Sternhagen Will Sub for Chalfant in Vita & Virginia at the Zipper

News   Sternhagen Will Sub for Chalfant in Vita & Virginia at the Zipper While Kathleen Chalfant is shooting a role in the new film "Duplicity," two-time Tony Award winner Frances Sternhagen will play Chalfant's role in the limited engagement of Vita & Virginia at the Zipper Factory.

Sternhagen, the acclaimed theatre actress who may be best known for her work on the Emmy-winning series "Cheers," will play Virginia Woolf opposite Patricia Elliot's Vita Sackville-West March 17 and 31 only.

Chalfant and Elliot teamed up starting Feb. 11 for 12 performances of Eileen Atkins' acclaimed play, Vita & Virginia, at the Zipper Factory. Drama Desk winner Chalfant (as Virginia Woolf) and Tony winner Elliott (as Vita Sackville-West) will perform Vita & Virginia Monday nights through April 28. Chalfant and Elliott were seen in a previous reading of Atkins' play for The No Frills Company in November 2006; that company is producing the Zipper run, which features direction by Pamela Berlin.

Vita & Virginia, according to press notes, chronicles "the remarkable friendship and intimate love affair between [Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West], two of the most celebrated members of the famous Bloomsbury Group in 1920s London." The play, set in the 1920s and 1930s through the first years of WWII, deals with "women seeking their place in the world as they face personal and professional conflicts as well as the looming world war."

Frances Sternhagen won Tony Awards for her performances in The Good Doctor and The Heiress and was also nominated for her work in The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, Equus, Angel, On Golden Pond and Morning's at Seven. She has also been seen on the New York stage in Grownups, You Can't Take it With You, Seascape, Steel Magnolias, Talking Heads, The Foreigner and The Exact. Sternhagen's many screen credits include "Hospital," "Starting Over," "Independence Day," "Misery," "Doc Hollywood," "Sex and the City," "Cheers," "ER," "The Closer" and "Law & Order." She was recently inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

Kathleen Chalfant — who is also part of the cast of Dead Man's Cell Phone at Playwrights Horizons — received a Tony Award nomination for her work in Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. For her performance in Wit, she earned Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Obie, Drama League, Lucille Lortel and Los Angeles Ovation awards. Chalfant also received Obie and Outer Critics Circle awards for her work in Talking Heads. The actress' other stage credits include Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, M. Butterfly, Racing Demon, The Vagina Monologues, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You, Henry V, Nine Armenians and the City Center Encores! production of Bloomer Girl. Patricia Elliott has been seen on Broadway in King Lear, A Cry of Players, King Henry V, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, A Little Night Music, The Shadow Box, Tartuffe, 13 Rue de l'Amour, The Elephant Man and A Month of Sundays. Elliott won Tony, Theatre World and Drama Desk awards for her performance as Countess Charlotte Malcolm in Night Music.

Vita & Virginia was first seen at the Chichester Festival in 1992 with Penelope Wilton and Eileen Atkins; the play was then produced Off-Broadway in 1994 starring Vanessa Redgrave and playwright Atkins.

The Zipper Factory is located in Manhattan at 336 West 37th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues. Tickets, priced $35, are available by visiting www.thezipperfactory.com or by calling (212) 352-3101.

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