecration, Tim LeHaye, Jerry Jenkins (Recorded Books)
The Talisman, Stephen King, Peter Straub (Simon & Schuster)
Classic Muller readings:
The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy (Audio Partners)
The Breathing Method and The Body, Stephen King (Penguin)
The Brethren and The Testament, John Grisham (Random/BDD)