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NEW YORK — Cinderella is about to get a fresh headache when Fran Drescher steps into the role of the character’s abusive stepmother, making her Broadway debut in playwright Douglas Carter Beane‘s irreverent update on the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical fairytale.
Appearing for ten weeks only, Feb. 4 through April 13, Drescher will take over the role when Harriet Harris exits the production after a year-long run.
Drescher and her squawking voice became emblems of 1990s pop culture when she played the shop-girl from Flushing, Queens, who hit Park Avenue luxury in the long-running CBS sitcom The Nanny.
Her previous stage credits include Off Broadway productions of Neil LaBute‘s Some Girl(s), Nora and Delia Ephron‘s Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and a special Lincoln Center concert staging of the musical Camelot.
Adapted from the original 1957 Rodgers & Hammerstein television musical that starred Julie Andrews, Cinderella was nominated for nine Tony Awards this year, winning for William Ivey Long‘s costumes.
The production has been a steady earner since it began performances at the Broadway Theatre on Jan. 25, grossing $42.6 million to date. Producers clearly are counting on Drescher fans to goose box office during the traditionally slow post-holiday period, as well as the spring, when new competition arrives.
Another blast from the pop-cultural past joins the cast of Pippin, when Annie Potts assumes the role of the title character’s exiled royal grandmother Berthe in the hit Broadway revival.
Beloved for her 1980s appearances in movies like Ghostbusters and Pretty in Pink, as well as the CBS sitcom Designing Women, Potts steps in when Tovah Feldshuh finishes her stint in the production.
The role of the spirited Berthe, which involves dangling upside-down on a trapeze in the arms of a muscular circus hunk, won a best featured actress Tony Award for Andrea Martin, who departed the production early due to a TV commitment. The show won four Tonys in all, also including best musical revival, direction for Diane Paulus and lead actress for Patina Miller.
It began performances at the Music Box Theatre on March 23 and has been a strong seller, with a cumulative gross to date of $33.6 million.
Potts made her Broadway debut in 2009 as a replacement castmember in the Yasmina Reza play God of Carnage. She starts performances in Pippin Jan. 21.
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