Donna Murphy Takes a Spill, But Helen is Still a Lady Who'll Launch March 19

News   Donna Murphy Takes a Spill, But Helen is Still a Lady Who'll Launch March 19 Actress Donna Murphy fell during a technical rehearsal for The Public Theater's Helen March 12 and took the next two days off to make sure she was in good shape.

Actress Donna Murphy fell during a technical rehearsal for The Public Theater's Helen March 12 and took the next two days off to make sure she was in good shape.

The two-time Tony Award-winner returns March 15 to tech the Tony Kushner staging of Ellen McLaughlin's modern take on Trojan War characters. Murphy was apparently shaken after falling off a ramp in the dark during an entrance. A spokesman for The Public said the play will still have its first preview March 19 at The Public. Teching continued in Murphy's absence.

Playwright Tony Kushner, who saw McLaughlin star in his Angels in America on Broadway, directs the play, which focuses on a favorite subject of McLaughlin's: the Battle of Troy. Helen is about the woman whose face launched those thousand ships in the first place. In McLaughlin's world, however, Murphy will play a woman not of Troy, but Cairo, downing protein shakes and having facials.

An earlier McLaughlin play, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, which played Off Broadway's CSC, was a post modern look at Agamemnon's wife and his daughters, including the title character, who was sacrificed to the gods so that Agamemnon's forces might sail to and engage rival Troy.

* Donna Murphy has been little seen on stage since winning back to-back Tony Awards for Passion and The King and I in the mid-90s. Many thought her next role would be in the long-planned Broadway revival of Wonderful Town, a show she starred in at Encores! But, in a surprise twist, she has emerged as the title character in Helen by Ellen McLaughlin.

Helen begin March 19 at The Public's Martinson Theatre for an opening there April 8.

The Helen cast also includes Johanna Day as Io, Phylicia Rashad as Athena and Denis O'Hare as Menalaus. Mary Louise Wilson was originally scheduled to play the Servant, but owing to a scheduling conflict with the new dates, she's stepped out and The Play About the Baby's Marian Seldes has stepped in.

Day recently originated the role of Claire in Broadway's Proof on Broadway, while Rashad was seen Off Broadway last year in The Roundabout Theatre Company's Blue and O'Hare last performed in Roundabout's Major Barbara at the American Airlines Theatre.

Helen is Kushner's New York City directing debut. Murphy is the subject of Playbill On-Line's upcoming Brief Encounter Q&A interview, March 19.