I'm Not Rappaport may be the latest play from the late '70s and early '80s to receive a revival on Broadway. The producers of the Daniel Sullivan-directed revival of Herb Gardner's Tony Award-winning 1985 comedy Rappaport, which stars Judd Hirsch and Ben Vereen and plays three regional nonprofits in 2002, are hoping the tour will culminate in a Broadway berth this spring.
"The idea," Sullivan told Playbill On-Line Jan. 16, is "that we would come in in April sometime, after the Paper Mill production, at a Broadway house. A lot of this has to do with theatre availability."
Rappaport recently began its life at Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami Jan. 1. It will run there until Jan. 20 and then play Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC, Jan. 23-Feb. 17 and Paper Mill in Millburn, NJ Feb. 20 March 24.
Sullivan and Hirsch reunite as collaborators on the seriocomic 1986 play about two seniors who meet in Central Park and confront a changing world — embodied by drug dealers, punks, an angry daughter and an ex-boss. Hirsch won the Tony Award for playing crusty socialist Nat. Vereen, who plays Midge, is known for his Tony Award-winning turn in Pippin, plus his recent work in Fosse on Broadway.
Talking about how Vereen came to be cast, Sullivan said, "I know Herb and I had talked about Ben several times. Herb had seen Ben do it in San Francisco. I had not. It was a separate production. And Herb had good memories of that. So we got together and read the first act. I thought that was a really good actor there.... Ben is very detailed. It's all very psychologically based. You wouldn't know at all that there is a song and dance man there. He's completely submerged into the character." Gardner won the 1986 Best Play Tony Award for I'm Not Rappaport. Also recreating their 1986 work are designers Tony Walton (set) and Tony-winner for Rappaport Pat Collins (lighting).
I'm Not Rappaport plays Coconut Grove Jan. 1-20, 2002, Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC, Jan. 23-Feb. 17 and Paper Mill in Millburn, NJ Feb. 20-March 24.
Director Sullivan won the Best Director Tony Award in 2001 for Broadway's Proof..
The cast includes Anthony Arkin (Danforth), Mimi Lieber (Clara), Steven Boyer (Gilley), Jeb Brown (Cowboy), Tanya Clarke (Laurie).
Sound designers are Duncan Robert Edwards and David F. Shapiro. Theresa Snider-Stein is costume designer.