Michael Berresse, the athletic Bill Calhoun in Broadway's Kiss Me, Kate, will stop clambering up the dressing room balcony set beginning Sept. 17, when he takes a leave of absence to shoot the new Stephen Spielberg picture, "A.I."
David Elder takes over the part of gambler and song-and-dance man Calhoun Sept. 19, and will perform the stunt in which the character avoids the stairs and lifts himself two stories to the arms of his girlfriend, Lois Lane, played by Amy Spanger.
In an agreement with Equity, the trick is apparently so risky that the understudy does not perform it.
Elder appeared in The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm in Arizona (Berresse would appear in it, when it played Broadway) but was sidelined by an injury. He has also performed in Titanic, Once Upon a Mattress and was Joe Hardy on tour with Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees.
Berresse's return date was not announced, but it has been made clear by spokespeople that he is not leaving the show, just taking time off for the film project. Berresse was nominated for a Tony Award for Featured Actor in a Musical, for the dual role of Bill and Lucentio in Kate, in 2000. (In his Playbill bio, he thanks actor Harold Lang, who originated the role, "for opening the door.") Berresse's credits include Billy Flynn in Chicago on Broadway and on tour, and Joe Hardy in Broadway's Damn Yankees. Kiss Me, Kate is at the Martin Beck Theatre. For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200 or (800) 432 7250.