Now in previews, the recast Broadway revival of A Thousand Clowns, starring Judd Hirsch has set 7 PM Sunday July 14 at its official opening.
Spokesperson Erin Dunn said the revival of Herb Gardner's comedy will also close its limited run one day early -- Aug. 10 instead of 11 -- in order to get the next production, the Mary McDonnell-starred revival of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke on stage by Aug. 16.
This A Thousand Clowns has seen an unusual amount of upheaval, with director Gene Saks and star Robert Klein leaving the production just days before the original May 28 first preview date, causing postponement of the original June 13 opening.
Gardner stalwart Judd Hirsch now stars in the production, which has been restaged by Roundabout stalwart Scott Ellis. No official explanation has been made for the changes.
A Roundabout source who asked to remain anonymous said author Herb Gardner and Roundabout Artistic Director Todd Haimes had been unhappy with the progress of rehearsals.
Klein is a successful standup comedian who starred on Broadway in several solo shows and in Neil Simon's long-running musical They're Playing Our Song. Klein was to have played Murray Burns, the nonconformist star of the play, a role originated by Jason Robards.
Instead the role will be taken by Hirsch, best known for his appearances on TV's Taxi and Broadway's Talley's Folly. He's also appeared on Broadway in Gardner's two biggest recent hits, I'm Not Rappaport and Conversations With My Father. His recent off-Broadway show, Below the Belt closed prematurely in May. Hirsch launched his career in 1964 playing Murray at Woodstock Playhouse in upstate New York. He talks about the experience in Playbill On-Line's feature "Remembering the Tony Winners: Actors in a Play" in the Tony Awards section of Theatre News.
Saks, one of Broadway's most successful directors of comedy, originated the role of Chuckles the Chipmunk in the Broadway and film casts of A Thousand Clowns. Since turning to directing, Saks has won three Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards. Among other shows, he directed Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound, but was fired from Simon's 1993 musical, The Goodbye Girl.
Saks has been replaced by one of Broadway's most successful young directors, Scott Ellis, who has had a string of hits at Roundabout, including She Loves Me and Company, the former of which earned him a 1994 Tony nomination as Best Director of a Musical.
The rest of the A Thousand Clowns cast remains intact: Dov Tiefenbach plays Murray's nephew Nick, David Margulies is Murray's brother Arnold, and John Procaccino plays the role originated by Saks -- Murray's boss Leo Herman, star of the children's show Murray writes for, Chuckles the Chipmunk.
All tickets cost $55. For information: (212) 869-8400