Selleck sending in ‘Clowns’

Signs on for stage debut, tour, B'way show

DURHAM, N.C. — Tom Selleck is to make his stage debut in a revival of “A Thousand Clowns,” produced by Jeffrey Richards in cooperation with Theater Previews at Duke University, where it will be shaped before and during a Feb. 7-25 run. Plans are for a four-city tour before opening April 16 on Broadway for a limited run.

Playwright Herb Gardner will revise the script to reflect contemporary times while in residence at Duke. The original 1962 production featured Jason Robards as an unemployed bachelor uncle who wrestles with how far he will go to keep from losing his nephew to foster care. John Rando will direct.

From TV to bigscreen

Selleck, best known as television’s “Magnum, P.I.,” also has numerous film credits, including “Three Men and a Baby” (1987), “In & Out” (1997) and “The Love Letter” (1999).

Zannie Voss, managing director of Theater Previews at Duke, said she was called about the project after an article and review appeared in Variety on Previews’ staging in March of “Birdy,” a Spring Sirkin production with Duke due on Broadway in the fall.

“We were approached by several commercial producers with new projects for next season, and this one was really the standout,” she said.

Collegiate approach

The production of “A Thousand Clowns” will be Duke’s fourth as it has progressed cautiously into co-producing for major venues.

The 1999 production “Eleanor: An American Love Story,” a musical about the life of Eleanor Roosevelt, was co-produced with Ford’s Theater of Washington, and garnered Helen Hayes Awards for actor Anthony Cummings and actress Anne Kanengeiser. The show also has been produced in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Chicago.

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