Some very starry names are following Eve Ensler into Off-Broadway's Vagina Monologues. Among the actresses putting in two-week stints in the one-person show are Rosie Perez, Swoosie Kurtz, Audra McDonald, Mary Alice, Julie Kavner and Amy Irving.
While Ensler has always done the show as a solo, the coming performers will appear in trios and remain in the show for two-weeks, according to a press spokesman. The schedule will run as follows:
Feb. 8-20: Julie Kavner, Swoosie Kurtz and Audra McDonald.
Feb. 22-March 5: Mary Alice, Rosie Perez and Amy Irving.
Additional performers are yet to be announced.
Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues, starring Ensler herself, returned to New York the Westside Theatre Oct. 3, after previews from Sept. 21. Vagina reveals a series of different women's stories and experiences involving their genitalia. The piece was born when playwright Ensler realized that her work, mostly about women, was missing a physiological connection. Ensler told PBOL,"I couldn't be thinking about [liberating women] without thinking about vaginas. I wanted to know about what women were feeling about their vaginas. As I talked to women, I was so awed and amazed by what people were telling me that I began to think, 'there's a [theatre] piece here.'" Joe Mantello, who staged Love! Valour! Compassion! on Broadway, serves as production supervisor on the solo.
Kavner, the voice of Marge Simpson on "The Simpsons," appeared in Craig Lucas' God's Heart Off-Broadway. Kurtz recently starred on Broadway in Paula Vogel's The Mineola Twins, while McDonald just wrapped up a starring turn in Marie Christine at Lincoln Center Theater.
Veteran actress Mary Alice won a Tony Award for Fences. Perez is best known as a film actress, with credits including "Do the Right Thing" and "It Could Happen to You." Finally, Amy Irving was last seen on the New York stage in Arthur Miller's Broken Glass.
$10 of each ticket sold to The Vagina Monologues will go to the V Day Initiative.
The show has been floating around for several seasons, popping up here and there. The Vagina Monologues was originally produced in New York at downtown's HERE in 1996. In a benefit to fight domestic violence, Vagina was performed in New York Valentine's Day, 1998, as V Day 1998, starring Hollywood faves Winona Ryder, Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Calista Flockhart, Kathy Najimy, Rosie Perez, Susan Sarandon, Lois Smith, Phoebe Snow, Gloria Steinem, Marisa Tomei, and Lily Tomlin. It was subsequently performed in London.
For information on the Westside engagement, call (212) 239-6200.
-- By Robert Simonson