Grier and Washington, who originated the roles of Henry Brown and Susan, respectively, will be succeeded by Dennis Haysbert and Afton C. Williamson. (Grier earned a 2010 Best Actor Tony Award nomination for his performance. Williamson has understudied the role since performances began in November 2009.)
Williamson will begin performances June 15, while understudy Ray Anthony Thomas will portray Henry Brown until Haysbert joins the cast June 21.
Also departing the production will be James Spader, who will play his final performance June 20. Tony Award nominee Eddie Izzard will succeed Spader in the role of attorney Jack Lawson June 21. Richard Thomas will be the only original cast member to remain with the production. Race continues through Aug. 21.
According to producers, Race concerns "three attorneys, two black and one white, [who] are offered a chance to defend a white man charged with a crime against a black woman."
Mamet elaborated on the plot in an interview with the New York Times. "In my play a firm made up of three lawyers, two black and one white, is offered the chance to defend a white man charged with a crime against a black young woman. It is a play about lies. All drama is about lies. When the lie is exposed, the play is over." The design team for Race includes Santo Loquasto (sets), Brian Macdevitt (lighting) and Tom Broecker (costumes).
Race is produced by on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Jam Theatricals, JK Productions, Peggy Hill & Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Scott M. Delman, Terry Allen Kramer/James L. Nederlander, Swinsky Deitch, Bat-Barry Productions, Ronald Frankel, James Fuld Jr., Kathleen K. Johnson, Terry Schnuck, The Weinstein Company, Jay & Cindy Gutterman/Stewart Mercer and Marc Frankel.
Mamet's plays also include Glengarry Glen Ross (1984 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, 2005 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play), American Buffalo, Boston Marriage, November, Speed-the-Plow and The Cryptogram. He has penned the screenplays for such films as "The Verdict," "The Untouchables," "Wag the Dog" and his own adaptation of "Oleanna." He has twice been nominated for an Academy Award. He has written and directed ten films including "Homicide," "The Spanish Prisoner," "State and Main," "House of Games," "Spartan" and "Redbelt." His tense 1992 drama Oleanna made its Broadway debut last fall.
The Ethel Barrymore Theatre is located at 243 West 47th Street. For more information, visit RaceOnBroadway.com.
Tickets are available by visiting Telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200.