Leslie Uggams in King Hedley II(Photo © Joan Marcus)
Leslie Uggams in King Hedley II
(Photo © Joan Marcus)
It has just been announced that Tony Award winner and Academy Award nominee Diahann Carroll has had to withdraw from the Kennedy Center production of Ernest Thompson's On Golden Pond, due to medical reasons. An injury over the weekend aggravated a previous condition that left the star with a herniated disk and severe muscle strain. Although she is expected to recover, her physicians insisted that she immediately limit her movements and return home to Los Angeles for treatment and rest. Tony Award winner Leslie Uggams has been announced as Carroll's replacement.

"Everyone associated with On Golden Pond is heartbroken that Diahann Carroll won't be able to join us in Washington," said producer Jeffrey Finn in a press statement. "A driving force of this production from the beginning, a consummate performer and a dear, personal friend, her participation will be greatly missed. We are extremely fortunate that Leslie Uggams has agreed to step in with such short notice."

Known by television audiences as Kizzy in the miniseries Roots, Uggams won the Tony for Leading Actress in a Musical for Hallelujah, Baby! and received a second nomination for her performance in August Wilson's King Hedley II, which also played at the Kennedy Center prior to Broadway. Her most recent Broadway appearance was as Muzzy Van Hossmere in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Uggams will play opposite James Earl Jones in the Kennedy Center's On Golden Pond, under the direction of Leonard Foglia. The play concerns a retired New England professor and his spirited wife, who decide to spend one final summer at their family's lakeside cottage in Maine. En route to a European honeymoon, the couple's estranged daughter arrives with her fiancé's troubled young son and intends to leave him with the elderly couple.

Performances are still set to begin on schedule next Tuesday evening, September 28, at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theatre. The production will run through Sunday, October 17, with the official press opening set for Saturday evening, October 2 at 8pm. In addition to Jones and Uggams, the cast of On Golden Pond consists of Linda Powell, Peter Francis James, Craig Bockhorn, and Alexander Mitchell. For more information, visit www.kennedy-center.org.