Local Sally Wingert makes Broadway debut

Categories: Theater
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for La Bete.jpg
Photo courtesy of La Bete
A star of the Twin Cities scene for 25 years, Sally Wingert has been absent from local stages for a good chunk of 2010 as she plays out her own excellent adventure. It started with a three-month stint on London's West End as a cast member of La Bete. It continued last week when the transferred production of the show opened on Broadway. "It was my first Broadway opening and it was wild," Wingert said in an email. "The audience response was electrifying. They roared throughout the performancethen leapt to their feet at curtain call. It was thrilling."

David Hirson's ribald take on Moliere--it's even written in rhyming couplets--played to sold-out houses through its London run. On Broadway, the show is scheduled to run until February. Wingert's role is a small one, but she's still thrilled to be part of the ensemble for the piece, which stars David Hyde-Pierce, Joanna Lumley, and Mark Rylance (who was excellent as the title character in the Guthrie's production of Peer Gynt).

This is the show's second trip to Broadway. It ran in 1991 for a scant 40 performances before finding a second life in London (it went on to win an Olivier for best comedy), and then in regional theaters in the United States since. According to Wingert, the show's original Broadway issues came up opening night:

"During curtain call Matthew Warchus, our director, and David Hirson, the playwright, were called onstage. Matthew quieted the audience and spoke of the joy and honor he felt working on this brilliant play and then he spoke of this production as an homage to the first Broadway production of La Bete directed by Richard Jones which many felt was closed too soon."

The lead trio has been a joy to work with on the show. "They're smart, funny, and incredibly generous. It would be easy to forget they are famous because they are the anti-divas. Every night as they exit the theater to crowds of people waiting for their autographs, I realize they are celebrities and that their oblgatiosn aren't quite over for the night," Wingert says. 

As in her summer spent in London, Wingert hopes to have time to explore New York City, from museums to sites to neighborhoods. "I hope to see some plays, some perform on Sunday night when La Bete is off."

The show is scheduled to run through February unless the producers choose to close it early. "Right now, the houses are strong and there's no hint of an early exit, but that could change in a flash," she says.


Thumbnail image for La Bete.jpg
Sally Wingert (far left) is part of the play's ensemble

 



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