Actress Kathleen Chalfant will replace Academy Award-winner Frances McDormand in the cast of Caryl Churchill's Far Away at the New York Theatre Workshop.
McDormand's final performance will be Dec. 22. Chalfant will head up the cast for the remainder of the recent extension Dec. 27-Jan. 18, according to a production spokesperson. There are no performances Dec. 23-26 due to the holiday.
Chalfant is best remembered for her Tony Award-nominated portrayal in Tony Kushner's epic Angels in America and her much-acclaimed (Drama Desk, Obie, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle) performance in Margaret Edson's Off-Broadway Wit. Her numerous other credits include Racing Demon, Dance With Me, M. Butterfly, Nine Armenians, Twelve Dreams, Henry V, True History and Real Adventures and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You. Recent shows include The Vagina Monologues and the Encores! presentation of Bloomer Girl.
Far Away, which began performances Nov. 1 and opened Nov. 11, was originally scheduled to run through Dec. 22. "Billy Elliot" director Stephen Daldry directs a cast that also includes Alexa Eisenstein, Marin Ireland, Chris Messina and Gina Rose.
* Far Away is an anti-utopian look at the future. On a visit to her aunt's house one night, a young girl discovers a dark world that had been kept from her. The play, which originally opened in London in 2000, runs 50 minutes with no intermission.
Daldry made a name for himself as a director at London's Royal Court Theatre and on Broadway with An Inspector Calls and Via Dolorosa. He then went on to direct films, most notably, his feature film debut "Billy Elliot." He is looking to bring over the other Churchill hour-long work that he helmed for London's Royal Court Theatre, A Number. He is also currently working on a Billy Elliot musical with composer Elton John and the film's screenwriter Lee Hall — who will provide book and lyrics — as well as choreographer Peter Darling. His upcoming film "The Hours" stars Nicole Kidman (The Blue Room), Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep (The Seagull), Allison Janney (A View from the Bridge), Ed Harris, Claire Danes, Toni Collette (Wild Party), Eileen Atkins (Indiscretions), Stephen Dillane (The Real Thing), John C. Reilly (True West) and Miranda Richardson.
For more information or tickets to NYTW shows, 79 East Fourth Street (between Bowery and Second Ave.), call (212) 460-5475. Also visit their website at www.nytw.org.
— by Ernio Hernandez