Larry Drake Exits Polish Joke, Richard Ziman Picks Up Punchline at MTC

News   Larry Drake Exits Polish Joke, Richard Ziman Picks Up Punchline at MTC Larry Drake has exited rehearsals for the Manhattan Theatre Club staging of David Ives' Polish Joke, to be replaced by Richard Ziman.
Larry Drake
Larry Drake

The change is by mutual consent of Drake ("L.A. Law") and MTC.

The cast for the New York premiere of Ives' cultural comedy includes Nancy Bell, Walter Bobbie, Nancy Opel and Malcolm Gets. John Rando directs the play about identity and cultural cliches, beginning previews Feb. 25 and opening March 18 at MTC's Stage II at City Center. Performances continue to April 20.

MTC bills the play by the author of All in the Timing and Mere Mortals this way: "How many Polish jokes do you know? Young Jasiu has heard plenty. Warned against becoming the butt of a joke, he sets out in search of new ethnicities and adventures. But could it be true that being Polish is a destiny? How do you escape from the human condition? This uproarious comedy explores the dilemma of finding out who you are and where you come from — and where you go from there."

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Ives is currently at work on Disney's The Little Mermaid for the stage, and, with Jim Steinman, on Batman: The Musical. The Primary Stages production of his play, Mere Mortals, featured Nancy Opel and was directed by John Rando. He has adapted 11 classic American musicals for City Center's Encores! series, among them The Pajama Game, Strike Up the Band and Do Re Mi (all directed by John Rando); Wonderful Town; The Boys From Syracuse; Out of This World; and the upcoming The New Moon. Rando won the Tony Award for directing Urinetown and staged Dance of the Vampires. He also helmed A Thousand Clowns and Neil Simon's The Dinner Party.

Ziman appeared in a regional run of Polish Joke. He played Alfie in York Theatre Company's recent concert revival of A Family Affair.

Bell makes her MTC debut in Polish Joke. Her previous stage credits include performances in South Coast Repertory's The Circle, The Philanderer (Los Angeles Drama Critic's Circle Award nomination) and All My Sons.

Walter Bobbie who made a splash in Guys and Dolls as Nicely Nicely but made a bigger splash as artistic director of Encores! and director of the revival of Chicago, which transferred to Broadway for a (continuing) long run (that earned him a Best Director Tony Award). He also directed Broadway's Footloose and has been announced to direct the new Broadway revival of Sweet Charity starring Marissa Tomei. This is his first acting credit since 1992's Guys and Dolls.

Gets' credits include Broadway's Amour and Off Broadway's Boys and Girls (Playwrights Horizons), A New Brain and Merrily We Roll Along (York Theatre Company). He is widely known for starring as Richard in TV's "Caroline in the City."

Opel is a recent refugee of Urinetown, for which she was Tony Award nominated for playing Miss Pennywise. Other Broadway credits include Triumph of Love, Ring Round the Moon, Getting Away With Murder, Sunday in the Park With George, Anything Goes and Evita.

Designers are Loy Arcenas (set), David C. Woolard (costume), Donald Holder (lighting) and Bruce Ellman (sound).

MTC's Stage II at City Center is at 131 West 55th Street. Tickets are $45 and can be reserved by calling CityTix at (212) 581-1212. For more information, visit www.manhattantheatreclub.com.