The play opened quietly to respectful, if not enthusiastic reviews. It persevered and was nominated for a 2003 Tony Award for Best Play. Actor Gorshin won a 2003 Outer Critics Circle Award for his performance. John Tillinger directs the work, which previously played at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the Coconut Grove Playhouse. It won Florida's Carbonell Award for Best New Play of 2000. John Lee Beatty is scenic consultant, lighting design is by Howard Werner, sound is by Kevin Lacey.
In Say Goodnight Gracie , comedian George Burns finds himself caught in limbo, unable to enter heaven until he plays his last performance, thereby preserving his perfect record of having never missed a curtain. Beginning with Burns' poverty-stricken youth on the Lower East Side of New York City, Gorshin re-creates the great comedian's life, from his success in vaudeville and on the radio to his marriage to the love of his life, Gracie Allen, and her tragic death; finishing with Burns' late-in life, Academy Award winning success on the silver screen and his establishment as a 20th Century entertainment and comedy icon.
According to the play's website, the national road show will begin Sept. 7-21 at Hartford Stage. The show will then play the following schedule:
Oct. 7-19: Royal Poinciana, Palm Beach, FL
Oct. 21-Nov. 2: Wilber Theatre, Boston
Nov. 7-16: Playhouse Theatre, Wilmington, DE
Feb. 2, 2004: Van Wezel PAH, Sarasota, FL
Feb. 13-15: Hayes Hall, Naples, FL
Feb. 24-29: Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center
March 2-7: Centre East Theatre, Skokie, IL
March 9-14: Orpheum Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
March 16-28: Byham Theatre, Pittsburgh
March 30-April 4: Majestic Theatre, Dallas
April 6-11: Weidner Center, Green Bay, WI
The next tenant in the Helen Hayes is another one-person play about a historical character: Golda's Balcony by William Gibson, with Tovah Feldshuh as Gold Meir.