Sly Fox Flies the Broadway Coop Aug. 29

By Robert Simonson
August 29, 2004

Just two after instituting a host of cast changes, the Broadway production of the Larry Gelbart comedy Sly Fox, directed by Arthur Penn, will close up shop Aug. 29.

Sly Fox will have played 22 previews and 173 performances.

"With great regret, we have decided that the time has come to close the Broadway production of Sly Fox," according to a statement from the producers. "We have a terrific new cast, but they have joined us at a time of year when it is difficult to build an audience. This problem is compounded by the difficult weeks we face ahead, beginning with the Republican Convention and the traditional downturn of business in September."

Bounce star Richard Kind stepped into the lead role of Foxwell J. Sly on Aug. 17, replacing the audience draw, Richard Dreyfuss, who departed Aug. 15.

On the same day, Bronson Pinchot, formerly playing Lawyer Craven, took over the role of Simon Able. Jason Kravits ("The Stepford Wives") took Pinchot's place as Craven. And Richard Libertini became the new Jethro Crouch, replacing Rene Auberjonois. Rachel York, the original Miss Fancy, jumped to the role of Mrs. Truckle, and Carol Kane became the new Miss Fancy. Larry Storch replaced Peter Scolari and the Police Chief on Aug. 3.

Completing the cast are MacIntyre Dixon (who took over for Charles Antalosky), Irwin Corey, Linda Halaska, Jeremy Hollingworth, Robert LaVelle, Jason Ma, Jeff Talbott, Gordon Joseph Weiss and Nick Wyman.

The play features set design by George Jenkins and Jesse Poleshuck, costumes by Albert Wolsky and lighting design by Phil Monat.

The production officially opened on April Fool's Day, after previews from March 13, and a Boston tryout Feb. 20-March 7.

The show is directed by Fortune's Fool's Arthur Penn, who also staged the original 1976 Broadway premiere. Along for the reunion is actor Bob Dishy, who plays Abner Truckle, the same part he was Tony-nominated for 28 years ago.

The story mirrors that of Ben Jonson's Volpone, a British classic which is seldom produced in the U.S. In it, a miserly rich man pretends to take to his deathbed with the idea of gleefully tricking out of their fortunes every vulture and opportunist who is trying to become his heir.

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Sly Fox was first produced on Broadway in 1976 and went on to run 495 performances. Penn directed that production as well. George C. Scott played the lead role of Sly, with Bob Dishy as Truckle and Jack Gilford as Crouch. Dishy won a Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a Tony.