They played their New York hand all through the summer of 1997, then they stacked the deck in Chicago that fall. They even played L.A.'s Wiltshire in early September when Alfred Uhry's Bally wasn't yet ready to Hoo. Nevertheless, The Gin Game doesn't officially start its national tour until Oct. 27, with Julie Harris and Charles Durning in the leads.
D.L. Coburn's Pulitzer-winning comedy/drama played 20 previews and 144 regular performances at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre. After that run, The Gin Game played for several weeks at Chicago's Royal George Theatre. According to spokesperson Charlie Siedenburg (at the Springer/Chicoine office), the national tour will begin Oct. 27-Nov. 1 in Raleigh-Durham, NC, and the Charles Nelson Reilly-directed revival will then travel to a dozen other cities, winding up in Boston in Apr. 1999, according to a Springer/Chicoine office spokesperson.
Here are the Gin Game tour dates
Oct. 27-Nov. 1: Durham, NC, Carolina Theatre
Nov. 3-15: Cleveland, OH, Palace Theatre
Nov. 17-22: Baltimore, MD, Morris A. Mechanic Theatre
Dec. 1-13: Los Angeles, CA, Wilshire Theatre
Dec. 15-20: Phoenix, AZ, Orpheum Theatre
Jan. 12-17, 1999: Dallas, TX, Majestic Theatre
Jan. 19-24, 1999: Detroit, MI, Music Hall
Jan. 26-31, 1999: Minneapolis, MN, State Theatre
Feb. 2-14, 1999: Pittsburgh, PA, Byham Theatre
Feb. 16-21, 1999: Stamford, CT, Arts Center
March 2-14, 1999: Palm Beach, FL, Royal Poinciana
March 16-Apr. 4, 1999: Fort Lauderdale, FL, Parker Playhouse
Apr. 6-May 2, 1999: Washington DC, Kennedy Center
May 4-16, 1999: Boston, MA, Colonial Theatre.
The Gin Game was presented on Broadway under the auspices of Tony Randall's National Actors' Theatre, with Manny Kladitis as executive producer. Randall is the NAT's founder and artistic director. (NAT had been dormant for a time after George C. Scott's various health and legal problems forced him to leave their production of Inherit The Wind in late May 1996. (Durning was Scott's co-star in Wind.) The NAT juts finished its season with an acclaimed run of Randall and Jack Klugman in Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, which ended June 28 at the Lyceum. A revival of Night Must Fall will be the first production of the 1998-99 season, arriving mid-winter.)
As for Gin Game, Harris is one of Broadway's most distinguished actresses, having won five Tony Awards -- the most ever won by a single actor. Her roles have included Sally Bowles in I Am A Camera (later musicalized as Cabaret), St. Joan in Lillian Hellman's The Lark and as Emily Dickenson in The Belle of Amherst,, also directed by Charles Nelson Reilly. She appeared opposite Durning on Broadway once before, in The Au Pair Man at Lincoln Center. Producer Arthur Cantor has announced plans to bring Harris in Scent of the Roses to Broadway in Fall 1999. (The show had its tryout at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre.)
Durning won the Tony for his Big Daddy in 1990's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and has has major roles in That Championship Season, Indians plus many other plays, TV shows and films.
-- By David Lefkowitz