The summer engagement of Matthew Lombardo's play replaces Arena's previously announced production of Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth.
In a statement Arena artistic director Molly Smith said, "Though we were disappointed not to be able to follow through with plans for Sweet Bird of Youth, Arena always looks for the best productions in American theatre for our audiences, and we are incredibly excited to bring Looped to Arena Stage immediately before its Broadway debut." Sweet Bird was removed from the Arena schedule because an actor cast in the production "is no longer available," according to Arena.
Four-time Emmy winner Valerie Harper — of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda" fame — will portray the late actress Tallulah Bankhead in Looped opposite co-star Jarrod Emick (Damn Yankees Tony winner).
Directed by Rob Ruggiero (Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn), the comedy — billed as "pre-Broadway engagement" — will also play the Cuillo Centre for the Arts in West Palm Beach, FL, Dec. 31, 2008-Feb. 15, 2009.
Looped, according to press notes, "tells the story of actress Tallulah Bankhead, the original celebrity bad girl who enters a film studio session to re-record (or 'loop') one line of dialogue for her final film, 'Die, Die My Darling.' What ensues is a showdown between an uptight sound editor and the outrageous legend. Southern, but by no means a belle, Ms. Bankhead was known for her wild partying that rivaled even today's superstars, including innumerable affairs with both male and female celebrities and outlandish exploits that were too scandalous to mention. Relish in the outrageously naughty wit of this sultry-voiced stage and film star!" Looped recently played a sold-out run at the Pasadena Playhouse. Playwright Matthew Lombardo has also penned Tea at Five, Mother and Child and Guilty Innocence.
The creative team also includes Adrian W. Jones (scenic design), Alex Jaeger (costume design), Michael Gilliam (lighting design), Michael Hooker (sound design) and Charles LaPointe (hair and wig design).
Looped is being produced by Tony Cacciotti and David Steiner in association with Arena Stage.
For tickets and more information visit www.arenastage.org or call (202) 488-3300.