British actress Lynn Redgrave will play the choice role of Joanne in the upcoming Kennedy Center revival of Stephen Sondheim's Company, director Sean Mathias told Playbill On-Line. As such, Redgrave will follow in the footsteps of Elaine Stritch, who created the role on Broadway, and sing what is arguably the score's most fabled song, "The Ladies Who Lunch."
Redgrave joins the already announced John Barrowman as Bobby, Christy Baron as Susan, Matt Bogart as Paul, Keira Naughton as Sarah, Alice Ripley as Amy and Emily Skinner as Jenny. Mathias said there were about five roles yet to be cast.
Redgrave's work as an actress and playwright, The Mandrake Root, is currently on display at San Jose Repertory Theatre. Warner Shook, who helmed the drama's world premiere at the Long Wharf in 2001, directs. In The Mandrake Root, Redgrave plays Rose, the matriarch of a great family, as she is observed by her own daughter Sally. Around Rose, Redgrave has crafted a story of betrayal, sex and crippling family errors. The character she plays, the actress-playwright admits, is much based on her mother, the British actress Rachel Kempson. (See Playbill On-Line's Brief Encounter will Lynn Redgrave on today's home page.)
The busy Mathias began rehearsals of the new Broadway revival of The Elephant Man Feb. 11. His cast is headed by Billy Crudup, Kate Burton and Rupert Graves. Later this year, he and Ian McKellen will remount The Dance of Death in London. The Strindberg classic played on Broadway this past fall.
* Company is one of six Stephen Sondheim musicals to be staged at the Kennedy Center this summer. The latest actor to join the venture is Randy Graff, as first reported by PBOL on Feb. 8. She will play Charlotte in A Little Night Music, directed by Mark Brokaw. Already announced for this production are Barbara Bryne as Madame Armfeldt, Natascia Diaz as Petra and Danny Gurwin as Henrik.
Graff was last seen on Broadway singing "The Next Best Thing to Love" in A Class Act, a role which won her a Tony nomination, her first since winning the Tony for City of Angels. Other credits include the original New York Fantine in Les Miserables, High Society and Laughter on the 23rd Floor.
The Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration, an unprecedented festival of works devoted to one American musical theatre composer, offers Company, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Passion, Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along. The series begins May 10 with the first performance of Sweeney Todd. The previously announced stars of Sweeney are Christine Baranski and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Individual tickets go on sale Feb. 11.
Also announced for the shows are Esapraza (as Charley in Merrily We Roll Along, as well at the title role in Sunday in the Park With George), Rebecca Luker (Clara in Passion), Michael McGrath (Joe in Merrily We Roll Along), Donna Migliaccio (the Nurse in Sunday in the Park With George), Miriam Shor (Mary in Merrily We Roll Along), Emily Skinner (Gussie in Merrily We Roll Along).
Eric Schaeffer serves as artistic director for the festival, Kay Cameron is musical director, Max Woodward is producer. Single tickets range $20 $79. For information, call (202) 467 4600.
—By Robert Simonson
and Kenneth Jones