When the Roundabout Theatre Company opens the American Airlines Theatre with its production of The Man Who Came to Dinner, two places will be reserved for Lewis J. Stadlen and Hank Stratton at the table.
Agents for both actors confirm that the actors will appear in the Roundabout production of The Man Who Came to Dinner , starring star Nathan Lane and Christine Baranski. As reported earlier, 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.
Stadlen will play the part of Banjo, patterned after Woollcoot pal, Harpo Marx. Stratton will play Bert Jefferson.
The Moss Hart-George S. Kaufman comedy is scheduled to begin previews at the Selwyn Theatre June 30, 2000.
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, along with co-stars Bill Persky and Sam Denoff.
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.