Charlotte d'Amboise, Colleen Dunn and D.W. Moffett will be the first replacement leads in the long-running Broadway musical hit Contact. The announcement comes a month after PBOL learned that original star Karen Ziemba would leave the Lincoln Center Theater show on Sept. 2, after a two-year stay. Though it couldn't be confirmed at the time, sources had co-stars Boyd Gaines and Deborah Yates—also with the show from the very start—leaving at the same time.
Charlotte d'Amboise, the best known of the three, will take on Ziemba's role of a repressed Italian housewife, circa 1950's, who escapes her life through dance fantasies. Ziemba won a Tony for her performance. D'Amboise is becoming one of Broadway's most trusted replacement talents. She was last seen on Broadway as Roxie Hart in Chicago, a role created in the revival by Ann Reinking. Other Broadway credits include the revivals of Company and Damn Yankees, Jerome Robbins' Broadway (Tony nomination), Song & Dance and Cats.
Moffet will now play the suicidal advertising exec created by Gaines, who also won a Tony Award. He has acted on the New York stage in The Real Thing, the Steppenwolf Theatre production of Balm In Gilead, and The American Plan at Manhattan Theatre Club.
Dunn has perhaps the most difficult task. She must step into the charmed shoes and saffron frock of Yates, who made an indelible impression as the mysterious, elusive and silent Girl in the Yellow Dress, the object of Moffet's character's desire. Dunn was seen in the recent Broadway revival of Follies, the latest in a long string of Broadway musicals credits which include The Will Rogers Follies, Sunset Boulevard, Ain't Broadway Grand and Legs Diamond.
All three will give their first performance on Sept. 4. *
Ziemba will this summer begin work on a reading of a new musical called Let Me Sing presented by The Manhattan Theatre Club. Michael Bush will direct and Randy Skinner (42nd Street) is choreographer. The show looks at the path of the American people during the 20th Century through an exploration of the evolution of the American Musical theatre from 1900 to 1945. Also starring in the reading are Gretha Boston, Marc Kudisch, Andre De Shields, Beth Leavel and Skinner himself, who is creating a special song and dance duet for himself and Ziemba.
Contact transferred to the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on March 2 and opened on March 30. It won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Musical.