It looks like a reunion for the 2000 Broadway cast of “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man.” Chris Noth will join Charles Durning and Michael Learned in the world premiere of the scribe’s “On the March to the Sea” at Duke U. in Durham, N.C.
Vidal’s new drama, set during the Civil War, will play Feb. 22-March 6 as part of the Theater Previews at Duke series. In recent years, the N.C. legit group has acted as tryout turf for such Broadway-bound projects as “A Thousand Clowns,” starring Tom Selleck, in 2001, and the current Broadway tuner “Little Women,” among others.
“Best Man” producer Jeffrey Richards brought the Vidal play to Theater Previews, but he is not a co-producer on the show. “Richards helped with casting,” said Zannie Giraud Voss, producing director of Theater Previews.
In addition to the three “Best Man” alums, the Vidal players at Duke will include Richard Easton, Harris Yulin, Isabel Keating, Corey Brill, David Turner and John Feltch. Voss said one other role remains to be cast.
Warner Shook will direct “On the March to the Sea,” to be staged in a concert-reading version in the vein of “The Exonerated.”
“The play is set during the Civil War, but its themes about integrity during war are universal,” Voss said in explaining the decision. “To have a big plantation and hoop skirts onstage might take away from its universality. Other producers may have the desire to make it a full-scale production.”
Vidal will be at Duke for rehearsals of “On the March to the Sea.” Private readings of the play were held in Gotham in 2002 and at Connecticut’s Hartford Stage.