Merkerson will star as Lola, a blowzy, lonely housewife, in the Inge drama that opens Jan. 24 at the Biltmore Theatre, MTC announced Wednesday. Preview performances begin Jan. 3. It will be the play's first Broadway revival. The original 1950 production starred Shirley Booth, who won a Tony for her performance and then an Academy Award for the 1952 movie version.
Merkerson is best known for her 13 seasons as Lt. Anita Van Buren on NBC's "Law & Order." Her Broadway credits include "The Piano Lesson," August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, in 1990.
Earlier this summer, Merkerson starred in a California production of "Come Back, Little Sheba," produced by Center Theatre Group at its Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. It was directed by Michael Pressman, who will also direct the Broadway revival.
"Come Back, Little Sheba" was Inge's first Broadway success and was followed by such hits as "Picnic" (1953), "Bus Stop" (1955) and "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1957).
Additional casting for "Come Back, Little Sheba" will be announced later.