Abraham, Hearn and Henner Set For 'Grumpy Old Men' Industry Reading; Full Casting Announced

By: Sep. 29, 2008

Theatrical Producers Jeff Gardner and Ken Denison, are pleased to announce that they have assembled an all-star cast for a reading of their new musical GRUMPY OLD MEN: THE MUSICAL  to be presented in New York City in October. The reading is not open to the public, and is by invitation only.

Oscar winner, and Broadway veteran, F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus) will join Emmy and Tony Award winner George Hearn (Sweeney Todd, La Cage Aux Folles) as the two grumpy neighbors originally played by Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in the 1993 Warner Bros. motion picture. The role of Ariel (Ann-Margret in the movie) will be portrayed by stage, motion picture, and television star Marilu Henner (Chicago,  LA Story, Taxi).

Emmy Winner Carol Kane (Taxi) will play the role of Punky, a role created specifically for this musical adaptation of the piece, alongside Drama Desk Award winner Ken Page (Ain’t Misbehavin’) as her Uncle Chuck. Ever-popular character actor Conrad John Schuck (MASH, McMillan & Wife, Star Trek) will portray Grandpa Gustafson.

Portraying the role of Jacob Goldman, will be rising star Joshua Malina (The West Wing, Sports Night, Big Shots), who will play opposite one of Broadway’s finest leading ladies, Michele Ragusa (Young Frankenstein).

Executive Producer Ken Denison commented, “This is an outstanding opportunity to bring back to Broadway some of our finest veteran performers.”

The remaining roles will be played by a number of highly respected Broadway stalwarts including: Bjorn Johnson, Carter Calvert, David Beach, Klea Blackhurst, Joy Hermalyn, Danielle Lee Greaves, Ron Wisniski, and Tad Wilson.

GRUMPY OLD MEN: THE MUSICAL is a stage adaptation of the popular 1993 Warner Bros. motion picture Grumpy Old Men. The creative team for the production includes director Glenn Casale, composer Neil Berg, lyricist Nick Meglin, and playwright Dan Remmes.

The 1993 film which starred Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, and Ann-Margret was presented by Warner Bros., and written by Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil, Simon Birch, Ghost Rider)

The basic plot of GRUMPY OLD MEN: THE MUSICAL is the story of two aging men, Max and John, neighbors, who have been feuding for most of their lives. They are re-united in friendship through the love and compassion of their new neighbor across the street, the beautiful, eccentric, and charming Ariel.

General inquiries regarding GRUMPY OLD MEN: THE MUSICAL may be made via e-mail to info@grumpyoldmenthemusical.com

F. Murray Abraham (Max Goldman) was most recently seen as God Who Watches in Ethan Coen’s Almost an Evening at The Bleecker Street Theatre. More recent appearances include: Sterling in Mauritius at Manhattan Theatre Club, Shylock and Barabas (in rotating rep) with Theatre for a New Audience, and Shylock at Stratford-upon-Avon in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works. He has been a Macy’s Santa; won an Oscar, an Obie and a Golden Globe; and is preparing The Old Man and the Sea for Robert Halmi and Robert Halmi Jr. Mr. Abraham has performed with some of the greatest orchestras in America, and is the narrator for  PBS’ Nature. He is a Fox Foundation recipient and the author of The Dream, published by Faber & Faber. He is also a ridiculously proud grandfather and a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

George Hearn (John Gustafson) has been one of Broadway’s premier leading men for over forty years. In that span he has appeared in twenty Broadway shows and garnered five Tony Award nominations with two Tony Awards wins. The winning performances were for La Cage Aux Folles, and Sunset Boulevard. He also received an Emmy Award for his television reprise of his Broadway performance as Sweeney Todd with Angela Lansbury. Mr. Hearn’s other Tony award nominations were from his work in Watch on the Rhine, Putting it Together, and A Doll’s Life. Other notable Broadway performances were in shows such as 1776, Hamlet, Ah Wilderness, Meet Me in St. Louis, I Remember Mama, and The Diary of Anne Frank. Not limited to the stage, Hearn has appeared in forty motion pictures and television shows including the recent Flags of our Fathers.

