Understudy Orlagh Cassidy, a Folger Shakespeare veteran, has replaced Caroline Seymour as Joanna in the Broadway revival of Noel Coward's Present Laughter, currently playing at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The remaining cast from the show's Nov. 18, 1996 opening night are intact, including Frank Langella as lead, Garry Essendine.
In other Laughter news, a spokesperson for the production said there is no truth to a New York Post report that Triumph Of Love, a new musical hoping to arrive on Broadway this season, has its eye on the Kerr Theatre in the hopes that Laughter will vacate.
Laughter spokesperson Roger Bean (of Jeffrey Richards Associates) told Playbill On-Line that, like every show, the Frank Langella starrer was coping with the "January doldrums:" "I heard the Kerr rumor a couple of weeks ago as inside gossip," Bean said, "but we're hunkered down for the winter and definitely in it for the long run."
Asked if the spring crop of new shows would also be a threat to Laughter's box office, Bean said, "So many musicals -- but how many comedies will there be? Besides, star power is a pretty potent thing."
Langella went from tears to Laughter on Broadway in 1996; he followed his acclaimed performance in August Strindberg's drama, The Father, in February with this comedy revival. His most famous stage appearances have been as Dracula, Sherlock Holmes and Salieri. Other players in the farce about a vain and irresistible actor include Kellie Overbey, Margaret Sophie Stein, Steve Ross, Lisa Emery, Allison Janney, Tim Hopper, Jeff Weiss, David Cale and Judith Roberts.
The production has special meaning for Steve Ross. Best known as a cabaret entertainer who makes Cole Porter and Noel Coward songs his specialty, Ross actually played on Coward's own piano at the composer's last home in Jamaica.
The $1.5 million revival is being produced by David Richenthal and Anita Howe-Waxman, and will feature the Broadway directing debut of red-hot Scott Elliott, who staged Curtains, Ecstasy and The Monogamist off Broadway. He also was recently named a resident artist at Roundabout Theatre.
The last Broadway revival of the play, in 1982, starred George C. Scott -- though many critics felt the show was largely stolen by a newcomer named Nathan Lane.