LeKae "has withdrawn from the production due to pressing personal matters," Arena announced on Oct. 25. She will be replaced by Helen Hayes Award winner Eleasha Gamble, who was last seen at Arena Stage in The Women of Brewster Place and recently portrayed Svetlana in Signature Theatre's production of Chess. Performances will continue as scheduled Oct. 27.
LeKae appeared in previews over the weekend, and in an afternoon of sneak-preview excerpts presented Oct. 23 as part of Arena's Homecoming and Grand Opening of the Mead Center for the American Theater. This revival is arguably one of the most high-profile musical productions in the 60-year history of Arena.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic musical launches the new Arena complex, which puts the time-honored in-the-round Fichandler, the Kreeger and the new Kogod Cradle under one massive roof. Artistic director Molly Smith directs the musical.
Gamble's DC-area credits include Signature's Chess, First You Dream, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award Winner, Best Ensemble), Into the Woods, My Fair Lady, Urinetown, Follies, Grand Hotel, Gospel According to Fishman, The Christmas Carol Rag, The Rink and Company; Ford's Civil War (Helen Hayes Award Winner, Outstanding Supporting Actress), Little Shop Of Horrors, A Christmas Carol, Meet John Doe; Kennedy Center's Broadway: Three Generations; Round House's Once On This Island (Helen Hayes nomination); and Toby's Ragtime (Helen Hayes nomination).
For more information, visit www.arenastage.org.