‘Simpsons’ cast to top U.S. Comedy Arts Fest

Smothers Brothers to reunite with series writers

Homer and the rest of the Simpson clan will take center stage at the Sixth Annual U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, held this February in Aspen.

The festival has signed most of “The Simpsons'” regular cast members to perform, for the first time ever, a live version of the long-running animated hit.

The actors will twice re-enact a past episode of “The Simpsons” that event exec director/co-founder Stu Smiley said will be “appropriate for the environment of Aspen.”

The performance is part of a series of events in 2000 celebrating the 10th anniversary of “The Simpsons,” currently primetime TV’s longest-running comedy.

“We’re excited; this reinforces the uniqueness and credibility of what we’ve been doing at the festival,” Smiley said.

Actors confirmed include Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe, Apu, Chief Wiggum and others) and Harry Shearer (Montgomery Burns, Smithers, Principal Skinner and others). Julie Kavner, the voice of Marge, has yet to agree but may still appear.

Also scheduled for the event are exec producers James L. Brooks, Matt Groening and Mike Scully.

Smiley noted that very few people ever get to see “The Simpsons” actors record their characters’ voices.

“For the fans, the actual consumers, this is the kind of event they’d love to see,” he said. Smiley said there are no plans to televise the event on HBO, which sponsors the festival.

Smothers reunion

Also at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, the Smothers Brothers will reunite with writers from their 1960s CBS comedy series, including Steve Martin and Rob Reiner, to commemorate their cancellation for politically controversial shows.

Barry Levinson will receive the AFI filmmaker award at the fest, and Robin Williams, Mike Nichols, Elaine May and Jerry Lewis will be honored for “lifelong contributions to comedy.”

Past events have included cast reunions, including one for “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” but this is the first time a series cast has performed in character for audiences at the festival.

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