As first reported by Playbill On-Line, James Naughton, who won a Tony for his portrayal of Billy Flynn in Chicago, will take the stage all by his lonesome come February 1999. The actor will star in a one-man show at the Promenade Theatre, confirmed spokespersons at the offices of his agent, Sam Cohn, and David Stone, who is producing with Julian Scholossberg and Chase Mishkin. Exact dates and the title of the production could not be learned by press time.
Directing the piece may be one of the theatre's most esteemed directors, Mike Nichols. Variety reported (Dec. 11) Nichols would helm the piece. However, press rep Jackie Green said Nichols' involvement could not be confirmed. "The best I can say right now is that he is presenting the show," she said.
Nichols hasn't directed in New York since his 1992 production of Death and the Maiden starring Gene Hackman, Richard Dreyfuss and Glenn Close. Prior to that, he directed Robin Williams and Steve Martin in Waiting for Godot in 1988. Nichols began his career as a director with such hits as Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple . For the past few decades, however, his film career -- launched by "The Graduate" -- has overshadowed his theatre work.
The nature of Naughton's show is unclear, but the actor has recently been performing his cabaret act around town. His well-received act played in June at Manhattan Theatre Club. He sang classic pop standards such as "The Folks Who Live on the Hill," "Stardust" and more. On Nov. 9, he performed in a benefit for the Blue Light Theater Company, the NYC nonprofit where his son, Greg, serves as "actor manager." The one-night only event, at Carolines [sic] Comedy Nation, 1626 Broadway, featured special guest jazz pianist George Shearing, with musical director John Oddo and the John Oddo Quintet.
Naughton's stage credits include Four Baboons Adoring the Sun and City of Angels. The Yasmina Reza play The Unexpected Man will begin performances at the Promenade come September 1999.