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Celebrity Sizzle: A Major Draw for Big Apple Summer Stages

June 23, 2010 - by Griffin Miller

In case you hadn’t noticed, New York’s summer star-scape is in excellent form this year, with some of the biggest talents in show biz embracing the sultry months of June, July and August to appear both on and Off-Broadway.

On Broadway, Eddie Izzard has taken over the role originated by James Spader in David Mamet’s provocative hit play, Race. He joins recent cast newcomers Dennis Haysbert (24) and Afton C. Williamson (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone) and original cast member Richard Thomas.

Meanwhile, Next to Normal, the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, will welcome real-life husband and wife Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley as Diana and Dan Goodman on July 19th. Mazzie was a Tony nominee for Kiss Me, Kate and the original production of Ragtime, while Danieley starred on Broadway in Curtains and The Full Monty. This, however, marks the first time for the two to appear onstage as a married couple. They replace Tony winner Alice Ripley and Brian d’Arcy James, who will give their final performances on July 18th.

Harry Connick, Jr. will also be appearing on Broadway in Harry Connick, Jr. in Concert on Broadway -- albeit for a short run of only 11 performances -- at the Neil Simon Theatre (July 15th through July 26th).

Off-Broadway, Michael McKean (Superior Donuts, The Homecoming, Hairspray, Laverne & Shirley) recently stepped into the role of The Stage Manager in the highly acclaimed production of Our Town at the Barrow Street Theatre. (FYI: McKean also appeared on Broadway in The Pajama Game alongside Harry Connick, Jr. in 2006.) Our Town, which was scheduled to close on June 27th, has now extended through September 12th, and considering its multiple-extension history, will likely go on beyond that date as well.

Last, but far from least, Shakespeare in the Park is high on everyone’s list this summer with Al Pacino appearing as Shylock at the Public Theater’s mounting of The Merchant of Venice at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Notably, this year’s Shakespeare in the Park’s two productions -- The Winter’s Tale being the second -- will be played in repertory, with many of the actors (alas, not Pacino) appearing in both plays. However, fans of Rent and Law & Order will be able to see Jesse L. Martin in both!

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