By David Lefkowitz
and Harry Haun
30 Apr 1997
A Broadway revival of Dion Boucicault's 19th-century mistaken identity romp, London Assurance opens April 30 at Roundabout Theatre in New York. It will be the final show eligible for the 1997 Tony Awards, which are scheduled to be given June 1.
Tony-winner Brian Bedford, in his first New York appearance since his January 1997 induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame, stars in the vintage farce as an aging London widower, Sir Harcourt Courtly, who goes courting in Gloucestershire and winds up wooing the young heiress whom his son also fancies.
Rainn Wilson, who appeared in The Tempest on Broadway, plays the son, and Kathryn Meisle (last seen in The Rehearsal at the Roundabout) is the object of the father/son affections. Helen Carey essays the role of the aggressive charmer who manages to turn this triangle into a smooth-fitting rectangle.
Contributing to the fun: Christopher Evan Welch of Scapin, David Schramm (Roy on TV's "Wings") and John Christopher Jones from Picasso at the Lapin Agile and more recently A Month in the Country at the Roundabout. John Horton, Ken Jennings, Robert Neill, Rita Pietropinto and Andrew Weems round out the cast.
Designers for London Assurance are Derek McLane (sets), Catherine Zuber (costumes), Blake Burba (lighting) and Mark Bennett (sound).
Director Joe Dowling began rehearsals March 18. The show starts previewing April 16 for an opening on April 30, the deadline day for Tony Award eligibility. The show is set to run through June 22.
Bedford's last Tony bid was for a Roundabout show, The Moliere Comedies, and he won the award for Moliere's TheSchool for Wives; he got Tony-nominated for Shakespeare (Timon of Athens) and for Two Shakespearean Actors.
Director Dowling is the Guthrie Theatre's artistic director. His last Broadway assignment was the Roundabout's Philadelphia, Here I Come!.
Other plays by Irish playwright Boucicault include The Corsican Brothers (1852) and Jessie Brown (1858). He most likely London Assurance before his 21st birthday, and the show premiered March 4, 1841 at Covent Garden where it ran for three months.
London Assurance was last on Broadway in 1974, opening in December of that year and starring Donald Sinden, Roger Rees and Polly Adams.
For tickets ($55) and information on London Assurance at the Roundabout call (212) 869-840