Brian Dennehy Mulling Falstaffian Turn for 2007 Central Park Debut

News   Brian Dennehy Mulling Falstaffian Turn for 2007 Central Park Debut Brian Dennehy is "leaning towards' playing Falstaff" at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park next summer, according to a feature article on the Public Theater in New York magazine.
Brian Dennehy
Brian Dennehy Photo by Aubrey Reuben

It was recently announced that Dennehy has signed on to make his Shakespeare in the Park debut in 2007. No play or director have been officially named. The New York article did not mention whether the Falstaff play being considered was Henry IV, Part I, Henry IV, Part II or Merry Wives of Windsor. Shakespeare wrote the character in several of his works. (Falstaff was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I.) The fat knight is also seen briefly, on his death bed, in Henry V.

There is a certain roundabout irony in Dennehy's considering Falstaff. The role, as depicted in Henry IV, Parts I and II, was played to recent acclaim at Lincoln Center Theater by Kevin Kline, who has agreed to open the Public's 2006-07 season (this fall) with a Bard play yet to be named. Kline seems to be favoring a go at King Lear, and has scheduled a workshop of that play at the Public. Lear, meanwhile, is a play Dennehy was expected to tackle with director Robert Falls at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. Instead, Falls announced that Stacy Keach would play the mad king when the tragedy opens the Goodman's 2006-07 season.

Dennehy most recently starred on Broadway in Long Day's Journey Into Night. He won a Tony Award for that role, as well as his work in Death of a Salesman.

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