The Fox Hunt Is On as Gelbart Comedy Opens on Broadway, April 1

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01 Apr 2004

Richard Dreyfuss in <i>Sly Fox</i>
Richard Dreyfuss in Sly Fox
Carol Rosegg

Who's the biggest fool this April 1 on the stage of Ethel Barrymore Theatre? Hard to say, since nearly every character in the Larry Gelbart comedy Sly Fox is scheming against all the others.

The production, which stars Richard Dreyfuss as the gleefully conniving Foxwell J. Sly, officially opens 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.

New to the farce are Eric Stoltz, the dependable commercial and independent film presence, who stars as Simon Able, the servant of Dreyfuss' miser, as well as Elizabeth Berkley, René Auberjonois, Bronson Pinchot, Irwin Corey, Peter Scolari, Rachel York and Nick Wyman.

Completing the cast are Charles Antalosky, Linda Halaska, Jeremy Hollingworth, Robert LaVelle, Jason Ma, Jeff Talbott and Gordon Joseph Weiss.



Dreyfuss is also cast in the choice role of a San Francisco judge in Act II, when Sly is put on trial on a morals charge. George C. Scott played both roles in the 1976 original Broadway run. (Take a look at the original 1976 playbill in Playbill On-Line's Playbill Archives feature.)

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.

The involvement of Dreyfuss means the Oscar-winning actor's first Broadway turn since 1992's Death and the Maiden. In recent years, Dreyfuss has returned to the stage in a big way, acting in London (Prisoner of Second Avenue), Off-Broadway (The Exonerated, Trumbo) and regionally (All My Sons at the Westport Country Playhouse last summer).

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

Though Penn is best known to the general public as the director of such ground-breaking films as "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Little Big Man," his theatre roots run deep. He directed William Gibson's most famous works, Two for the Seesaw and The Miracle Worker, winning a Tony for the latter. He also mounted the original Broadway productions of Lillian Hellman's Toys in the Attic, An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Tad Mosel's All the Way Home, the Charles Strouse musical Golden Boy, and the Frederick Knott thriller Wait Until Dark. He piloted 1977's Golda, the William Gibson Drama which eventually evolved into this season's hit Golda's Balcony. He returned to Broadway after a 20-year absence with Fortune's Fool.

Gelbart, who has left his mark in film ("Tootsie") and television ("M*A*S*H"), is remembered for his book to the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He also wrote the political comedy Mastergate and the book to City of Angels. He's won Tonys for both City and Forum.