Marilu Henner (Ariel Truax) is most often recognized as the bombshell cab driver Elaine Nardo from the celebrated TV series Taxi, a role that brought her to national attention. She scored another television success starring opposite Burt Reynolds in Evening Shade. Ms Henner has a wide variety of talents, and is highly respected as a powerful stage performer by the Broadway community. She received rave reviews for her star-turn as Roxie Hart in the recent Broadway revival of Chicago. Her career on Broadway dates back to her debut in the original run of Grease. Her other Broadway credits include Over Here!, Pal Joey, Social Security, and The Tale of the Allergi st’s Wife.

Carol Kane (Punky Barrels) has found success in all areas of show business, playing a wide variety of roles in immensely popular films, television series, and stage plays. In motion pictures she was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Hester Street, and went on to roles in Dog Day Afternoon, Annie Hall, and The Princess Bride. Her greatest fame, however, comes from her memorable characterization of Simka Dahblitz-Gravas on the hit TV series Taxi, for which she was honored with two Emmy Awards. She also received an Emmy nomination for a performance on Chicago Hope. Her Broadway career includes appearances in Wicked, Sly Fox, and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.

Conrad John Schuck (Grandpa Gustafson) began his career in motion pictures playing dentist Capt. Walter 'Painless Pole' Waldowski “in the classic film MASH directed by Robert Altman. The next year he went on to begin a six-year run in one of his most memorable roles as Sgt. Charles Enright on the popular television show McMillan & Wife. Mr. Schuck is a veteran of the Star Trek franchise with roles in the motion pictures Star Trek IV & Star Trek VI, and the television programs Star Trek: Voyager & Deep Space Nine. His numerous other TV roles include roles on Mission Impossible, St. Elsewhere, Fantasy Island, Roots, and Gunsmoke. He has appeared on Broadway as Daddy Warbuc ks in Annie, and as Col. William F. Cody in Annie Get your Gun.

Vicki Lewis (Sandra Snyder) is fondly remembered by Broadway audiences for her splashy performance of the song “Shoeless Joe” as Gloria Thorpe in Damn Yankees, and her turn as Velma in the revival of Chicago. Ms. Lewis has also found great success in Hollywood. She is widely recognized for her performance on the NBC sitcom NewsRadio as the comical secretary Beth. Her other TV appearances include: Home Improvement, Seinfeld, Murphy Brown, Mission Hill. Her numerous motion picture credits include: Finding Nemo, Godzilla, and California Dreaming.

Ken Page (Chuck Barrels) was the recipient of the 1978 Drama Desk Award for his critically acclaimed performance in the Broadway Musical Ain’t Misbehavin’. He also scored on Broadway with his performance as Old Deuteronomy in Cats, and his rousing rendition of “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” in the 1976 revival of Guys & Dolls. He has been very active in Hollywood, and may been seen in the recent blockbuster Dreamgirls. Other movies include: The Nightmare Before Christmas, , and Torch Song Trilogy.

JOSHUA MALINA  (Jacob Goldman) is one of televisions most sought-after leading men. He established himself with his performance as Jeremy Goodwin on Sports Night, and followed with wider success as the writer Will Bailey on The West Wing. He has made numerous other TV appearances on The Larry Sanders Show, Big Shots, and Imagine That and may be s een in upcoming episodes of CSI and Valentine. Mr. Malina also has a strong presence in feature films including Bulworth, In the Line of Fire, The American President, Malice, and Nobody’s Perfect. No stranger to the stage, he made his Broadway debut in the original cast of A Few Good Men. Also a producer, he is the co-creator of Bravo TV's hit show Celebrity Poker Showdown.

Michele Ragusa (Melanie Gustafson) has been called New York’s finest “comic soprano”. She recently joined the cast of Broadway’s Young Frankenstein in the role of Elizabeth. Her numerous Broadway credits include: Urinetown, Titanic, A Class Act, Ragtime, and Cyrano the Musical.


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