Robert Sean Leonard Will Inspire a New Dawn in Born Yesterday on Broadway
By Kenneth Jones
Tony Award winner Robert Sean Leonard (The Invention of Love, TV's "House") will play the reporter Paul Verrall in the new Broadway production of Garson Kanin's Born Yesterday, the producers announced Feb. 8.
He joins Jim Belushi (TV's "According to Jim" and "The Defenders") as corrupt businessman Brock and Nina Arianda (Off-Broadway's Venus in Fur) as Billie Dawn, Brock's narrow girlfriend, who blossoms when Paul becomes her tutor.
The comedy, directed by Doug Hughes, opens April 24 at the Cort Theatre, 138 West 48th Street. Previews begin March 31. Additional casting will be announced.
Leonard won a 2001 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his performance in the Lincoln Center Theater production of The Invention of Love. In 2003, he was nominated in the same category for his performance in Long Day's Journey Into Night, which also starred Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Dennehy and Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was most recently seen on stage in Manhattan Theatre Club's The Violet Hour. His Broadway credits include The Music Man; The Iceman Cometh (with Kevin Spacey); Arcadia; Candida (at Roundabout, for which he received a Tony nomination); Philadelphia, Here I Come; The Speed of Darkness; Breaking the Code; and Brighton Beach Memoirs.
He made his film debut at 19 in "Dead Poets Society." His film credits include "Much Ado About Nothing," "The Age of Innocence," "Mr. & Mrs. Bridge," "Swing Kids" and "The Last Days of Disco." Since 2004, Leonard has played the role of Dr. James Wilson on the hit Fox medical drama "House."
The producers of Born Yesterday are Philip Morgaman, Anne Caruso/Vincent Caruso, Frankie J. Grande, and James P. MacGilvray.
Morgaman and Grande were attached to the yearlong 2009-10 Kanin celebration that resulted in Off-Broadway presentations of Kanin's plays Dreyfus in Rehearsal (July 2009) and Remembering Mr. Maugham (March 2010).
Born Yesterday, one of the first commercial theatrical hits in post-World War II America, focuses on Billie Dawn, the dumb-blonde girlfriend of Harry Brock, a corrupt businessman. Brock hires Paul Verrall, a New Republic reporter, to smarten her up. Judy Holliday starred in the original Broadway run and in the film version, for which she won an Academy Award. Madeline Kahn starred in the first (short-lived) Broadway revival, in 1989.
Garson Kanin (1912-1999) might be best known as the writer and director of Born Yesterday. With Ruth Gordon, whom he married in 1942, he wrote the Academy-Award nominated screenplays "A Double Life," "Adam's Rib" and "Pat and Mike." Kanin was also a novelist and memoirist. His books include "Smash," "Hollywood" and "Tracy and Hepburn." Gordon died in 1985, and Kanin married Marian Seldes in 1990. He died at his home in New York in 1999. Visit www.garsonkanin.com.
Tickets are $25-$120 and may be purchased by visiting www.telecharge.com or by phoning (212) 239-6200 or (800) 432-7250. For more information about Born Yesterday, visit ww.BornYesterdayOnBroadway.com.
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