As reported in December towards the closing of The Best Man on Broadway, another Gore Vidal play may have future revival prospects. Producer and press agent Jeffrey Richards and co-producer Michael B. Rothfeld are putting together a reading of Vidal's 1957 piece, Visit to a Small Planet, with John Tillinger directing. "The reading will determine its future," Richards told Variety on Dec. 29, 2000. Philip Bosco, who recently finished Copenhagen's successful run on Broadway and will be in Encores!' upcoming Bloomer Girl concert staging, will be in the reading cast, a spokesman at his agency, H.W.A. Talent, confirmed on Feb. 28. Kristin Chenoweth, a Tony winner for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and seen in Epic Proportions and A New Brain, will also take part in the reading. Chenoweth's spokesperson at Bauman, Redanty and Shaul noted that the actress has already shot the first 13 episodes of her new TV series and was thus available for the reading (and for appearing in an upcoming Lincoln Center "American Songbook" concert tribute to Ricky Ian Gordon on March 13).
Industry sources say other actors participating in the Visit to a Small Planet reading include Lily Tomlin (The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe), Alan Cumming (Design for Living, Cabaret), Tony Randall (The Sunshine Boys), Shawn Elliott and Raul Aranas (Dogeaters). Tillinger is currently directing Abby Mann's Judgment at Nuremberg for Randall's National Actors Theatre, so the Planet reading has been scheduled for March, Richards told Playbill On-Line.
Visit to a Small Planet originally opened Feb. 7, 1957 at the Booth Theatre. Eddie Mayehoff, Conrad Janis and Cyril Ritchard were among the cast-members of Vidal's three-act, satirical comedy, which ran nearly 400 performances. The play is set in the living room of a well-to-do television commentator (originally played by Philip Coolidge) and concerns a visitor from a more civilized planet paying a call on Earth.