Hartford Stage has decided to run its production of Horton Foote's The Death of Papa as scheduled, even though the show's star, Matthew Broderick, has opted to remain with the Broadway revival of Might Must Fall for an open run (moving to the Helen Hayes Theatre).
Hartford Stage spokesman Jeff Provost told Playbill On-Line that Hartford artistic director Michael Wilson was currently recasting Broderick's role. Papa will open on May 27 as originally planned. Polly Holliday and Hallie Foote have been announced for the cast -- both performed the play with Broderick in earlier stagings -- but it is unclear as to whether they will remain with the production.
It was revealed March 25 that the National Actors Theatre revival of Night Must Fall, starring Matthew Broderick, will close at the Lyceum Theatre on April 11 and reopen at the smaller Helen Hayes Theatre on April 13 for an open-ended run.
The move of Night Must Fall comes as something of a surprise. Though the revival of the Emlyn Williams thriller garnered a positive notice from the Times, it was always understood the show would end on schedule, due to Broderick's commitment to appear in The Death of Papa.
Night Must Fall, the story of a psychopathic bellboy and the spell he casts on several women in an English country house, began previews Feb. 2 and opened March 8, with a cast of Broderick, J. Smith-Cameron, Judy Parfitt Michael Countryman, Seana Kofoed, Patricia Kilgarriff and Peter McRobbie. John Tillinger directs. Since it was announced that the Hayes' recent resident, Band in Berlin, would close on March 21, speculation has run rampant as to whether the theatre would play host to a last-minute entry into the 1998 99 Tony race. Over the course of the last ten days, likely candidates Wit and By Jeeves made it clear a trip to the Hayes was not in their future. The producers of Wit announced they would stay put at the Union Square Theatre, where the play is an Off-Broadway hit. The Goodspeed Opera House of Connecticut had long desired to bring its staging of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Alan Ayckbourn's musical By Jeeves to Broadway. But executive director of the Goodspeed, Michael Price, told the New York Times (March 19) that the theatre, the actors and the budget were all in line, but director-book writer Alan Ayckbourn had schedule conflicts.