Details have been mighty slow in coming regarding the Broadway adaptation of Judgment at Nuremberg, due in a National Actors Theatre mounting this season, but news is now trickling in. A few weeks ago, production spokesperson Gary Springer confirmed that George Grizzard, who was last on Broadway in the revival of A Delicate Balance, will have a role in the production, alongside the previously reported Maximilian Schell.
Two weeks later, the trade journal Theatrical Index reported that Joseph Wiseman would also be in the cast, and that the producers selected the Longacre Theatre (empty since the Elaine May disappointment, Taller Than a Dwarf last spring) as Nuremberg’s home. Spokesperson Springer could confirm neither development, though he did say the Longacre was “not confirmed but likely.“ Springer did note that the show’s designers will be James Noone on sets, Jess Goldstein on costumes and Brian MacDevitt on lighting.
Now a National Actors Theatre spokesperson has confirmed syndicated columnist Liz Smith’s report (Nov. 22) that film actress Marthe Keller (“Black Sunday,” “Bobby Deerfield”) has joined the ensemble, as have Susan Kellerman and Heather Randall (the wife of artistic director Tony Randall). The spokesperson also noted that Randall (OOB’s Hansen’s Cab) will be playing the Holocaust survivor role played in the film by Judy Garland. Also, Michael Hayden, whose credits include Carousel and Off-Broadway’s Far East, will have a role in the production.
Less certain, now, is the show’s home, with the producers still expecting to stay at the Longacre but now apparently considering another (unnamed) venue as well. Previews are likely to start March 13, 2001, with a tentative opening date of March 26, 2001. Rehearsals are slated to begin Jan. 18, 2001.
Actor Schell, unforgettable as the volcanic attorney defending Nazi war criminals in the film version of Nuremberg, returns to the material -- albeit in a different role. This time he's playing a defendant, a calm, intelligent man who should have known better than to just follow orders. (The role was played by Burt Lancaster in the movie.) No word yet on which role Grizzard will undertake. Apart from his Tony-winning stint in Balance, Grizzard’s other stage credits have included 1959’s The Disenchanted and 1961’s Big Fish, Little Fish, both of which earned him Featured Actor Tony nominations. Director John Tillinger and NAT artistic director Tony Randall are still casting the other roles, and Abby Mann, adapting his own screenplay, is apparently still tinkering with the essentially-finished script, after weeks of revisions.
Variety had mentioned (Aug. 31) that actor Schell was recently recovering in a Munich hospital after collapsing at the Latvian Film Festival. He didn't require surgery, and Nuremberg spokespersons say he's recovered, remains with the project, and has been in frequent contact with the producers about the show.
Judgment at Nuremberg began life at a television production. It was subsequently made into a film starring Spencer Tracy, Montgomery Clift, Lancaster, Judy Garland, Schell and Marlene Dietrich. The NAT commissioned Mann to adapt his own script for the stage. (The play has no connection, by the way, to another television piece: "Nuremberg," a four hour docudrama by David W. Rintels, which premiered July 16 on Turner Network Television.)
Judgment will mark the NAT's first venture since Night Must Fall, which closed on Broadway in spring 1999. Since its first two seasons, in the early '90s, the NAT has operated in a more casual manner, presenting a play whenever the needed elements and talent were brought together. Past productions have included The Gin Game and Inherit the Wind.
Tillinger, whose most recent credit was the short-lived Suite in Two Keys Off Broadway, has almost become the house director for the NAT. For the company, he has mounted Inherit the Wind, Night Must Fall, The Sunshine Boys and Three Men on a Horse.