American Peters Leads Cast in Witches UpdateDate: 2 May 2001
Clarke Peters will become the first American to play Darryl Van Horne in The Witches of Eastwick, when he takes over the role on 1 July. Peters, who has starred in Chicago on Broadway and in the West End, will replace Ian McShane who has had to withdraw through illness. McShane's understudy, Earl Carpenter, will continue as Van Horne until Peters' arrival at the Prince of Wales theatre.
Other cast changes will see Josefina Gabrielle play Alexandra, the sculptress, and Rebecca Thornhill appearing as the lyrical Sukie. Like Peters, Gabrielle has also recently performed in Chicago. Further cast changes are expected in a revamped version of Witches, and a new opening night is scheduled for 17 July. Joanna Riding, an Olivier-award nominee, will remain as Jane, the third witch.
Born in New York City, Peters certainly has an appropriate cultural legacy for the role, as the show is set in a New England community. The arrival of a stranger in town brightens up the lives of three modern witches, not to mention their diet of Martinis and peanut butter brownies. In addition to Chicago, Peters' other West End credits include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Side by Side by Sondheim II and Driving Miss Daisy.
As detailed recently on Whatsonstage.com, McShane is reportedly suffering from a severe bout of shingles. He has been absent from Witches for over a month, having been involved with the show since its opening in July 2000.
- by Gareth Thompson