When Dorothy Loudon leaves the Chicago company of Show Boat, Dec.17, the part of Parthy will be taken over by Joyce Van Patten. That means she'll be playing wife opposite her real-life brother, Dick Van Patten, who has the role of Cap'n Andy.
Joyce Van Patten's most recent New York appearance was in Jon Robin Baitz's A Fair Country at Lincoln Center, and earlier in 1996 she appeared in the CBS-TV production of Neil Simon's Jake's Women. A Neil Simon veteran, her Broadway credits include Rumors, Brighton Beach Memoirs and I Ought To Be In Pictures, along with Bernard Slade's Same Time Next Year. Van Patten created the Los Angeles actors and playwrights workshop, "Theatre West," with fellow actress Betty Garrett.
When Hal Prince's revival of Show Boat opened at the Gershwin Theatre Oct. 2, 1994, John McMartin starred as Cap'n Andy, the fun-loving ship captain fending off the barbs of his wife, Parthy, and keeping his riverboat rolling along.
After heading up the Chicago staging (opposite Dorothy Loudon) of the Kern/Hammerstein musical, John McMartin returned to the Broadway production Nov. 5 and stay with it until the New York run ends, Jan. 5, 1997. (Leaving the role on Nov.3 was John Cullum, best known as the lead in Shenandoah and for his role on TV's "Northern Exposure.") Original cast member Lonette McKee has also returned to the show, which co-stars Carole Shelley as Parthy, Hugh Panaro as Ravenal, and Sarah Pfisterer as Magnolia.
Show Boat opened in Los Angeles, Nov. 17, starring Ned Beatty and Cloris Leachman as Andy and Parthy. They'll continue in L.A. to March 1997 and then take the company to Denver. The show is already playing open runs in Chicago and Minneapolis, and will add Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis to its North American tour for 1997-98. For tickets ($15-$70) and information on the Chicago Show Boat call (312) 902-1500; for the Broadway Show Boat call (212) 307 4100.
-- By David Lefkowitz