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Sheryl Lee Ralph replaces Tony winner in 'First Wives Club'

June 16, 2009 |  7:39 pm

Ralph There's been a major cast change for the upcoming production of "The First Wives Club -- A New Musical." Adriane Lenox, who won a Tony Award in 2005 for her role as a morally compromised mother in "Doubt," has withdrawn from the show, which is set to open in July at the Old Globe in San Diego. She will be replaced by actress Sheryl Lee Ralph (pictured at right).

The Old Globe said that Lenox had left the production before rehearsals began. The company cited health concerns as the reason for her exit. The actress had been set to play the role of Elyse, the character played by Goldie Hawn in the 1996 movie version.

Ralph, who has already begun rehearsals, joins a cast that includes Karen Ziemba and Barbara Walsh. The actresses play middle-age divorcees who plot revenge against their ex-husbands. The show is based on the original novel by Olivia Goldsmith and the feature film adaptation. Directed by Francesca Zambello, the musical is said to be Broadway-bound, though no dates or theaters have been announced yet.

Ralph received a Tony nomination in 1982 for her role in the original Broadway production of "Dreamgirls," in which she played the role of Deena Jones. Her other Broadway credits include the 2002 revival of "Thoroughly Modern Millie."

"First Wives Club" will feature songs by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland. The book is by Rupert Holmes.

-- David Ng

Photo: Sheryl Lee Ralph. Credit: The Old Globe