In a curious turn of fate, playwright-actress Ellen McLaughlin -- best know as the Angel in Angels in America -- will fly once again, but this time in her own play. April 13-15, McLaughlin will take over for Sharon Lawrence in the Public Theater's production of the former's new play, Tongue of a Bird.
In the play, Cherry Jones plays a search-and-rescue pilot haunted by the image of her deceased mother. As the mother, Lawrence spends most of the play dressed as aviator, soaring and tumbling above's Jones' bed, much as McLaughlin hovered above Stephen Spinella's bed in Angels in America.
Tongue of a Bird opened to mixed-to-negative reviews April 4 after a series of previews beginning March 16. The play, which also stars Elizabeth Wilson, will run through April 18.
Jones repeats her Mark Taper Forum performance as a search and rescue pilot in Tongue of a Bird. Her co-stars at the Taper were Marian Seldes (now covering for an ailing Irene Worth in Ring Round The Moon) and Diana Venora. Jones won acclaim last season in Pride's Crossing. She is expected in New York next season in a Broadway revival of O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten. Lawrence is best known for her Emmy-nominated role on television's "NYPD Blue." Her Broadway credits include such landmark shows as Cabaret and Zorba.
Wilson won a Tony and Obie for her performance in David Rabe's Sticks and Bones. Other credits include Threepenny Opera, Solonika, Morning's at Seven and Ah, Wilderness.
Also in the cast are Melissa Leo (TV's "Homicide") and pre-teen actress Julia McIlvaine, who played opposite Jones in Lincoln Center Theatre's production of Tina Howe's Pride's Crossing.
Taper resident director Lisa Peterson stages the drama. The Taper is co producing with the Joseph Papp Public Theatre.
Bird was originally commissioned by the Taper and developed in the Taper's 1995-96 New Work Festival. It had its world premiere at the Intiman Theatre in September 1997 and was subsequently produced at the Almeida Theatre in London.
Call (213) 972-0790 for more information.
-- By Robert Simonson