Whither ‘Grey Gardens’ Without Christine Ebersole?

Unlikely patriot: Ebersole's Big Edie.Photo: Joan Marcus/Courtesy of Grey Gardens

Christine Ebersole just got comfortable with her Tony, execs just announced she'll leave the New York stage in October to headline the show on London's West End, and (already!) the online community is ushering Ebersole out the door and searching for her replacement.

There are several breeds of suggestion percolating: the insightful, the eager, the irrelevant, and the entirely idiotic. A string of reasonable Broadway alternatives flooded the boards, from Kristen Chenoweth or Donna Murphy to Victoria Clark and understudy Maureen Moore.

They proclaimed, variously: Murphy "is an awful choice. She has absolutely no resemblance to Little Edie." Chenoweth is "young looking." And "Clark shouldn't be wasted at the Walter Kerr Theatre." Poster ljay898 wants to "save Victoria for reprising her amazing performance as Sally Durant Plummer — another brilliant role."

Among the more idiotic suggestions in the bunch were folks pointing toward American Idol alum Fantasia, Rosie O'Donnell, and Sally Struthers. (We suspect the Struthers suggestion may not have been entirely serious, as the poster was called "Big Fat Blonde.") And, of course, a handful of people think the show should go out like the anti-Cats or, in other words, while still maintaining respect, dignity, and a full house. Gypsy 1527 says, "The show should bow out gracefully when her contract ends and go from there with the tour and production in London."

On a related note, cruel2bekind has plans for Raúl Esparza once he's done with Company. He should "take over Grey Gardens!" Uh, come again? —Jocelyn Guest