Actress leaves play for part in 'Estate'

Lois Smith will be ankling early from Steppenwolf Theater Company’s Chicago production of “The Tempest” to play Stella Gordon, the matriarch of a Texas family in the Hartford Stage remount of Horton Foote’s “Dividing the Estate.” Smith replaces Elizabeth Ashley, who played the part in Lincoln Center’s Broadway production earlier this season.

Michael Wilson, who helmed “Estate,” is also a.d. at Hartford Stage. The rest of the Broadway cast will reprise their roles when the production, running May 28-July 5. Wilson directed Smith in Jane Anderson’s “Defying Gravity” in 1997 off-B’way.

Ashley is currently on Broadway in “August: Osage County.”

Smith, who top-lined Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful” Off Broadway in 2006 and later at Steppenwolf, will leave “The Tempest” before the run concludes May 31 to rehearse and perf in Hartford.

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