The Roundabout Theatre Company has announced further casting for its fall Broadway revival of The Women, the dames of which will be draped in costumes by ready-to-wear celebrity Isaac Mizrahi, at the American Airlines Theatre.
As previously reported, Kristen Johnston will star as the ultra bitchy Sylvia Fowler in the staging (beginning previews Oct. 12 and opening Nov. 8) of Clare Booth Luce's comedy about marriage, divorce, sex and the competition within a coven of cosmopolitan Manhattan females. Scott Elliott directs.
The previously-reported Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Tilly, Rue McClanahan, Amy Ryan and Mary Louise Wilson were confirmed Aug. 8. Also announced were Lynne Collins as Miriam, Jennifer Coolidge as Edith and Lisa Emery as Nancy. Additional casting will be announced.
Nixon (who will play the virtuous Mary Haines), who plays Miranda on TV's "Sex and the City," is a frequent stage presence. Her most recent role was in Douglas Carter Beane's The Country Club Off-Broadway. Emery (Nancy) was in Off-Broadway's Dinner With Friends. Tilly (the man-stealing Crystal) is known for a series of slinky performances in films such as "Bullets Over Broadway" and "Bound." Wilson (Mrs. Morehead) starred in such productions as Full Gallop (as Diana Vreeland) and Cabaret. And McClanahan (the joyful divorcee Countess De Lage), while taking an occasional stage turn, is best known from the sitcoms "Maude" and "The Golden Girls." Ryan (Peggy) starred in both Saved and Crimes of the Heart last season.
Since the termination of her long-running sitcom, "Third Rock from the Sun," Emmy Award-winner Johnston has returned to the theatre in a big way. In addition to The Women, she's spending this summer in The Smell of the Kill, a black comedy by Michele Lowe at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. The play may eventually land in New York City. Sylvia Fowler is the most vindictive gossip in the nasty flock of vultures that peoples Luce's comedy. The role was played by Ilka Chase in the original 1936 Broadway staging (it ran 657 performances) and Rosalind Russell filled the part in the 1939 film (which also had Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford). In the play, Sylvia sends innocent Mary to her gossipy manicurist, Olga, knowing Olga will talk about the affair Mary's husband is having. In Reno, for a residency and a quick divorce, Mary communes with other divorcees.
The Women had a 1973 Broadway revival at the 46th Street Theatre starring Kim Hunter, Myrna Loy, Alexis Smith and Dorothy Loudon. A color M-G-M version, with songs, was called "The Opposite Sex."
Designers are Isaac Mizrahi (costumes), Derek McLane (sets), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Douglas J. Cuomo (sound).
Clare Booth (1903-1987) was a playwright, journalist, novelist, first U.S. Congresswoman from Connecticut and Ambassador to Italy. She was born in New York City. In 1935, after a divorce, she married Henry Luce, co-founder of Time Magazine and later Life Magazine. In 1941 Clare Boothe Luce agreed to run for political office, filling the seat held by her late stepfather. She won the election and in 1949 was re-elected. At the request of President Eisenhower, she was named Ambassador to Italy in 1946. She was a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan.
Director Elliott is founding and artistic director of The New Group Theater Company. His Broadway credits include the Tony Award-nominated Present Laughter and Three Sisters.
Costume designer Mizrahi was born in Brooklyn and attended the High School of Performing Arts as an acting major and studied fashion at Parsons School of Design. In 1987, Mizrahi opened his own clothing business and is a three time CFDA Designer of the Year award winner. In 1998 he closed the ready to wear company but still designs a shoe collection, a collection of coats and a collection of fine jewelry. Mizrahi has designed costumes for movies, theatre, dance and opera in collaboration with Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, Bill T. Jones and Mikhail Baryshnikov. In 1995, he was the subject of the highly acclaimed documentary, "Unzipped," directed by Douglas Keeve. He recently appeared Off-Broadway in his one-man show, Les Mizrahi, produced by the Drama Department.
The American Airlines Theatre is at 227 W. 42nd Street. For more information about Roundabout Theatre Company, visit roundabouttheatre.org.