Rosie Perez and Joe Pantoliano Are Frankie and Johnny, Starting Jan. 1

News   Rosie Perez and Joe Pantoliano Are Frankie and Johnny, Starting Jan. 1 The hit Broadway staging of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune will get two new stars Jan. 1, when Rosie Perez and Joe Pantoliano take over roles created in this revival by Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci.

This is the first Broadway staging for the tender and tough romance by Terrence McNally. Joe Mantello directs. The play ran Off-Broadway with Kathy Bates and Kenneth Welsh in the 1980s and was later made into a film with Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino. Falco and Tucci played their last show Dec. 29.

Perez told Playbill On-Line that Mantello called her and asked if she's be interested in the piece. She took in the show and told the director yes. Perez said one of the main differences between her and Falco's Frankie will be humor. "I read the script and thought there was a lot of humor there and I wasn't seeing that in Edie's performance. I asked Joe and he said, 'Yeah, it's definitely there. Go for it.' "

Perez (who'll play bruised Frankie) is the Brooklyn film actress known for "Do the Right Thing" and "White Man Can't Jump." Pantoliano is best known for playing the recently-whacked mobster Ralphie on TV's "The Sopranos." The lovers in the McNally play are meant to be unglamorous working class folks, and Perez and Pantoliano seem to fit the bill. This will mark the Broadway debut for both performers.

Pantoliano's "Sopranos" pals Falco, Lorraine Bracco (The Graduate), Jamie Lynn Sigler (Beauty and the Beast) and Saundra Santiago (who will be in Nine come spring 2003) are all making noise on Broadway this season.

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune opened Aug. 8 and has recouped its $1.5 million capitalization. For ticket information, call Tele-charge at (212) 239-6200.