Ethel Barrymore Theatre, (4/01/2004 - 8/29/2004)

First Preview: Mar 12, 2004
Opening Date: Apr 01, 2004
Closing Date: Aug 29, 2004
Total Previews: 22
Total Performances: 173

Category: Play, Comedy, Revival, Broadway
Description: A play in two acts
Setting: San Francisco. One day in the late 1800s.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Philip J. Smith: President; Robert E. Wankel: Executive Vice President)

Produced by Julian Schlossberg, Roy Furman, Ben Sprecher, Michael Gardner, James Fantaci, Cheryl Lachowicz, Christine Duncan and Nelle Nugent; Produced by arrangement with Andrew Braunsberg; Associate Producer: Aaron Levy, Jill Furman, Debra Black and Peter May

Written by Larry Gelbart; Based on "Volpone" by Ben Jonson

Directed by Arthur Penn

Scenic Design by George Jenkins and Jesse Poleshuck; Costume Design by Albert Wolsky; Lighting Design by Phil Monat; Sound Design by T. Richard Fitzgerald and Carl Casella; Wig Design by Paul Huntley; Assistant Scenic Design: Frank McCullough; Associate Costume Design: MaryAnn D. Smith; Assistant Lighting Design: John Tees, III; 2nd Assistant Lighting Designer: George Gountas

General Manager: Peter Bogyo; Company Manager: Chris Morey

Production Stage Manager: Marybeth Abel; Stage Manager: Bryan Landrine; Technical Supervisor: Teckeneally, Inc.

Casting: Stuart Howard and Amy Schecter; Marketing: TMG - The Marketing Group; Fight Staging by B. H. Barry; Press Representative: The Publicity Office; Hair Supervisor: Marty Kopulsky; Advertising: Serino Coyne, Inc.; Logo Artwork: Chava Ben-Amos; Photographer: Carol Rosegg; Assistant to the Director: Jessica Brickman

Pre-Show Announcement: Don LaFontaine

Opening Night Cast

Richard DreyfussFoxwell J. Sly
(Mar 12, 2004 - Aug 15, 2004)
The Judge
(Mar 12, 2004 - Aug 15, 2004)
Eric StoltzSimon Able
(Mar 12, 2004 - Aug 15, 2004)
René AuberjonoisJethro Crouch
(Mar 12, 2004 - Aug 15, 2004)
Elizabeth BerkleyMrs. Truckle
(Mar 12, 2004 - Aug 15, 2004)
Professor Irwin CoreyCourt Clerk
Bob DishyAbner Truckle
Bronson PinchotLawyer Craven
(Mar 12, 2004 - Aug 15, 2004)
Peter ScolariThe Chief of Police
(Mar 12, 2004 - Aug 01, 2004)
Nicholas WymanCaptain Crouch
Rachel YorkMiss Fancy
(Mar 12, 2004 - Aug 15, 2004)
Charles AntaloskySly's Servant
Linda HalaskaSly's Servant
Jeremy HollingworthSly's Servant
Robert LaVelle1st Policeman
Jason MaCrouch's Servant
Jeff Talbott3rd Policeman
Gordon Joseph Weiss2nd Policeman

Understudies: Charles Antalosky (Court Clerk, Jethro Crouch, The Chief of Police), Professor Irwin Corey (Jethro Crouch), Linda Halaska (Miss Fancy, Mrs. Truckle), Jeremy Hollingworth (Simon Able), Robert LaVelle (Captain Crouch), Jason Ma (1st Policeman, 2nd Policeman , 3rd Policeman), Peter Scolari (Abner Truckle, Lawyer Craven), Jeff Talbott (1st Policeman, 2nd Policeman , Bailiff, Crouch's Servant, Sly's Servant) and Gordon Joseph Weiss (Abner Truckle, Lawyer Craven, The Chief of Police)


AP: "Humor Falls Flat in Sly Fox"

Greed never goes out of style (see Tyco, Enron, WorldCom, etc.) but "Sly Fox," in its first Broadway revival, has neither the luster nor the laughs it must have possessed nearly 30 years ago when George C. Scott was playing the duplicitous Foxwell J. Sly.

