How I Learned to Drive, Paula Vogel's generously-praised chronicle of a girl and her pedophile uncle, will see the departure of its two lead actors July 27. Both Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse will give their final performance at Off-Broadway's Century Theatre on that date; Jayne Atkinson and Joel Colodner will take over the roles of Li'l Bit and Uncle Peck beginning July 29. Colodner's stint as the drama's male lead will be a short one: Bruce Davison will join the cast Aug. 19.
Atkinson comes off a well-received performance as Queen Katherine in the just-closed Henry VIII in Central Park. Her performance as an evil sprite in another Public Theater production - Caryl Churchill's The Skriker - also garnered the actress glowing notices. Colodner, a regional theatre regular, is David Morse's current understudy. Davison is perhaps best known for his Oscar-nominated performance in Craig Lucas' Longtime Companion (which also happened to be Parker's movie debut).
At the Wintergarden, Jimmy Lockett has followed Ken Prymus into the role of Deuteronomy in Andrew Lloyd Webber/T.S. Eliot's Cats.
Making Porn appears to have forsaken stunt casting during the twilight of its lengthy run. The departure of Sonny Markham has resulted in the promotion of legit actor Robert Caravetta (whose credits include Extremities) from the bit part of Ray to the central role of Jack, a straight actor who finds fame and fortune in the gay porn industry.
With Mary Testa in rehearsal for George C. Wolfe's production of On the Town, Gina Ferrall has taken over the role of Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The week's other major cast change in the Sondheim/Shevelove/Gelbart musical is of course the arrival of David Alan Grier in the lead role just vacated by Whoopi Goldberg. Beauty and the Beast currently features Christopher Monteleone and Leslie Castay in the roles of Gaston and Babette, respectively. According to publicist Patrick Paris, the show's regulars, Marc Kudisch and Pamela Winslow, are on vacation. Keep an eye on this column for news of their return.
-- By Andrew Ku