Fame Tony Nominee Brooks Ashmanskas Joins The Ritz Revival Cast

By Ernio Hernandez
31 May 2007

Brooks Ashmanskas
Brooks Ashmanskas

Brooks Ashmanskas will join Rosie Perez and Kevin Chamberlin in the cast of the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Terrence McNally's The Ritz.

Joe Mantello directs the new staging, which will begin previews Sept. 14 and officially open Oct. 11 at Broadway's Studio 54 for a limited engagement currently scheduled through Dec. 2.

Ashmanskas — currently a Tony Award nominee for his turn in Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me — will take on the role of Chris in the production, according to a spokesperson. The actor now plays opposite Victor Garber in Huntington Theatre Company's Boston run of Noël Coward's Present Laughter and has been seen on Broadway in Gypsy, The Producers, Little Me and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Billed as "an over-the-top comedy that takes place in a bathhouse in Manhattan," The Ritz concerns a man (Chamberlin) — hiding out from a mobster in the titular Turkish bath — who realizes he is actually in a gay bathhouse and takes on the guise of a big Broadway producer to avoid being discovered.



Perez will play entertainer Googie Gomez to Chamberlin's impresario Gaetano Proclo. The roles were originated on Broadway in 1975 by, respectively, Rita Moreno and Jack Weston. F. Murray Abraham and Jerry Stiller were also in the original cast of the comedy, which was adapted for the 1976 film with the same stars.

The design team for the upcoming production includes Scott Pask (sets) and William Ivey Long (costumes). Further casting and designers will be announced shortly.

Perez has taken time between her screen career to add some stage work to her resume, playing in Broadway's recent revivals of Reckless and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune and Off-Broadway's References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot. The actress, who has appeared in the films "Fearless," "Human Nature," "Do the Right Thing," "Untamed Heart" and HBO's "Lackawanna Blues," made her directorial debut with the 2006 documentary "Yo Soy Boricua Pa'que Tu Lo Sepas!"

Chamberlin returns to the Broadway stage after his recent turn in the City Center Encores! revue Stairway to Paradise. He received Tony nominations for his work in Dirty Blonde and Seussical and has also appeared in Chicago, My Favorite Year, Abe Lincoln in Illinois and Triumph of Love. The actor — seen in the films "Lucky Number Slevin," "Road to Perdition," "DieHard With a Vengeance," "In and Out" and "Christmas with the Kranks" — has made appearances on television's "Heroes," "nip/tuck," "Without a Trace" and co-stars with Lili Taylor in the new Lifetime series "State of Mind."

Director Mantello reteams with Roundabout, following his Tony Award-winning direction of Assassins and the company's revival of Noël Coward's Design for Living. Other credits include Three Days of Rain, The Odd Couple, Glengarry Glen Ross, Laugh Whore, Wicked, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Man of No Importance and his other Tony Award win, Take Me Out.

Playwright McNally is currently represented on Broadway by Deuce. His work includes plays (Master Class, Love! Valour! Compassion!) as well as librettos (Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman). He won Tony Awards for all four aforementioned works. Other credits include Some Men, Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune, The Full Monty, The Visit, Corpus Christi, The Lisbon Traviata, Andre's Mother and Lips Together, Teeth Apart.

Tickets to The Ritz at Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street, will be available in July by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300 or online at roundabouttheatre.org.