After a run of nearly two years, Jeffrey Wright has bid farewell to Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk. Mark Gerald Douglas has assumed the part of 'da Voice in the tap dance revue. Of the show's original trio of leads, only Tony-winner Ann Duquesnay remains.
As "Xena" fans breathlessly await the Sept. 2 arrival of Lucy Lawless in Grease! (as Rizzo), the Jacobs/Casey musical is temporarily star-less, with the departure of Darlene Love (Teen Angel) and Jeff Conaway (Vince Fontaine) on Aug. 3. For the record, the current cast includes Sean McDermott (Danny Zuko), Melissa Dye (Sandy Dumbrowski), Angela Pupello (Betty Rizzo), Gregory Cunneen (Kenickie; Steve Geyer returns to the role Aug. 19), Marilyn Cooper (Miss Lynch), Mark-Anthony (Teen Angel), and Brian Bradley (Vince Fontaine).
Two summers ago, Lisa Leguillou and Gregory Mitchell burned up the Plymouth in Graciela Daniele's stage adaptation of Chronicle of a Death Foretold. The two are now doing the same on the stage of the Shubert in the runaway hit revival of Chicago. Leguillou is Denise Faye's permanent replacement in the role of Liz, while Mitchell is subbing for Rocker Verastique as Harry.
As A Doll's House winds down its smash run -- closing with an Actors' Fund performance Sept. 1 - the Ibsen revival is featuring a new Dr. Rank: John Carlisle departed at the end of July (when the production was originally scheduled to close) to rejoin his wife in England and await the birth of their baby. Kent Broadhurst plays the Helmer family friend for the remainder of the run.
Romain Fruge, whose last New York appearance was as the title character of Sam Shepard's chamber musical The Sad Lament of Pecos Bill on the Eve of Killing His Wife at the Signature Theatre, is now a swing in Titanic. Mark Nelson, after co-starring in As Bees in Honey Drown's original Greenwich House production and the first weeks of its subsequent commercial transfer to the Lortel, has left the Douglas Carter Beane comedy to follow up on two earlier projects. He will direct another Drama Dept. hit, June Moon, at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J. before embarking on a 20-city tour of Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Nelson portrayed Albert Einstein in Picasso's original Off-Broadway run in 1995, and will do so again on tour, playing opposite Paul Provenza in Steve Martin's fantasia about a meeting between the physicist and Pablo Picasso. Jeffrey Hayenga has assumed Nelson's former roles in Bees.
Cynthia Nixon, who was seen in both June Moon and Bees earlier this year, will take over the role of Lala Levy from Jessica Hecht in Alfred Uhry's Tony-winning The Last Night of Ballyhoo. As reported elsewhere in PBOL, Nixon's arrival at the Helen Hayes Aug. 26 will be accompanied by two other cast changes: Carole Shelley will replace Dana Ivey as Boo Levy, while Kimberly Williams will follow Arija Bareikis into the role of Sunny Freitag. Both Nixon and Shelley have had extensive experience as replacements: Nixon most notably in Angels in America and Shelley in Show Boat. Williams, best known as the daughter in the Father of the Bride remake and its sequel, can currently be seen on TV in a series of greeting card commercials portraying a neurotic young woman preoccupied with checking out the backs of cards. (On the same topic, an antihistamine commercial featuring James Naughton has just begun airing.)
Paul Rudd has rejoined the cast of Ballyhoo after a hiatus to co-star in the movie The Object of My Affection opposite Jennifer Aniston. Mark Feuerstein, who portrayed Joe Farkas in the Uhry play during the summer, returns to the West Coast to resume taping of the NBC comedy "Fired Up."