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LaPaglia to play ‘Checkers’

Actor portrays Nixon in Off Broadway play

Anthony LaPaglia will topline the world preem of Douglas McGrath’s “Checkers” at Off Broadway’s Vineyard Theater this fall.

LaPaglia, who scored a 1998 Tony for his perf in the Roundabout’s revival of “A View from the Bridge,” will portray Richard Nixon in “Checkers,” set during Nixon’s run for the vice presidency in 1952. Kathryn Erbe (“Law and Order: Criminal Intent”) will star as Nixon’s wife, Pat.

“Checkers,” which takes its name from the television address that helped save Nixon’s VP candidacy from accusations of impropriety, is a new play by McGrath, the scribe-director whose screen credits include screenplays for “Emma” and “Bullets Over Broadway.” Terry Kinney (“Reasons to Be Pretty”) directs.

Play will be the second Nixon bio-drama to hit Gotham in recent years. The 2007 Broadway staging of Peter Morgan’s “Frost/Nixon” netted topliner Frank Langella a Tony for his perf as the former US prexy in that title.

Lewis J. Stadlen (“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”) and Robert Stanton (“A Free Man of Color”), among others, also will appear in “Checkers.” Play begins previews Oct. 12 ahead of an Oct. 28 opening at the Vineyard.

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