By Ernio Hernandez
and Robert Simonson
12 Mar 2003
The revival which was filmed by Thirteen/ WNET for its "Stage on Screen" series broadcast on the PBS flagship station features Nathan Lane and Jean Smart. The 2000 Broadway revival of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's The Man Who Came to Dinner was staged at American Airlines Theatre under the direction of Tony Award-winning director Jerry Zaks.
Hosted by Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson, the program aired in New York City. The production marked the premiere production at Roundabout's newly-opened AA Theatre formerly the Selwyn Theatre.
The 1939 comedy centered on a famous — and famously cranky — critic who causes misery in a provincial household where he is forced to convalesce after breaking his hip. The Lane character of Sheridan Whiteside was modeled after the critic Alexander Woollcott. The Sheldon character, played by Smart, is a thinly veiled Gertrude Lawrence.
Originally launched on Broadway on October 16, 1939, The Man Who Came to Dinner ran for two years with Monty Woolley starring as Sheridan Whiteside. Woolley also starred in a 1942 film version. Woollcott himself later starred in a touring production of the show. A 1967 Broadway musical adaptation, titled Sherry, preceded a 1972 Hallmark Hall of Fame television version with Orson Welles as Whiteside.
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