Merkerson in Talks for New Suzan-Lori Parks Play at Public Theater

News   Merkerson in Talks for New Suzan-Lori Parks Play at Public Theater S. Epatha Merkerson, the "Law & Order" star with a theatre background, is in negotiations to star in Suzan-Lori Parks' new take on "The Scarlet Letter," a play called Fucking A, starting performances Feb. 25, 2003 at the Public's Anspacher Theater.

She will join the already announced Mos Def, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Bobby Canavale. Merkerson appeared in the Broadway productions of Tintypes and The Piano Lesson before taking the role of a top cop on "Law & Order." Mos Def, known as a rap singer, made the jump to the legit stage when The Public's staging of Topdog/Underdog moved to Broadway in 2002 after a run downtown in 2001 (with Don Cheadle in the role Mos Def would eventually take over). Jeffrey Wright appeared both downtown and on Broadway in that 2002 Pulitzer Prize winner by Parks.

Michael Greif (Rent) will stage Fucking A. The New York Times reported Oct. 25 that Mos Def's role in the work is "a reckless ex-con" and the piece "follows the lives of two women named Hester — one is an abortionist; the other is homeless."

Parks' previous In the Blood was also inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, "The Scarlet Letter," about accusations of adultery and the public shaming of a woman in Puritan American.