Casablanca live-read will turn the classic film into a lesbian love story
A kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is still a sigh, but the fundamental rules do not necessarily apply to this new performance of Casablanca.
Ellen Page will slip beneath the fedora of Humphrey Bogart as WWII-era tavern owner Rick in a new live-read of the 1942 classic that will feature an all-female cast with an emphasis on LGBTQ performers.
Of course, every Rick needs an Ilsa, and Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive reveal of the rest of the cast.
Kiersey Clemons (Extant and Transparent) will costar as the resistance fugitive (originated by Ingrid Bergman) who is seeking safe passage out of Casablanca with her spouse Victor Laszlo, who (UPDATE) will be played by Olivia Wilde in this version.
Their characters will always have Paris, but Clemons and Page also have a history, costarring together in the 2017 Flatliners remake.
The show will be a one-night-only event, and it takes place Thursday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. at the Ace Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Tickets are available here.
It’s part of a script reading series that The Front Runner and Up in the Air filmmaker Jason Reitman has been doing for years, often with a theme that adds a new dimension to an iconic story, such as an all-female Glengarry Glen Ross or Reservoir Dogs performed entirely by African-American actors.
Reitman and Page have known each other since she starred in his 2007 film Juno, and she has played several gender-flipped characters in other live-read events, including Harrison Ford’s galactic smuggler Han Solo in a performance of The Empire Strikes Back and River Phoenix’s tough kid Chris Chambers in a staging of Stand By Me.
“Casablanca is a unique love triangle, and the story of a love that cannot be,” Reitman says. Performing it in this new way gives that story an unexpected new dimension, he added.
Standup star Hannah Gadsby, known for the groundbreaking Netflix special Nanette, will be shocked, SHOCKED as the cheerfully corrupt Vichy law enforcement officer Captain Renault.
Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek, the 12 Monkeys series) will portray Ugarte, the doomed petty crook played by Peter Lorre.
Indya Moore will costar as Carl, the waiter, who helps Rick keep order and stay out of trouble in a few critical moments.
Sam the piano player, originated by Dooley Wilson, has not yet been cast, among a handful of other roles.
Proceeds from the Casablanca live-read will benefit the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, which supports LGBTQ grassroots activism around the world.