So popular was Charles Nelson Reilly's one-man show, Life of Reilly, when it played at Florida's Caldwell Theatre this past August, the Boca venue brought the solo back for two weeks, Sept. 22-Oct. 3. The second week of that engagement has again sold out, and Reilly fans who haven't yet booked for the show are out of luck. The show can't extend past the Oct. 3 finale because the next production, Enig Bagnold's The Chalk Garden, needs to load in and begin rehearsals. Caldwell artistic and managing director Michael Hall added that the "phenomenal" box office response forced the company to double the number of performances originally scheduled for the first engagement. "[We] still sold them all out," said Hall. "We turned so many people away that it seemed only natural to bring Charles back."
Reilly, a staple on TV's "Match Game" and "Hollywood Squares," 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.
Paul Linke was chosen by Reilly as the helmer of his performance piece. 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.
For information on Life of Reilly at the Caldwell call (561) 241- 7432. The Caldwell Theatre Company is located at 7873 N. Federal Highway in the Levitz Plaza in Boca Raton. Next up, Nov. 7-Dec. 19, will be The Chalk Garden.
-- By Christine Ehren and David Lefkowitz