- Kim Cattrall at the British premiere of 'Sex and the City 2' (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Updated Aug. 26, 12:19 p.m.
The Kennedy Center announced yesterday the casting of Bernadette Peters as Sally in Stephen Sondheim’s Follies in May 2011. What they left out, however, was the casting of the other lead role of Phyllis. But BroadwayWorld.com is reporting that Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall, “although maybe not fully signed on the dotted line,” will be taking that role, in a report that has been widely cited by other sources. A spokesperson for the Kennedy Center says, "We have no further casting information at this time. We will announce casting as it becomes available."
If it’s true, which it may not be (BroadwayWorld.com was wrong about John Dossett being in the cast) all eyes will turn to Cattrall, who has the potential to upstage Peters, at least in pre-show publicity. Cattrall is more famous for her frank sex talk as Samantha in Sex and the City - not her stage work, which has included roles in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, and Chekhov’s Three Sisters. That’s nothing compared to Peters’ serious Broadway chops, which are too numerous to list.
But City Paper’s Trey Graham noted yesterday that Peters, at 62, may be old for the role, and that her name doesn’t carry the same weight that it used to:
“Not everyone will agree with that Post story’s assessment, courtesy of the man with the most to gain from making it, that she’s a “superstar.”
Heresy, I know. (And I cower, anticipating the rain of stones.) But as one of my savvier theater-watching friends noted just now, Night Music has been making roughly $350,000 less each week since Peters stepped in for the departing Catherine Zeta-Jones, who’d pretty consistently kept sales at 95 percent of capacity and higher, with ticket prices averaging $115. With Peters (and Elaine Stritch, who replaced Angela Lansbury), the show is currently managing capacity numbers in the mid-80-percents — and that’s at an average price of $81, which suggests pretty steep discounts at the TKTS booth.”
Star casting is a safe bet, as Arena Stage’s Chad Bauman noted in this blog post following the theater’s successful runs of Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking and Valerie Harper’s Looped. But which star will get the most buzz: Cattrall, or Peters? Die-hard theater fans’ loyalties will lie with Peters, of course, but Cattrall, 54, is coming off a popular, though not critically acclaimed duo of Sex and the City films. And right now, especially to a younger demographic, Cattrall is the bigger name (her unconfirmed casting was what landed the duo on Perez Hilton yesterday).
On the other hand, that generation of Sex and the City fans may not shell out for what are bound to be expensive tickets (they go on sale in January). And, as Graham noted, her high salary may take away from the budget allotted for other parts of the production, dampening other parts of the show. But even though Cattrall may win the publicity blitz, audiences may walk out of the theater with a changed idea of who the brightest star may be, after hearing Peters’ voice.