After all that talk of Jessica Lange, Billy Crudup, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robert Sean Leonard, the supporting cast of the Goodman Theater's Robert Falls-Brian Dennehy Long Day's Journey Into Night has turned out to be a much more modest affair. Playing Mary Tyrone is Pamela Payton-Wright, while Steve Pickering and David Cromer will be sons James Tyrone, Jr. and Edmund Tyrone.
The show will start at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago Feb. 22, for an opening there March 4 and a run through April 6.
At one point, the production was targeting to jump straight to Broadway before the end of the current season. But New York will probably have to wait until fall 2002, producer David Richenthal told Playbill On-Line Nov. 29, 2001.
Richenthal said that he and Falls decided not to put any undue pressure on the production by sticking to an immediate Broadway transfer. Richenthal didn't rule out a spring start in NYC, however, saying that he would take a look at the Goodman production and then make his next move accordingly.
For more than a year, Dennehy remained the only announced star of the much-hyped, Broadway-bound venture. Then there was a murky business about which Journey would make it to Broadway first—the Goodman's or a London mounting, produced by Bill Kenwright and starring Jessica Lange. The showdown came to an end when Richenthal revealed he had been talking about the project “for several years” with Falls; furthermore, he held the rights to produce Journey on Broadway. For a while, it looked like the Goodman show might be a hybrid of both stagings. According to news accounts, Kenwright and the Goodman were to co-produce the play, with Falls directing , Dennehy as James Tyrone and Lange as Mary Tyrone. Kenwright countered by calling the idea of a Kenwright-Richenthal venture "pure fantasy." Nonetheless, Falls openly courted Lange for the mounting for a while. Falls also mentioned that Philip Seymour Hoffman and Billy Crudup were in contention to play the two Tyrone sons. Robert Sean Leonard was also sought for a role at one point.
Though Payton-Wright is not the name Lange is, she is certainly not without experience. Her Broadway credits include The Show-Off, Exit the King, The Cherry Orchard, The Crucible, All Over Town, The Glass Menagerie, M. Butterfly and A Streetcar Named Desire. What's more, she has acted opposite Dennehy at the Goodman before, and in an O'Neill play at that, A Touch of the Poet.
Pickering is a Chicago mainstay. He's acted at the Goodman 26 times, including in the Dennehy-Falls Death of a Salesman in Chicago and on Broadway. Cromer, another Chicago talent, has acted at Roadworks and Irish Rep of Chicago. This is his Goodman debut.
Lydia R. Diamond's Gift Horse is currently playing the company's smaller Owen Theatre through March 3. Chuck Smith directs.
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