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Just as tech rehearsals are gearing up for the Broadway opening of Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, the Taylor Mac play has undergone significant cast changes, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Andrea Martin has been forced to depart the production several weeks into rehearsals due to a substantial injury, with castmate Kristine Nielsen now stepping into her role opposite Nathan Lane. Martin broke four ribs in an accident while rehearsing the play; she soldiered on for a week but ultimately was unable to continue for health reasons.
“I am heartbroken to have to leave the production and have tried to convince the doctor that my funny bone is stronger than my broken ribs,” said Martin. “But regretfully, I must follow the doctor’s orders. I love everyone involved in this beautiful play and will miss them profoundly. I will be there cheering them on from the audience at the Booth Theatre.”
Lane and Nielsen will now star as lowly servants during the chaotic fall of the Roman Empire, charged with cleaning up the corpses after the grisly battles of the civil war in a country stolen by madmen. The play is set just after the blood-soaked conclusion of William Shakespeare’s first tragedy, Titus Andronicus.
The role originally to be played by Nielsen, of a midwife discovered among the casualties on the verge of death, will now go to Julie White, a 2007 lead actress Tony Award winner for The Little Dog Laughed.
“There is no greater company member than Andrea Martin, and we are heartsick to see her depart the production,” said producer Scott Rudin in a statement. “We wish her the speediest recovery possible. We are very grateful to both Ms. Nielsen and Ms. White for stepping up and stepping in so swiftly.”
Directed by five-time Tony winner George C. Wolfe, Gary marks the Broadway debut of genderqueer theater artist Mac, a MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist whose epic pop-cultural kaleidoscope A 24-Decade History of Popular Music played to massive acclaim both in the U.S. and on international tour stops.
Back in September when the subversive political comedy was first outlined, Rudin told THR: “It’s that rare thing that’s almost impossible to find, something genuinely disruptive that is also simply a blast. It’s got a huge, bravura part for Nathan that wants 100 percent of what he brings with him.”
The production marks Lane’s first Broadway gig since picking up his third Tony Award last year for his blistering performance as Roy M. Cohn in Angels in America.
The start of previews for the new play will be pushed back to accommodate the cast change, beginning March 11 instead of 5 at the Booth Theatre, with the official opening moving from April 11 to April 21. The limited engagement is scheduled to run through Aug. 4.
Wolfe has reassembled the same deluxe design team that worked on his 2018 revival of The Iceman Cometh, which starred Denzel Washington and also was produced by Rudin. That includes set designer Santo Loquasto, costumer Ann Roth and lighting designers Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer. In addition, Danny Elfman has composed original music for the play, with movement by Bill Irwin.
Updated March 20 with new official opening date.
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