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On heels of 'Mad Men' delay, Jon Hamm to take brief detour to an L.A. stage

March 30, 2011 | 12:02 pm

Hammv Devotees of "Mad Men" won't be able to enjoy the fifth season of the Emmy-winning AMC series until early 2012 thanks to a dispute that has pit creator Matt Weiner against the basic-cable network and Lionsgate, the show's producer. But fans of Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper, need look no further than L.A. Theatre Works' upcoming production of "The Three Sisters" by Anton Chekhov to catch a glimpse of the handsome actor.

Hamm will play the role of Vershinin, the philosophizing military officer who enters into an adulterous relationship with Masha, played by Jennifer  Westfeldt, who happens to be Hamm's off-screen girlfriend.

L.A. Theatre Works will produce "Three Sisters" as part of its recorded theater series, in which actors perform the play in the manner of a staged reading in front of radio microphones. Directed by Jenny Sullivan, the production will run for five performances from April 13 to 17. In addition to Hamm and Westfeldt, the ensemble cast includes Tessa Thompson, Reid Scott, Sarah Zimmerman and Marc Halsey.

Cathy Reinking, L.A. Theatre Works' associate producer for casting, said that the Hamm's involvement in the play was finalized on Tuesday. "Jon was my first choice for Vershinin -- the yearning, sexual repression. ... I thought he would be perfect for that," she said.

Reinking said that each actor was cast separately, through their agents.  "This has been in the works for weeks and they were the first people I went  to for these roles," she said. Reinking said Hamm's casting isn't directly related to the "Mad Men" delay. Hamm and Westfeldt are also costarring in the independent movie "Friends With Kids.”

The production of "The Three Sisters" will use the English translation of the play by Christopher Hampton. The performances will take place at the Skirball Cultural Center.


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-- David Ng

Photo: Jon Hamm. Credit: Carin Baer / AMC

Photo (bottom): Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters