A scene from the 1973 movie "The Exorcist," with Linda Blair,… (Josh Weiner / Warner Bros. )
The power of Christ has compelled Richard Chamberlain and Brooke Shields to take two of the lead roles in a new stage version of William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist," which is scheduled to open at the Geffen Playhouse on July 11.
Chamberlain will play Father Merrin, the priest who attempts to exorcise a little girl possessed by a demon. The role was played by Max von Sydow in the 1973 film version of Blatty's book. Shields will take on the role of Chris MacNeil, an actress and the girl's mother, who was played by Ellen Burstyn in the movie.
The role of Regan MacNeil, the possessed young girl, will be played by Emily Yetter, an adult actress who is a graduate of UCLA and who has several local theater credits to her name. Regan was played by Linda Blair (and partially voiced by Mercedes McCambridge) in the movie.
"The Exorcist" was adapted for the stage by John Pielmeier, the playwright of "Agnes of God." Tony winner John Doyle will direct the world premiere at the Geffen.
The role of Father Damien Karras -- the psychologically tormented priest who assists with the exorcism -- will be played by David Wilson Barnes. Rounding out the cast will be Harry Groener, who plays Chris' director on a movie project.
Chamberlain has been seen recently in the Pasadena Playhouse's revival of "The Heiress." Shields performed in the L.A. engagement of the musical "Leap of Faith" at the Ahmanson in 2010.
Pielmeier has stated on his website that the play will use "minor" special effects. The movie version of the book featured elaborate scenes of the possessed girl spewing green vomit and levitating in the air.
"The Exorcist" is set to begin previews on July 3 and will run through Aug. 12.
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