Originally, Natalia Makarova (Vera) only signed for half the six-week run at the Kennedy Center due to an engagement in Europe. Valentina Kozlova was to finish the run. Makarova would then return to the production for the New York run. However, on December 19, Makarova was hurt when counterweights tore loose at the beginning of "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" causing a pipe to fall from the scenery hitting her . The rest of the performance was cancelled. She suffered lacerations to the head and a fractured shoulder. Had she been a few inches closer, the pipe might have crippled or killed her, according to the New York Times.
Valentina Kozlova assumed the role for the remainder of the Washington, DC run. Kozlova's husband, Leonid Kozlov, replaced George de la Peña for the remainder of the DC run.
Kozlova was offered the role of Vera on Broadway. Although Makarova returned to open the show. By February 1, Makarova had confirmed that she would return. de la Peña returned for the New York opening as well.