The woman in question is Tovah Feldshuh, who has played the title role at the Helen Hayes Theatre since Oct. 3. It was recently announced that she will leave the Broadway mounting on Jan. 2, 2005, and later play Golda at the Wadsworth Theatre in Los Angeles in early February.
Tovah/Golda fells Lily Tomlin, whose held the title for nearly 20 years with her 1985-86, 391-show solo outing The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. (Golda's achievement comes with something of an asterisk, however, for Tomlin revived her show for another 184 performances in 2000.) For the record, the longest-running one-person show performed by an actor of either sex is Rob Becker's Defending the Caveman, which played 674 performances in the mid-90s at—where else?—the Helen Hayes Theatre. (The final five months were spent at the Booth.)
David Fishelson, artistic director of Manhattan Ensemble Theatre, the company that spawned the production, said Golda could close on Broadway when Feldshuh leaves, or, if a name star is secured, the engagement may continue. The play is scheduled to be launched on a national tour of 20 weeks or more in September 2005. Feldshuh will not be part of the tour.
Tovah Feldshuh stars in the Broadway engagement, which began Off Broadway at the Manhattan Ensemble Theatre, where it extended several times.