NEW YORK — David Alan Grier will replace Whoopi Goldberg in Broadway’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To the Forum,” beginning the role of Pseudolus as soon as Goldberg exits July 13. Grier will perform the role for five months, and the producers are in talks with Carol Burnett to step in once he finishes, sources said.
It’s the latest example of stage producers seeking stars to join a show in progress to keep audiences interested. Grier — who began as a stage actor but is best known for Fox TV series “In Living Color” and films including “Jumanji” — said that joining a show was the only way he could get back to his stage roots.
“It has been hard and frustrating to find a play that I can do now,” he said. “For example, I saw ‘Ragtime’ and thought it was great and they called me two years ago about doing a workshop. There’s no money in it, no guarantee you’ll stay in a production and not a certainty it’ll hit Broadway, but by the time it does, you’re talking about a two-year commitment. This fell perfectly into my schedule.”
Grier turned down several movie roles to make room for the role, originated in the revival by Nathan Lane, who won the Tony Award.
Goldberg exits to work on a Columbia/TriStar sitcom for UPN called “Ruby,” in which she provides the voice for a diva puppet.
Grier also will exit to begin working on a Fox Network series he’ll co-star in with Damon Wayans. Grier left Yale and moved right to a Tony-nommed role as Jackie Robinson in 1981’s “The First.” He’s done “Dreamgirls,” “A Soldier’s Story” and “Richard III.”
“Forum” producer Michael David of Dodger Prods. said, “We’ve been talking to a lot of people, but nothing is finalized.”