Pal Joey: Understudy Matthew Risch replaces Christian Hoff in title role

Understudy Matthew Risch replaces Christian Hoff in the title role of the Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway revival of Pal Joey. Hoff has had to withdraw from the production due to injury.

Hoff injured his foot on Fri 21 Nov 2008, causing the show to cancel its Sat matinee on 22 Nov 2008. Understudy Risch stepped into the role for the evening performance of Sat 22 Nov 2008, and the Roundabout has now announced that Risch has permanently assumed the role.

Risch last appeared on Broadway in 'Legally Blonde' (2007) and has appeared in the Broadway revival of 'Chicago.'

As a result of the casting change, the musical, which began previews on 14 Nov 2008 at Studio 54 will now open on 18 Dec 2008, and not the 11 Dec as originally announced. The musical is still expected to end its limited engagement on 9 Jan 2009.

Set in Chicago in the late 1930s, Pal Joey is the story of Joey Evans, a brash, scheming song and dance man with dreams of owning his own nightclub. Joey abandons his wholesome girlfriend Linda English, to charm a rich, married older woman, Vera Simpson, in the hope that she�ll set him up in business.

The Rodgers & Hart score for Pal Joey includes �Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,� �I Could Write a Book,� �You Mustn�t Kick It Around,� and �Zip,� among others.

The new production of The Rodgers & Hart score for Pal Joey will also feature �I�m Talking to My Pal,� a song that had been dropped from the score during its out-of-town tryout, and will be heard on Broadway for the first time.

Pal Joey now stars Stockard Channing (Vera Simpson), Matthew Risch (Pal Joey) and Martha Plimpton (Gladys Bumps), as well as Robert Clohessy (Mike), Jenny Fellner (Linda English), Daniel Marcus (Ludlow Lowell) and Steven Skybell (Ernest).

The musical's ensemble features Timothy J. Alex, Brian Barry, Bahiyah Sayyed Gaines, Lisa Gajda, Anthony Holds, Nadine Isenegger, Mark Morettini, Kathryn Mowat Murphy, Abbey O'Brien, Hayley Podschun, Krista Saab, and Eric Sciotto.

Th musical has a new book by Tony Award winner Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out), based on the original book by John O�Hara, with music direction by Tony Award winner Paul Gemignani (Lifetime Achievement Award), choreography by Graciela Daniele and directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello (Assassins, Take Me Out.)

The design team features two-time Tony Award winner Scott Pask (sets), five-time Tony Award winner William Ivey Long (costumes), two-time Tony Award winner Peggy Eisenhauer and eight-time Tony Award winner Jules Fisher (lights) and Tony Meola (sound).

In 1939, author John O�Hara approached Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart to collaborate on a musical adaptation of his popular Pal Joey stories that had originally run in The New Yorker. The musical premiered on Broadway on 25 Dec 1940, in a production directed and produced by George Abbott, and starring Gene Kelly and Vivienne Segal.

While considered a success in 1940, a smash hit 1952 Broadway revival revealed the show as a true landmark Broadway musical, breaking new ground in subject matter, and featuring a score by Rodgers & Hart in their penultimate collaboration. The 1952 production of Pal Joey won 3 Tony Awards including Best Choreography and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical.

A film of the musical was made in 1957, starring Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth, and Kim Novak. Bob Fosse received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in the 1963 production and the 1976 production at Circle in the Square starred Dixie Carter.

The most recent production of Pal Joey was featured in the second season of Encores! at New York City Center in a 1995 concert version starring Patti LuPone and Peter Gallagher.

Matthew Risch Christian Hoff