The year 1997 is shaping up as a busy one for actor/director Charles Nelson Reilly.
He's preparing to direct The Gin Game on Broadway this spring. But first, on Jan. 6, Florida's Caldwell Theatre Company will honor him with their Fifth Annual Spotlight Award -- which coincides with his direction there of Frank Gilroy's The Subject Was Roses (through Feb. 9, 1997). Also, Jan. 13, Reilly will direct a PlaySearch play reading of Joanna's Husband And David's Wife, starring real-life married couple, Kenneth Kay and Kim Cozort.
Best of all, Reilly will be the "King" of Caldwell Theatre's Mardi Gras celebration, March 29, at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. That $150 evening will include also showcase the acting and dance troupe, Zanadu.
Reilly, a staple on TV's "Match Game" and "Hollywood Squares," made his Broadway debut as Mr. Henkle in Bye, Bye, Birdie, was nominated for a Tony as the original Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly!, and received a Tony for his performance as the original Bud Frump How To Succeed In Business.... His first directing assignment was The Belle Of Amherst, starring Julie Harris.
This spring, Reilly will come full circle when he directs Harris on Broadway once more, in The Gin Game. It will be their 11th play together. Previous winners of the Spotlight Award were Cliff Robertson, Roddy McDowall, Christopher Reeve and Nehemiah Persoff.
Founder of "The Faculty" acting school in Los Angeles (whose alumni include Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin and Peter Boyle), Reilly teaches weekly classes there.
For tickets ($15 or free to Caldwell members) and information on the Spotlight Award Ceremony, Monday, Jan. 6, 6:30 PM, call (407) 241-7432.
--By David Lefkowitz