Faye Dunaway to play Katharine Hepburn in ‘Tea at Five’ on Broadway

Mike Birbiglia looks for an understudy for his show, “The New One.”

Faye Dunaway returning to Broadway in ‘Tea at Five’

One famous film star will play another famous film star when Faye Dunaway returns to Broadway for the first time in more than 35 years this summer. Dunaway will play Katharine Hepburn in Matthew Lombardo’s 2002 one-woman drama "Tea at Five." It will be directed by John Tillinger (who is currently appearing onstage Off-Broadway in "Apologia"). Appropriately, the announcement was made on the same day as the opening of the Broadway production of "Network" (based on the 1976 film, in which Dunaway won an Oscar for her performance as Diana Christensen). Dunaway made her Broadway debut in the original production of "A Man for All Seasons" in the early 1960s. 

Mike Birbiglia looking for an ‘understudy’

Considering how Mike Birbiglia (who is currently appearing on Broadway in his new one-man show “The New One”) has a relatable appeal, in which he comes off as not so different from any given audience member who is figuring out life as it goes along, it kind of makes sense that Birbiglia is reaching out to the general public with the opportunity to become his “understudy.” “I’d love to have an understudy. I’d love to see what it would like look, if someone else were performing my lines,” Birbiglia said on the show’s website. To be considered, film yourself doing a short monologue from one of Birbiglia’s earlier shows. The winner (who will not actually become his understudy) will receive $1,000 and the chance to perform the monologue onstage at the Cort Theatre.

Apollo building two new Harlem theaters

Harlem’s Apollo Theater will soon be known as the Apollo Performing Arts Center. As part of the Victoria Theater Redevelopment Project, the historic venue confirmed this week that it has begun the process of building two new theaters (99 seats and 199 seats respectively), which are expected to open in 2020. The Classical Theatre of Harlem (which is currently presenting “A Christmas Carol in Harlem”) will be one of the resident companies. In a statement, CEO Jonelle Procope said the theater is “reaffirming its deep responsibility to our community…and safeguarding the spirit and cultural character of Harlem.”

National Disability Theatre to launch

National Disability Theatre, a new theater company that will be composed exclusively of individuals with disabilities, will premiere next fall with a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Members of the company’s advisory committee include Ali Stroker (“Oklahoma!”), Katy Sullivan (“The Cost of Living”) and Jamie Brewer (“Amy and the Orphans”). “People with disabilities deserve to see successful professionals at the top of their game. … Americans will get to encounter many such artists at NDT,” co-executive director Mickey Rowe said in a welcome letter.

LaBute will return Off-Broadway

A year ago, MCC Theater suddenly and without explanation terminated its long-standing relationship with playwright Neil LaBute (who was the Off-Broadway company’s playwright-in-residence) and canceled a planned production of his new play “Reasons to Be Pretty Happy.” While the MCC situation remains a mystery, three new one-act plays by LaBute will be presented Off-Broadway next month by the St. Louis Actors’ Studio as part of “The LaBute New Theater Festival” at the Davenport Theatre.

Spotted …

Bette Midler at “Fiddler on the Roof” in Yiddish … Katy Perry at “Mean Girls” … Kayne West, Kim Kardashian and Tina Fey at “The Cher Show” … Dustin Hoffman at “Network” … Michelle Obama at “American Son” … Kristin Chenoweth at “Pretty Woman.”

Matt Windman