John Boy & Bobby Make West End DebutsDate: 28 March 2000
The new cast of the long-running West End comedy Art has just been announced, and the theme seems to be American television stars of the 1970s and 80s. With this, the fourteenth trio in the show's history, which takes over at Wyndham's Theatre for twelve weeks from 25 April 2000, both Richard Thomas and Patrick Duffy - better known, respectively, as John Boy from The Waltons and Bobby Ewing from Dallas - will be making their West End debuts.
In the play about three friends who fall out over a piece of modern art, Thomas will star as Yvan and Duffy as Serge with fellow American Paul Freeman joining them as Marc. The three will replace the current British cast of Michael French, Stephen Tompkinson and James Fleet who complete their run on Sunday, 23 April.
Thomas won an Emmy award for the part of narrator John Boy in TV's The Waltons, which he played from 1972 to 1977 and in numerous reunion episodes. His theatre credits include Richard II, Richard III, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Measure for Measure. Duffy played Bobby James Ewing, little brother to the nasty JR, from 1978 to 1991 in the night-time soap Dallas. He's also well known for his TV role as Mark Harris in Man from Atlantis. Freeman has appeared in numerous American TV serials as well including Falcon Crest and ER. His film credits include the recent Three Kings and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The London production of Art - translated by Christopher Hampton and directed by Matthew Warchus - has long attracted well-known actors for its short stints. The original cast starred Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott. Subsequent casts have featured the likes of Richard Griffiths, Henry Goodman, David Haig, Anton Lesser, Tom Mannion, Art Malik and Nigel Havers as well as unlikely stars such as comedians Jack Dee and Frank Skinner. American transfer casts, meanwhile, have brought the likes of Judd Hirsch, George Wendt and Stacy Keach to the West End.
In 1998, the Broadway production of Art, also directed by Warchus, opened to critical acclaim with a cast featuring Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina. Art won both the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Comedy. In New York, the play won the Tony and New York Critics Circle Awards for Best Play.
A UK touring production of Art, starring Nigel Havers, Barry Foster and Roger Lloyd Pack continues to sell out auditoriums nationwide.