Dreamgirls alum Sheryl Lee Ralph has joined the cast of the Broadway-bound musical The First Wives Club in the role of Elyse, replacing Adriane Lenox, “who left the production before the start of the rehearsal process due to health concerns,” according to a release from the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. The musical is scheduled to run from July 17 to August 23, directed by Francesca Zambello (The Little Mermaid).
Ralph will join previously announced cast members Barbara Walsh (Company, Hairspray) as Brenda, Karen Ziemba (Contact, Curtains) as Annie, John Dossett (Gypsy) as Aaron, Kevyn Morrow (Dreamgirls) as Bill, Brad Oscar (The Producers) as Morty, Sara Chase as Trophy Wife, Sam Harris (The Life) as Duane, and Ari Lerner and Austyn Myers alternating as Jason, with Michelle Aravena, Mark Campbell, Thursday Farrar, Jenifer Foote, Bob Gaynor, Matthew LaBanca, Victoria Matlock, Kat Palardy, Martin Samuel and Richard Waits in the ensemble.
Based on Olivia Goldsmith's bestselling novel and 1996 Hollywood blockbuster of the same name, The First Wives Clubfeatures a book by Rupert Holmes (Curtains, The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and a score by veteran Motown songwriters Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland. The show tells the story of a trio of college friends who reunite at middle-age and soon discover they share the same unhappy story: Their ungrateful husbands careened into midlife by dumping them for younger women. The three women renew their friendship and band together to take back their lives in style. Ralph will play the role created on film by Goldie Hawn; Ziemba will play the role created by Diane Keaton and Walsh will play role created by Bette Midler.
Ralph received a Best Actress Tony nomination for creating the role of Deena in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls and originated the role of Muzzy Van Hossmere in the Tony-winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. Her TV credits include the series Moesha, Designing Women, It’s a Living, Barbershop and George. Her film credits include Sister Act II, The Flintstones, The Mighty Quinn, Distinguished Gentlemanand To Sleep with Anger, which won her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Following its run at the Old Globe, The First Wives Club is aiming for a Broadway production to be presented by Paul Lambert and Jonas Neilson, with a theater and dates to be announced.