Merkerson will play Lola, a woman a caught in a stale 25-year marriage to the alcoholic Doc -- a relationship that changes when the couple takes in Marie, a beautiful young boarder. The play opened on Broadway in 1950, where it ran for 190 performances; it won Tony Awards for Shirley Booth as Lola and Sidney Blackmer as Doc. Booth also won the Oscar for the 1952 film version, which co-starred Burt Lancaster and Terry Moore. The 1977 television version starred Joanne Woodward, Sir Laurence Olivier, and Carrie Fisher.
Merkerson's many stage credits include The Piano Lesson, F...ing A, Birdie Blue, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, and The Old Settler. She won the Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Awards for the HBO film Lackawanna Blues, and is best known for her long-running role as Lt. Anita Van Buren on Law & Order.