This week features two high-profile cast changes occurring prior to the start of performances.
Elayne Boosler has left the cast of Triumph of Love; the reason given for the departure was the ever-popular "creative differences". In a prepared statement, Boosler said, "it was really hard to continue when I found out there were no nude scenes!" Her role of Corine will now be played by David Ives specialist Nancy Opel. Michael Mayer, the show's director, stated, "I have the greatest respect and affection for Elayne Boosler. I'm disappointed that her Broadway debut won't be in Triumph of Love, but you can bet I'll be first in line to see her future triumphs on other stages." Triumph begins previews Sept. 23 at the Royale Theatre.
The too-good-to-be-true casting of Fassbinder diva Barbara Sukowa (Lola, Berlin Alexanderplatz) in New York Theater Workshop's More Stately Mansions has turned out to be just that: the actress has left the production for unspecified reasons. Her role in the O'Neill revival, helmed by renowned Dutch director Ivo van Hove, will now be played by Joan Macintosh. The cast change has precipitated a two-week postponement in the show's performance dates; the production now runs Sept. 20 to Oct. 26.
Gilles Chiasson gave his last official performance in Rent Aug. 15, only to return a couple of days later to pinch-hit for an ailing Anthony Rapp. As previously reported, Chiasson will co-star in the upcoming Wildhorn/Knighton musical, The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Another actor jumping ship from a Tony-winning show to a new production is Jessica Hecht, who has just departed The Last Night of Ballyhoo to appear in Christopher Kyle's Plunge at Playwrights Horizons. The move reunites Hecht with her Ballyhoo director, Ron Lagomarsino. Beginning previews Sept. 5, Plunge marks Kyle's first New York outing since The Monogamist brought the playwright wide acclaim in 1995. After a summer hiatus, Ken Prymus has rejoined the cast of Cats as Old Deuteronomy; Jimmy Lockett had been playing the role in the interim. Laurie Beechman's final performance as Grizabella will be Sept. 14; Liz Callaway returns Sept. 23. Marlene Danielle, the feline musical's die-hard Bombalurina, rejoins the cast Oct. 3.
As earlier reported on PBOL, Annie, currently in its final two months, has recently seen a number of cast changes in its children's ensemble. Christiana Anbri (who plays Molly) and Melissa O'Malley (Kate) have been replaced by Kristen Alderson and Gemini Quintos, respectively. Also gone from the cast are Mekenzie Rosen-Stone (Duffy) and Lyndsey Watkins (Tessie). Their roles are now being played by Bianca Collins and Courtney Leigh, respectively.
James Naughton will return to Chicago one week later than earlier reported; he will resume the role of slick Billy Flynn in the hit revival Sept. 2. Greg Jbara has been subbing for the 1997 Tony winner since June 24.
It's been a roller-coaster summer for Brian Sutherland. As understudy for Daniel McDonald in Steel Pier, Sutherland stepped in for the Tony-nominated actor on a couple of occasions, but the gig proved short-lived when the Kander and Ebb musical shuttered June 28. Sutherland jumped to Victor/Victoria, but that show promptly closed a couple of weeks later. The actor has finally found a solid berth with the hit revival of 1776 at the Roundabout, where he has replaced Robert Westenberg as Representative Lyman Hall.
-- By Andrew Ku