Paul Osborn's bittersweet comedy, Morning's at Seven, has been added to the Lincoln Center Theater season and will open at a theatre to be announced in April. LCT favorite Daniel Sullivan will direct the revival.
The 1939 play—as well as Osborn himself — was nearly forgotten by 1978, when director Vivian Matalon staged the work at the Academy Festival Theatre in Lake Forest, IL. Some New York producers saw the mounting and decided to move it to Broadway's Lyceum Theatre, where it became one of the biggest fluke hits in American theatre history. The production was widely praised and ran 564 performances. (The original staging has lasted just 44 performances.)
No casting has been announced for the LCT outing, but the venture is likely to attract some of the more seasoned talents of the New York stage. Morning's at Seven concerns the doings of four Midwesterns women and three of their husbands, all in their golden years. As such, the plot offers ripe opportunities for mature actors and actresses. The 1980 Broadway production featured memorable late-career turns by Lois de Banzie, Gary Merrill ("All About Eve"), Nancy Marchand (The Cocktail Hour), Teresa Wright ("Mrs. Miniver," "Shadow of a Doubt") and Maureen O'Sullivan.
Following the 1980 success, producers and theatre companies raided the neglected oeuvre of Paul Osborn, hoping to find another lost treasure, but nothing matched the performance of Seven. The last major revival of an Osborn play was On Borrowed Time at Circle in The Square. The show featured George C. Scott in his second-to-last New York stage appearance, Nathan Lane as a character representing Death, and Teresa Wright in her final stage role.
* Currently on offer at LCT are the musical Thou Shalt Not, Richard Greenberg's Everett Beekin and Peter Parnell's QED.