The casting of Burke, best known for her turn as the opinionated former beauty queen in TV's "Designing Women," brings a jolt of new attention to the 2002 Best Musical Tony Award-winner. Mrs. Meers is a corrupt former actress who dons Asian dragon-lady drag to sell orphan chorus girls to a white slaver in the musical comedy (we are not making this up). Harriet Harris took home the Tony Award after she created the juicy part for the Broadway run. Terry Burrell has played the role since Aug. 3, when Harris left to join a TV series. Candy Buckley is the respected musical theatre actress whose credits include the Sam Mendes-Rob Marshall revival of Cabaret.
Tony-winner Sutton Foster continues in the title role at the Marquis Theatre. A national tour of the Michael Mayer-directed show by Dick Scanlan, Jeanine Tesori and Richard Morris is currently crossing the country. Rehearsals are ongoing for the London debut of the show, with an all-Brit cast (again directed by Mayer).