Brown, Walken nab lead roles
Playwrights Horizons has gotten eclectic with its casting for the world premiere of the musical play “James Joyce’s The Dead.”Gregory Mosher and Arielle Tepper, co-producers of the show, had sought to bring “The Dead” to Broadway last February, but the project went south when they couldn’t secure either Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater or Patti LuPone to star. Now, under the Playwrights Horizons umbrella, Blair Brown will play the role of Gretta Conroy, with Christopher Walken essaying the role of her husband, Gabriel, in this musical adaptation of Joyce’s “Dubliners” short story, set at a Christmas party. Additional roles Also starring are Stephen Spinella (“Angels in America”), Sally Ann Howes (who replaced Julie Andrews in the original Broadway production of “My Fair Lady”) and Marni Nixon (Hollywood’s most famous singing dubber for the leading ladies of “West Side Story, “The King and I” and “My Fair Lady”). In addition, the production offers a reunion of sorts for Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner, playing sisters here, who were jointly Tony-nominated as best actress in a musical for their 1998 conjoined-twins turn in “Side Show.” Theater vets Daisy Eagan, Brian Davies, Paddy Croft, John Kelly, Dashiell Eves and Brooke Sunny Moriber round out the 13-member cast. Directed by Jack Hofsiss (“The Elephant Man”), “James Joyce’s The Dead” has a book by playwright Richard Nelson (“Two Shakespearean Actors”), with music by Shaun Davey (“Waking Ned Devine”) and lyrics by Davey and Nelson. The musical play opens the 1999-2000 mainstage season of Playwrights Horizon, with perfs beginning Oct. 1 for a limited engagement through Nov. 14.