Exclusive: Kate Burton and Kristine Nielsen also join the cast of the revival
Three leading ladies have joined the cast of the forthcoming Broadway revival of Noël Coward’s semi-autobiographical comedy Present Laughter, starring two-time Tony winner Kevin Kline as an arrogant matinee idol reconciling a series of relationship and personal crises.
For one, it’s a Broadway debut — Cobie Smulders, best known to audiences for How I Met Your Mother and The Avengers, will play Joanna, the wife of the best friend of Kline’s Garry Essendine. She previously appeared on stage in an off-Broadway production of Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore.
The other two are both Tony nominees: Kate Burton, who made her debut on Broadway in George C. Scott’s production of this very play in 1982, returns to Present Laughter as Liz Essendine, Garry’s ex-wife. A staple of the stage, audiences today will recognize her from Emmy-nominated roles on Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.
Kristine Nielsen returns to Broadway after 2014’s You Can’t Take It With You and her breakout (and Tony-nominated) turn in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Here, she’ll play Monica Reed, Garry’s loyal secretary.
“Casting one leading lady to match Kevin’s astounding talent, style, and commitment would have been a daunting enough feat,” said lead producer Jordan Roth. “Casting three seemed like complete madness. How lucky we are to have found Kate, Kristine, and Cobie to complete this Coward comedy dream team.”
Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Hand to God) directs the play, which first premiered on Broadway in 1946 and has since been revived four times (starring, among other notable names, Victor Garber, Frank Langella, Allison Janney, Nathan Lane, Eva Gabor, and, famously, Coward himself).
The Kline-led production will play a limited 16-week engagement beginning March 10 at the St. James Theatre — home of Kline’s first Tony-winning performance in 1978’s On the Twentieth Century.