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FRED WARD IS CAST AS VINNIE IN SHEPARD'S `SIMPATICO'

Fred Ward is to play Vinnie, a double-dealing blackmailer in "Simpatico," Sam Shepard's new play about old friends, incriminating pictures and the Kentucky Derby. The play, which failed to land a commercial production last season, is to open at the Joseph Papp Public Theater on Nov. 1, with a cast that also includes Beverly D'Angelo, Marcia Gay Harden and Ed Harris.

- Bruce Weber