This has turned out to be a really big week for stage casting news – including some really unexpected choices.
Pamela Anderson, whose biggest moment of notoriety in the 1990s is currently dramatized on the Hulu bio drama “Pam & Tommy,” will join the Broadway cast of “Chicago” for eight weeks beginning April 12. She will play the “merry murderess” Roxie Hart. In a statement that seemed to hint at the drama she has faced in her personal life, Anderson described playing the role as “a sweet escape for me…Performing Fosse, you don’t have time to get in your head. You can’t dance, sing and think at the same time. There is a freedom, a unique joy in knowing it’s all about the work.” Interestingly, the long-running Broadway revival of “Chicago” opened in 1996, the same year that Anderson’s flop action film “Barb Wire” was released.
Daniel Radcliffe, who headlined a hit Broadway revival of the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” back in 2011, will play the supporting role of Charley Kringas in what will clearly be a very high-profile Off-Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s beloved flop musical “Merrily We Roll Along,” which will be produced by New York Theatre Workshop next season and directed by Maria Friedman, who previously directed “Merrily” in London and Boston. Additional casting, including for the key roles of Franklin Shepard and Mary Flynn, will be announced later. While “Merrily” often receives professional revivals (including a 2019 Off-Broadway revival by the Roundabout Theatre Company and a 2012 City Center Encores! Production), it has still not received a Broadway revival.
Bebe Neuwirth, an original cast member of the Broadway revival of “Chicago” (who won a Tony for her performance as Velma Kelly), has joined the cast of “The Bedwetter,” a new musical written by musician Adam Schlesinger (who died in 2020 due to complications from COVID-19), comic Sarah Silverman, and playwright Joshua Harmon (“Bad Jews”), which will be produced Off-Broadway by the Atlantic Theater Company beginning in May. It is based on Silverman’s 2010 memoir about, among other things, wetting the bed.
Will Swenson, who has worked steadily on Broadway since his unforgettable performance as Berger in the 2009 revival of “Hair,” will play singer-songwriter Neil Diamond in the new bio-jukebox musical “A Beautiful Noise, The New Diamond Musical.” It will have an out-of-town tryout run in Boston this summer and, assuming that goes well, transfer to Broadway next season. According to the press release, the musical will depict how “a poor kid from Brooklyn” went on to become “one of the most universally adored showmen of all time” while using “era-defining smash hits that entranced the world” such as “Sweet Caroline.”
Mary Badham, best known for her portrayal of Scout in the 1962 film adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” when she was a child, will take on a small role in the new national tour of Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of the novel. Meanwhile, the Broadway production of “Mockingbird” is slated to reopen on June 1 at the Belasco Theatre with Greg Kinnear playing Atticus Finch.