Kathleen Chalfant, Nell Carter and Annabella Sciorra will be the latest threesome to collectively step into the shoes of playwright-performer Eve Ensler, when they join The Vagina Monologues for three weeks, Sept. 26-Oct. 15.
Chalfant first gained widespread attention playing several roles in Tony Kushner's Angels in America, including a Mormon mother and a rabbi. She became a bona fide theatre star with her turn as a stoical English professor who finds she has cancer, in Margaret Edson's Wit. Chalfant won nearly every award for the latter portrayal.
Carter won accolades and a Tony Award for her performance in the musical revue, Ain't Misbehavin'. More recently, she played Miss Hannigan in a Broadway revival of Annie.
Sciorra is best known for her film work ("Jungle Fever," "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle"), but frequently returns to the stage, most recently in last season's Shyster Off-Broadway.
* The roster of actresses who have appeared in the play so far runs as follows:
Feb. 8-20: Julie Kavner, Swoosie Kurtz and Audra McDonald
Feb. 22-March 5: Mary Alice, Amy Irving and Rosie Perez
March 7-19: Rita Moreno, Cynthia Nixon and Marlo Thomas
March 21-April 2: Shirley Knight, Andrea Martin and Alanis Morissette
April 4-16: Viola Davis, Gina Gershon and Annie Potts
April 18-30: Claire Danes, Jenifer Lewis and Mary McDonnell
May 2-14: Mo Gaffney, Marsha Mason and Lynn Whitfield
May 16-28: Diahann Carroll, Judith Ivey and Marisa Tomei
May 30-June 11: Joy Behar, Hazelle Goodman and Holland Taylor
June 13-15: Linda Ellerbee, Calista Flockhart and Lisa Gay Hamilton
June 27-July 9: Melissa Joan Hart, Carol Kane and Phylicia Rashad
July 11-23: Teri Hatcher, Ricki Lake and Regina Taylor
July 25-Aug. 6: Gloria Reuben, Julia Stiles and Mary Testa
Aug. 8-20: Brett Butler, Kellie Martin and Tonya Pinkins
Aug. 22-Sept. 3: Teri Garr, Julianna Margulies and Sanaa Lathan
Sept. 5-24: Brooke Shields, Mercedes Ruehl and Ana Gasteyer
Joe Mantello, who staged Love! Valour! Compassion! on Broadway, is the director of the show.
$10 of each $55 ticket sold to The Vagina Monologues goes to the V Day Initiative.
For information on the Westside engagement, call (212) 239-6200.
In other news, The Vagina Monologues, which has been playing a hit engagement at New York City's Westside Theatre since last fall, will open at Los Angeles' Canon Theatre on Oct. 13. As in New York, the L.A. mounting will feature a new trio of actresses every three weeks. The inaugural threesome features Rosie Perez, Julie Kavner and Swoosie Kurtz, all of whom have appeared in the Off-Broadway version.
The Vagina Monologues began its Gotham engagement with author actress Ensler handling all the acting duties. 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.'"
Ensler stayed with the show until early 2000, after which the actress tag teams took over. The initial trio -- featuring Kavner, Kurtz and Audra McDonald -- began on Feb. 8. Recently, the booking period grew from a two-week to a three-week stay. The Canon production will follow the three-week model. Future casts are to be announced.
--By Robert Simonson