Vidal's Small Planet Eyes Fall 2002 Orbit

News   Vidal's Small Planet Eyes Fall 2002 Orbit Following this season's successful revival of The Best Man, plans are currently developing to bring Gore Vidal's earlier play, the 1957 satire Visit to a Small Planet, to Broadway in fall 2002. At the May 16 Tony Nominees' brunch, Vidal told Playbill On-Line, John Tillinger would direct the revival, which is being "reworked and brought up to date." Cabaret Tony-winner and Design for Living co-star Alan Cumming is sought to play the alien lead.

Following this season's successful revival of The Best Man, plans are currently developing to bring Gore Vidal's earlier play, the 1957 satire Visit to a Small Planet, to Broadway in fall 2002. At the May 16 Tony Nominees' brunch, Vidal told Playbill On-Line, John Tillinger would direct the revival, which is being "reworked and brought up to date." Cabaret Tony-winner and Design for Living co-star Alan Cumming is sought to play the alien lead.

Previously, producer Jeffrey Richards confirmed that the cast of his private March 5 reading of a draft of Planet featured Cumming, Christine Baranski, Philip Bosco, Kristin Chenoweth, Cumming, Tony Randall, Lily Tomlin, Josh Alexander, Raul Aranas, Steven Michael Harper, Shawn Elliott and Wesley Ramsey.

"A lot depends on securing the right cast," Richards told PBOL May 25. "And John Tillinger will direct, if it comes together." Tillinger recently currently directing Abby Mann's Judgment at Nuremberg for Randall's National Actors Theatre.

Visit to a Small Planet originally opened Feb. 7, 1957, at the Booth Theatre. Eddie Mayehoff, Conrad Janis and Cyril Ritchard were among the cast-members of Vidal's three-act, satirical comedy, which ran nearly 400 performances. The play is set in the living room of a well-to-do television commentator (originally played by Philip Coolidge) and concerns a visitor from a more civilized planet paying a call on Earth.

"Gore has revised the script, updating it, adding a scene, and he's done some trimming," Richards told PBOL March 5, prior to the Manhattan reading. Richards, Michael B. Rothfeld, Raymond J. Greenwald, and Sean Strub are the producing team. Richards' interest in the 1957 play was first reported in December 2000, around the time of the Broadway closing of The Best Man, Vidal's political drama. Vidal told PBOL May 16 he's also currently working on a stage play called Burr, inspired by, but not directly adapted from, his famous novel of the same name.

— By David Lefkowitz