Charles Nelson Reilly, former Broadway star and current theatrical director, opens his one-man autobiographical piece, Save it for the Stage: The Life of Reilly, Oct. 3 at the Irish Repertory Theatre. Previews began Sept. 28 for a limited run through Oct. 28.
Reilly 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. Harris and Reilly have worked on 12 plays together, including The Gin Game and the up-coming story of Alice B. Toklas, Staying on Alone by Bruce Kellner. Other Broadway directing credits include Paul Robeson with James Earl Jones, Break a Leg and The Nerd.
He made the move to television and while the wacky "Match Game" is still remembered, Reilly is a multiple Emmy nominee for his often comic work. His turn as Jose Chung on "The X-Files" garnered much attention and guest-spots on "Millennium" and "The Drew Carey Show" also resulted in recent Emmy nominations. Emmy first recognized him for "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."
Save it for the Stage: The Life of Reilly is directed by Paul Linke. Linke, an actor for over 25 years, has appeared in over 200 television shows and is best known as Artie Grossman on NBC's "CHiPS." Linke was a founder and artistic director of the Powerhouse Theatre in Santa Monica and a member of the Company Theatre. A writer/performer, his best- known stage piece is Time Flies When You're Alive, which became an HBO special. He currently teaches a professional acting class at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles.
In a Daily News interview (Oct. 3), Reilly recalled developing his show out of "some funny stories I put together" when he was lecturing at the Savannah School of Art and Design. "Paul Linke and I started writing it on a plane to Florida, where we were to do four performances. We stayed three months." Tickets are $35-$40. The Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. For reservations, call (212) 727-2737.
— By Christine Ehren