Emmy champ Jim Parsons joins Broadway cast of ‘The Normal Heart’

Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons will be spending his hiatus making his Broadway debut in a revival of “The Normal Heart.” On Monday, it was announced that both the reigning Best Comedy Actor Emmy champ and Emmy and Golden Globe contender Lee Pace (“Pushing Daisies”) are joining the cast of this highly-anticipated production.

Last fall, there was an acclaimed staged reading for charity of Larry Kramer‘s landmark 1985 play. Many of the same names from then are part of this first-ever Broadway run. Once again headlining the drama about the early days of the AIDS crisis will be actor turned director Joe Mantello, who was a Tony nominee for “Angels in America” in 1993; he lost the featured race to co-star Stephen Spinella. Since then, Mantello has won two Tonys for his helming of the play “Take Me Out” (2003) and the musical “Assassins” (2004).

Also new to the cast will be John Benjamin Hickey, whom Mantello directed in the 1995 Best Play champ “Love! Valor! Compassion,” and, in her Broadway debut, Ellen Barkin. Directing the production once more is Tony and Oscar winner Joel Grey (“Cabaret”) who is in rehearsals for his role in the revival of “Anything Goes” which begins previews March 10 for an April 7 opening. Grey was part of the original company of “Wicked,” the smash musical directed by Mantello in 2003. Assisting Grey will be George Wolfe who won the first of his two Tonys for helming “Angels in America.” His other win came for the musical “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk” in 1996.

“The Normal Heart” will begins previews at the Golden on April 19, just 10 days after the closing of “Driving Miss Daisy,” one of its main rivals in the Play Revival race. And it opens on April 27, the same night as the tuner “Baby Its You!” premieres at the Broadhurst and one day before the eligibility deadline for the Tony Awards.

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