Julie Harris and Charles Durning look increasingly likely to return to Broadway in spring 1997 in a revival of D.L. Coburn's Pulitzer Prize winning The Gin Game under the auspices of Tony Randall's National Actors' Theatre.
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 likely go into the Lyceum Theatre. Charles Nelson Reilly will direct the show, which goes into rehearsals in February and opens in April.
According to NAT spokesman Gary Springer, typical runs for a National Actors' Theatre production are 6-7 weeks. Plans are also underway to follow Gin Game with Sidney Kingsley's noirish Detective Story. No cast or theatre have been announced for that play. There are no plans for the dark Lyceum space between now and Gin Game.
Randall, NAT artistic director, will spend November 1996 through January 1997 playing opposite Ben Vereen in the annual Madison Square Garden Christmas Carol musical. Randall, who understudied the ailing George C. Scott and appeared in the original Broadway production of Wind, was apparently engaging in wishful thinking when he told audiences last summer that NAT would leave the sets standing for the Lawrence & Lee show -- so whenever Scott felt well enough, he could return. That wasn't possible, although there is vague talk that Scott might do the show in California because he lives there. Scott has been quoted saying he wouldn't do the show again without Durning, which could make things difficult since the latter would be needed for Gin rehearsals in February.
The Harris/Durning Gin Game was originally discussed by the venerable Theatre Guild, but the production was orphaned when the Guild dissolved earlier this year.