With the departure of Tony-winner Frank Wood, Broadway's Side Man now gets another main man: Michael O'Keefe, who takes over as addled jazz player Gene in Warren Leight's drama, Sept. 28. Wood left Sept. 26 to play McGeorge Bundy in the new Kevin Costner film, "Thirteen Days," about the Cuban Missile Crisis. O'Keefe is best known for his roles in "Caddyshack," "The Great Santini" (an Oscar nomination) and as Jackie's boyfriend on TV's "Roseanne."
Leight's Tony-winning play will end its lengthy run on Halloween, Oct. 31. Side Man played its 500th performance Sept. 18 and will reach regular performance number 549 by its finale.
After the Broadway mounting finishes, O'Keefe and recent cast addition Andrew McCarthy, as well as Kevin Geer, Angelica Torn, Michael Mastro and other members of the New York company will begin a month-long run of the show at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, Nov. 3-28. Further plans for the show may include London and other U.S. cities. (Independent productions of Side Man are also springing up, including current mountings at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre and Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati).
McCarthy, known for such films as "Mannequin," "Weekend at Bernie's," "Heaven Help Us," "Pretty in Pink" and "St. Elmo's Fire," was generally acknowledged as a member of "The Brat Pack" -- a group of teen actors in the 1980s who starred in John Hughes-helmed films like "The Breakfast Club," "Weird Science," and "Pretty in Pink." Other Brat Pack members included Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall and Jon Cryer.
In recent years, McCarthy has turned to the boards, having earlier in the year starred in Horton Foote's The Death of Papa at Hartford Stage. McCarthy replaced the previously-announced Matthew Broderick in that production, when the latter pulled out to accompany Night Must Fall into an extended commercial run. McCarthy's other credits include The Boys of Winter on Broadway. Adding McCarthy marks the third time in its long run that Side Man has opted to bring in a young star to perk up box-office receipts. When the show moved from The Roundabout to its current home at The John Golden Theatre, Christian Slater was cast to play Clifford.
Leight's drama celebrated its one year anniversary March 3, with much of the original cast on board. The show tells how a man's love of jazz ruins his marriage -- and his wife's sanity.
The show began its New York life at CSC March 3, 1998, before its move to the Roundabout and then to Broadway's John Golden Theatre on June 25, 1998.
For ticket information on Side Man at Broadway's John Golden Theatre, call (212) 239-6200.