Connecticut's Westport Country Playhouse continues its summer season with such names as Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara and Gavin MacLeod filling the bill.
After starting the summer with the revue Blackbirds Of Broadway, the not-for-profit playhouse had intended to feature gay legend Harvey Fierstein in Tracey Jackson's Jackie O's Glasses, running June 23-July 5. Because of "artistic differences" with Jackson, Fierstein pulled out of the project, and original director Charles Nelson Reilly (The Gin Game) also begged off due to a scheduling conflict. Now the show stars Tim Donoghue, alongside John Hickok and Broadway veteran Alison Fraser (The Secret Garden, Romance/Romance and Off Broadway's recent The Green Heart). Dennis Erdman directs the modern love triangle comedy, which looks at the bond between a gay man and his female best friend.
Oddly enough, Jackie O's Glasses is the third theatrical mention of the famous Ms. Onassis in recent months, what with the brief span of the Ireland musical JFK, and the upcoming Broadway satire, Jackie.
Next up at Westport (July 7-19) will be Spider's Web, a mystery comedy by Agatha Christie about a vivacious hostess who discovers a dead body in the drawing room. Starring in the show are Evalyn Baron, Jeff Breland, Thomas Carson, Munson Hicks, Alfred Hyslop, Des Keoth, Dennis Ryan, Melissa King, Samuel Maupin, Christy Carlson Romano, Frank Runyeon. John Going directs.
Westport audiences will then spend a few evenings with Jerry Herman, composer of such musicals as Hello, Dolly!, The Grand Tour, Mack And Mabel and La Cage Aux Folles. Herman's concert runs July 21-Aug 2. Lee Roy Reams and Florence Lacey co-star in the concert. Ken Ludwig's backstage farce, Moon Over Buffalo, brings Millicent Martin and the suddenly ubiquitous Gavin McLeod (Paper Mill Playhouse's Gigi) to the Westport Stage, Aug. 4-Aug. 16. Ludwig's other plays include Lend Me A Tenor and the book for Crazy For You.
Closing the season will be Anne Meara's After-Play, featuring Meara and husband Jerry Stiller, who played in the show off-Broadway, as did co-star Jane Powell. The poignant comedy looks at three couples in a restaurant -- and the way they've lived their lives. After-Play runs Aug. 18-Aug. 30.
--By David Lefkowitz