Backstage drama won’t stop Armie Hammer’s Broadway debut

Backstage drama won’t stop Armie Hammer’s Broadway debut

What on this planet is happening with Broadway’s “Straight White Males?”

Younger Jean Lee’s darkish comedy, opening this month at Second Stage’s Hayes Theater, misplaced two of its main males in the previous few weeks.

Neither of them, fortunately, is Armie Hammer, the “Name Me By Your Title” star, who’s making his Broadway debut as one in every of three sons of a patriarch named Ed.

As a straight white man myself (don’t chortle), I made a decision to analyze.

Right here’s what I’ve unearthed:

Tom Skerritt, of TV’s “Gunsmoke” and the films “M*A*S*H” and “Alien,” was initially solid as Ed.

However Skerritt, 84, was struggling to be taught his strains, a manufacturing supply says. He left the present in June for what was described as “private causes.”

Second Stage then reached out to Denis Arndt, a Tony nominee for 2016’s “Heisenberg.” He stepped in on the final minute earlier than previews started June 30, simply at some point later than scheduled.

Sources say Arndt agreed to do the function as Anna D. Shapiro directed it. However because the actor bought into it, he determined to alter issues.

“He’s from the old fashioned — you may’t do a job with out digging into it, making it your individual,” a supply says.

Shapiro, the Tony-winning director of “August: Osage County,” believed there was no time to retool the character and the dynamic of the play, whose characters come collectively over takeout and board video games.

The official assertion is that they parted “attributable to artistic variations.” Sources say there have been fireworks between Arndt and Shapiro, and Second Stage sided along with her. Stephen Payne, who initially understudied the function of Ed and carried out the function the primary week of previews whereas Arndt rehearsed, has since taken over the function.

Second Stage declined to remark, and Arndt couldn’t be reached.

Till Thursday, Arndt’s life-size picture was nonetheless up outdoors the Helen Hayes Theater, together with these of Hammer, Josh Charles and Paul Schneider, who play Ed’s sons.

“Straight White Males” is about to open July 23.

I hope it’s pretty much as good as its backstage drama!

You possibly can hear Michael Riedel each weekday morning on “Len Berman and Michael Riedel within the Morning” on 710 WOR radio.

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