Broadway musical adaptation eschews star casting to tap a well-known theater name
The producers and creatives behind the upcoming Broadway musical adaptation of “Bullets Over Broadway” have finalized their choice for the show-stealing role of Helen Sinclair, casting theater vet Marin Mazzie in the part played by Dianne Wiest in the 1994 movie.
Mazzie had long been said to be the likely choice for the role — ever since playing the part in a developmental reading of the tuner — but it’s generally known around town that bigger legit names have also been considered for the part in an effort to boost the production’s star power.
Though Mazzie may not have the kind of marquee name that drives much box office, she’s nonetheless a well-known fixture of the theater industry whose credits include Broadway’s “Kiss Me, Kate” and “Ragtime” (both of which earned her Tony noms) and the recent Off Broadway revival of “Carrie.”
In “Bullets” she’ll take on the diva role that won Wiest an Oscar in Woody Allen’s 1920s Broadway tale, playing a demanding actress who wants her part beefed up in the new play by a young scribe. Storyline centers on the playwright, who’s forced to cast a mobster’s talentless girlfriend in his play in order to score the funding to produce it.
Most widely recognized name in the Main Stem cast is Zach Braff (as the playwright), the actor and filmmaker with a strong, engaged fanbase — although it remains to be seen how many of those fans will turn out to see him onstage. Also on the cast list are Vincent Pastore (“The Sopranos”) and legit regulars including Brooks Ashmanskas, Betsy Wolfe, Helene Yorke and Lenny Wolpe.
Allen pens the book for the musical, adapting from the screenplay he co-wrote with Douglas McGrath. Score is drawn from period tunes for a production helmed and choreographed by Susan Stroman (“The Producers,” “The Scottsboro Boys,” “Big Fish”).
Produced by a team led by Letty Aronson and Julian Schlossberg, “Bullets” is lined up to begin previews March 11 ahead of an April 10 opening at the St. James Theater.