Roundabout Makes 'Smart' Move After Baranski Skips Dinner for TV

News   Roundabout Makes 'Smart' Move After Baranski Skips Dinner for TV Jean Smart (OB's Fit to be Tied, Last Summer at Bluefish Cove) will replace Christine Baranski as "Lorraine Sheldon" in the upcoming Roundabout Theatre production of The Man Who Came to Dinner. Baranski decided to leave the theatre production in order to accept a television series offer, production sources said.

Jean Smart (OB's Fit to be Tied, Last Summer at Bluefish Cove) will replace Christine Baranski as "Lorraine Sheldon" in the upcoming Roundabout Theatre production of The Man Who Came to Dinner. Baranski decided to leave the theatre production in order to accept a television series offer, production sources said.

Nathan Lane stars in the Broadway revival of the Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman play, which begins previews June 30 and opens July 27 at the American Airlines Theatre on West 42nd.

Tony Award-winning director Jerry Zaks will stage the 1939 revival of the comedy, about a famous -- and famously cranky -- critic who causes misery in a provincial household where he is forced to convalesce after breaking his hip. The Lane character of Sheridan Whiteside was said to have been modeled after critic Alexander Woollcott.

As reported earlier, Lewis J. Stadlen and Hank Stratton will also be at the Dinner table. Stadlen will play the part of Banjo, patterned after Woollcott pal, Harpo Marx. Stratton will play Bert Jefferson.

Roundabout's teaming of director Jerry Zaks with actor Nathan Lane is noteworthy: Zaks won a Tony Award for directing the Guys and Dolls revival that earned Nathan Lane a Tony nomination for his portrayal of Nathan Detroit. Zaks also helmed Lane's Tony Award-winning performance in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Originally launched on Broadway on October 16, 1939, The Man Who Came to Dinner ran for two years with Monty Woolley starring as Sheridan Whiteside. Woolley also starred in a 1942 film version. A 1967 Broadway musical adaptation, titled Sherry, preceded a 1972 Hallmark Hall of Fame television version with Orson Welles as Whiteside.

A Roundabout alum, Nathan Lane starred in the company's production of She Stoops to Conquer. His Broadway credits include the aforementioned Tony-winning performance in Forum, as well as Guys and Dolls (Tony nomination), Love! Valour! Compassion!, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Present Laughter, On Borrowed Time, Merlin, The Wind in the Willows, and Some Americans Abroad. In addition to numerous Off-Broadway roles, Lane has appeared in several successful films including "The Birdcage," "The Lion King" "Addams Family Values" and "Frankie and Johnny." A recent high-profile revival of Dinner several seasons ago in Chicago starred John Mahoney ("Frasier," The House of Blue Leaves) at Steppenwolf Theatre.

New addition Jean Smart earned a Drama Desk nomination and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Last Summer at Bluefish Cove. She has also appeared in Marvin's Room, The End of the Day, Fit to Be Tied, Laughing Wild with Christopher Durang and It Had to Be You with her husband, Richard Gilliland. Smart has worked extensively in regional theatre and is familiar to film and television audiences: On the big screen she will soon star opposite Bruce Willis in Disney's "The Kid" and she was seen in "The Brady Bunch," "Flashpoint" and "Protocol." On television, Smart is popular for her role in "Designing Women" and her guest appearance on "Frasier."

Additional casting for The Man Who Came to Dinner will be announced soon, production sources said.