Perhaps it's an actors' truism, but every nerd wants to play Cary Grant, every Jew wants to play Jesus, every salt-of-the-earth wants to play Hitler, and every pin-up wants to play a rocket scientist. No surprise then, that rugged Marlboro man Tom Selleck has always wanted to play the iconoclastic, slovenly and free-spirited Murray Burns in A Thousand Clowns.
Since Selleck has made his fame and fortune as TV's "Magnum P.I.," as well as a movie career that's included "Three Men and a Baby" and "Her Alibi," he can actually make his dream come true. As such, Selleck will be starring in a mounting of A Thousand Clowns, as reported back in late winter. Originally, the show was to be staged in Austin, TX in November before coming to Manhattan. Now Variety reports that the production will start at Duke University (Feb. 7-25, 2001) and then go on a four-city tour before reaching Broadway, April 16.
Author Gardner told Playbill On-Line (Feb. 25) John Rando would direct the comedy, which will now be a co-production between Theater Previews at Duke University and producer/press agent Jeffrey Richards. No specific information about the project was available from the Richards office at press time.
In its February story about plans for Clowns, the New York Times noted (Feb. 25) that Selleck had talked to author Herb Gardner about doing the show back in 1996, but that was just when the Roundabout Theatre Company had put their Broadway production together, one that starred Judd Hirsch and Marin Hinkle.
Asked why he'd be interested in the role of a man who shirks work in favor of an easy, careless lifestyle, Selleck, 55, told the Times, "I'm 6'4". I was always being asked to do the other guy, the guy who always gets the girl." Zannie Voss, managing director of Theater Previews at Duke, told Variety (July 31 issue) that she'd been approached by several producers with commercial projects, but Clowns was "really the standout." Duke workshopped the Broadway-bound Birdy and Eleanor: An American Love Story last season.