♦ Lucas Hnath’s Tony-nominated A Doll’s House, Part 2 will see three of its four actors replaced beginning July 25. Tony winner Laurie Metcalf, along with Tony nominees Chris Cooper and Condola Rashad, will all be leaving the show after they take their final bows on Sunday, July 23. Replacing Metcalf as Nora will be Tony winner Julie White, while Tony nominee Stephen McKinley Henderson will come on board as Torvald and Erin Wilhelmi will play Emmy, Nora and Torvald’s daughter. Jayne Houdyshell, who received a Tony nomination for her performance as housekeeper Anne Marie, will remain with the production. The play, which picks up 15 years after Ibsen’s drama, is scheduled to run through Jan. 7, 2018 at the John Golden Theatre.
♦ Cyndi Lauper is a very busy woman these days. Not only has she penned a song for the upcoming musical SpongeBob SquarePants, but Lauper, who won a Tony for her score to the long-running Kinky Boots, is now on board to write the score for a Broadway-bound musical adaptation of the hit film Working Girl. “I’m really excited for so many reasons to start composing the score for Working Girl.,” said Lauper. “I love the film, and its story about a woman’s very unconventional road to success in the ‘80s is something I know a lot about.” The new musical, based on the Twentieth Century Fox motion picture starring Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford, will feature a book by playwright Kim Rosenstock. No word yet on the rest of the creative team or a production timeline for the new musical.
♦ Second Stage Theatre has announced that Tony, Oscar and Golden Globe Award winner Mercedes Ruehl will play Ma opposite Michael Urie‘s Arnold Beckoff in the fall revival of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy. Moisés Kaufman directs. Performances are scheduled to begin Sept. 26 with an official opening set for Oct. 19 at Off-Broadway’s Tony Kiser Theatre. Fierstein has provided newly edited text for the upcoming 35th anniversary production, which will be titled simply Torch Song. Further casting will be announced soon.
♦ The Playwrights Realm has announced that its 2017–2018 season will consist of two world-premiere plays. Michael Yates Crowley’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias, billed as a “satirical dark comedy,” examines rape culture through the eyes of a high school sexual assault survivor. Directed by Tyne Rafaeli, the play runs Aug.-Sept. In February 2018, Jade King Carroll will direct Don Nguyen’s Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth, a play about conception and space travel. Both playwrights are a part of The Realm’s Writing Fellowship, an initiative that provides early-career playwrights with a cash prize and nine months of resources, readings and feedback.
♦ Lincoln Center Theater will produce Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar‘s new play, Junk, set to open at the Vivian Beaumont Theater this fall. The play, set 30 years ago, explores America’s financial markets during a time of rapid upheaval and explains how, while most of us weren’t watching, “money became the only thing of real value.” Steven Pasquale stars, with additional casting to be announced soon. Directed by Doug Hughes, the show begins previews on Sept. 14 ahead of an Oct. 12 opening. Akhtar won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Disgraced and received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play for Disgraced’s subsequent Broadway production.
♦ A developmental lab of the Broadway-bound musical Pretty Woman, based on Garry Marshall’s 1990 film that starred Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, is in the works. Jerry Mitchell will direct and choreograph the workshop, which is scheduled for Sept. 11–Oct. 6. Casting is now underway. Mitchell, a two-time Tony winner for Best Choreography for Kinky Boots and the 2004 revival of La Cage aux Folles, recently said that the new musical, about a call girl whose life is transformed when a millionaire businessman falls in love with her, is aiming for Broadway in the 2018–2019 season.
♦ And finally, Actors’ Equity Association has announced that Nicole S. Smart will take on the role of the organization’s first-ever Director of Diversity. Smart will be responsible for furthering the union’s mission for greater inclusion and diversity both within the organization and the broader theatre community. Throughout her 15-year professional career, Smart has served in leadership roles to facilitate diversity and inclusion objectives for numerous non-profit associations. “I look forward to working for an organization that has committed from top to bottom to making diversity and inclusion a core part of its mission,” said Smart. “I am thrilled to put my experience and involvement on diversity and inclusion to work for Equity’s talented Members.”
Written by Richard Hart