It's the latest assignment for the Tony-winning Ziemba (Contact), who recently participated in a York Theatre reading of Weird Science and will this May star in an Encores! concert version of Bye Bye Birdie. Ziemba spent a couple months last fall in the cast of Broadway's Never Gonna Dance. In the summer of 2003, she was part of the Williamstown Theatre Festival's staging of The Threepenny Opera. Before that, she played Beatrice in Hartford Stage's Much Ado About Nothing.
Adelaide is a bit of a departure for Ziemba, a brassy, comic role for an actress most commonly associated with playing wholesome, sometimes suffering wives and girlfriends, such as the ones she played in Contact, I Do! I Do! and Steel Pier.
The production marks Cuccioli's 10th appearance at the Paper Mill, including starring roles in The Sound of Music, 1776, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rhythm Ranch, Oklahoma!, Funny Girl and Victor/Victoria; Baldwin was recently seen in the theatre's production of Miss Saigon. Michael Mastro (Side Man, Barrymore) will be Nathan Detroit, Adelaide's reluctant-to-marry beau.
Robert Cuccioli earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his work in Jekyll & Hyde. He won the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle awards for that performance as well. Cuccioli also appeared in the Broadway production of Les Misérables. Kate Baldwin received a Helen Hayes Award nomination for her performance as Nellie Forbush in Arena Stage's South Pacific. She appeared in the original ensemble of Broadway’s Thoroughly Modern Millie and was a late-run ensemble player in The Full Monty.
The original Broadway production of Guys and Dolls opened at the 46th Street Theatre in Nov. 1950, running 1,200 performances before closing Nov. 28, 1953. Among the premiere cast were Robert Alda as Sky Masterson, Isabel Bigley as Sarah Brown, Sam Levene as Nathan Detroit and Vivian Blaine as Miss Adelaide. Blaine re-created her role for the 1955 film, which also starred Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson, Jean Simmons as Sarah Brown and Frank Sinatra as Nathan Detroit.
The most recent Broadway revival was mounted at the Martin Beck Theatre in March 1992. Directed by Jerry Zaks, the Tony-winning production cast Peter Gallagher as Sky, Josie de Guzman as Sarah Brown, Nathan Lane as Nathan Detroit and Faith Prince as Miss Adelaide. Prince won a Tony for her performance in the musical, which ran 1,143 performances.
Paper Mill Playhouse is located on Brookside Drive in Millburn, NJ. Tickets, priced $30-$67, are available by calling (973) 376-4343. For more information visit www.papermill.org.