The production, which opened Thursday at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, is more frenzied than funny, with a spirited supporting cast trying its best to inject some life into the frantic proceedings.

"Sly Fox," set in late 19th-century San Francisco, is a big, broad burlesque (a precursor to the stage version of "The Producers" in a way) and Larry Gelbart's play needs a big, broad comedian to pull off the title role and propel the evening.

Richard Dreyfuss, unfortunately, plays it small, turning Sly into merely a miserly con man instead of an ingratiating charlatan the audience can cheer.

The character sneers at those who lust only after gold - "God with an 'L' - gold," he proclaims. Yet the man has the same dream of owning as much of the stuff as he possible can: "To find it, to fondle it, the reason for living. To lie next to it in the earth, the only advantage of dying," Sly philosophizes.

It's not only Dreyfuss who appears humorless. There's a miscast Eric Stoltz, who portrays Sly's equally conniving manservant, Simon Able. Stoltz is more stolid than scamplike, and the banter between the two men falls flat.

Arthur Penn, director of the original 1976 production, returns for a second time here, and you'd think he would know how to camouflage the play's dead spots. But the evening still takes a while to wind up to full comic intensity - and that doesn't occur until Act 2.

Gelbart, who loosely based his convoluted play on Ben Jonson's "Volpone," carefully sets up the plot, introducing, one by one, the greedy folks who will be hoodwinked by Sly.

These lip-smacking scavengers are played by a trio of expert comedians: Bronson Pinchot, Bob Dishy and Rene Auberjonois. Pinchot twitches, Dishy (who played the same role in 1976) pops his eyes with delicious exasperation and Auberjonois creaks in hilarious decrepitude. Each of their characters is waiting for Sly to expire in hopes of being remembered in the dead man's will.

Gelbart, co-author of the book for the musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," peppers the play with jokes, but a surprising number fall flat, particularly in the early, stodgy exposition.

Things heat up after intermission during a raucous courtroom scene, in which Dreyfuss (dressed to look like Yosemite Sam) portrays a hangin' judge.

Here, several more comics get to strut their stuff, including Peter Scolari as a sex-crazed police chief and the venerable Professor Irwin Corey as the slowest-writing court clerk west of the Mississippi.

There are two women in major roles, and they have a difficult time competing with the accomplished male comedians. Rachel York, saddled with an unfortunate Mae West accent, is an uninspired lady of easy virtue, but Elizabeth Berkley has a moment or two of dumb sweetness as Dishy's devoutly religious wife.

What's best about Gelbart's play is its persistent acerbic attitude. A sure sense of comic belligerence seems to affect almost every character in the play, and there are a lot of them - 18 in all (including Dreyfuss doing double duty). Yet without the driving energy of a truly inspired leading man, this "Fox" is more stodgy than sly.


Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Ethel Barrymore Theatre

(4/1/2004 - 8/29/2004)
Company Manager: Laura Heller.

Stage Manager: Andrew Neal.


Carol Kane
Miss Fancy (Aug 17, 2004 - Aug 29, 2004)
Richard Kind
Foxwell J. Sly (Aug 17, 2004 - Aug 29, 2004)
The Judge (Aug 17, 2004 - Aug 29, 2004)
Jason Kravits
Lawyer Craven (Aug 17, 2004 - ?)
Richard Libertini
Jethro Crouch (Aug 17, 2004 - ?)
Bronson Pinchot
Simon Able (Aug 17, 2004 - Aug 29, 2004)
Larry Storch
The Chief of Police (Aug 3, 2004 - Aug 29, 2004)
Rachel York
Mrs. Truckle (Aug 17, 2004 - Aug 29, 2004)

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