Julie Harris and Charles Durning will star in a revival of D.L. Coburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Gin Game starting previews April 4 and opening April 20 at the Lyceum Theatre. The show will be under the auspices of Tony Randall's National Actors' Theatre, with Manny Kladitis as executive producer.
NAT has been dormant since 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.
Coburn's two-hander comedy/drama, about a sparring but loving elderly couple, will be directed by Charles Nelson Reilly.
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.
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. Designers for The Gin Game are James Noone (sets), Noel Taylor (costumes), Kirk Bookman (lighting) and Peter Fitzgerald (sound).
According to NAT spokesman Gary Springer, typical runs for a National Actors' Theatre production are six-seven weeks, but the producers made the decision to designate Gin Game as an "open run" in anticipation of strong box office interest. That would put on temporary hold plans to follow Gin with Sidney Kingsley's noirish Detective Story.
The Harris/Durning Gin Game was originally considered by the venerable Theatre Guild, but the production was orphaned when the Guild virtually dissolved in 1996.