The Visit: Roger Rees temporarily out of action

Producers of John Kander and Fred Ebb's final musical The Visit have informed us that one of the show's stars - Tony winner Roger Rees - has had to temporarily pull out of the production.

Producer Tom Kirdahy released the following statement:

“Roger Rees is undergoing a treatment for a medical condition and while the prognosis is bright, he’s currently unable to perform in the show. He’ll be back onstage as soon as he can and we can’t wait to welcome him back.”

Tom Nelis will be playing the role of Anton Schell in Mr. Rees' absence.

The cast of The Visit includes two-time Tony Award winner Chita Rivera, Jason Danieley, Matthew Deming, Diana Dimarzio, David Garrison, Rick Holmes, Tom Nelis, Chris Newcomer, Aaron Ramey, Timothy Shew, and Michelle Veintimilla.

The Visit began previews at the Lyceum Theatre on 26 March 2015, officially opened on 23 April, and is currently booking through to 6 September 2015.

The Visit is based on Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s 1956 thriller and has a book by Terrence McNally and a score by John Kander and Fred Ebb. It is directed by Tony winner John Doyle and choreographed by Tony nominee Graciela Daniele.

Synopsis: "Based on the satirical play by Friedrich Durrenmatt as adapted by Maurice Valency, The Visit is about greed, love, and one woman's carefully plotted revenge. The oft-widowed Claire Zachanassian (Rivera), richest woman in the world, returns to the hardship-stricken town of her birth. The locals pray that her wealth will bring them a new lease on life, but her arrival carries a dreadful price. Sardonic and morally complex, The Visit asks 'What can your heart afford?'"

The musical originally premiered in 2001 at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and was revived by director John Doyle this summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, opening to mixed reviews but sell out audiences.

The Visit is produced on Broadway by Tom Kirdahy, Tom Smedes, Hugh Hayes, Peter Stern, Judith Ann Abrams, Hunter Arnold, Carl Daikeler, Ken Davenport, Rich Affannato, Gabrielle Palitz, in association with Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Chita Rivera, aged 81, has previously starred in the Kander-Ebb-McNally musicals 'The Rink' and 'Kiss of the Spider Woman,' for which she picked up Tony Awards in 1984 and 1993 respectively. She also earned nominations for 'Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life' (2006), 'Nine' (2003), 'Jerry's Girls' (1986), 'Merlin' (1983), 'Bring Back Birdie' (1981), 'Chicago' (1976) and 'Bye Bye Birdie' (1961). Other Broadway credits include 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood,' 'West Side Story,' 'Mr. Wonderful,' and 'Can-Can.'

Roger Rees picked up a Tony Award in 1982 for 'The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby' and earned two further nominations in 1995 for 'Indiscretions' and in 2012 for 'Peter and the Starcatcher' (as Director). He was last seen on the Broadway stage in 2013 in 'The Winslow Boy.' Other Broadway credits include 'The Addams Family,' 'Uncle Vanya,' 'The Rehearsal,' 'The Red Shoes,' and 'London Assurance.'

- by Tom Millward

Photo by Bruce Glikas
Roger Rees & Chita Rivera