Gina Gershon and Mary McCormack head for Broadway


UPDATED POST: This post was first published on Friday. But there’s new news. Read on!

Last week, the rumor mill had Sarah Jessica Parker starring as one of the fiancées in the madcap comedy Boeing-Boeing — she was to play the Italian air hostess. Given that she has some solid Broadway history and even more interesting Off-Broadway history, that could have been fun casting. However, it seems the rumor mill was not correct this time. Alas. The latest casting news is not exactly depressing, though — Gina Gershon will be the Italian assistente di bordo.

You may know her better as Corky.

Gershon doesn’t have a lot of Broadway history — just a stint as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. But apparently she was good. I almost wish Boeing-Boeing was a musical so I could see her sing live. (Although I suspect it would be different than this Prey for Rock ‘n’ Roll excerpt.)



The other actress recently cast in Boeing-Boeing is Mary McCormack (West Wing, K Street), as the German flight attendant.

Coincidentally, McCormack’s only Broadway credit is also Sally Bowles in Cabaret. (I’m guessing that both she and Gina Gershon were better than the Sally Bowles I saw, Jennifer Jason Leigh, who was painfully, awfully bad.)

Like Gershon, McCormack has a number of lesbian and bisexual characters on her resume. She played the lesbian sister in The Broken Hearts Club who wanted her brother to impregnate her girlfriend. And she was Maggie, the bisexual character on K Street. So, even though I’m not all that familiar with most of her body of work, I like her! And I’ll probably see the show.

Since our first two flight attendants are reasonably well known for their lesbian and bisexual roles, I’m wondering who they’ll cast as the third. Perhaps Mariel Hemingway? Or Piper Perabo?

I must say that I’m glad to see that the first two cast are age appropriate (late 30s/early 40s) for swinging bachelor Bradley Whitford. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see who flight attendant No. 3 is.

There’s one thing I know for certain about the rest of the casting. I’m pretty confident that I’ll be happier about whomever is cast than I am about last week’s Broadway-casting-that-dare-not-speak-its-name, namely that Nicole Richie was offered the role of Roxie Hart in Chicago.

The original post from Feb. 29 follows:

Are you ready for some madcap, swinging ’60s, London-style comedy on Broadway? Perhaps something with a rakish bachelor and close calls … and maybe some stewardesses? If so, you’re in luck. A revival of Boeing-Boeing, the ’60s London farce and current West End hit, will be opening at the Longacre Theatre on May 4 (with previews beginning April 19.)

If you’re not familiar with the show — as I was not until recently — here’s how it’s described in press materials:

“An architect living in Paris has been successfully juggling three flight attendant fiancées with his housekeeper reluctantly playing romantic air-traffic controller as they fly in and out of his swank bachelor pad. But when an old school pal visits, things get rather turbulent. Schedules change, flights are delayed and chaos ensues in this whirl of mayhem and matchmaking.”

The architect will be played by Bradley Whitford (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, The West Wing). I’ve always liked him, so I find that fun. But when we get to the women, the casting starts to get really, really fun. Christine Baranski will play the housekeeper.

And that’s reason enough for me to see the show. I can completely see her in what I imagine to be a screwball, Carol Burnett–esque role. In fact, I believe I’ll need to get good seats for this show — or bring binoculars — because I suspect her facial expressions will be priceless.

But Christine Baranski will not be providing the only star power. The latest casting announcement is that Sarah Jessica Parker will be one of the flight attendants.

I’m excited about this casting, too. She’s done her share of theater and has earned her madcap chops — although she’s often played “straight man” to the wild cohort. On Square Pegs, she was the more serious girl who went along with her friend’s frenetic attempts to join the in-group at Weemawee High School. And Helen Hunt was the designated wild child to her quiet, Army-brat dancer in Girls Just Want to Have Fun.

But she came into her own madcap glory as SanDeE*, the flaky store clerk in L.A. Story who took Steve Martin for a high colonic on their first date, and later uttered my favorite line in the movie: “Can I spin here?”

I’m excited about the chance to see her on stage, though. This is not stunt casting; her theater credits date back to the ’70s. She was one of the replacement Orphan Annies back in the day. She was reputed to do a creditable job in the revival of Once Upon a Mattress. (Taking on a role owned by Carol Burnett takes some chutzpah.) And she earned some of her best notices playing the eponymous dog in the Manhattan Theater Club‘s production of Sylvia in 1995.

Not everyone could hold a play together as a dog.

But now she’s trading her leash for a short skirt and a pair of wings, and I will happily go watch. I just wish she were going to play one of Christine Baranski’s three fiancées.

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