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David Hyde Pierce returning to 'Vanya' as director of L.A. production

David Hyde Pierce returning to 'Vanya' as director of L.A. production
David Hyde Pierce, showing off his lead actor in a musical Tony for "Curtains" in 2007, is stepping in as director for the Los Angeles premiere of Christopher Durang's "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" at the Mark Taper Forum. (Peter Kramer / Getty Images)

David Hyde Pierce played one of the title characters in Christopher Durang's acclaimed play "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" when it debuted in 2012. The "Frasier" actor will return to the play for its Los Angeles premiere early next year at the Mark Taper Forum, but this time he will serve as director of the production, which will star Christine Ebersole.

Pierce is stepping in for director Nicholas Martin, who staged the play in New York and had been set to return for the L.A. engagement.

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Center Theatre Group said on Thursday that Martin had to withdraw from the production due to a scheduling conflict. It said Pierce would base his direction on Martin's staging of the play.

"Vanya" is set to run at the Mark Taper Forum from Jan. 29 through Mar. 9, with an official opening on Feb. 9.

Ebserole will take the role of Masha, originally played by Sigourney Weaver in New York. Two members of the New York cast will reprise their roles in L.A. -- Kristine Nielsen as Sonia, and Shalita Grant as Cassandra. (Both actresses were nominated for Tony Awards.)

The cast will also include Mark Blum in the role of Vanya, which Pierce originated in New York, and David Hull as Spike.

Durang's play, which is a comic homage to Anton Chekhov, follows the reunion of middle-age siblings at a family estate in Pennsylvania. The play was commissioned by the McCarter Theatre Center in New Jersey, where it debuted in 2012.

The production later moved off-Broadway to the Lincoln Center Theatre and eventually to Broadway, winning the Tony for new play earlier this year.

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