Falco out, Lahti in as the jazzman’s wife in L.A. Theatre Works’ ‘Side Man’


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Not too many theater companies can play dial-a-star as readily as L.A. Theatre Works.

Case in point: An announcement just came through that Edie Falco, of ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Nurse Jackie’ fame, won’t be able to play her announced role as the jazz man’s unstable wife next week in the radio-play company’s production of Warren Leight’s 1999 Tony-winning drama, ‘Side Man.’


The fill-in? Christine Lahti, who also has a high profile from television (‘Chicago Hope’), but has returned to stage work in recent years, starting with the Geffen Playhouse’s 2007 production of Wendy Wasserstein’s final play, ‘Third.’ A few months ago, Lahti returned to Broadway in ‘God of Carnage,’ her first Broadway show in the nearly 20 years since she had played the title role in Wasserstein’s ‘The Heidi Chronicles.’

Playing opposite Lahti in ‘Side Man’ is Frank Wood, who originated the title role on Broadway in 1999, winning a Tony for his performance as Gene, a feckless father and husband who loves his trumpet best. Joseph Lyle Taylor and Kevin Geer are also on hand from the original Broadway cast, playing Gene’s musical sidekicks. The director is Stephen Sachs, co-artistic director of the Fountain Theatre.

The series’ script-in-hand performances are performed before audiences at the Skirball Cultural Center, and taped for later broadcast -- a format whose time demands are far less than for a fully staged play, accounting for L.A. Theatre Works’ ability to consistently land name actors.

-- Mike Boehm

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