Not only is Florida Studio Theatre mounting a production of Terry Johnson's Hysteria at roughly the same time as Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, but the southern venue has had to conquer the same snag. Both theatres lost their Sigmund Freuds in mid-rehearsal. At the Steppenwolf, Yasen Peyankov took over for Alan Wilder, who departed for personal reasons. At FST, Michael Lipton left the production and has been replaced as Freud by Michael O. Smith.
Though the show still starts previews Jan. 11, opening night has been moved from Jan. 13 to Jan. 15. The play now runs to Feb. 24 (though that could possibly change to the 26th, depending on ticket sales).
FST artistic director and director of the production, Richard Hopkins, called Lipton "a true professional" and explained the change only by stating, "the role of Sigmund Freud is a demanding one for any actor." A company spokesperson told Playbill On-Line, "It just wasn't working out. There was a mutual decision to change."
A veteran of Florida theatre, Smith's Broadway credits include The Elephant Man and Dracula. He had been playing Yehuda in Hysteria before the cast-change; now Roy Sorensen plays that role. Tom Ford plays Dali, and Celeste Ciulla is Jessica.
Hysteria, a comedy about Sigmund Freud's last days in a quiet London suburb, finds the father of psychiatry disturbed by an attractive yet unstable young lady, as well as a visit from surrealist artist, Salvador Dali. Johnson's other works include Insignificance and directing The Libertine at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre.
For tickets and information on Hysteria call (941) 366-9000.
--By David Lefkowitz