The show's writer, the Emmy-nominated composer Dick De Benedictis ("Perry Mason," "Matlock," "Columbo"), is revising the role — which consists only of five monologues and no singing — for a male.
Fabray performed in the show for three previews, on March 9-11, but felt ill during the third preview and has since dropped out of the show. No other performances have been held.
Fabray's understudy will perform in the show March 16, and Van Patten will take the role for the new press opening on March 17. The show runs through April 7.
Miriam Nelson directs and choreographs a cast that also includes Rena Petrello, Catrina Quintanilla, Shannon Watson and Michael Falcone and Dawn Notagiacomo (who replaces the previously announced Sandra Purpuro).
According to press notes, the show's 23 songs and five monologues cover such topics as "love, motherhood, divorce, work, therapy, plastic surgery, relationships and sex." Set and lighting design is by J. Kent Inasy, and costumes are by Melissa Lugo.
Van Patten has appeared in many Broadway plays, including the original production of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth. His other theatre credits include the musical Harvey at the Laguna Playhouse in 2003. His film credits include the Mel Brooks movies "Spaceballs," "High Anxiety" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights." He has made dozens of guest appearances on television, from "Rawhide" to "The Love Boat" to "Arrested Development."
The Whitefire Theatre is located at 13500 Ventura Blvd. in Los Angeles. For reservations and information call (818) 991-1485 or visit www.whitefiretheatre.com.