Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Butley's Back on Broadway at Booth

Butley's Back on Broadway at Booth

Much-anticipated confirmation came today that Nathan Lane will reprise his Huntington Theatre (Boston) title role as Butley on Broadway. Ben Butley is a professor whose abhorrent behavior results in losing his wife and lover on the same day. The production, helmed by Nicholas Martin, is expected to open on October 28 at the Booth Theatre (current home to Faith Healer).

Critics showered favorable notices on this revival of the celebrated 1972 play by Simon Gray. The original version of the show garnered three Tony Award nominations, and its original star -- the late, great Alan Bates -- received his first of two Tonys for this particular portrayal.

I caught Lane's Boston performance as Butley in late 2003. Despite what the critics thought, I thought his portrayal was way over the top and unusually forced. While I have enjoyed Lane's performances immensely in Guys And Dolls, The Producers and The Odd Couple, to say he chewed the scenery as Butley would be an understatement.

One final retrospective note on that production, there was some poignancy in seeing this show in Boston because it featured Alan Bates' son Benedick, just a month prior to the elder Bates' passing. But it remains to be seen whether the younger Bates will be part of the Broadway production.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
Vanessa Redgrave to Make Broadway Return as Joan Didion (May 26, 2006)

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