amBroadway | Theater to be renamed for James Earl Jones, Patti LuPone tests positive for COVID and more

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
James Earl Jones in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at Broadhurst Theater.
Photo: Joan Marcus

Cort Theatre to be renamed for James Earl Jones

Broadway’s Cort Theatre will be renamed the James Earl Jones Theatre in honor of the 91-year-old stage and film actor, who has appeared in numerous Broadway productions since 1957 including “The Great White Hope,” “Othello,” “Fences,” and recent revivals of “You Can’t Take It With You” and “The Gin Game.” “For me standing in this very building 64 years ago at the start of my Broadway career, it would have been inconceivable that my name would be on the building today,” Jones said in a statement. The theater has undergone extensive renovation during the pandemic, which is expected to be completed this summer.

LuPone out of ‘Company’ due to COVID

Patti LuPone, who plays the fiery Joanne in the Broadway revival of “Company,” has been out of the show since testing positive for COVID-19 last weekend. She is expected to return on Tuesday, March 8. In her absence, Jennifer Simard, who normally plays Sarah, has been filling in for LuPone as Joanne.

All-female ‘POTUS’ to play Broadway

The Shubert Theatre, one of the premiere Broadway venues, will next be occupied by a new political comedy by Selina Fillinger, a 28-year-old, little-known playwright, with the following long-winded title: “POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive.” The all-female cast will include Vanessa Williams, Julianne Hough, Rachel Dratch, Julie White, Suzy Nakamura, Lili Cooper, and Lea Delaria. It will be directed by Susan Stroman (“The Producers”), who said in a statement that the play “questions how complicit we really are in the woes of the world – and what would happen if we simply stood back instead of continuing to empower the leaders who got us to where we are in the first place.” It will begin previews on April 14, for a limited run through Aug. 14.

‘Kimberly Akimbo’ confirmed for Broadway transfer

The dark musical comedy “Kimberly Akimbo,” which played an acclaimed Off-Broadway run at the Atlantic Theater Company during the most challenging days of the Omicron variant, will transfer to Broadway in the fall. Victoria Clark (“The Light in the Piazza”), who leads the cast, plays a New Jersey teenager with an aging disease that causes her to look like she is 72 years old. It has music by Jeanine Tesori (“Fun Home”) and book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, who previously wrote the play that the musical is based upon. The cast also includes Steven Boyer (“Hand to God”), Alli Mauzey (“Cry Baby”), and Bonnie Milligan (“Head Over Heels”).

Hicks, Borle, and Ghee workshop ‘Some Like It Hot’

Adrianna Hicks, who plays Catherine of Aragon in “Six,” will portray Sugar (the Marilyn Monroe character) in a developmental workshop of the upcoming Broadway musical adaptation of “Some Like It Hot,” as per Playbill.com. The jazz musicians who crossdress as women in order to evade gangsters will be played by Christian Borle (who is about to play the Baker in “Into the Woods” at City Center) and J. Harrison Ghee (who is currently in the cast of “Mrs. Doubtfire”). The musical (which is distinct from “Sugar,” an earlier musical adaptation of “Some Like It Hot”) is expected to play Broadway next season. 

Asian-American artist attacked prior to Public Theater performance

An Asian-American artist was physically attacked last week while on his way to the Public Theater to participate in a performance in the theater’s lobby by Yip’s Dragon Style Kung Fu and Lion Dance to celebrate the first preview of “The Chinese Lady.” “His glasses were broken, his eye was bruised, and he was kicked multiple times. Because he couldn’t see well, he couldn’t perform his role but insisted instead on playing one of the instruments, and the group insisted the performance go on as planned,” the theater wrote on Twitter in a joint statement with the Ma-Yi Theater Company. 

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