Donna Hanover will have some like-minded company when she joins the cast of the Off-Broadway hit The Vagina Monologues, Oct. 17. Cast alongside her will be Robin Givens, another actress who, like Hanover, knows a little something about the difficulties of being married to a powerful, headstrong man.
Givens, who has been seen in movies and the sitcom "Head of the Class," is still best known as the ex-wife of former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, with whom she shared a few tempestuous years. Hanover recently separated from New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Joining Hanover and Givens will be comedienne Susie Essman. The three will stay with the show until Nov. 5.
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 this fall. The actresses will play 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.
Brooke Shields, Mercedes Ruehl and Ana Gasteyer comprise one of the odder trios thus far to appear in Off-Broadway's long-running hit, The Vagina Monologues. They commenced talking on Sept. 5 and -- initiating new three-week stays in the show -- and will stay with the production until Sept. 24.
Shields' previous stage work includes a highly publicized turn in Fran and Barry Weissler's Broadway revival of Grease!, in which the actress played Rizzo. Soon after her Broadway turn, Shields began her own sitcom, "Suddenly Susan." The former model's resume also includes such early and controversial credits as "Pretty Baby" (in which she played a child prostitute) and "Endless Love."
Ruehl won a Tony Award for her performance in Lost in Yonkers and an Oscar for "The Fisher King." A theatre veteran, her most recent Broadway credit was a revival of Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo.
Gasteyer is a regular on "Saturday Night Live."
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
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.
--By Robert Simonson