Anthony Edwards enters “Girl From the North Country”

Anthony Edwards is no stranger to playing a doctor or answering emergency calls after starring on the hit TV series “ER” for eight seasons. When Robert Joy, who plays Dr. Walker in the Broadway musical “Girl From the North Country,” couldn’t perform Friday night, Edwards stepped in and played the part with just an hour’s rehearsal.

The actor was contacted by his wife, Tony contestant Mare Winningham who stars on the show, earlier in the afternoon after several members of society tested positive for COVID-19. “I was in Connecticut removing these storm windows from our house and Mare called me and was like, ‘Hey, guess what?’ We’ve lost another one and we’re going to have to cancel the show because Bob Joy is missing,” Edwards said in a YouTube video talking about his experience. Winningham then said director Conor McPherson suggested Edwards take Joy’s place.

Producer Tristan Baker made a pre-show announcement thanking the show’s swings and stunt doubles, then asked if there was a doctor in the house before revealing to the audience that Edwards would be taking the stage.

Edwards, 59, appeared with a script for part of the show, but for several scenes he was able to work off the book. At the call of the curtain, he received a standing ovation.

“I know the audience is so loving and forgiving,” Edwards said in the video. “I’ve seen someone go on with a book before, and I just thought, I love this show, I love everything about it. And if that means…1,000 people are going to get to see it tonight at the instead of canceling it, I’m in, like let’s go.”

“I’m beyond impressed and proud,” Winningham said of Edwards’ performance, before telling her, “You’re fearless and fun and you’re blessed. And the show went on.”

‘Girl From the North Country,’ set in a dilapidated guesthouse in Duluth, Minnesota, during the Great Depression and features the songs of Bob Dylan, is up for six Tony Awards, including Best Musical . The show runs until June 19.

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