Jessica Lange and Ed Harris have expressed interest in playing the lead roles of Martha and George in a Broadway production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, confirmed producer Elizabeth McCann, a frequent producer of Albee's work.
The two stars and director Sir Peter Hall will meet with the playwright in New York City in September to discuss a possible staging. "They're going to sit down and have a conversation about it. Edward likes to meet his actors and make sure everyone's on the right page," McCann told Playbill On-Line.
McCann and Albee had been considering a New York production of Virginia Woolf? in 2003, when Hall recently called with the news that Lange and Harris wished to star in a February 2003 revival of the monumental 1962 work. Albee agreed to meet with the actors and Hall, with whom he has had a long relationship.
Interest in the play has been high lately. According to the New York Post, such actresses as Mercedes Ruehl, Christine Lahti, Judith Ivey, Bette Midler, Patti LuPone and Stockard Channing are vying to play Martha. Ruehl, who is now starring in The Goat, acted in Woolf with Patrick Stewart in Minneapolis last year.
"I think people are having readings of Virginia Woolf on street corners," quipped McCann in response to the sudden interest in the script. She wondered, however, why the focus was on who would be cast as Martha. "Stop talking about Martha," she commented, "because if you don't have the right George you don't have the play anyway." McCann added that Albee has been shy about returning to his most famous text. "Edward has been very cautious," she said. "In large part, it was his desire to get his new plays on in New York first." Since he has succeeded, seeing in the past two seasons Gotham mounting of The Play About the Baby, Occupant and The Goat, Albee is now reportedly warming to the idea of a new Manhattan revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
—By Robert Simonson