Casting “The Normal Heart” Film, “Far From Heaven” on Stage
Over the weekend, the Hollywood Reporter broke casting news from the film adaptation of The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s incendiary play about the early days of the AIDS crisis. The previously announced Mr. Ruffalo (as “Ned Weeks”) will be joined by Julia Roberts (in Ellen Barkin’s recent Tony-winning role as “Emma Brookner”), Alec Baldwin (as Weeks’ straight brother) and the criminally attractive Mr. Bomer (in John Benjamin Hickey’s Tony-winning role as Weeks’ tragically stricken boyfriend). The only holdover from the acclaimed Broadway revival will be Jim Parsons (TV’s Big Bang Theory and the upcoming revival of Harvey). I have my fingers crossed that my other fantasy boyfriend Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) has enough recognition to repeat his performance as well.
Classy adaptations aren’t just going from stage to screen; the Williamstown Theatre Festival released a preview of this summer’s schedule which included a musical version of Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes’ swooning film about an interracial romance and a closeted husband in 1950’s suburbia. The script is by Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out) with a score by composer Scott Frankel and lyricist Michael Korie (Grey Gardens). I have to say, if it weren’t for that team, I’d be very nervous about this one. Conflicted housewife Cathy, played by Julianne Moore in the film, is a quiet, repressed character that doesn’t reveal herself often; she cries a lot but I don’t hear her singing. Color me curious (and the luscious magentas and ambers of the film.)
Since we’re talking casting today and they haven’t announced anyone for the musical yet, who would you hire? Off the top of my head, I’d cast Sherie Rene Scott as Cathy, the tormented housewife; I know she usually plays brassy but I’d love to see her get a shot at tremulous emotion. For the men in her life, I’d tap (tee hee) Patrick Wilson as the gay husband and Norm Lewis (so simple and decent in Porgy and Bess) as Raymond, the African American man she falls for. Your turn! Tell me who you’d cast in the comments…