♦ After weeks of speculation, producer Scott Rudin has announced that Bette Midler‘s replacement in the Tony-winning revival of Hello, Dolly! will be none other than three-time Tony winner Bernadette Peters. She will be joined by Tony nominee Victor Garber, who will replace David Hyde Pierce in the role of Horace Vandergelder. Both Peters and Garber will begin performances at the Shubert Theatre on Jan. 20, 2018, with an official opening for the new leads set for Feb. 22. “I’m absolutely thrilled to continue in the tradition of the incomparable Bette Midler, Carol Channing, and all of the other wonderful actresses who have played Dolly Levi,” said Ms. Peters, “and I look forward to joining this wonderful company at the Shubert.”
♦ Taylor Louderman will star as queen bee Regina George in Tina Fey‘s upcoming Broadway-bound musical, Mean Girls, with Erika Henningsen taking on the role of innocent newcomer Cady Heron. Ashley Park and Kate Rockwell round out the principal cast as George’s fellow “Plastics,” Gretchen Wieners and Karen Smith, respectively. Based on Fey’s screenplay for the original 2004 film, the musical features music by her husband Jeff Richmond and lyrics by Tony nominee Neill Benjamin. Direction and choreography are by Tony winner Casey Nicholaw. The show will play Washington, D.C.’s National Theatre Oct. 31-Dec. 3 before starting previews at Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre on Mar. 12, 2018. Official opening in New York is set for Apr. 8, 2018.
♦ The Portuguese Kid, John Patrick Shanley‘s new romantic comedy starring Jason Alexander, will begin performances at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Center Stage I on Sept. 19 ahead of an Oct. 24 opening. Joining Alexander are three-time Tony nominee Sherie René Scott and Drama Desk winner Mary Testa. Alexander stars as Barry, a second-rate lawyer from Providence, R.I. who becomes romantically involved with a widowed Greek American real-estate mogul named Atalanta. Shanley is set to direct. The Portuguese Kid was originally developed during New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater’s 2016 summer residency at Vassar.
♦ LONDON BITS: U.K. news outlets are reporting that pop sensation Adele is in talks to play Nancy in a new film adaptation of the hit musical Oliver!; National Theatre Live will air the Young Vic production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in Feb. 2018; Christian Slater and Kris Marshall are set to star in a West End production of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, to be directed by Sam Yates; Douglas Henshall will join Bryan Cranston and Michelle Dockery in the world premiere stage adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky‘s “Network” at London’s National Theatre this fall.
♦ Jiréh Breon Holder‘s Too Heavy For Your Pocket, a new play set in 1961 Nashville during the civil rights movement, will kick off Roundabout Underground’s 11th season. Directed by Margot Bordelon, the show’s cast includes Brandon Gill, Eboni Flowers, Hampton Fluker and Nneka Okafor, with Gill playing a 20-year-old who gives up promising educational opportunities to join The Freedom Riders, a group of civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated South. Previews begin Sept. 15, with an official opening set for Oct. 5. Performances run through Nov. 19 at the Black Box Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre.
♦ The Actors’ Shakespeare Project 2017-18 season will start with Eugène Ionesco’s Exit the King, directed by Dmitry Troyanovsky and running Sept. 13-Oct. 8. An all-female production of Julius Caesar follows Nov. 15-Dec. 17. Richard III is up next, running Feb. 7-Mar. 11 and directed by Robert Walsh. Much Ado About Nothing closes out the season Apr. 11-May 6 with direction by Christopher V. Edwards. ASP productions utilize found spaces, schools, theaters and neighborhoods, so please check their website for performance locations.
♦ IN BRIEF: Tony nominee Alison Pill will join Glenda Jackson and Laurie Metcalf in the upcoming Broadway revival of Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women; Phillipa Soo and Marton Csokas have been added to the cast of The Parisian Woman, the Uma Thurman-starrer set to open at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre on Nov. 30; A Doll’s House, Part 2 will shutter on Sept. 24, almost four months ahead of its original January closing date; members of Actors’ Equity Association have approved an annual dues increase with incremental installments over five years to $176; a memorial service for playwright A.R. Gurney, who passed away June 13, will be held Sept. 12 at 1:30 PM at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre.
Written by Richard Hart