Kathy Bates Withdraws From Philadelphia Theatre Co. Play, But Sondheim Is in the Wings

News   Kathy Bates Withdraws From Philadelphia Theatre Co. Play, But Sondheim Is in the Wings
Being Alive, the new musical revue created by Billy Porter, merging Shakespeare poetry and Stephen Sondheim songs, will surface Oct. 23-Dec. 2 at Philadelphia Theatre Company.

The Philly run comes after the current test of the material playing Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. It opened there Aug. 25.

PTC announced Aug. 27 that Kathy Bates will not be appearing in the previously announced world premiere production of Terrence McNally's drama Unusual Acts of Devotion. The Philadelphia Theatre Company will replace the McNally world premiere with Being Alive, which will open PTC's season — the first at the new Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

Conceived and directed by award-winning musical theatre performer Billy Porter, Being Alive "blends the songs of Stephen Sondheim with the poetry of William Shakespeare to tell the universal story of man's seven ages in African-American musical idioms including soul, jazz, blues, R&B, hip-hop, and gospel."

The revue features such songs as "Anyone Can Whistle," "Send in the Clowns," "Pretty Women," "Children Will Listen" and "Being Alive."

Although creatives and casting were not announced, it's expected that some holdovers from the Connecticut run will re-create their work in Philadelphia. "On the recommendation of her doctor, Kathy Bates has regretfully had to withdraw from Unusual Acts of Devotion due to health reasons," according to PTC. "Because the world premiere play was written specifically with Ms. Bates in mind, and because the re-casting of a new actress of equal caliber could not be achieved under the time constraints, Philadelphia Theatre Company has decided to postpone the play for a future season."

Sara Garonzik, Philadelphia Theatre Company's producing artistic director, said, "Despite the postponement, we are as committed as ever to produce Mr. McNally's extraordinary new play which will mark our sixth production of his work including the world premieres of Master Class and Some Men. We remain profoundly grateful to him for our alliance which has been a joyous one for many years. We are also grateful to Mr. Sondheim for having granted us the opportunity to present his thrilling new work for our theatre's inaugural season in our new home."

Visit www.philadelphiatheatrecompany.org.

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