'Valentine' in for 'Barrymore' at Mechanic


Proving the adage that anything can happen in live theater, the Baltimore Center for the Performing Arts has announced several changes in the remainder of the season.

"Shirley Valentine," a one-woman show starring Loretta Swit, will replace the previously scheduled "Barrymore" at the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre, according to Steve Goldstein, the center's managing director. "Shirley Valentine" will run April 25 to May 13.

"Barrymore," which was to have starred Christopher Plummer, was indefinitely postponed due to a delay in the show's Broadway opening. Goldstein said Swit has been touring North America in "Shirley Valentine" and that the production "is something we've been trying to book for a while but we couldn't work out the dates."

Best known as "Hot Lips" Houlihan on the TV series "M*A*S*H," Swit plays a British housewife who seeks an escape from a repressed home life in "Shirley Valentine." The script is by Willy Russell, author of "Blood Brothers" and "Educating Rita."

Goldstein said scheduling "Shirley Valentine" necessitated a shift in the dates of the pre-Broadway production of "Flowers and Photos," which will now run March 28 to April 16. Margot Kidder has been cast in the role of artist Georgia O'Keeffe to replace Gena Rowlands, who had a conflicting commitment.

In addition, in a letter to subscribers, Goldstein explained that at the request of Jerry Lewis, who is taking over the role of the devil in "Damn Yankees," the national tour has been rescheduled to begin in mid-September in Baltimore. The show was to have come to the Lyric Opera House in May, but Lewis -- who debuts with the Broadway company of "Damn Yankees" at the end of this month -- needed time to prepare his annual Labor Day Telethon. The final production of the center's current season will be announced at a later date.

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