As part of his appearance on Thursday night’s edition of The Late Late Show to promote Tower Heist (video not yet available at the usual places), Alan Alda noted that his play, Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie, is premiering in Los Angeles. In previews as of November 1st, the play’s official opening is next Wednesday at the Geffen Playhouse. Alda has written before, but this is his first effort for the stage. A reading of the work was performed during this year’s World Science Festival, with Meryl Streep as Curie. Anna Gunn, Skyler on the AMC program Breaking Bad, plays Madame Curie during the L.A. run. John de Lancie, familiar to Star Trek fans as omnipotent irritant Q, plays Pierre.
Alda is no stranger to science, and considers himself an enthusiast. His longest running role is not Hawkeye Pierce, but as host of Scientific American Frontiers. This play has percolated with him for years, first as a reading of her letters. Their persistent radioactivity forced him to switch to Einstein and defer the work with Marie Curie until now. Radiance has received some support from the Sloan Foundation, which has assisted several artistic projects involving science, including Photograph 51, which may move to the silver screen. Perhaps Ms. Streep will have another opportunity to play Madame Curie.