The first trio of actresses to take over Eve Ensler's duties in The Vagina Monologues will begin its two-week stint on Feb. 8. Initiating the honors are Julie Kavner, Swoosie Kurtz and Audra McDonald.
Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues, starring Ensler herself, returned to New York the Westside Theatre Oct. 3, after previews from Sept. 21. Vagina reveals a series of different women's stories and experiences involving their genitalia. New introductions to the monologues have been written for the various threesomes, who will divide the text between them.
A large ad for the show in the Jan. 21 New York Times said "Beginning Feb. 8, three of the amazing women listed above will share the microphone at every performance. All these women will perform the monologues in the coming months." Among the listed actresses are such theatre vets, young and old, as Kathleen Chalfant, Elizabeth Franz, Mo Gaffney, Hazelle Goodman, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Kristen Johnston, Jane Krakowski, Patti LuPone, Camryn Manheim, Donna Murphy, Kathy Najimy, Lois Smith and Marisa Tomei.
Also listed are film and television talents including Winona Ryder ("Girl, Interrupted"), Gina Gershon ("Snoops"), Rhea Perlman ("Cheers"), Julianna Margulies ("ER"), Lara Flynn Boyle ("The Practice," "Happiness") and talk show host Ricki Lake. Perhaps the three most unusual women to be connected with the play are journalist Linda Ellerbee, novelist Erica Jong ("Fear of Flying") and pop sensation Alanis Morissette ("Bitter Little Pill").
No scheduling beyond the first four groups has been announced. The set schedule will run as follows:
Feb. 8-20: Julie Kavner, Swoosie Kurtz and Audra McDonald
Feb. 22-March 5: Mary Alice, Rosie Perez and Amy Irving
March 7-19: Rita Moreno, Cynthia Nixon, Marlo Thomas
March 21-April 2: Shirley Knight, Andrea Martin, Alanis Morissette
Joe Mantello, who staged Love! Valour! Compassion! on Broadway, is the director of the show.
Kavner, the voice of Marge Simpson on "The Simpsons," appeared in Craig Lucas' God's Heart Off-Broadway. Kurtz recently starred on Broadway in Paula Vogel's The Mineola Twins, while McDonald just wrapped up a starring turn in Marie Christine at Lincoln Center Theater.
$10 of each ticket sold to The Vagina Monologues will go to the V Day Initiative.
For information on the Westside engagement, call (212) 239-6200.
-- By Robert Simonson