A dirty blonde, a dinner friend and a greaser will all get together in March when previews begin for Michele Lowe's black comedy, The Smell of the Kill, at Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre. Starring in the dark comedy — about three women whose husbands accidentally become trapped in a meat locker — are Claudia Shear, Lisa Emery and Jessica Stone.
The upcoming staging of Lowe's play, which starts previews March 5 and opens March 26, according to a Boneau/Bryan-Brown spokesperson, follows successful runs at Seattle's Intiman Theatre and the Berkshire Festival. Shear, of Dirty Blonde renown, is the only holdover from the Berkshire cast, which also featured Kirsten Johnston (late of The Women) and Katie Finneran, currently giving a break-out turn in Noises Off.
New York theatre veteran Emery appeared in Present Laughter and Dinner with Friends, while Stone (Grease!) has appeared in recent Encores! concerts of Tenderloin and Babes in Arms.
Initially, Smell of the Kill was announced for an Off-Broadway mounting to open on Valentine's Day, but plans then switched to Broadway when the 577-seat Helen Hayes Theatre came available upon the closing of By Jeeves. Previously announced dates (previews Feb. 27, opening March 17) were pushed up when casting took longer than expected.)
Christopher Ashley, who staged the Berkshire version of Kill, will again direct the piece, which will have sets by David Gallo (Bunny Bunny). Elizabeth Ireland McCann, Nelle Nugent, Milton Maltz and Tamara Maltz are producing, with Roy Gabay serving as general manager. In Kill, the trio think themselves happily married until the meat freezer incident brings new meaning to the words "women's liberation." Smell of the Kill premiered at the Cleveland Playhouse in 1999.
The Berkshire staging featured the starry cast of Johnston, Shear and Finneran. Finneran recently told Playbill On-Line her contract in Noises Off prevented her from doing Kill.
Other plays by Lowe include Backsliding in the Promised Land, the tale of two Dutch Jews who escape the Holocaust by retreating to America and becoming Episcopalians, Germany Surrenders and the book and lyrics to the musical Hit the Lights!. As a television and screenwriter she penned several episodes of Nickelodeon's "Little Bear," "The Emergence of Emily Stark" and "Let the Bastard Sing" with Eric Simonson.