Matthew Broderick and Judy Parfitt have been confirmed as the stars of National Actors Theatre's limited-run Night Must Fall revival at the Lyceum Theatre beginning previews Jan. 26, opening Feb. 15 and closing April 11, 1999.
The 1935 Emlyn Williams thriller will be directed by John Tillinger (Broadway's Getting and Spending and The Sunshine Boys). The rest of the casting is not complete.
Dry and tart British actress Parfitt ("Dolores Claiborne," "The Jewel in the Crown") will play Mrs. Bramson, a matron who takes a suspected killer (Broderick, playing against type) under her wing. National Actors Theatre general manager Fred Walker confirmed (Nov. 13) the lead casting, adding that no matter how good potential reviews might be, there can be no extension with Broderick in the role because of his commitment to star in Hartford Stage's The Death of Papa by Horton Foote, May 27-June 27, 1999 in Hartford, CT.
After a London staging in 1935, Night Must Fall premiered at Broadway's Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 1936. Director-playwright Williams also played the lead role of Dan (the Broderick role), a bellboy in a resort town hired as a servant by Mrs. Bramson. Mrs. Bramson's niece is suspicious of Dan, following a local murder.
Other plays by (George) Emlyn Williams include The Corn is Green and The Druid's Rest. A 1937 film version of Night Must Fall starred Rosalind Russell. *
Tony Randall has singlemindedly and tirelessly boosted the nonprofit NAT, which he founded in the early 1990s as a way of getting the finest contemporary actors to perform seldom-seen classics and stretch their acting muscles.
Some of the productions have been successful, including a recent Randall-Jack Klugman teaming on The Sunshine Boys, and Brian Bedford in Shakespeare's Timon of Athens. But the company has struggled. A lauded 1996 revival of Inherit the Wind with George C. Scott and Charles Durning closed prematurely when Scott developed problems with his health and personal life. Randall understudied his part.
NAT's recent revival of The Gin Game performed to half-full houses despite the presence of Durning and Julie Harris. Nevertheless, Gin Game is touring nationally with Durning and Harris, having started Oct. 27 in Raleigh-Durham NC. The show travels to a dozen cities through spring 1999.