Shuler Hensley will leave the Broadway production of Oklahoma! on Jan. 5, 2003. Hensley won the Tony Award for his portrayal of Jud Fry and has been with the Trevor Nunn-directed production since its beginnings in London in 1998.
As reported earlier, Hensley will soon start work on the film, "Van Helsing," in which he will play the Frankenstein Monster. Ironically, the movie also stars Oklahoma's London-revival Curly, Hugh Jackman as vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing. Stephen Sommers is the director. The flick is to have a May 2004 release.
In other recent Oklahoma! news, Patty Duke, the one-time child star of film and television, will follow Andrea Martin into the role of Aunt Eller in the Broadway production of Oklahoma!. She will begin performances on Dec. 14. Patty Duke won an Oscar for her performance as Helen Keller in the film "The Miracle Worker." Later, she starred in her own television sitcom, "The Patty Duke Show," in which she played identical cousins.
The casting follows hot on the heels of the drafting of Stephen Buntrock to be the next Curly, taking over for Patrick Wilson in the revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. Buntrock began on Nov. 19.
Staying put for the time being are Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey, Jessica Boevers as Ado Annie, Justin Bohon as Will Parker and Aasif Mandvi as Ali Hakim.