Molly Regan, who played Joan in the world premiere of John Kolvenbach’s comedy drama Love Song when it opened at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater, has temporarily replaced Kristen Johnston in the same role at the West End’s New Ambassador’s Theatre – where it received its European premiere last week - because Johnston has fallen ill. Regan is expected to be in the role until just before Christmas.

According to a spokeswoman for the show, Johnston had to undergo surgery after suffering an erupted duodenal ulcer on Wednesday last week (6 December), and Regan was flown in at short notice to play Joan while Johnston recuperates. Johnston is determined to return to the production as soon as she can, and producers expect she will be back by Christmas. Regan joined the company to perform alongside Neve Campbell, Cillian Murphy and Michael McKean from last night (11 December). Understudy Romy Tennant stepped into the role last Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the interim.

John Crowley's production of Love Song opened at the New Ambassadors Theatre on 4 December (See News, 13 Oct 2006). It is produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Robert G Bartner and Boyett Ostar Productions.

Kristen Johnston, a two-time Emmy Award winner, is a familiar face from her television roles in ER and 3rd Rock from the Sun. On film, she’s been seen in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, while her New York stage credits include As You Like it, The Women and Much Ado About Nothing.

Molly Regan has been a member of the Steppenwolf ensemble since 1985, most recently directing Pacific and appearing in many productions including Maria Arndt, David Copperfield, The Glass Menagerie, Time of My Life, Another Time, Earthly Possessions, Three Sisters, Aunt Dan and Lemon, Miss Julie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, You Can’t Take It with You and Reckless. On Broadway, she appeared in Stepping Out and The Crucible. She also has many off-Broadway and regional credits to her name.

In Love Song, oddball Beane (Murphy) finds the woman of his dreams after his apartment is burgled by Molly (Campbell), much to the amazement of his well-meaning sister Joan (Johnston/Regan) and brother-in-law Harry (McKean).

- by Caroline Ansdell