Cox, Goodman & Haig To Replace Art's Alda, Garber & Molina on B'way, Sept. 1

News   Cox, Goodman & Haig To Replace Art's Alda, Garber & Molina on B'way, Sept. 1
 
Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina left their roles in Broadway's Art Aug. 30. Replacing them, respectively, are Brian Cox, Henry Goodman and David Haig.
(Left to Right) Brian Cox, David Haig, and Henry Goodman create Broadway's Art as of September 1.
(Left to Right) Brian Cox, David Haig, and Henry Goodman create Broadway's Art as of September 1. Photo by Photo by Joan Marcus

Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina left their roles in Broadway's Art Aug. 30. Replacing them, respectively, are Brian Cox, Henry Goodman and David Haig.

If those names don't sound familiar, that may be because all three come from across the Atlantic. Cox may be the best known here, because of his acclaimed performance in Off-Broadway's St. Nicholas last season. Goodman played Nathan Detroit in the London Guys and Dolls, and Haig appeared in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. In confirming the item, a spokesperson from the show's press office notes that all three -- who begin their NY duties Sept. 1 -- have won Olivier Awards for their UK work.

Scottish actor Cox is a veteran of the National Theatre and RSC in London and a featured actor in such films as The Boxer (as Emily Watson's dad) and Rob Roy. A two time Olivier Award winner, Cox even played Dr. Hannibal Lecter before Anthony Hopkins did (in the film Manhunter). Other stage credits include Skylight at CA's Mark Taper Forum and King Lear and Richard III at the National.

Goodman received an Oliver Award for his performance in the London Assassins and recently played Billy Flynn in the West End mounting of Chicago. Haig won his Oliver Award for Our Country's Good.

Smith also reports Alda, Garber and Molina are mulling continuing their roles at the Doolittle Theatre in Los Angeles this fall. The spokesperson told Playbill On-Line, "that's just a rumor." *

If there were any doubts Yasmina Reza's Tony winning play, Art, would be as big a hit on Broadway as it's been in London, box office figures are putting them to rest. Over the past few months, Art has often set records at the Royale Theatre. Even during a slow summer week (ending Aug. 9), Art did 96.2 percent business and grossed $418,859. The previous Royale winner, An Inspector Calls, took in $402,142 back in Jan. 1995.

Art began Broadway previews Feb. 12 with Garber, Alda and Molina starring as the three men whose friendship is thrown into turmoil over, of all things, a painting. Winner of London's Olivier and London Evening Standard Awards for Best Comedy, the show opened Mar. 1, 1998 at the Royale.

The play's debate about a piece of modern art turns into an exploration of the nature of friendship, male friendship in particular. Currently, Goodman plays Serge, the art lover who purchases a canvas that is, for all practical purposes, completely white. His longtime friend, Marc (Cox), is infuriated by what he sees as the stupidity of such a move. His anger causes him to question the entire basis of their friendship. Haig plays Yvan, their mutual friend, who tries to mediate, but finds himself caught in the crossfire.

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In other Art news, Michael Gross, Zach Grenier and Colin Stinton will star as the bickering trio of lifelong friends in the Chicago production of Reza's hit, with performances beginning Sept. 17.

Maria Mileaf will stage the Chicago mounting at the Royal George Theatre. Mileaf was associate director on the Broadway production and has several Off-Off-Broadway credits to her name, including The Gut Girls at Cucaracha Theatre and Tomorrowland at SoHo Rep.

Michael Gross will play Serge, the character whose purchase of an all white painting tests his friendships with Marc and Yvan. Gross is best known as Michael J. Fox's father Stephen Keaton on the TV sitcom "Family Ties." In the theatre, he has appeared on Broadway in Bent and The Philadelphia Story. His most recent stage role was in Later Life at Chicago's Northlight Theatre.

Stinton (Marc), is an old hand at Mamet, having played roles in The Old Neighborhood, Edmond and The Water Machine. In New York, he has appeared in Some Americans Abroad. He has also done extensive work at Chicago's Goodman Theatre.

Zach Grenier (Yvan) has been a versatile New York presence for several years. Among his varied credits are roles in A Question of Mercy, Three Birds Alighting on a Field, Creditors, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Rhinoceros.

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As for the long-running London production of Yasmina Reza's comedy, the three American actors who joined the cast July 28 are apparently doing boffo business there: Stacy Keach, David Dukes and George Wendt.

A veteran film, Broadway and television actor, Keach appeared in The Kentucky Cycle and in the Mark Taper Forum's 1974 Hamlet. Dukes' credits include Broken Glass and Salieri in Amadeus. Wendt appeared in the Off-Broadway comedy, Wild Men, but is best known for playing Norm in the TV sitcom "Cheers." Wendt also wrote a one-act play for this year's "Chicago Stories" series at IL's Victory Gardens Theatre.

Rumors surfaced that cast-members of TV's "Frasier" -- John Mahoney, Kelsey Grammar and David Hyde Pierce -- would take over the Broadway Art roles in spring 1999. The London Daily Telegraph reported the rumors as fact in a July 4 interview with Mahoney. However, the Boneau/Bryan-Brown press office denied (July 7) the "Frasier" Art connection ("If it's true, the producers don't know about it," said a spokesperson.) The Telegraph story doesn't specifically quote Mahoney about the casting, only that "Frasier" co-stars Jane Leeves and Peri Gilpin had seen Art in London and suggested the male trio would be right for the roles in Reza's comedy. "They had me as the cantankerous one," Mahoney told the Telegraph. "I'd love to do the cantankerous one."

Christopher Hampton's English translation of Reza's hit French play opened Oct. 15, 1996 at Wyndham's Theatre in London. Matthew Warchus directed, as he did again on Broadway. Though the London mounting first starred Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay, that production has continued its smash status through numerous cast replacements.

David Pugh and actor Sean Connery are co-producers of the London production. The Broadway production is designed by Mark Thompson, and produced by Pugh and Connery with Joan Cullman.

Syndicated newspaper columnist Liz Smith reported (Apr. 27) that Connery is getting ready to star in the film version, which will co-star Robert De Niro. (Smith reports that Reza wanted De Niro to star in the Broadway mounting, but he could only stay with the show three months, so she withdrew the offer.) The Internet Movie Database lists the film as being co-produced by Connery. As of July 2, Art's spokespersons had no casting information about the proposed film.

Two years ago, a teleplay of Art, titled "Kunst," was broadcast on German television.

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For tickets and information on Broadway's Art call (212) 239-6200. Outside metro NY area: (800) 432-7250.

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In related news, producers Elizabeth McCann and Terry Allen Kramer are planning to bring playwright Reza's The Unexpected Man to Broadway spring 1999.

As with Art, the London production of The Unexpected Man was directed by Matthew Warchus, translated from the French by Christopher Hampton, and designed by Mark Thompson. The 80-minute, one-act work is about a famous author and a lifelong fan who meet on a train bound from Paris to Frankfurt. The production is scheduled to close in London Aug. 22.

McCann said she hoped to bring over the play's London stars, Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins. Atkins last appeared in New York in the Broadway production of Jean Cocteau's Indiscretions, for which she got a Tony nomination. Gambon's last appearance on Broadway, in David Hare's Skylight, stirred up a fuss when Actors' Equity temporarily halted the actor's visit by questioning whether Gambon qualified as an established star under the actor exchange rules between the union and British Equity. (They decided he did so qualify.) McCann said she had not yet considered which theatre The Unexpected Man would fill.

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