Bierko and Grant Will Create Chemistry in Guys and Dolls

News   Bierko and Grant Will Create Chemistry in Guys and Dolls
Guys and Dolls director Des McAnuff has found his Sky and Sarah in Tony Award nominee Craig Bierko and Kate Jennings Grant, respectively, the producers of the new 2009 Broadway revival announced.
Craig Bierko and Kate Jennings Grant
Craig Bierko and Kate Jennings Grant

Bierko, a Best Actor Tony nominee for The Music Man, and Grant, of the Encores! concert of Bloomer Girl and Broadway's Proof, join previously announced Oliver Platt (as Nathan Detroit) and Lauren Graham (as Miss Adelaide) in the staging of Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling's classic Tony-winning 1950 musical comedy based on characters created by Damon Runyon.

Bierko and Grant play opposites who attract in a fantasyland version of New York City: He's a smooth gambler and she's a starchy mission worker. They famously find "chemistry" down in Cuba, on a bet.

Previews begin Feb. 2, 2009, toward a March 1 opening at the newly refurbished Nederlander Theatre (the recent longtime home of Rent).

Producer Howard Panter for Ambassador Theatre Group and co-producers Tulchin/Bartner/Jenkins, Bill Kenwright, Darren Bagert and Tom Gregory announced the two principals Dec. 2. Complete casting and design team will be announced shortly.

Director McAnuff is a Tony Award winner known for staging The Who's Tommy and Jersey Boys. Sergio Trujillo (All Shook Up, Jersey Boys, Memphis) will choreograph. Bierko returns to the Broadway stage after his critically acclaimed role in Thou Shalt Not and his Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Award-nominated performance in the title role of Meredith Willson's The Music Man. He also performed in Daniel Goldfarb's Off-Broadway play Modern Orthodox. Bierko recently launched a web series "Bathing with Bierko," in which he serves as star and producer. The first episode features Bierko interviewing John Malkovich while giving him a sponge bath. It has been viewed more than 100,000 times. Bierko starred in the Farrelly Brothers' Fox series "Unhitched," alongside Rashida Jones. He was also featured in FX's "Nip/Tuck," as well as "Boston Legal." His other notable film and TV credits include "Cinderella Man," "Scary Movie 4," "The Long Kiss Goodnight," Larry David's "Sour Grapes," "The 13th Floor," "Bill," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and more.

Grant, an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania and the Juilliard School of Drama, appeared on Broadway in Proof and An American Daughter. Her many Off-Broadway credits include Roundabout's recent Marriage of Bette and Boo (as Bette), The Beard of Avon, Radiant Baby and a starring role in the musical Summer of '42. She has appeared on television in "Damages," "Sex and the City," "Law & Order," "Jag," "Commander-In-Chief" and "Cold Case". Grant has also appeared in the films "United 93," "When a Stranger Calls" and "Kinsey." She plays Diane Sawyer in Ron Howard's film "Frost/Nixon."

Guys and Dolls has music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. The score includes "Fugue for Tinhorns," "A Bushel and a Peck," "If I Were a Bell," "Adelaide's Lament," "I'll Know," "Guys and Dolls," "More I Cannot Wish You," "Luck Be A Lady" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat."

Many consider it to be one of the perfect musical comedies for its lean storytelling and its character- and plot-rich songs. The libretto is by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It's based on "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure," two short stories by Runyon, but also borrows characters and plot elements from other Runyon stories, including "Pick the Winner."

The musical comedy was first produced on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre, opening on Nov. 24, 1950. It was directed by George S. Kaufman and starred Robert Alda, Sam Levene, Isabel Bigley and Vivian Blaine. The musical played 1,201 performances, winning five 1951 Tony Awards including Best Musical.

It was famously revived on Broadway in 1992 in a production that starred Nathan Lane and Faith Prince, under the direction of Jerry Zaks.

Platt (Nathan Detroit) returns to Broadway where he received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in Conor McPherson's Shining City. He plays Bob Zelnick in Ron Howard's "Frost/Nixon." Additional theatre credits include the Lincoln Center production of Ubu; Jules Feiffer's Elliot Loves, directed by Mike Nichols; and his acclaimed performance as Sir Toby Belch in Brian Kulick's Twelfth Night. He received Golden Globe and back-to-back Emmy nominations for his portrayal of Russell Tupper in Showtime's "Huff" as well as an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal as White House Counsel Oliver Babish on "The West Wing." He was nominated again for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his recurring role on "Nip/Tuck," playing the flamboyant TV producer Freddy Prune.

Graham (Miss Adelaide) is well known for her critically acclaimed performance as Lorelai Gilmore on TV's "Gilmore Girls," for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series, two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Female Actor in a Drama Series and two Television Critics Association Awards for Individual Achievement in Drama and Comedy. Additionally, she has earned two Teen Choice Awards for Choice Parental Unit and a Best Actress nod from Viewers for Quality Television. Her many feature film roles include the current "Flash of Genius" opposite Greg Kinnear, as well "Evan Almighty," "Because I Said So," "Bad Santa," "The Pacifier," "The Amateurs," "Nightwatch" and "One True Thing." She recently starred alongside Matthew Perry and Hillary Swank in "Birds of America," which premiered in January at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and completed production on "The Dream of the Romans," starring Jeff Daniels. She last appeared onstage in 2002 in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of Once in a Lifetime.

McAnuff is a two-time Tony Award-winning director who is now artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. He is director emeritus of La Jolla Playhouse, which he headed for much of the past 25 years.

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