In one of the more coincidental casting twists in recent memory, Doris Belack joined the cast of an off-off-Broadway production vacated by Brett Somers during rehearsals. Therefore, The Wound of Love, a drama by Juilliard grad Kathryn Grant, arrives as scheduled, Oct. 27-Nov. 20, officially opening Oct. 30.
Somers, who played Oscar Madison's acerbic ex-wife on television's "The Odd Couple," left Wound Sept. 30, citing a busy schedule, according to a production spokesperson. Taking over is Belack, whose Broadway credits include The Cemetery Club and Social Security -- and playing Oscar's ex-wife in "The Odd Couple II" movie.
The Wound of Love also features Evan Pappas, who played the cynical newshound in Parade and the naive television tyro in My Favorite Year. Playwright Grant and Bob Adrian co-star in the show, which features live viola music by Amy Dulsky Little.
Wound tells of Junis, a violist (played by Grant), wholly committed to her music-making. However, when her gay roommate (Pappas) is stricken with AIDS, a terminal and debilitating illness, she's forced to consider putting her career on hold to care for him. Somers was to play Junis' caustic music teacher.
The Wound of Love received an acclaimed mounting at upstate New York's Penguin Repertory in 1996, with Lou Liberatore and Deborah Hedwall starring. Ed Setrakian directs the current staging, running through Nov. 20 at the John Houseman Studio Theatre, 450 West 42nd St. The American Renaissance Theatre Company and Radius Productions are co producing. Designing the show are Kennon Rothchild (set), Jim Speirs (lighting), Barbara Forbes (costumes) and Paul Spencer (sound). For tickets and information on The Wound of Love call (212) 479 8513.
-- By David Lefkowitz