Kathleen Chalfant, the veteran actress who won great acclaim for her roles in Wit and Angels in America, will replace Frances McDormand as the star of Caryl Churchill's Far Away at the New York Theatre Workshop to allow for a longer run of the hit show. Far Away was originally scheduled to play through the end of December but has now been extended through January 18; Chalfant will take over for McDormand on December 27.
Chalfant won the Obie, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, and Outer Critics Circle awards for her performance in Wit as a brilliant professor of literature who is dying of cancer, and she received a 1993 Tony Award nomination for her multiple roles in Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. She also appeared on Broadway in M. Butterfly and Racing Demon, in the City Center Encores! presentation of the musical Bloomer Girl, and in a great many Off-Broadway productions, from Nine Armenians to Henry V to Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You.
Far Away opened on November 11 to very strong notices. In his TheaterMania review, David Finkle praised the piece as a "stunning allegory" and described Churchill as a writer "who brushes aside the idea of the well made play, preferring to regard each idea that flits through her roiling mind as a chance to tell a story in a new way, to present images that startle and sear, to deploy language that paradoxically illuminates as it obfuscates." The New York Theatre workshop production is directed by Stephen Daldry.