Kate Burton joins the cast of the Broadway drama, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, beginning Jan. 5, 1999. Stage veteran Burton replaces Tony-winner Marie Mullen in the role of a bitter, middle-aged Irish woman whose last shot at love is bedeviled by her meddlesome mother.
Anna Manahan, the fourth member of the original cast, will remain with the show through the end of March, according to the Boneau/Bryan-Brown press office.
A special agreement worked out between the producers and Actors Equity Association initially allowed Leenane to keep its Irish cast for 26 weeks, starting from its Broadway transfer April 23, 1998. An American cast would have had to replace the performers in mid-October. But the producers and the union worked out an extension through New Years. Later on, it was determined that Manahan could stay a further three months.
It remains unclear how long Beauty will run after Manahan's departure. In order to make way for Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Conor McPherson's The Weir -- transferring from Chicago and London, respectively -- Jujamcyn Theatres has been considering closing the Martin McDonagh play. The Jujamcyn gave the O'Neill Theatre to Salesman -- a house it had promised to The Weir , which was due to hit the Great White Way in February 1999. Putting Salesman in the O'Neill leaves The Weir homeless, making an empty Walter Kerr look like a very attractive prospect. "We're talking about closing the Beauty Queen of Leenane on Apr. 4, ," said Landesman (Nov. 9). "Anna Manahan can't do it past Apr. 4, and it's felt that she's very important to the show." For the week ending Dec. 27, 1998, Beauty Queen grossed $173,547 and filled only 49.2 percent of its seating capacity.