George Grizzard will play the iconoclastic Grandpa in a new production of the Kaufman and Hart comedy You Can't Take It with You at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse, the actor told Playbill On-Line Jan. 28. The show will be featured in the theatre's 2002-03 season.
Grizzard said he had been offered the role and would probably take it, because "they don't write good roles like that for old guys like me anymore." He also invoked fond memories he still had of Jason Robards, Jr., playing the same part two decades ago.
You Can't Take It With You won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1937. It tells the story of the free living Vanderhoff family, a clan of eccentrics who don't adhere to the grid of American society. Grandpa, the philosophical leader of the house, quit his job long ago when he realized he wasn't having any fun. His daughter splits her time between playwriting and painting while her husband experiments with fireworks in the basement. Other family enterprises include a xylophone, ballet slippers and a printing press. Things get interesting when the most normal Vanderhoff plans to marry into a rigidly conservative family.
Henry Travers starred in the original Broadway production, alongside Josephine Hull, Frank Wilcox and George Heller. Frank Capra made the film with Lionel Barrymore, Jean Arthur and Jimmy Stewart.
Rosemary Harris starred in a 1966 revival of the play. A 1983 version featured Jason Robards, Jr., Colleen Dewhurst, James Coco and Elizabeth Wilson. Grizzard won a Tony Award for A Delicate Balance. His most recent Broadway appearance was in Judgment at Nuremberg.
Kevin Gray, a veteran of the most recent Broadway revival of The King and I, will be the King of Siam again at Paper Mill in Millburn, NJ, April 3-May 19.
The British schoolteacher he spars with will be (as previously announced) Carolee Carmello.
Gray played the title role of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and starred as Gaylord Ravenal in the Los Angeles company of Show Boat. He toured as The Engineer in Miss Saigon (winning Toronto's Dora Mavor Moore and L.A. Drama-Logue awards).
Gray and Carmello, the Tony Award-nominated star of Parade and the most recent star of Broadway's hit Kiss Me, Kate, will dance to the steps of Susan Kikuchi, who will recreate Jerome Robbins' choreography from the original 1951 staging of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. Kikuchi knows her stuff: Her mom, Yuriko Kikuchi, played Eliza in the "Small House of Uncle Thomas" ballet in the show in 1951. Mark Hoebee directs the 51st anniversary revival of The King and I.
—By Robert Simonson
and Kenneth Jones