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Auds keep ‘Men’ on docket

Success of the play pushes back previews of 'Fool'

Roundabout has a surprise hit with “Twelve Angry Men.”

The TV show-turned-movie-turned-legit play will extend for the third time, playing through Feb. 6 at the American Airlines Theater. Before its Oct. 28 preem, the Scott Ellis-helmed production was skedded to close Dec. 19.

The success of the Reginald Rose play pushes back previews for the Ed Harris-helmed production of Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love,” which had been announced to begin previews in January. Lili Taylor has been in talks to headline the Shepard play. Roundabout did not confirm casting.

In its original incarnation, “Twelve Angry Men” was a teleplay for CBS’ Studio One, where it aired in 1954. Three years later, Rose and Henry Fonda produced the film version, which inspired an amateur stage play. It wasn’t until 1964, however, that Rose wrote his stage adaptation of the Studio One drama about a jury deliberating a murder case. In the 1960s, Rose also wrote “The Defenders” TV series.

The current Roundabout production is the first time “Twelve Angry Men” has been staged on Broadway.

Headlining Philip Bosco and Boyd Gaines, the play looks to be the longest runner in the four-year history of the American Airlines Theater. When it closes Feb. 6, it will have played 18 weeks. The Roundabout’s revival of “The Women” during the 2001-02 season ran 13 weeks.

‘Gem’ back on track

August Wilson wasn’t kidding when he told observers Nov. 6 at the Chicago Humanities Festival that producer Carole Shorenstein Hays was the angel ready to pony up the coin necessary to save his production of “Gem of the Ocean” (Daily Variety, Nov. 11).

Over the weekend, Rocco Landesman of the Jujamcyn Org announced that the Wilson play would begin previews Nov. 23 and open Dec. 6 on Broadway.

When $1 million recently fell out of the $2.3 million production, the original “Gem” preem of Nov. 11 had to be scuttled.

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