PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Jan. 1-7: Missing Pieces

ICYMI   PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Jan. 1-7: Missing Pieces Broadway and Off-Broadway producers put the finishes touches on their spring creations this week, meaning they concluded the casting process

Much of this week's hiring had to do with playwright David Mamet. This spring's Broadway revival of his most famous work, Glengarry Glen Ross, now has a full complement of anxious, middle-aged men. The final addition was Tom Wopat, song and dance man who will now get a chance to show Broadway his dramatic chops. He will have to measure up to the likes of Alan Alda, Jeffrey Tambor, Liev Schreiber, Gordon Clapp, and Frederick Weller. Opening is May 1.

Downtown, the Off-Broadway premiere of Mamet's Romance also provided plenty of gainful employment to performers who possess a Y chromosome. (The play's title is very possibly ironic.) Featured are Bob Balaban, Larry Bryggman, Jim Frangione, Steven Goldstein, Steven Hawley, Keith Nobbs and Christopher Evan Welch. Opening is March 1 at Atlantic's home in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

That's the same Larry Bryggman who's been acquitting himself nicely in the Roundabout Theatre Company's super mega-hit Twelve Angry Men, which will probably extend itself until St. Swithin's Day. As 11 men can't possibly come to a verdict, the Roundabout has hired Byron Jennings to take Bryggman's place, beginning Feb. 1. Also leaving the Jury Room is Philip Bosco, who's got a date with a flying car over at Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Robert Foxworth will step into his role.

After much waiting, the Wingfield home in St. Louis is at last complete. Jessica Lange and Dallas Roberts, who will play Amanda and Tom in the new production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, now have a daughter/sister—the Laura of Sarah Paulson. And Paulson has a suitor; Josh Lucas will be the Gentleman Caller. The production, directed by David Leveaux, will begin previews at the Barrymore Theatre Feb. 24. Opening is March 15.

The beauty parlor at the center of Steel Magnolias, too, is now fully populated. The gaggle of gossipy ladies include Marsha Mason, Frances Sternhagen, Rebecca Gayheart, Christine Ebersole, Lily Rabe and Delta Burke. Performances begin March 15, 2005, at the Lyceum Theatre. Opening is set for April 4. But, wait! There's more! Denzel Washington has a wife, a compatriot, and a leader to lay low. Washington as Brutus, that is, in the upcoming Broadway staging of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Jessica Hecht will be Portia. Colm Feore will be the lean and hungry Cassius. And William Sadler will be the unfortunate title tyrant. Only Marc Antony among the central roles remains to be cast.

Hold on! That's still not it! Even as I am writing up this laundry list, the Roundabout announced the names of the tormentors of Natasha Richardson's Blanche Du Bois in the spring revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. John C. Reilly will play the brutish Stanley, and Amy Ryan will be his devoted wife Stella. Mitch is still nowhere to be seen.

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Finally, some news that isn't about casting. Richard Foreman, the respected downtown theatre auteur, unveiled his latest cerebral vaudeville, The Gods Are Pounding My Head (Lumberjack Messiahs), on Jan. 6, at the Ontological Theatre. Foreman has said publicly that this will be his last theatrical piece. Hereafter, he will pursue "a more meditative mixed media mode." The 67-year-old has been creating some of the most engaging, challenging, and downright entertaining work the New York theatre has seen over the past four decades. It is impossible to speak of the avant garde stage without mentioning his name. If you've never inhabited one of the few dozen seats at the cramped Ontological, you have until April 17 to do so.