Merkerson will reprise lead role

Little Sheba is coming back to Broadway.

S. Epatha Merkerson will reprise her well-reviewed perf in the lead role of “Come Back, Little Sheba” on the Rialto in January. The show will play as part of the Manhattan Theater Club’s season at the Biltmore.

Merkerson, a 13-year vet of “Law & Order,” appeared in the 1950 William Inge play this summer at Center Theater Group’s Kirk Douglas Theater. Production was helmed by Michael Pressman, who also directs the Gotham incarnation.

Plot follows Lola (Merkerson) and her alcoholic husband Doc, whose lives are unsettled by a fetching young boarder. Play, which starred Shirley Booth in the original Rialto production, was made into a 1952 feature starring Booth and Burt Lancaster. A 1977 telepic starred Laurence Olivier and Joanne Woodward.

The recent Los Angeles production co-starred Alan Rosenberg as Doc and Jenna Gavigan as the boarder. Full Gotham cast has not yet been set.

“Sheba,” in its first Rialto revival since its 1950 preem, begins perfs Jan. 3, 2008, for a Jan. 24 opening. Show joins a Biltmore season that includes new Theresa Rebeck play “Mauritius” (Sept. 13-Nov. 25) and Caryl Churchill’s “Top Girls” (April 15-June 22, 2008).

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