- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sisto’s switch

Jeremy Sisto can’t get away from dark, disturbing characters.

The actor, best known for playing the mentally and physically explosive Billy Chenowith on HBO’s “Six Feet Under,” has found his way to Broadway for another dark role, Associated Press reports.

He’s joining the cast of “Festen,” the London hit about a family confronting dark secrets during a 60th birthday celebration for its patriarch.

The 31-year-old Sisto portrays one of two sons in a cast that also includes Larry Bryggman as the father; Ali MacGraw as the mother; Julianna Margulies as the daughter; and Michael Hayden as the other son.

“Festen,” adapted by David Eldridge from the Danish film of the same name, opens April 9 at the Music Box Theatre. The director is Rufus Norris. Preview performances begin March 23.

Woodruff returns

Veteran journalist Judy Woodruff is returning to her television roots.

The former CNN reporter will join PBS for a project examining young people’s views on religion, politics and other issues, including America’s role in the world, Associated Press reports.

After talking to a cross section of Americans ages 16 to 25, Miss Woodruff will detail her findings in reports on “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer” beginning later this year and in a January 2007 documentary, according to PBS.

Her work is part of a yearlong multimedia project from MacNeil Lehrer Productions that will include Internet elements and has the working title “Generation Next: Speak Up. Be Heard.” Principal funding is from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“Our objective is to create a profile of the next generation and to provide current decision makers with better information about them,” Miss Woodruff said. “We want to help everyone understand the views of young people.”

Production was scheduled to begin this spring, with tentative plans calling for visits to Birmingham, Ala.; Minneapolis; Lincoln, Neb.; Cleveland; and San Francisco, among other cities.

Miss Woodruff worked at PBS from 1983 to ‘93 as chief Washington correspondent for “The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour.” Last year, she left CNN after a decade as an anchor and correspondent to pursue other projects but remains a consultant for the cable channel.

Sisterly love

A pair of Golden Globe winners are teaming up for a new ABC drama pilot. Rachel Griffiths and Calista Flockhart will star in a show centering on adult siblings dubbed “Brothers & Sisters,” Reuters news agency reports.

Previously cast in the pilot — written by Jon Robin Baitz and to be directed by Ken Olin — are Ron Rifkin, Balthazar Getty and Dave Annable.

Miss Griffiths won a Golden Globe in 2002 for her role as Brenda on Alan Ball’s acclaimed HBO drama “Six Feet Under,” which also landed her two Emmy nominations. The series aired its fifth and final season last year. On the feature side, she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in “Hilary and Jackie.”

For Miss Flockhart, the casting marks a return to series television four years after Fox’s “Ally McBeal” went off the air. Her stint on David E. Kelley’s dramedy earned her a Golden Globe Award in 1998 and three Emmy nominations. The show also became a water-cooler mainstay, inspiring public debates about women’s role in the workplace and the ongoing battle of the sexes. She next appears in the feature “Fragile,” but in recent months has become best known for dating Hollywood icon Harrison Ford.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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